Why continue? You know I’m joking.
Sharing how you feel can be really hard, especially when you’re a teen. I remember feeling a sort of disconnect with people a lot of times, particularly those close to me. Thus my topic for today.
You’ll have to bear with me, because the name of the book I’m about to share sounds totally lame. It’s called, ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman. Actually, there are quite a few of them out there, ranging from ‘The Five Love Languages of Children’ to ‘The Five Love Languages of the Sumatran Orangutan.’ All right, the last one’s a lie. Still, the books are fascinating.
They talk about the five different ways people like to be loved. (Note: I know talking about love isn’t easy for a lot of teens, so from here on out I’m going to swap out that word and use ‘appreciation.’)
Different people feel ‘appreciated’ different ways. If you can figure out what type of person someone is, you can figure out how to best show them appreciation. They can do the same for you. Here's a brief description of each type:
Words of Affirmation - People who fall into this category feel most appreciated through unsolicited compliments and kind words. Insults send them down the drain.
Quality Time- These people love your full attention, spending quality time with you. If you’re not around much, or you are but always texting friends and ignoring half they say, it hurts.
Receiving Gifts - Don’t confuse this with people who just like to get stuff. This group really appreciates the thought and effort that goes into the gift they received. It shows that the giver ‘knows’ them and cares about what they give them. Forgetting a birthday or giving them some throw away gift doesn’t play well with these folks.
Acts of Service - Don’t tell them that you appreciate them -- show it! These people love it when you go out of your way and do something for them. Forgetting to do something promised or creating more work for them isn’t the way to go here.
Physical Touch - Okay, cut the ‘hubba hubba’ eyebrows. It’s not just about that. It’s about hugs, or a pat on the back. They like physical contact. Denying contact or physically hurting them is the worst.
Here’s the interesting thing: People tend to show appreciation for others the same way they like to be appreciated. That doesn’t always work. I’m a ‘Words of Affirmation’ kind of gal. Telling me what a fantastic writer I am and how much you love my blog (go ahead, tell me J) makes me feel more special than if you run out and get me cough syrup when I’m sick. An ‘Act of Service’ person would think I’m crazy....which I am, but for other reasons.
How does this information help you? Take your dad. He may never give you the right birthday gift, but remember last week when he spent two hours waxing your car? So he’s not a gift guy. He’s an act of service guy.
Your best friend has been cranky toward you lately. You keep telling her how important your friendship is to you, but remember last week when she asked for a hug and you were all, ‘don’t be gross.’ Maybe she needs a squeeze more than words.
Knowing what kind of person you are, and knowing what kind of people those close to you are, can help you big timehelp you navigate the sea of emotion surrounding you. Not a bad deal, if you ask me.
Your mission should you choose to accept it: Figure out what type of person you are, as well as those close to you. It's easier than you think. It just takes a little observation. Then start ‘appreciating’ people the way they like to be appreciated. See how they respond. Later, tell them what you’ve been doing and ask them to guess what type YOU are. Think they’ll know right away? Think how they appreciate you will change?
If you think this whole thing is silly, so be it. All I can say is it changed my life and made me happier. I wish I’d know about all this stuff when I was younger.
Boy, you guys are so lucky to have me. J