My love language is hands down words of affirmation. I often feel a prompting to tell a friend how much she means to me, what makes her beautiful, or ways I appreciate her. Sending encouraging cards, emails, or text messages to my friends comes naturally to me. And it means so much when friends speak life-giving words to my soul.
My friend Stacy prefers face to face, quality time. We’ve been friends for 16+ years, and she’s really good at keeping in touch. Stacy is the kind of friend who has a handful of really close friends, and most of them live far away. Stacy invests in those friendships, and puts forth the effort to plan ahead. I asked her what authentic friendship means to her, specifically in this season of being a mom to two littles with another on the way.
My top love language is the same in friendships as it is in a marriage: quality time. Since this is what is important to me, I tend to fall into what you could call the party planning role in many of my relationships. Many of my close friends are out-of-state, so I try to be intentional about planning trips to visit friends, planning a big get-together with all our friends if one friend comes this way to visit, etc. When friends reciprocate that intentionality, it really means a lot to me. This stage of life is about quality of time versus quantity. My friends and I may not see each other often, or talk as much as we’d like, but when we do we can feel comfortable to dive right in (I’ve never been good at small talk anyways) and get to the “no, but how are you doing really?”
As a parent, the biggest challenge is exhaustion. By the time the kids are in bed I have a couple precious hours to catch up on things little people make impossible (unwind, relax, connect with my husband) that having the mental energy to reach out to a friend just doesn’t happen. When my friends are intentional with in-person visits, it makes me feel loved. Texts and emails don’t do it for me; phone calls can suffice in a pinch, but in-person quality time is the best. There’s such a greater level of connection, follow-up questions, and sharing that I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable voicing over the phone since I’m not able to read facial expressions and other cues.
Who are your face-to-face, quality time friends? Do you know your friends’ love languages? If not, ask them how they feel loved. Ask them what they need from you as their friend–and tell them what you need from them.
Love, Ali xo
This is part of a series called 31 Days of Authentic Friendship. Click here to see all posts.
I'm Ali. I write about my journey of living a full and healthy life with food allergies, overcoming the comparison trap, and cultivating authenticity.