Let’s talk about love. Not Kardashian-level Kenny G and rose petals love. (If you can even call that the “l” word.) Here we’re breaking down five ultra-simple ways to remind your best people that they’re, well, the best. No big gestures, no big spending necessary.
A simple “Hi, I know today may be difficult, sending love” sentiment goes a long way. Morose, maybe, but I write notes in my calendar of my friends’ hard times days: death anniversaries, wedding anniversaries of divorced couples, miscarried babies’ due dates. That way I can make myself available for however much love and attention they want and need that day, and at the very least, I’m sure to send them a text telling them I’m thinking of them.
Leaning into your friends’ tough times shows them you’re omnipresent, in sickness and in health, richer or poorer, not afraid to get your shoulder wet with their tears. Don’t worry that you’ll make it worse. They haven’t forgotten, but they’re afraid everyone else has. No, their grief is not a burden. Yes, you are available for listening, giving advice, or distracting. Unfortunately, grief doesn’t vanish in a calendar year, so consider making a recurring calendar note.
Leaning into your friends’ tough times shows them you’re omnipresent, in sickness and in health, richer or poorer, not afraid to get your shoulder wet with their tears. Don’t worry that you’ll make it worse. They haven’t forgotten, but they’re afraid everyone else has.
You may not be able to do the splits, but you can be your loved ones’ biggest cheerleader, ruffling your proverbial pom-poms for them. It’s easy. Attend their events, share their work, buy their art, connect them with your beloved accountant. Send them virtual high-fives, “proud of you” texts, clapping hands emojis.
Taking pleasure in their little victories is a win-win for everyone.
Last week I dropped off a stack of magazines to my newly pregnant, nauseously couch-ridden friend and she lent me a roll of tape. The visit lasted thirty seconds. It’s all both of us needed.
How can you show up? Can you schedule a weekly FaceTime session? Can you drive their kiddo to a ballet lesson so they can have an hour alone? Can you bring over a stack of cookbooks and help meal prep for the week? Figure out how your people need you to show up, whether that’s literally knocking on their door or being present the virtual way.
PSA to my inner circle: My love language is to cuddle on a couch, talking, kinda, but quiet is nice too, and ideally there is wine, snacks, and/or Real Housewives involved. That’s a tired Taurus’s ideal combination of quality time and physical touch. I understand that’s not everyone’s ideal pairing of love languages though.
Their what, you ask? The five love languages—how you experience, give, and receive love. If you’re not familiar, get familiar, and take the free quiz here. They are: quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch and gifts.
While your love languages may be one thing, theirs could be another, and how you both tend to give love could be another category altogether. For instance, while I crave a one-on-one session (quality time), I’m more inclined to scrub someone’s baseboards (acts of service) and shower them in my god, you’re so handsome (words of affirmation). Turns out what they may actually need is a good hug (physical touch) and a few hours in front of a puzzle (back to quality time). Separating your needs to recognize how they need to be loved is a selfless friend/partner/daughter/whatever move.
Ask questions. Deep ones, silly ones, hypothetical ones. Know the name of their first kiss, the story of how they got that scar on their chin, that they’re allergic to crab but not lobster, how they feel about their stepmother. Garner a genuine interest in what makes them tick and tock. Then the next time they need a pick-me-up you can surprise him or her with a bouquet of yellow dahlias or a bottle of that sparkling Lambrusco they like so much or a bag full of Arby’s roast beef sandwiches—whatever they’ve let slip in conversation is special to them.
What greater act of love is there than listening? Listening = being heard = being seen = being understood.
Ready, set, go, love—the simple way.
Megan is a writer, editor, etc.-er who muses about life, design and travel for Domino, Lonny, Hunker and more. Her life rules include, but are not limited to: zipper when merging, tip in cash and contribute to your IRA. Be a pal and subscribe to her newsletter Night Vision.
BY Megan McCarty - January 28, 2020
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.