Rules for Giving Flowers

Whether it's prom night, an anniversary or simply a Wednesday afternoon, giving flowers is one of the best things you can bring to your relationship. Unless you were born with a gift for romantic poetry, flowers are the next best bet.

Rules for Giving Flowers

  • It's the thought that counts. While specific flowers have well-known meaning, it's really the act of giving that will make your sweetheart happy. By giving her flowers, you show her that you care about her, that you're thinking about her and that she's important to you. It's a nice reminder of why you're together, and it's calorie-free.
  • Give early, give often. While a dozen red roses on a first date is over the top, you will make an impression by starting that date with a single carnation she can hold or wear as a corsage. It's a small souvenir of the date that shows you're romantic. Once you start the flower habit, don't break it.
  • Don't use flowers only to say, "I'm sorry." This is a huge mistake, gentlemen. Yes, flowers can help you express yourself when you've screwed up. But if this is the only time you give her flowers, she'll run screaming every time she sees you with a bouquet. It becomes a Pavlovian response, since she expects the flowers to be followed by bad news.
  • Don't limit flowers to special occasions. If your only trips to the florist are on her birthday and Valentine's day, she's going to see you as uncreative rather than romantic. After a while, flowers are seen as an easy gift. You wouldn't be happy if she gave you a tie for every occasion, would you?
  • Give flowers to cheer her up. If she's having a tough time at work or school, or if something outside your relationship is upsetting her, it's a good time to surprise her with flowers. It's a way of showing that you care and that you're thinking about her without digging into her feelings. That's ideal if she's having a hard time talking about things.
  • Choose your flowers carefully. Picking wildflowers at the side of the road is even more thoughtful than grabbing that ready-made bouquet at the grocery store. When you buy flowers, make sure they're fresh. Except for carnations, it's usually best to choose flowers that haven't opened entirely, so that they'll last longer. Don't buy flowers if the petals are fading or falling, or if the foliage is turning yellow or brown.
  • Don't go overboard. You don't need three dozen roses or a basket spilling over with hundreds of blooms to get her attention. Sending her an arrangement that's too showy can even embarass her. Keep it simple and look for quality flowers.

What Flowers Mean
Certain flowers have strong meanings associated with them. Some, like carnations, can be used for any occasion and make a great pick-me-up. Others could send messages that you don't intend. Make sure you know how the following flowers could be interpreted before you send them.

  • Roses: Most girls will see roses and say, "He loves me." A red rose indicates passionate love, while a pink rose suggests friendship. White roses convey purity and innocence, but they can also signify a deep, spiritual love. It's best to save those for wives; mixing white and red roses symbolizes unity.
  • Carnations: Dyed carnations are perfect for both friends and significant others, since they don't have the same strong association as roses. However, a large bouquet of red carnations says, "I love you" just as clearly as roses. Beware of yellow carnations, which can signify rejection, jealousy or disappointment.
  • Daffodils: Along with tulips and hyacinths, these are popular gifts to welcome springtime. They represent chivalry and constancy, and they're ideal for cheering someone up without sending a romantic message.
  • Peony: This bright, showy flowers are ideal for the early stages of a relationship. They say, "I love you," but not as strongly as roses do.
  • Tulip: Historically, the tulip was as strong a symbol of true love as the rose. Today, tulips can signify friendship just as easily as love. Yellow tulips symbolize warmth and cheerfulness, making them an ideal gift for a friend or significant other in low spirits.
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