If you’ve been feeling a little unloved by your friends lately, then you’re not alone. Some people are offended because their friend didn’t have time to spend with them, another got annoyed because a mate didn’t say anything about their recent blog post and another is disappointed because their bestie didn’t buy them a birthday present.
Many friendships endure hardships and at times drift apart for what seems like an unclear reason. They have been together forever, care deeply for each other, have had each others back for years but now little irritations have come across as uncaring.
Maybe after all this time, you’ve just grown apart. You’re wondering whether it’s because you both have so much on these days, have different interests or your values no longer align.
Maybe it’s none of these reasons, and it’s just that both of you have been speaking a different language. Love language that is.
The Five Love Languages, written by Gary Chapman, can be helpful in explaining why relationships become rocky, even with our friends. The successful book outlines the five love languages that we’re are all likely to speak, with one primary language dominating for each of us. With Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gift Giving, Acts of Service and Physical Touch being the key languages of love, if we’re not speaking the right one, to the right person, our love could be being lost without translation.
Word of Affirmation
A friend who speaks their love with words of affirmation will show they care by saying great things about you. They acknowledge your achievements, praise you for your qualities and generally have nice things to say about you. They show their love in words, not necessarily actions. For you to speak the same language, you need take the time to consciously compliment your friend in order to show how awesome you think they are.
Making the time to spend with you, and mindfully ‘being’ in the moment with you often comes with the friend who speaks love with quality time. You might not see them much, but when you do, you can get their undivided attention. Just hanging out and being with you is how they show how much they care. For those of you who want to speak that language too, give that special friend a moment or two in your busy week. They will love you for it.
Fancy birthday presents and spontaneous gifts – it all sounds a bit materialistic – but this love language isn’t so much about spending money, but rather the thought behind it. The buddy that shows love with gifts is a buddy expressing their love to you. Perhaps giving them a surprise pressie now and again wouldn’t do your friendship any harm?
Acts of Service
Effort and actions often speak louder than words, and this is not as truer for friends who show love through acts of service. Maybe they’ll babysit for you, cook you a chicken soup when you’re sick or come and busy bee your garden with you. We can all dream of a friend that helps us out by doing stuff for us, but could you be that friend that helps out a bit more to show your love back?
A touch on your arm when they chat with you and big loving hugs - a friend that has physical touch as their love language is going to be very, well, tactile.
If reciprocating this is outside of your comfort zone when you’re just friends, then just do what is comfortable for you but recognise how they show it. If a hug’s not your thing, a high five or an air kiss might do the trick.
Most people think the way others want to be loved is the same way they want to be loved, and is this is simply not the case.
All of us speak different dialects, but the key is to understand them.
You’ll be fluent in no time.
(AS APPEARED IN BODY + SOUL)