It was a casual WhatsApp conversation that afternoon. I had simply replied to her status and an entire conversation on communications in marriage had ensued. Before we knew it, questions and arguments had started. (Arguments are not bad). And I, who wouldn’t let a good opportunity pass had sent a couple of long voice notes.
The good thing about having wholesome friendships with smart people is how seemingly unintended conversations turn into learning moments. Duna and I share many random conversations like this.
The conversation started with the importance of vulnerability, its associated difficulty, especially for men, and then, about communication and the subtle and obvious differences in the way most men and women carry it out.
At the end of the conversation, she was very glad about what we had discussed and the lessons learned. And she commented:
“You are one of the friends I’m never letting go. Wo, we fit disagree an I got fight you o. But you go no where!📍”
And then added:
“Make I buy cold stone ice cream for you. I sent 3k. Help me manage it.”
My initial and immediate response was “Oh, no, don’t bother. Please, you don’t need to.”
I didn’t have to think about it. It was a default response whenever someone tells me they want to get me a gift. Or appreciate me for something I had done. Somewhere, wired in my heart is that unwillingness to be a bother or burden. I know you appreciate me, you’ve told me. That’s good enough for me. You don’t have to buy anything for me.
But then I paused. I became self-aware, or at least the conversation that had gone ahead made me conscious of those thoughts. It was the first time I really caught what goes on in my mind about gifts.
I have always commented that “Giving gifts” is a love language I’m not fluent in, and my friendship with Duna always creates a desire to get better at it. Because she speaks it so fluently and beautifully.
I mean, I could easily say the most appropriate things to my friends and abandon my entire schedule to be with and do things for them, but with gifts, I just hesitate: what will this mean to them? What’s the value of this gift? Is this what they need? Is this not too small?
That afternoon, I realized I don’t just hesitate in giving gifts, I also hesitate in receiving them.
Perhaps the love languages we find so hard to speak, are also the ones we haven’t learned to accept either.
Perhaps, creating room in our hearts to receive them, and accepting their validity, is the first step in giving ourselves the permission to learn. We can’t learn what we don’t accept.
I do not believe love languages are cast in stone, we ought to be able to learn, especially when it’s the language our partners and friends crave the most.
In Inspired by Dodo, I wrote about Dodo and Love Languages, and a lot more. I can’t wait to share it with you in October. Stay tuned at Inspired by Dodo
How easily do you give gifts?
What are your thoughts about Love Languages?
I am the ImisiOluwa, And I love you Plenty.
(Duna runs a mobile massage therapy outfit at DunaMassage)