Post # 16
“My thought process is along the lines of you wouldn’t tell someone what you bought before they open it.”
True, but if it’s a physical gift you don’t like, all you have to do is smile and thank the person. You can often even exchange the item discreetly. It’s totally different than suffering through hours of activities you don’t like while feigning enjoyment, or causing the awkwardness of telling the person they missed the mark.
Post # 17
The guide is definitely not an issue. Boyfriend is very extroverted and chatty. When we took a lead climbing course with a guide (6 people in the class) he asked the guide if he wanted to drive in the car with us from the car pool spot so he could chat to him.
I really appreciate the perspective on giving him time to do the research. There are a lot of routes up, but quite a few are too difficult for us. I was going to let him pick, but it might be nice to let him speak with the guide before hand. A big decision will be does he want to do a 200m that’s harder or a 250m route that’s easier.
Post # 18
He just sent me a text. In addition to the plans for the week we are discussing he ended with :
Boyfriend: “P.S. I think I know what my surprise is”
Minnewanka: “What do you think the surprise is?”
Boyfriend: “Can’t tell you or it won’t be a surprise haha”
I really appreciate the feedback from everyone. I think I’ll have a chat with him and let him know it’s an outdoor activity, and that I’ll give him more information closer to his birthday. I’ll get him in contact with our guide (who I’ve used before and is fantastic) two weeks out. That way he can research to his heart’s desire and have a bit of time to get excited.
Post # 19
minnewanka : As someone who hates surprises. I think I would not mention this to him anymore, no hints or little looks/grins when September or his birthday come up in conversation, and just all forget about it. But then I would tell him a week before you leave. The reason for this, is if your boyfriend is anything like me, and part of the reason he hates surprises is because he likes to be in control (of himself and the situations he is in), then this will give him a bit of that control. It will still be a surprise, but it will also allow him to pack how he would want to for that trip. It would allow him to purchase any supplies he’s also thought he’d need or have for this rock climb that he’s been dreaming of. It gives him time to be prepared for the scenario, which lends a feeling of control, and can help with anxiety and such.
I don’t know your boyfriend, but I’m speaking as to what I would like if it were me.
For example, my family recently surprised us by inviting some extended family that my husband and I don’t normally get to see, on a vacation we were all going on. It was an awesome surprise, and they really did get us, but I planned all our vacation activities with the assumption it would just be my husband, me, and our immediate family. I would have left more openings in our schedules, and planned less individual activities if I’d known. So, surprises can be fun, but they also can lead to people not being as prepared as they’d like and can get in the way of plans the person has already had in mind.
Post # 20
I don’t like surprises and I would be upset if I got surprised with an experience without having time to mentally prepare for it first. It would also give me a lot of anxiety to know that someone had planned a surprise and I wasn’t given the details at that time.
You mentioned the gift is about him, but you don’t want to tell him this far ahead. That is still making it about you.
Post # 21
Is his birthday before or after the weekend planned? If it’s before I would probably surprise hime with the news ON his birthday, and that still gives him some time to mentally and physically prepare.
If his birthday isn’t until after I would give him the week’s notice (or even 24 hours – you know, enough time to pack his own bag).
Post # 22
minnewanka : that sounds like a good plan. My husband surprised me with a weekend away but told me 3 days before because he was going to take our pets to my mum’s house and didn’t want me being upset with him taking them away without me knowing why. So glad he did.
Sounds like your partner is really on board with the surprise and getting him in touch with the guide beforehand to discuss routes sounds really good and will let him look forward to it.
Post # 23
I would tell him a week before. I have mixed feelings about surprises (sometimes love them, sometimes hate them), but if it’s an activity (eg a holiday) I always feel like I’ve wasted it if I don’t have time to research in advance. Looking at routes in the car sounds stressful. Maybe he’d get more joy out of being able to anticipate it for a week and read up on the route in advance? I know I would.
Post # 24
I would tell him a week before so then he can be excited about it leading up to the day. I also hate surprises, I’m such a planner. But I think his enjoyment will be amplified if you tell him about it a week or more ahead of time. Think about it – if you book a vacation last minute, sure you’ll have a great time, but if you book it months ahead of time then you spend time looking at what restaurants you’ll eat at, what outdoor activities you might do, reading articles, etc. and you have the anticipation leading up to it.
Anyway, I’m sure he’ll think this is a great gift. We don’t rock climb but we hike, and if I did something like that for my FH he’d be super excited. (Unfortunately the stuff he would really love to do is Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, etc. and we’re on the east coast so it would involve a flight plus the guided tour cost!)
Post # 25
Thanks for all the feedback Bees.
We chatted briefly last night about his dislike for surprises. He is a very laid back, not anxious person, so he wouldn’t have any anxiety over knowing something was planned. He just said he likes to know in advance so he can make sure he doesn’t forget anything he needs (knotyet : it was completely a control of the situation like you described) and to make sure he is in the right headspace (i.e. if everyone knows about a party they are ready to have a night out drinking with a group of people, whereas he would be in the mood for a low key dinner and a couple glasses of wine, then be expected to switch headspace in an instant).
He said feel free to surprise him at ANY time with heli-sking or cat-sking because he will always be in the mood for that.
I told him I would tell him a week in advance and he had no issues with that. He’s away on a boys trip the weekend before we go, so I’ll probably tell him the night before so he can brag to all his friends about how great I am haha.
nightskyforest : Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood are BOTH on my objectives list. Time commitment and money are hard though. I hope you can do it someday!
Post # 26
I say since he doesn’t like suprises, tell him a wk in advance… that way he can pack what he wants for that occasion, can do research and whatever.. I wouldn’t say you need to tell him now, but a week out seems sufficient!
Post # 27
minnewanka : I hate surprises and am also an avid gym goer. I would hate to have done a heavy leg day the day before this surprise and then struggle to do it! I would at least want to know that there was an outdoor activity planned.
Post # 28
minnewanka : This all sounds really sweet and thoughtful on your part. That said- my mother and brother love to surprise people and I’ve really enjoyed it at times (like when our mother took us on a trip to Disney World and we didn’t know where we were going until we were on the plane.). There have been other times where it hasn’t worked out so well- (like when my brother didn’t want to ruin the surprise that our favorite cousin was in town so he was trying to play it casual, checking in all damn day, while I went about my previously scheduled activities with friends until waaaaay later than I might have if he had just opened his mouth and told me.)
If your boyfriend has told you he doesn’t really like surprises, then when you go on and plan a surprise, anyway, you need to recognize that you are doing it for yourself and not so much for him. It sounds like gift giving may be your love language and your SO has been onboard thus far, which is cool. After a while, though, I could see him feeling like it’s a bit exhausting to not know what might pop up (that’s the way I’ve felt, at times, at least). I agree with those who are suggesting that you give him some information so he can make a somewhat informed decision. Sometimes, the looking forward to the adventure is as much fun as the adventure itself.
Post # 29
I think giving a gift is one type of surprise that people can deal with that don’t like surprises. I think it is a different story when it is something that involves staying overnight and with travel. I would give him the card a few days in advance with the routes so he can do some planning and get excited. I think it would be much more fun to start the journey excited rather than terrified of the surprise….and then possibly angry about feeling or being ‘unprepared’ while you are waiting for him to be ‘happy’ about this surprise gift you so thoughtfully planned out. I think a few days before is the best of both worlds.
Post # 30
After all the feedback from the Bees, I decided to tell him a week in advance.
We were out rock climbing last night and he knocked off two of his goals that he wanted to reach by September (leading a 5.10a and climibing a 5.10c outdoors). He was so excited about it and was talking about needing to come up with new goals now for the end of climbing season, as we still have about two months left.
I decided him being so excited about climbing was the perfect time to tell him about our activity (which is a month out). I have to say, I am glad I did not surprise him on the way there.
He had to stop at his place to pick up his overnight bag, I asked him to drop me at mine first (only four blocks away), he was a bit confused, but did it. I scrambled to wrap the new climbing pants I bought and fill out a card. I had found a card from a local etsy seller with a painting of the mountain we are climbing on it.
He was in shock. I am pretty sure he read the card four or five times before saying anything. His response was along the lines of “Do you think we can do this in September? It’s really tall”. I explained I had spoken with the guide, and would put him in touch, and that the climbing was well within our ability level, it was just longer than anything we have ever done before (the most we have climbed is 100m, this route will be 250-290m depending on which one we choose). He kept repeating “It’s really tall.” We spent a bit of time googling the routes and taking a quick look.
Before we went to bed he said he thought he would get really excited about it, but he thought the gift was a camping trip and he had to get his head mentally prepared.
He has texted me this morning saying he has spent a bit more time looking at the options and is really excited. He texted about how I was so thoughtful and he’s really excited to do such a big adventure with me.
So again, thank you for all your feedback!