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Dear Annie

Don’t ask - just pay attention

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: Lots of people need nothing, but everyone wants something. If you ask someone directly, “What do you want for Christmas/your birthday/the holidays?” then they’ll probably say, “Nothing.” Or “Save your money.” So don’t ask. Just pay attention.

I learned from my older sister that if you watch and listen, you’ll easily think of a gift they’ll love. You might notice they don’t have a covered serving dish, have never heard of a blender bottle or haven’t gotten around to framing a special poster. Perhaps they will mention loving a particular theater, from which you can order tickets.

Last Christmas, when my sister was talking about an upcoming Baltic cruise, a lightbulb went on. I drove to a currency exchange kiosk in the mall and bought her seven different countries’ worth of pocket money. The whole gift cost me less than $100. She was thrilled, and I was thrilled to have learned from the GGGOAT: greatest gift-giver of all time. — For the Person Who Has Everything

Dear Everything: Thank you for pointing out how we learn more from observing people — watching what they do rather than what they say. And it is also outstanding because the best gift you can give someone is to hear them. It is not just your physical presence but also your mental awareness, really listening to what they say and how they say it. Congratulations on cracking an important code in relationships; namely, the gift of listening. Your sister sounds very wise, and so do you.

Editor’s note: Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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