We all hate bad surprises and we all love good surprises. But there are some people who shy away from all surprises, even the good ones. Why?
The simple answer is that surprises are burdens. How are they burdens? Keep reading.
Pranks are not good surprises
Some unfortunate souls have been at the receiving end of one too many well-intentioned pranks and they’re forever frightened of future surprises.
Trying to prevent someone’s departure by wrapping their car in plastic wrap may not be perceived as the cute, affectionate gesture that it was intended to be. If this is your idea of a good surprise, make sure the recipient shares your sense of humor.
Surprises come with expectations
The receiver is expected to not only be gracious, but enthusiastic. But if they don’t feel that way? Now they have to fake it. Now they have to lie or risk hurting someone’s feelings. No one likes being placed in this situation.
What’s worse is that the recipient is often expected to reciprocate. In some manner or another, at some point in the future, the giver expects the receiver to return the favor. And what if they don’t want to? What if they can’t afford it? What if this isn’t their idea of affection? What if they don’t like you as much as you like them?
Gifts and surprises are rarely given without strings attached and now the recipient feels like they owe you a debt. No one likes to be in debt.
Do everyone a favor and never, ever offer a gift or surprise with strings attached. A gift is a gift because it’s a completely optional gesture of affection that comes from a generous place in your heart. It should never feel like a sacrifice, come with guilt, or in the form of blackmail or bribery.
Did you read that, ladies? Expecting a gift is akin to an oxymoron. You have no right to expect the man in your life to give you gifts. When you expect it, it ceases to be a gift and instead becomes an obligation. Do you really want to be your man’s obligation? Wouldn’t you much rather be his lover?
Surprises are an interruption
Some people do not like to be interrupted, no matter how delightful the reason, or how boring and frustrating their current activity. Why? Because surprises require a quick shift in mood and some people find it difficult to go from working hard to partying hard, from daydreaming to socializing, or from cleaning to fucking.
Surprises leave the recipient feeling unprepared and anxious
Should I be packing a bag or clearing a spot on my coffee table? Should I be packing hiking boots or stilettos? What if something is forgotten? What do I need to know? What do I need to do? What if I don’t like it? Will I be able to hide my disappointment? What if I love it and overreact? Or worse, underreact? How much time will it take? How much money will it cost? Etc. Etc. Etc.
The surprise is simply not wanted
All too often, the surprise is not something the receiver actually wanted. Many people are blinded by what they think is a good surprise and what is actually a good surprise. Some people prefer intimate dinners to parties, silver to gold, fish to pizza, hiking to theme parks, acts of service to expensive gifts, etc.
When you’re surprising someone you love, make sure it’s something they actually want, not just something you think they want.
Surprising your husband at work with a carefully prepared lunch may seem like a good idea, but when he’s been holding his piss for the last three hours, you walk in on his boss yelling at him, he may not greet you with the enthusiasm you were expecting.
And that pink sweater you surprised your girlfriend with last year? Yeah, she hates it. She’s not a bubblegum pink kinda girl. But you knew that didn’t you? Didn’t you?!
And the final and most important reason of all:
Surprises limit a person’s ability to consent or offer input
It’s not so much about whether or not a person will like the surprise, it’s about not giving them the option to say no. Never underestimate the importance of consent. People don’t like being forced to anything, even it’s fun and pleasurable. The real pleasure comes from knowing that you’re free to do as you please. Rejecting a surprise party or a surprise vacation is nearly impossible, especially when the recipient knows how much time, effort, and love went into it. How can you walk away from a room full of happy people screaming “Happy Birthday”?
To sum it up, feelings about surprises should be carefully communicated and well respected between family and friends.
In an ideal world, a surprise is given with the recipient’s preferences in mind, and never given at the expense of the recipient. Just because everyone else would love to attend a birthday party doesn’t mean you should throw one.
Be an honorable chap and only give them what they really want okay?
This story was originally published by Cassie Werner on Medium. You can read the post here.