DIFFERENT WAYS TO SHARE LOVE, LIKING, LINKING AND FRIENDSHIP
A good friendship is not one that is free of conflict or disagreement.
It’s a friendship where, when a problem surfaces, the friends
find ways to resolve the problem, ways that are:
· comfortable for both
· work for both
How do you express friendship?
Everyone has an unconscious list of what we think are the best ways to show someone else we "love" them, "like" them, "appreciate" them or just enjoy their friendship and being with them. The trouble is that these ways are seldom identical for both people.
In his book "The Five Love Languages" Gary Chapman explains how different people have different expectations of the ways they think are the best for expressing love, liking or friendship. If two people are using different ‘languages' then messages of love and friendship can easily be lost in translation.
I feel Chapman's list of only five such languages is a bit too brief. I'm inclined to add quite a few more ways that people link together in friendship or relationships, and I've included these in my list below. However I acknowledge that it's still based on his five "languages" and what he describes rather well as the primary Friendship/Love Languages:
1. Sharing words and actions that express friendship/love
2. Sharing Quality time
3. Sharing gifts
4. Sharing Acts of service
5. Sharing Physical touch
So what happens if whatever you think and feel are the "right" or the “true” ways to express love and friendship are seriously out of line with what the other person thinks or feels is the "right" or the “true” ways for them? At the very least there are going to be problems with translation between the two friends. At worst one or both people might begin questioning the quality of the linkage and therefore the friendship.
There is no doubt that there are certain things each of us hope (or expect) people will do and say when they are connecting with us. The sad part is if they really do care a great deal about you, but that their way of expressing this just doesn't match up with your expectations. They are probably just doing what they believe they should be doing, to show you their deepest and most affectionate feelings of friendship. But sadly they are using a "different language" to tell you about their friendship with you or how they like or love you.
Meanwhile you can be mistranslating at your end too. What happens if whatever you expect doesn't occur? If you, misinterpret what they're saying or doing you may end up feeling that you are less of a friend in the eyes of that other person. But what you think and feel and predict, may or may not be accurate. Remember, they still think they are expressing friendship in the way that has the most meaning for them.
Unless you can talk to each other about the different languages that work best for each of you whatever each person is saying or doing will continue to be based on their idea of what they think are the most important ways to express love or friendship.
My list of the Friendship languages
Here’s what it seems to me are a few of the things we need to do to communicate positive feelings about how we link with the other person whether it’s our friends or about a deeper relationship.
I like to think and talk about (and look at) these issues in terms of how they help enhance long term ‘friendships’ as well as ‘relationships.’ Obviously only a very special friendship is likely to include all or most of the different kinds of linkages described below. First I should explain that to me, a good relationship is just a friendship that’s moved to a higher and deeper plane. Each time another kind of linkage is added it enriches the friendship as it grows and the level of commitment becomes much more profound but “if it ain’t a good friendship underneath, then it ain’t a good relationship.”
One small drawback is that once you are aware of all these kinds of linkage you may begin to notice that some of your friends are not using the same languages as you are using. I hope that this article might make it easier for you to talk to them about this.
On the other hand once you are aware of the range of different linking languages you may find some of your friendships growing, strengthening, and developing in new and deeper ways than in the past.
Each one of the connections or linkages (listed below) should help develop a deeper and more lasting friendship or relationship.
However each kind of linkage is optional and a matter of personal choice, You’ll also notice how each type of linkage though different seems to work in combination with other kinds. Each one helps enhance some of the others.
Obviously, it works best when both friends agree that they like using the same kind of linkage language, but it can still help if only one person uses it and the other person doesn't really feel the need for it. Keeping this in mind, it's important that you don't use this list to judge or criticise a partner. There are no right or wrong ways of communicating love and friendship, just ways that differ from person to person .
DIFFERENT WAYS TO SHARE LOVE, LIKING, LINKING AND FRIENDSHIP
A. AFFIRMATION, AFFECTION, SUPPORT, APPRECIATION ,
Sharing words of affirmation, goodwill, appreciation, love, liking or affection
Positive and mutual support, mutual kindness and empathy
B. TRUST TRUSTWORTHINESS AND LOYALTY
Expressing and demonstrating mutual trust and trust-worthiness
Communicating and acting in ways that allow both to feel safe and comfortable about being in this friendship/relationship
C. PROTECTING AND RESPECTING THE OTHER PERSON’S FREEDOM AND INDIVIDUALITY
Enjoying being together
E. PERSONAL LINKAGES
Emotional and feeling linkages
Awareness or integrated linkage
Heart to heart (unconditional loving) linkages
Non-sexual intimacy (both able to be vulnerable together and honest and open with each other in many different areas)
F. PHYSICAL LINKING
Shared activities (the active, doing things together linkages)
Physical connecting, touching, hugs
G. THE MIND CONNECTION.
Shared interests (the “interested together” linkages)
Both enjoy sharing ideas, thoughts, information and opinions
Positive support , kindness and empathy, loyalty
Both are committed to maintaining the friendship (may be some hard work involved)
Supporting personal growth
H. PROBLEM SOLVING AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
When a problem surfaces, the friends find ways to resolve the problem
that are comfortable for both, work for both, are fair and balanced, and moderate
Little or no conflict over power and control issues
Shared problem solving and decision making with open and honest discussion
Non-physical intimacy (sharing private or personal sexual information)
Intimate sexual linkage (if part of deeper relationships)
Intellectual sexual linkage (if part of deeper relationship) the “erotic mind” level
Caring, supporting and nurturing each other (but not caretaking)
Co-operation and compromise when resolving problems
L. SPIRITUAL CONNECTION
Shared spiritual beliefs
Shared spiritual experiences
Shared spiritual activities
M. SHARED LIFESTYLE
N. COMMITMENT TO MAINTAINING THE FRIENDSHIP/ RELATIONSHIP
Commitment to work on strengthening the friendship/relationship
Commitment by both not to “pull the pin” on the friendship/relationship without talking about it first
LOVE YOURSELF FIRST
We may sincerely believe that if another person expresses lots of love towards us, then we must surely feel more loved. When they do this in exactly the way we expect or desire we might expect that we ought to feel even more loved. Unfortunately it doesn't work this way, except for a short time such as at the beginning of a new relationship. It is impossible for another human being to "make us feel loved" if we don't already feel loving and lovable within ourselves.
Until we are comfortable loving ourselves when we are alone, it is going to be very difficult for us to feel comfortable receiving real love from anyone else. It's difficult enough for most people to express love. If someone does not truly love themselves that makes it doubly hard for them to express their love for other people and that makes it harder for other people to communicate with them about love.
A SUCCESSFUL FRIENDSHIP IS ENHANCED BY THE GIFTS WE BRING
There are some special gifts that, if we are able to bring them to the friendship will enhance it and give it an opportunity to grow:
1. The gift of being aware of who we really are (and liking ourselves as we are)
2. The gift of flexibility, of being able to ‘stand between opposites’
3. The gift of having a good friendship with our self and our sub-personalities (inner protector characters)
4. The gift of having regular contact and two-way communication with our own inner child.
5. The gift of experiencing our own personal growth of whatever kind, within the friendship and knowing that we are growing as a direct result of that friendship.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO BLOCK LOVE, LIKING, LINKING AND FRIENDSHIP
It's interesting that when we are unhappy or worried about things going wrong in a friendship or relationship we start making lists of things we dislike about the other person. Usually the next step is to tell the other person what we have on our list. .
Unfortunately this is almost the opposite of the "languages of love and friendship" described above, so it can have a seriously negative effect on the future of the relationship. For example:
1. Judgment, resentment, criticism and withdrawal of appreciation
2. Distrust and/ or untrustworthiness
3. Limiting or loss of respect for the other person’s freedom and individuality
4. Avoiding quality time together
5. Losing personal linkages
6. Less physical linking, touch
7. Less sharing ideas, thoughts, information and opinions, limited joint problem solving
8. Reduced sexuality (if previously a positive part of the relationship
9. Less sharing of gifts, reduced shared acts of service
10. Serious problems resolving conflict or trying to solve problems; increased conflict over power and control issues
11 Loss of shared lifestyle
12. Fewer shared activities with family and friends
See also Partnering