Beware engineers bearing gifts!

The Gift Giving Engineer

Your Engineer is very fond of having you in his life! He might even say “I love you.” But, don’t be fooled. He doesn’t really know his own emotional makeup, now does he? How is he to know what love is?

But, while we’re on the topic of extreme fondness, your engineer likes to show his affections by buying you things – especially for birthdays and anniversaries, if only he could remember on what date those actually occur!

How does an engineer pick gift items you might ask. And you’d do well to ask, as the process is not the same as is usually followed by other human beings, whether from Venus or Mars! Understanding is key to your being able to manipulate the process in his head so that you get exactly what you want – just like all your friends!

The first rule for gift selection is that the engineer must remember something important you had mentioned. Important memories are related to the quantity and quality of emotions generated in our brain when the item came up. All you have to do is get the engineer’s brain excited at the time you plant your suggestion. Easy, yes?

One small issue, the function of an engineer‘s brain bears very little resemblance to the function of yours. What excites your engineer’s brain is a problem to fix. The ability to find and fix problems is why he’s a hero at work (at least in his own mind!) Sensing a problem is playing to his strength!

Whatever you indicate is a problem to you, he’ll likely remember. His natural inclination is to buy you practical gifts that address these issues. For example, if you complain about weeding in the garden hurting your back, you should expect to get a standup weeding tool sometime in the future – even if you were actually only hinting that it would be nice for him to give you a back massage.

Which brings up another communication issue. Engineers assume that your words mean exactly what they say. With no capability of empathy, an engineer simply doesn’t get subtle suggestions – you might as well be overt and tell him what you want. He wants you to be happy, so knowing what you want, rather than having to guess at what you want, allows him to feel he’s moving in the right direction.

So let’s carry this problem based logic to it’s extreme. You’re getting ready to go out, and not feeling at your absolute best. A compliment would help at a time like that, wouldn’t it? So you resort to the tried and trusted female behavior of fishing for a compliment – “Honey, does this outfit make me look fat?”

Here are the unintended consequences of this hint on your engineer. “Omigawd, she’s worried about her weight. She looks terrific to me – I told her so last month. If I changed my mind, she knows I’d tell her. So there must be some reason for her to worry. How can I stop her from worrying when she doesn’t need to be worried? I know… if she knew her weight, she wouldn’t have to worry, because she would know she hasn’t changed”.

And on your next birthday you are surprised and upset when he gives you a bathroom scale. He’s doing it out of his version of absolute love, and a complete misunderstanding of what you actually want caused by an inability to read between the lines.

So suggest what you really want in the form of a problem, and you’ll have a better chance of getting those gifts. “Honey, I have a real problem when we go out. The other ladies are wearing expensive jewellery, and so I feel inferior to them. That means I’m in a bad mood when we come home, and stay down the rest of the evening.”

You can probably come up with a better story than this. After all, I’m male and an engineer. Again, don’t be too subtle, or your engineer won’t know what’s expected of him!

As always, you should be grateful for your engineer. Every one of your friends worries about losing the expensive bauble given to them by their husband. You don’t have their problem, now do you?

Finally, be thankful that you didn’t marry an accountant. No matter how bad it might be, your engineer at least has a sense of humor. Smile, and enjoy another day full of wonder.

You are welcome!