How to Select a Gift for Your Best Female Friend

by William McCoy

It's easy to find yourself scrambling to select a gift to give your best female friend in the days before her birthday or another important occasion, but a last-minute gift risks being unmemorable. Instead, show your friend just how much she means to you by donning your virtual detective cap in the months leading up to her big day. Casual conversation, smart investigation, consulting others or being direct with your friend are useful approaches to take.

Ask Questions

Chatting with your best female friend is a straightforward way to select the perfect gift for her. Without being too obvious, ask casual questions in person or over the phone and gauge her responses. For example, ask if she's heard of any top-notch restaurants of late. If she tells you she's heard of a brand-new sushi place but hasn't yet tried it, you instantly have a quality gift idea: a restaurant gift card. Avoid being too nosy; pointed questions can often reveal you're up to something.

Do Some Digging

A little sleuthing can help you think of the right gift idea for your friend. If you're interested in getting her clothing, for example, take a look at the label on her coat to see where she shops. Checking the brand of her purse, meanwhile, is ideal if you want to buy her a purse for next season. If you have access to her smartphone or tablet, check what musical acts she enjoys -- and then buy concert tickets if one of them is visiting your city in the near future.

Consult Others

Contacting your best friend's spouse, parents, siblings, children or colleagues at work can help you determine what gift to buy her. Ask pointed questions, such as, "Is there anything she's been coveting?" or "I'm thinking of getting her a pair of shoes from that new boutique downtown. What size does she wear?" If you have an ambitious present idea that's a little outside your price range, you can ask a family member or friend if she'd be interested in splitting the cost with you, too.

Be Direct

There's no harm in being straightforward with your friend and asking her what she'd like as a gift. This approach doesn't always leave much to surprise, but it ensures that you get her something she enjoys. Say something such as, "I've got a few ideas for you, but wonder if there's something you really have your eye on. I want to get you exactly what you want." She might give you a specific idea or a general subject -- if she says she wants something to kill time on her daily bus commute, you can think of a gift such as an e-reader, magazine subscription or a pair of headphones for her MP3 player.

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