How to Choose the Best Gifts for Friends

It’s nice to buy someone exactly what they want, but still remain a surprise. If you’re trying to find the perfect gift for a friend or colleague, the answer lies in your chats, emails and social media: look for the phrase “I want” in their messages.

Shep McAllister, senior commercial director at publisher Lifehacker G / O Media, stumbled upon this trick while looking for a team gift for senior commercial editor Chelsea Stone: “We were all in the Slack group chat, discussing what we wanted our colleague Chelsea to get. as a graduation gift. I remembered a few days ago that she mentioned the bag she wanted in Slack, and so to find the link, I looked up her Slack username and “I want.”

It turned out that Chelsea had used this phrase dozens of times along with the words “I need”, and some of those incidents were related to a specific item the team might have bought. They went with a bag – Chelsea says she likes it – but according to Shep, “We had a few other good ideas from Slack searches that we could use.”

So if you need to make a gift to a friend, colleague, or loved one, look wherever you’ve chatted with them: Slack, Google Hangouts, emails, text messages, any other messaging apps. Look for their posts on Facebook and Twitter too.

If you’re lucky, you will see several direct links to what they want. You will most likely see references to more general categories or problems that they are trying to solve – problems that your gift can solve.

You will, of course, stumble upon many other wants and needs of your friend. You can even feel like a stalker! But you’re only looking at posts they’ve already shared with you or in the public forum, and for good reason. You can finally give them what they asked for instead of giving up and buying them whiskey stones .


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