Hello Korio
19. 11. 2015

Do you know that book, the Five Love Languages or whatever it’s called? (It’s called The Five Love Languages, I just looked it up.) It’s this book that describes five different types of people and the way they show other people they love them? It was a big deal a little while back? Did you read it? If so, you’re probably going to want to skip this post because I’m going to talk about it having not read even a single word of it, and my inaccuracies and misunderstandings are bound to be annoying as shit.

So, I haven’t read the book. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about it over the years. I’m sure we all have. It’s just never struck me as my kind of thing. I’ve heard people in some moms groups and whatnot discuss what they got out of it and how they found it very helpful, and I totally get that and I’m not knocking it at all, but just never read it. Actually, I’ve been waiting on a new, updated edition that might be more likely to contain my specific kind of love language.

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Here I should probably note that I don’t actually have a real, whole concept of what a love language even is, but I’ve always assumed I don’t have one.

Except recently, some stuff has been going on, and some people have been really very helpful and supportive, in ways that is super kind and generous and seems to come very naturally to them, because they’re just the kind of people who behave in that kind of way toward people they like. It started me wondering what in the world I do to make my friends know I like them, aside from unreliably responding to texts and not asking them to please leave me alone. And I really couldn’t think of anything at all, which made me feel kind of bad, because you know, on my old blog, we talked a little about hesitating to text or whatever, or things along those lines, when in reality you should always just go ahead and send a message or send along the card you saw that made you think of a specific person or anything along those lines. That there’s two kinds of people, those who have those thoughts and act on them, and those who have those thoughts and don’t. Okay, I suppose there’s a third kind of person who doesn’t have those thoughts and thus can’t act on them, or has horrible thoughts and doesn’t act on them, or does act on them, and okay, fine, there’s a lot of people in this world, but the point is, if you’re having the thoughts and not acting on them, try to act on them. Just do it. If they’re good ones. That started out about texting people every now and then despite worries based in no facts that they might not want to hear from you, but obviously applies to a wider range of behaviors.

And I’ve been trying, really, to send a message to say hi more often, and I think I’ve managed it two or even three whole times since that post (usually to Arwen, because I think about her a lot, especially when I am struggling with my four year old, because I can remind myself that she has two, and it makes me feel better. Sorry, Arwen.) But I feel like saying hi to people is kind of the bare minimum in friendship, not so much an “I like you” as “You exist and I also exist.” So I realized I have no thing like those things that seem to come so naturally to other people.

EXCEPT TODAY. So, for the holiday, Bite Beauty does these double ended lipsticks. They’re really small lipsticks and there’s one color on each end, and they’re really inexpensive – only $14 (link). So it’s a great way to try a couple of colors or try out the line without a big commitment. During the Sephora sale, I bought one and I ended up really liking it, so of course started angsting over whether I should have bought more when they were 20% off, or if, since they’re so inexpensive, I should grab one or two more before they’re gone. I was looking over the colors Bite offers in general, and I saw two (Mulberry and Shiraz) that I thought would look really nice on Miranda, and I reminded myself to text her later to tell her, “Hey, I saw this thing I thought you would like.” (I haven’t done that yet. I will as soon as I finish this. Really.) And I realized I do that ALL the TIME.

Apparently, if I like a person, I will remember their preferences or random things they said down to creepy, obsessive detail and file it away so that later I can suggest something they should buy. One person mentioned issues with a certain brand of skin care, so when I came across one that was similar in effect and quality, I told her about it. A creepy number of months later. Two college friends still go to a lot of sporting events at the school, so when the Finish Line does their super cheap college hoodies sale, I always remind them. Twenty years ago my mother mentioned she couldn’t find a cherry pitter, so I still consistently look for one whenever I’m in a kitchen store.

So, if I like you, I will suggest things for you to buy based on details you probably forgot you ever mentioned by the time I find the perfect thing. I don’t know what love language that falls under, because like I said, I never read the book. I think it’s probably along the same lines of a cat bringing you a dead bird, but instead, I will text you out of nowhere to tell you that one shirt you liked that one time is on clearance on a random website.

Anyway, that’s all. I’m sure if I read the book I could fit myself into one of the categories, but then I’d probably feel obligated somehow to take other actions that would fit into that category to make sure the people I like know I like them, but I’m pretty content with this. If you’ve read the book, did you find you fit into one? Or do you just have a single thing? Can I gather up some minor detail about you only to come back to you with something you can buy six months from now?

16 responses to “Monolingual”

  1. Lawyerish says:

    I’ve never read the book, but I did a quiz based on the book to discover my “love language” and had my husband do it, too. It was kind of interesting, though it really only reinforced things we already know (like I really care about gifts and he doesn’t).

    Anyway, based on this quiz, from what I can tell most of us use all five different “languages” but in varying degrees of priority/preference. So both my husband and I put a strong value on “acts of service” which sounds kind of creepy but it mostly means like taking out the trash and being helpful around the house as a way of showing we care (ROMANCE!). And we both like “words of affirmation” which is just saying “hey, I noticed you took the trash out and I appreciate it!” We like getting verbal gold stars. And actually, I get all bent out of shape when I feel unappreciated, but who doesn’t?

    Anyway, I think what you’re describing that you do (which is not creepy AT ALL) is kind of an act of service, like it’s a way of being useful to someone while showing that you care about them. I think it’s actually a very nice and helpful thing, and it shows that you really listen to people and remember what they like and want.

    So beyond the context of my marriage, I think I am okay at giving gifts sometimes (though I am not that person who completely nails gift-giving every single time). I have to remind myself to compliment people rather than just think nice things in my head, so I do that.

    Mostly I am a good listener, which isn’t really a specific category but I would say it fits into “quality time” (another one of the five) — whether it’s sending someone a long email or having a funny text convo or going to lunch and talking for two hours, I like those kinds of exchanges where I get to listen to them and sometimes give thoughtful advice.

    In terms of “acts of service” for friends/acquaintances, I like doing thoughtful things but I have a CRAZY sensitivity to not wanting to overstep, which is exactly what you wrote about that one time before. And like in the South where I grew up, if something happens to someone, you bring them a casserole and that’s just what everyone does. But here, there’s a little more like sense of protocol, I guess? and I am always afraid that I’m not close enough to the person to have a “right” to do something visible, or I worry that they won’t WANT anyone to acknowledge it or…whatever. I am weird. So sometimes I kind of suppress my love language tendencies so that I don’t frighten or annoy people. It’s hard being me.

  2. Dr. Maureen says:

    I have ALSO never read the book and therefore have no right to tell you which love language you are, but people have told me about the book and I think your love language is Gifts. And that’s mine too! I do this EXACT SAME THING. I am EXCELLENT at picking out thoughtful gifts based on some throw-away comment someone made one time four years ago. I am STILL looking for a mug that my MIL really liked and broke and couldn’t find again, and she broke it 15 years ago.

    Question: Are you impossible to buy gifts for? Because I used to be really hard to buy gifts for because I never wanted to tell people what I wanted because that RUINS it. You have to figure out the perfect gift on your own or else it’s meaningless.

    I’ve calmed down and I also am not as good at giving gifts as I used to be and I don’t know why, but I dislike buying token gifts because what is even the point. Why not just give someone money. But I am forced every year to buy many token gifts. So I have sort of made peace with it, and I think that’s why I’m not as good at picking out gifts as I once was.

    Anyway. Gift-giving is your love language. Or just “Gifts.” I don’t know the official name, I never read the book.

    • Charleen says:

      Ugh, token gifts are the worst. Which is basically all gifts, for me. I’m terrible at gifts. But I have to get something, right?

      Last Christmas was the best ever, because I used the “I’m too busy incubating your newest family member to think about anything so gift cards for everyone!” excuse. When, in actuality, I thought about what to get everyone the same as I always do, but had this plausible-sounding excuse ready for when I inevitably failed to come up with anything.

  3. Swistle says:

    I have not read it either, but I have heard other people discuss it, so. And during one of those discussions, I said I ought to read it and someone said, “Ohhhhhhhh….. no, I don’t think you’d like it.” But I do like the GIST, which is that people have different ways of expressing that they care about others. I like that concept especially when I hear someone complaining that someone else didn’t do something I don’t do; e.g., “My sister didn’t even CALL the kids on their birthdays!!,” when I would NEVER think to call my niece/nephew on their birthdays. Or when Paul is groping me instead of, say, noticing and appreciating that I cleaned allll around the faucet.

    • Dr. Maureen says:

      This is so fantastic. “I haven’t read it, but I have been in a room with people who have read it.” I’m delighted by all of us.

    • A. says:

      Swistle’s comment reminds me of my relationship. My love language (which I do, but also prefer to be done FOR me) is Acts of Service. I will sit there and be like (in my head), “LOOK AT ALL THE THINGS I DO FOR THIS FAMILY. FOR YOU.” And in return I get, “Why don’t you hug me and kiss me more?” (His love language is Physical Touch. Obviously.) And I’m like I show you I love you and support you by solo parenting my ass off or whatever. But he doesn’t see that as well as he feels the touching.

      I’ve found over the years that the more I embrace HIS love language (and vice versa of course), the happier we are in general. And then it’s like, DUH.

      But I agree with other commenters that yours seems to be Gifts, too (or Acts of Service!). That you see something and think of someone even months later is SO NICE and I bet each of those people just beam when they get that message from you.

      I hope Phil appreciates this type of love language from you too!!

  4. Natalie says:

    I haven’t read the book either but have been considering it recently. After an emotional discussion with my husband about “you don’t think I’m a good mother!” which confused him because he says thank you a lot, to which I responded “thank you doesn’t mean GOOD JOB! It just means thanks for trying!” and he said that ‘thank you’ is enough for HIM so he DIDN’T KNOW and he was SORRY.

    Anyway that’s not exactly the same but it highlighted that everybody has different emotional needs. And I know he doesn’t always feel appreciated and I was going to see if I could identify some more concrete ways for both of us to do better.

  5. Phancy says:

    I haven’t read the book either. (I’m snort laughing that it seems like a lot of people have opinions without ever having read it.). (I have had it on my Christmas list for my husband but the key is he has to actually do the quiz and well, he’s never bought it so that probably says something about his love language.)
    Anyway, but during our birthing class 6 years ago we did take a quiz based on the book. I was so very pleased that we scored very similar. I felt very smug and well matched.

    I like the concept a lot, mostly because it reminds me that in order to show someone I appreciate them I need to say it in THEIR love language. (Without of course usurping them).
    Also: my love language has (I think) changed. Gifts didn’t mean much to me really, at least compared with time spent together or gifts of service. Now I never spend any time alone and I do all the service around the house and I ship for everyone else in the house, and so a surprise gift actually means a lot more to me than it used to. So I do think our languages can change and shift.

    Anyway, I try and contact and keep in touch with friends, and it will be successful and awesome 9 times and then not-great once and then I just want to crawl in a hole. Funny how the not-great feels so much bigger.

  6. Jessica says:

    I love that blessed little quiz just for saving lots of fights with my husband. His #1 love language is physical touch – he always wants to sit close to me on the couch and be a cuddly sleeper, etc. My rock-bottom, if I could score negative points I would, language is physical touch. This bums him out, but it’s good to know I don’t have some special aversion to being close to HIM because I don’t like him or something. I just don’t want anyone to sit next to me. So he doesn’t take that personally and I try to make an effort to show him love by implementing Ross’s patented hug-and-roll at bedtime. (I can’t remember if you’re a Friends watcher? I hope so or that won’t make sense.)

  7. Jess says:

    OK but this love language totally resonates with me. Like, I knew you liked me and wanted to be my friend when you started texting me photos of striped clothing. It’s like one mind!

  8. Tessie says:

    I found the book really useful mostly as a succinct way to communicate with men. I find they really appreciate being told “HERE IS EXACTLY HOW TO MAKE ME HAPPY.” Also, if they then don’t do it, you know it was not so much a communication thing as it was an inconsiderate pinehole thing.

    Also, I am the rare female whose main love language is physical touch, and a lot of relationship things made more sense to me after I realized that. OTOH, I used to feel really guilty about not being a gift person (DEAD LAST LL for me), and I feel better about that too since reading the book.

  9. Brooke says:

    I know the point of your post isn’t looking for other love languages, but I think another thing you do well – from my perspective – in demonstrating care is validation. Every time I’ve ever come to you with something that pisses me off, you rage with me and validate whatever it is that has offended me. Even if it’s ridiculous or you don’t have first hand experience. So maybe it’s just that validation is my love language and you just do it well. Whatever. I appreciate it.

    If you (the theoretical audience you) need someone to be angry with you, Kelly’s your girl.

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