Here’s the deal with giving flowers. Women like receiving flowers. Men think flowers are stupid.

Men think: Flowers die, they don’t do anything when they are alive, they are expensive, and they are a cliche. Men know that women in general like flowers, but men also believe that women they know personally do not like flowers. The women they know are the exception to the rule.

I think it’€™s safe to say that mostly women are reading this post. Women are reading to figure out how to get the men in their lives to send flowers.

Here’€™s what it’€™s going to take: Bottom line impact. Yes, the guys want to get laid, but dinner seems better: it’s like money well spent to them — you still get the sex, but you also get good food. What do you get with flowers? This is how men think, for the most part.

So, here’€™s what you get:

1. Flowers make the giver happy. The act of giving flowers elicits a real smile (as opposed to a fake, oh-that-was-nice smile) more often than other gifts of similar cost, according to research from Jeannette Haviliand-Jones, psychologist at Rutgers University. And men are conditioned to react very positively to a real smile.

2. People think you are smarter if you’€™re a guy who gives flowers. That’€™s right. Send the flowers to your significant others’€™ workplace. Science says that people will perceive you as having higher emotional intelligence than your peers. Next step: Start milking your significant other’s network of contacts since they are already impressed with you.

3. Your will be a better manager. Men give flowers at work, too. Not every bouquet means I love you. Some bouquets mean, “Get the project done on time or we’re screwed.” Give flowers during crunch time because flowers and plants at the workplace increase productivity. This seems like a good time to link to the post about when I got flowers from Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com. They definitely made me more productive.

Nancy Etcoff, evolutionary psychologist at Harvard, (who spouted radical views of female beauty at the Ted conference) concurs that flower make people happier. She found that if you see a vase of flowers in the morning, you have more spunk all day and less stress and anxiety at work. So don’t just send flowers to your girlfriend and your co-workers. Send flowers to yourself.

156 replies
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  1. Amber
    Amber says:

    I think it’s highly inappropriate for a male manager to give a female subordinate flowers to encourage her to finish a project on time. Maybe if you wrote a post suggesting that managers should be giving in general to all of their employees and listed flowers as a suggestion (for men or women, btw), I could get on board.

    But a manager giving me a pretty little thing just because I’m a woman and I’ll work harder if he acknowledges that all women love pretty little things? ICK.

  2. Diana
    Diana says:

    I would love to still get flowers from my husband, but flowers at work were an obvious sign of guilt/superiority on the part of managers who made ten times what the women were making.

    Don’t call me a cynic. I just think flowers are a way to say first, “you are a woman” and second, “thank you” when given at work. No man I every knew at work would want or expect to get them. It’s patronizing.

    And Secretaries Day? Don’t get me started! FYI: I was not a secretary, I was a salaried supervisor, but I felt sorry for women who were rewarded for their hard work with flowers instead of bonuses and promotions (like men get). I never gave flowers. I would rather take someone out to lunch or give them gift certificates if I couldn’t give them a bonus.

  3. jrandom42
    jrandom42 says:

    It depends. One time I gave my wife flowers as a way of an apology, she pulled out her Glock and emptied a full clip into them.

  4. guylaine
    guylaine says:

    so true. there might have been a time where people (aka women) were tired of the cliché of getting flowers. certainly there most be some basis for men to think so.

    nowadays, it is so rare to receive flowers, that when we do, we are always impressed and happy. i say this should be a revival of flower-giving! :)

  5. Fred Sampson
    Fred Sampson says:

    Every time that I have given flowers to a woman in the last 30 years, I have then had to ask if she received them. The lack of response makes for negative reinforcement of my behavior. If you receive flowers, at least say “thank you”!

  6. rainie
    rainie says:

    I think the comments on this post explain extremely well why a lot of men don’t give flowers. Some of us love them and some of us think they’re a waste; it’s probably tough to know who is in which camp.

    I rarely receive flowers but to my man’s credit, he often sends me balloons “from” my dogs on Mother’s Day (I don’t have kids). It’s cute and sweet and just thoughtful. Especially since he’s a frugal guy, I know he cares enough to “throw away” some money just to make me smile.

  7. Mike
    Mike says:

    Personally, as a man, I like to get money as a present. I can’t understand why people dislike receiving money – it’s practical, efficient and highly flexible. You can use it to buy the thing you want, instead of getting an ugly present that you’re going to sell on eBay after a day.

    Say, do farmers give their wives an ear of corn instead of flowers?

  8. Kari
    Kari says:

    Hm. I am a woman who doesn’t like to get flowers.

    See, I have cats. Cats who are driven by their silly little feline minds to seek out and consume all plant life that enters my house. And then, of course, they will find a nice spot of rug on which to vomit undigested plant matter.

    So, while I appreciate flowers for their color and scent, I hate to get them as presents because to me flowers = cat puke.

    I also don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so I don’t care for chocolate either. A nice tray of exotic/gourmet cheeses and meats, however….!

    Bottom line, little gestures to show your partner (wife, girlfriend, significant other, friend, colleague, etc…) that you care and appreciate them are always welcome… Just be sure that you know your audience!

  9. Arizona
    Arizona says:

    Honestly, I hate getting flowers. They are pretty for a day or two, sure, but they die and drop leaves and petals all over and I forget to change the water, so it smells and then I feel terrible about throwing them away even though they are messy and I hate them. If someone gave me a live plant that I could water and watch it grow…now that would be something I could appreciate. Although, I’d probably water it too much and then it would die and i’d be in the same situation as I would be with flowers. So, I guess it’s better to avoid the whole flower/live plant thing with me. I’ll take a latte instead.

  10. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Loved this post–so right on. My DH never, ever sends flowers, but I love him anyway. I’m encouraging him to give flowers to our daughter every year on her birthday (she’s a toddler now). He doesn’t understand it, but my father did it for me and I always looked forward to it. Maybe our son will see this and understand the value in such a gesture (and hopefully duplicate it when he’s older).

    Regarding chivalry; I now live in the South and was very uncomfortable at first with all the door opening and such for me…it just felt awkward. However, after a few years…it has grown on me and I now love it. L-U-V it. I appreciate when complete strangers take twenty seconds out of their day to help me out.

    Just my two cents worth…oh, and Rainy, your guy sounds ADORABLE. Good for you!

    • Dan
      Dan says:

      Sarah, I am not from the South either, from Wisconsin, but I love the Southern manners as well, can’t wait for my daughter to grow up here. Men (and women) are just so much kinder to each other down here.

      I literally have to drive through most stop signs as there is always someone waving me ahead, even if I didn’t stop first. it’s easier driving down here as well, people are really kind and don’t cut you off like they do up north.

  11. Jack
    Jack says:

    I refuse to give flowers for any reason other than I just feel like giving them. It hasn’t had any significant impact relationship wise.

    But then again I am a guy who has run campaigns to ban fake holidays like valentine’s day. I have seen more than a few people have their days ruined because they were the among the few not to receive them.

    I often agree with many of your posts, but not this time. There are better ways to make someone smile, to show them you care and to not feel like you wasted fifty bucks for something that is dead and useless in little to no time.

    Plants are superior to cut flowers, but that is a whole different topic.

  12. Leslie M-B
    Leslie M-B says:

    I started dating my now-husband a week before I moved 2,000 miles away from him. We spent a year mostly long-distance, and when I wasn’t around, I kept myself in his mind by sending flowers to his office. He loved it, in part because all his coworkers thought he was getting laid far more than he actually was, and in part because he liked the novelty.

    Of course, he returned the favor, ensuring, for example, that I’d have to carry a ridiculously cute basket of spring flowers from my office to home–knowing full well that I’d be stopping to teach a class of college students on the way. (“Teacher has a boyfriend!”) It was fun–mostly because neither of us was overthinking the gestures.

  13. jack godwin
    jack godwin says:

    Women like to be fed. maybe not chocolate, but fruit, tea, homegrown vegatables, juice, etc. They like that. women tell me that is what they like about me, i’m always feeding them – something healthy, and tasty. They say it makes them feel secure, like i’ll take care of them.

    or buy them something that grows, like a plant. or that you grew, like a cucumber. fuck flowers.

  14. debbie
    debbie says:

    I’m a female who disagrees!

    My DH does buy me flowers sometimes, but I would prefer they were left in the ground!

    (Not enough to tell him and hurt his feelings though…)

  15. Betty in Munich
    Betty in Munich says:

    I have 3 flower related work stories to share:
    1) At the end of my first week at my new job I arrive to work and there is a huge gorgeous bouquet of fresh spring flowers at my desk. I open the card and it just has my boss’ signature. I shove the card in the envelope and I have no idea what to think and I am actually a bit confused. And I think oh sh*t does my new boss have a crush on me? My new male colleague asks me who the flowers are from and I am so out of sorts that I just quietly say our boss’name and I am sure I must have had a funny look on my face because my colleague says oh don’t worry he gives flowers to all new employees – the guys too! Phew big sigh of relief. And sure enough the following week a new french colleague Jean-Luc started and he got the same bouquet!
    2) Same workplace now about a year later and at lunch I walked by an outdoor flower vendor and bought a big bouquet of white lilies. The smelled delicious and looked so pretty on my desk, right up to the time my work colleague said he was allergic to lilies and sneezed all day long.
    3) My boyfriend (now husband) sent me flowers to work only once in our 11 yrs together. Though we lived in Munich, I was working in Spain on a project and he was in Australia working for 3 months. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and I got a dozen pink roses on my birthday (my favorite color). It was impressive as he didn’t know exactly where I was in Madrid as the company has many locations. So he had to figure it out and order flowers from overseas, time difference etc…it meant a lot.

  16. Mascha
    Mascha says:

    @CT on 2009-11-03 13:58:06

    What do you mean when you say ” A plan would be to give flowers sparingly as a reward when she has been extra sweet to you or done something extra special.”?

    So she should dó something to deserve flowers. As a reward?

    What happened with a nice gesture. Giving flowers can be unconditional and selfless? Or while secretly hoping the flowers will make her feel special and think about you (more) positively?

    • CT
      CT says:

      Hi Mascha,

      Giving flowers so that she will think about you more positively is like trying to buy her affection. You are trying to buy her. That is treating her like a prostitute—paying her for her affection/attention/favor. If you have respect for a woman and respect for yourself, you will not treat her like that.

      A woman that feels entitled to special treatment or in fact needs some kind of special treatment in order to feel good about herself is a sick woman and not worth your attention.

      You don’t owe a woman (or anybody else on this planet for that matter) anything. However, if they have earned your trust and respect and you feel moved to surprise them with something nice, I think that is appropriate. Be sure about your motives though. And keep in mind that this occurs after they have earned your trust and respect (and affection)—not before.

      CT

  17. Mascha
    Mascha says:

    I think there are many reasons to give people flowers, I just don’t think that flowers should only be given as a reward. That will make a lot of young girls and women feel like they have to sell themselves so they can ‘earn’ flowers
    Like I said, a gesture.
    Similar to when you go and visit friends in their new house for the first time (maybe bring a vase too if they are still sitting in the middle of boxes, otherwise you might risk the flowers ending up in the sink or a bucket).
    And yes, I would bring a man flowers, but never to ‘buy him’
    – my motives are and have always been to bring a smile to the receiving person’s face, something that will make THEM feel happy/happier.

  18. Lyndsey
    Lyndsey says:

    You’ve turned a nice gesture of kindness or affection into a pretty manipulative scenario.

    Here’s a spanner in your works: I’m a woman and I DON’T like getting flowers. Riddle that one.

  19. Michele
    Michele says:

    I am a florist and wanted to say thanks! It’s a great article and I to believe sending and receiving flowers and plans do make people happy. Getting it right as a florist also makes us happy.

  20. Christien
    Christien says:

    I was going to give you something pithy, but then I realized my male brain likely won’t convey what I’m trying to communicate correctly.

    You made me smile as always though. :)

  21. Sean
    Sean says:

    The last time I bought my wife flowers she told me she would have preferred a plant because they last much longer.

  22. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Penelope,

    I don’t like receiving flowers for all the reasons you listed about why men don’t like giving flowers. Also, they take up too much room. And they embarrass me at work.

    When I get them delivered to my home, they sit forever because I feel too bad for the flowers to throw them in the trash. The trash does not seem like the right place for flowers. (I live in the city – no compost heap.)

    So the dead leaves collect all over the floor, and the water turns yellow in the vase, and I usually have dead flowers for several months before I throw them away. At which point they are so dried out that to touch them makes petals and leaves scatter all over the floor. So then I have to vacuum up my dead flowers.

    I’ve never had the courage to admit this to my family, which sends me flowers all the time. My husband knows, however, and he stopped sending them to me at work when I put the roses under my desk to hide them.

    What does it all mean?

  23. CrazyGirl
    CrazyGirl says:

    I LOVE getting flowers and never get tired of receiving them. Thank you so much for writing this post. I hope that enough men read it that they can start a flower-giving revolution. Obviously, women can buy themselves flowers as well. I pick them up when grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. But it’s so much nicer when the man you care about buys them for you. I wrote a whole post on my blog encouraging men to buy women flowers. I hope yours works better than mine did! http://crazygirlnation.com/2009/06/how-to-get-a-woman-to-fall-for-you/

  24. Aman
    Aman says:

    Give flowers to a love one shows respect, show how much you love that person….flowers at times replaces words that can’t be expressed about how you feel about that person and what that person means to you.

    Cheers.

  25. Modern Street
    Modern Street says:

    I’m not one of those men. I feel giving flowers to a girl is so sweet, but it should not be overdone. Nothing should be overdone. Maybe it is old fashioned for some, but I happen to love most things classical :)

  26. James
    James says:

    Anyone can give flowers, it means nothing. Give something meaningful instead.

    Write a poem.

    Draw a picture.

    If you give someone that no one else can give, it will matter a lot more.

    Anyone can cough up a few bucks and buy flowers. That’s just too easy.

  27. MotorDad
    MotorDad says:

    How about a man giving flowers to a female colleague he has no romantic intentions toward? Would a live plant be better? I’ve been assigned as a mentor for a relatively new colleague and this may be a nice sign of appreciation for her work in somewhat difficult circumstances. Tnx!

  28. Diana
    Diana says:

    My boyfriend will give me everything but flowers but finally last year for Valentine’s Day I said all I wanted was a bouquet of flowers. He asked where he could get flowers in February. I told him they do have Florist Shops now-a-days, but that even Stop & Shop sells flowers. I think he’s in a time warp. What’s interesting about him not wanting to give me flowers (he thinks they are a cliche), is that every year for Christmas, along with other presents, I give him an amaryllis bulb in a pot, which he loves to watch grow.

    He did get me a bouquet of 3 red roses that he bought at Stop & Shop on Valentine’s Day which made me happy but then he also surprised me with a beautiful easel (I’m an artist) and that really took my breath away. Needless to say, that was a very special Valentine’s Day.

  29. Mouli
    Mouli says:

    I personally being a man would give flowers only on a very special occasion. Its a silly thought but since I personally dont get attracted to flowers I am less likely to buy flowers for my wife ;-)

  30. Gia
    Gia says:

    My ex boyfriend and I were together 10 years , he only gave me flowers once. He said he hated giving flowers and that it was a waste of money. I bought him gifts for the holidays and his birthday…I told him he didn’t have to buy me anything for holidays or my birthday but I do like Valentine’s Day and told him that that was the only day that I would like to celebrate…10 years…nothing..no gift, no flowers, nothing. I finally “heard” what I didn’t want to hear, when he said they were a waste of money he was telling me I wasn’t worth it.

    • Gorgeous blonde
      Gorgeous blonde says:

      AMEN GIA !!!!!…you dont deserve that…you can find a REAL MAN…BECAUSE REAL MEN WILL GIVE FLOWERS !!!!! PERIOD !!!!!…one rose a week is a small investment, for the gratitude,love &happiness that will return to your relationships men !!!!

      • Jen
        Jen says:

        Girl, we should totally go on strike. No sex til we get our goddamn flowers. Of course some girls would give in. Sluts.

  31. darkflux
    darkflux says:

    i am a guy, and i’d just like to say that i’ve never given women flowers (not ever, not even my own mother), but for a different reason than listed here.

    you see, i don’t LIKE flowers. i just REALLY don’t like them. i think they are pretty to look at, and when arranged properly can brighten up an area, but i just have a distaste for going NEAR them. strange, i know.

    the reason i don’t BUY them for anyone (not even a close friend in the hospital) or even have them delivered (where i wouldn’t even have to come in contact with them) is that it wouldn’t seem like something from ME, because most people who KNOW me, know i don’t like them…

    what i DO send or give to people is something that will show them how much caring exists from me towards them, while still being something they know was from me, and moreover, from MY heart, and not just because “it’s what people who REALLY love you do”. i believe that a personal gift means so much more, bcause it’s from the heart, and is something that no one else might be able to do. when you LISTEN to what your loved one tells you, and communicates to you while they are talking, you will have a better idea of their likes and dislikes. whether it’s a girlfriend, or just a friend, or a relative, giving a gift that’s more personal than just flowers shows that it’s from someone who KNOWS you, and not just someone who is willing to give you what everyone gives people.

    now if it was a girl who was a gardener, or who was a flower arranger who REALLY loved flowers, i would get her flowers, but not just from 1-800-FLOWERS. i would know which type of flowers she REALLY likes, or a variety that is hard to find, and go out of my way to acquire them for her, so she would know it was an act of the heart, and not just me “dialing it in” and going through the motions.

    i’ll leave it at this: if you aren’t in a relationship where you know the person well enough to know what they like, or if you are someone to lazy or uninventive to figure out what to get her, sure, go get her flowers.
    but if you really want her to remember you, get her something that no one else can, or would. you’ll see more than just a smile. it can bring someone to tears of joy…

  32. surrey bc florist
    surrey bc florist says:

    Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful information specially the final part :) I take care of such info a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a long time. Thanks and good luck.

  33. Some used up tool
    Some used up tool says:

    You are one crazy woman living in a fairy tale world. i bought my girl flowers all the time and then she got to the point of expecting them when she did less in the relationship. less love, less help, and less being a second half to a whole. buying flowers is pointless and only needed one day a year: valentine’s day.

    • Gorgeous Blonde 36 24 36
      Gorgeous Blonde 36 24 36 says:

      Wow, typical male…buying flowers regularly will be WELL WORTH the investment…your relationship will thrive….u cant put a pricetag on a happy woman….if he kept buying me the one rose a week, he still be getting all of the bj’s, and all of the nice things I do for him….oh well….still with him, till the kids are 18….a few bucks a week for a woman goes a longgggg wayyyyyy !!!!!!!!!

      • Jay
        Jay says:

        Were you listening to the dude’s story? He tried giving flowers regularly but it didn’t work. And what’s with all the talk of giving BJs for flowers? Are you a prostitute?

  34. Gorgeous blonde
    Gorgeous blonde says:

    OMG……Ive been hinting about flowers for weeks….finally, today, I mention it,
    And he “claims” he was going to, but this has happened MANY, MANY times,
    and , Nothing happens though….Its ok, I have been buying myself flowers, and
    Letting it go, since hes clueless …I have male friends, so I think I
    Will have one of them send flowers as an “anonymous admirer”….he used to be
    Soooo romantic too….and, no I am still thin and hot…..

  35. Flowers Lover
    Flowers Lover says:

    I am in a new relationship 5 months now and have not received not even one rose as yet….On our first date he took me to dinner and the bill came up to $70 bucks and he almost died, yet I  the next time he invited me out he suggested that we cook or eat sandwiches at home….I gave a hinted to him about flowers but he suggested fruits instead….I told him that fruits are for sick people and that it’s no joy for me to purchase flowers for myself, he was boring and not interesting to talk to anyways so I left him…..Men need to realize that even though they may think flowers are a waste of money, it’s the thought and gesture and makes a women feels very special….every women is different and I think that if a man or women cares about each other it would be no problem to please him or her regardless of how one thinks or feel about doing a particular thing cause it should not about you but the other person.     

    • Jay
      Jay says:

      As a man I really appreciated your comments. I think your experience is typical. Your boyfriend sounds like he acts like most men feel inside. Some men are better at hiding it though, and these men are “romantic.” OK, some men are genuinely romantic but it’s kind of rare, and a majority of these guys are gay.

      I think it’s sad that men can’t be themselves in a relationship. If a man is frugal, not a casanova, etc. he feels pressured to be something he’s not. Being in a relationship to a lot of men is like living a lie. We hide our real feelings and personalities because women have such high expectations of us. As unromantic as you think men are, you should see how we’d be if we were actually our true selves.

  36. Disappointed wife
    Disappointed wife says:

    I’ve been married for two years and I LOVE flowers. They just make me feel so special, loved and appreciated. I remind my husband once in a while how much I love them but he still won’t buy them for me. When we were dating he bought me expensive flowers on valentines day once but that was it and since then I think he’s only boughten me flowers maybe four times. It honestly makes me sad. Even for our wedding anniversary, he said he had been PLANNING on getting me flowers but then he didn’t have time after work.. and then he never bought them later. I tell him even if he stopped by the grocery store on his way home from work and picked me up some $5 or $10 flowers, it would make me soo happy! But he won’t. So every few months I go and buy myself flowers and it makes me feel so pathetic but once I’m home I cheer up just looking at them.. I wish he would understand that something so simple would make me feel so loved.

  37. Gia
    Gia says:

    Unfortunately too many people are takers as opposed to givers. Find one thing that makes your partner happy and DO IT.
    Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

  38. John
    John says:

    If any woman expects to get flowers as a condition of the relationship, it means they are a materialistic idiot.Any woman who thinks so isn’t worth being with.

  39. Max
    Max says:

    Totally disagree I am disappointed with flowers what a waste of hard earned cash they just sit there wilting and making a mess till they get flung in the bin I’d rather have something I can keep or use like perfume or jewellery I was devastated with my delivery of overly priced Bouquet of flowers today how unoriginal and boring and it ruined my day personally thinking of what better use that money could have been put too I’d have preferred an iTunes voucher or some elemis anything in fact even nothing would have been better rather than waste cash on flowers

  40. hannah
    hannah says:

    Thanks for this was helpful, im a girl obviously but i think it was a bit rude how you talked about the spunk and sex we were just talking how why men dont give flowers to women , what a rude thing to put though you should edit this!

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