Post # 1
I love giving gifts and organizing surprises. I spend a lot of time thinking about presents for people I care about.
My boyfriend does not really like surprises. I would love your perspective (especially if you are someone who also does not LOVE surprises). He has definitely gotten used to me giving him no occasion gifts that I think he will like.
His birthday is in September. There is a mountain that he has always wanted to rock climb. The routes that are within our physical capability are not bolted, and we are not good enough to place our own gear/protection. So… I hired a guide to place all the gear for us and show us the route! I’ve had this booked since early May.
We were hiking this weekend and he brought up a baseball tournament he has on September. It is on the same weekend I had booked. I asked him what his available weekends were in September and he wanted to know why. I told him I was planning something for his birthday. He asked what and I said it was a surprise. He gave me a weekend that worked, I spoked to the guide and I was able to reschedule.
My dream plan was not to tell him anything, but now he knows there is something. I assume he knows it is some type of outdoor activity, because that is what we spend all our time doing. What should I do?
OPTION A (My dream scenario): Pack a bag for him, throw it in the car, and offer to drive. I ordered a card with a picture of the mountain on it, and inside I would have print outs of the three routes the guide said would work with our skill level. Drive is about an hour and twenty minutes, so he would have time to look over the routes. To me this would be THE BEST.
OPTION B: Tell him a week or so before and let him look over the routes.
OPTION C: He is asking now, but I REALLY don’t want to tell him. He already knows we are doing something, and it is just the two of us.
Feedback is apprecated
Post # 2
minnewanka : how badly does he hate surprises? I think I would have a horrible time with someone packing a bag and just driving somewhere.
But I trust my husband so I probably wouldn’t have much anxiety with him.
I know you talk about your dream surprise, but my concern is that he doesn’t like surprises
Post # 3
He would not like me to say we were going to dinner, and then get to the restaurant and have 20 of his friends there.
I think this is why I am on the fence. He now knows there is a birthday activity, just the two of us, taking place outside. I don’t know how much more of a “surprise” it is that it is this particular mountain over any other.
Post # 4
It depends on what exactly he hates about surprises.
I legit hate suprises when they have to do with a group of people planning someting without my knowledge or when anyone besides SO, my mom, or my very best friend has control over a situation and I don’t have any information prior (especially if it’s an overnight).
What you described would be a great experience/surprise for me, but what does your boyfriend usually get anxious about with surprises? Any past experience come to mind?
Post # 5
I think you need to tell him. I hate suprises and would not like this at all. I would feel out of control and unhappy. What someone else thinks is nice is my nightmare. I think he needs time to process the event and get ready mentally and physically for it. I don’t think people who like suprises realise how stressful it is to those of us who do not.
My sister is the same way. On her 30th birthday her husband planned a suprise birthday party (catered, at a hall, friends and family all there) We told him she would hate it, he said once she was there she would like it. They yelled suprise, she turned around and walked out the door. She did not come back and was very upset at the amount of money spent. Now, some people thought she was a “brat” but I understood.
Post # 6
kmjkh : I was uncomfortable and felt so awkward at my planned bridal shower, I can’t imagine how bad it would have been if it was a surprise. I’m sorry people thought your sister was a brat, I’m glad you know her better than that
Post # 7
I hate surprises. I am the kind of person who likes to be in control of everything. It would be my personal nightmare if someone planned a trip for me as a surprise. However, seeing how it’s only a short drive, I would give him some info but not all. Tell him that the surprise is something physical, to dress appropriately, etc. If he reacts badly to this then I would just tell him everything. The worst thing you can do IMO is get mad if he isn’t thrilled about it.
Post # 8
My SO hates all surprises (not even when I drop off a surprise lunch). Tell him now if that’s his comfort level. This gift is about him, not you.
Post # 9
Surprising someone who hates surprises is making their gift about what you want. That’s not fair.
Post # 10
I loathe surprises. And I agree with other bees, when you insist on a surprise for someone who hates surprises, you’re doing it for you, not them.
Tell him now. Give him the courtesy of having time to process things and mentally prepare.
Post # 11
I definitely want this to be about him; it’s his birthday. I don’t know that I want to tell him two months in advance.
My thought process is along the lines of you wouldn’t tell someone what you bought before they open it. When he asked what the gift was, and I said a surprise, he just said as long as I hadn’t invited a ton of his friends to do something secretly.
From what he has said, most of his dislike for surprises are around surprise parties with large groups of people. I made a pretty elaborate scavenger hunt for easter and he loved it and thought it was super thoughtful.
He has expressed before that he can never “one up” my gifts. He gives me nice, generic gifts – a scarf, flowers, etc. I don’t really care about receiving gifts; I just love giving them. When he got a new apartment I bought him a cast iron sauce pot that he had mentioned wanting months before. He loved it, but then expressed he was never going to be able to give gifts as thoughtful as mine are. When he got back from a holiday I had bought all the groceries he normally eats for a week and meal prepped all his food. He was really happy he didn’t have to go get groceries and could relax, but said he felt bad he hadn’t done something similar when I was recently on holiday.
I know I’m seeking advice on a few paragraphs of information. In my head it is the people party surprises he loathes, other surprise gifts have gone over well. This is probably the best birthday gift I will ever think of (I don’t see myself one upping it). If you knew an active physical experience was booked, would you need to know exactly what it was?
Post # 12
a suprise gift. No problem at all for me
A suprise experience – HUGE problem!
They are not evenly remotely the same thing in my mind. Maybe in his it is different. You know him, I don’t. However, all of your examples are not anything at all like you are proposing. Have you ever suprised him with Dinner out, a hotel overnight or an unexpected activity? These would be equivalent.
Post # 13
I tend to tell people I don’t like surprises, but the truth is that I have liked some surprises, and hated others. I prefer for people not to surprise me because if they’re off, I’m super disappointed and then they’re also bummed that they put time/money/effort into something I didn’t like. My vote is to tell him and let him decide.
Also — IMO the fact that you’ve hired a guide means it is not something just the two of you are doing. It’s now something you’re doing with a third party. I’d personally hate that because I can imagine it being pretty awkward to make small talk with a guide all day (that’s like my worst nightmare), even more so if I’d been led to believe it would be a strictly 2 person activity. Would your bf book a privately guided activity normally? If not, I’d make sure that this is something he’d be okay with.
Post # 14
I would give him a little bit of information, such as it involves rock climbing, or maybe just that it truly is just the 2 of you and “a guide”. And then ask him if that’s enough or if he needs more. You don’t want him anxious for the next 2 months. I do think there’s a big difference between surprises that involve a lot of people and those that don’t, but as PP noted this is also different than a surprise physical gift. It’s a bit of a grey area so I would just talk to him honestly about what kind of info he needs to feel okay.
Also, if he’s always wanted to climb this mountain I would definitely tell him at least a week out so he has plenty of time to research and consider routes. It’s probably the type of thing he wants to nerd out on and you don’t want to deprive him of that or limit his time to do so
Post # 15
Good point. He’s done a bunch of new activities last minute with me, which I really liked when we started dating. For example we were supposed to have a third date on a Sunday, and we were texting Friday. I told him I was going to a charity fundraiser at my hot yoga studio and he was welcome to join. He showed up and tried it. He opted in to try cross country skiing with me on almost no notice.
One thing he has said throughout our relationship is how much he appreciates me pushing him to try new things and put him outside of his comfort zone. It sounds like “Netflix and Chill” was the order of the day with his previous two girlfriends. The rock climb I booked he has always wanted to climb, but had never tried rock climbing before he met me. It was always something he wanted to try “someday”.
Directly to your question – no. All weekend trips have been planned in advance. We’re both very flexible on last minute plans with each other (if someone calls and asks “do you want to come meet me in 20 minutes for dinner at xyz restaurant).