The Gift of Giving a Damn

I recently finished The Five Love Languages, a book I cannot recommend highly enough for anyone who wishes to have more meaningful, effective relationships (romantic or otherwise). (I read the Singles Edition; there are various versions available for whatever your current status or focus, but you'll get the gist of the theory, whichever version you check out.) I am not usually a big fan of anything that even resembles a self-help juggernaut, but it was recommended by my dear friend Ro, and I'm so glad I put my preconceived notions aside to delve into this wise easy-read.

The theory posits that there are five ways in which human beings essentially communicate love: words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, and receiving gifts. We may respond to (or "speak") all of these in some way, but there is always one that means more to us than the others. This is our "primary love language." Not only will we respond better to those who recognize (or luck out, to be cynical fair) our own language, but if we wish to show someone how much we care for them, we should also strive to speak their respective language.

(Barf. Gag. Ugh. I know...but I got the rant out of my system last night/this morning, so just bear with me through my brief bout of soul-searching. Kay? Thanks.)

So much of this makes sense to me because I have (more than once) found myself wondering why the hell a boyfriend or friend insists on executing the relationship on their terms. "Why," I ask myself, "is it all about them?" After I've exhausted myself throwing a hissy fit and start acting like a big girl again, I inevitably realize that my disappointment is partly my fault. I never communicated how I wanted to be treated. (I don't want to hear a WORD from the peanut gallery about my inability to communicate emotions/feelings in general. I am AWESOME.) Now, some things, such as Natty doesn't appreciate it when you fall in love with other women while we are in a relationship, should be understood. (Seriously?) But others could have been addressed if only I had (a) recognized this need and (b) shared it with Captain NotWorthy.

(Rambly, rambly, rambly....the point, already?)

This entire theory presupposes that you give a crap enough about the relationship on which you are focusing to even attempt to recognize the needs of another. And, if you're feelin' ambitious, you might even go out of your way to try to meet those needs. For another person. Crazy talk, I know.

The lesson I'd like to leave you with, dear children, is that we all want to feel loved and appreciated. For those people already in your life (as well as those who have yet to arrive) who matter to you, know that with just a modicum of effort you can make all the difference in their hearts and in their heads. Pay attention to what makes them light up. And if you're lucky, they'll give a damn enough to do the same for you.


  1. Al. Ca. TRAZ.

    Also, no. I don't subscribe to this shiz. Just let me have it my way or I'd rather be alone.

    I keed, I keed. Well, sort of. I mean, yeah, I'd probably rather be alone.

  2. I also fear/loathe self-help books, but I followed the link and took the singles quiz. Wow. It made perfect sense to me and allowed to see the other ways someone might react to me in a loving relationship. Certain things make me uncomfortable (i.e. PDA) but others find that is the best way for them. I'm totally going to request this book from the library and maybe work through some of my crazy shit. Thanks!

  3. For awhile now I've wanted to read this book and never got around to it. Glad you got so much from it!

  4. I actually read this book a couple of years ago. It is surprisingly accurate. My boyfriend didn't know I was reading it, but I made a guess at his, tried it out, and was amazed.. we started having a much better relationship. And he had no idea that I even did anything, so that makes it even more real to me.

  5. haven't read that book, but I certainly like the premise there. Took me a long time to learn that lesson. Once you understand how a person needs to be communicated with, it's like you unlock an entirely new relationship with them, in all types of relationships, not just the romantic ones.