One woman’s definition of the perfect gift for her husband prompted me to think about non-verbal communication, especially among friends. As I write about the special things friends are to me, I’m realizing that my observations are as much a reflection of who I am as on my community.

Curious as to how Abigail’s language of friendship is defined, I took this assessment. Not really believing the results the first time, I took the assessment again the next day. The results were even more skewed away from my preconception.

I had always assumed that I am a person who is materialistic. I love receiving and giving gifts of all different kinds, I haunt the mailbox every single day, and I have tons of nicknacks all over my apartment.

But it turns out that, more than anything, I value quality time with friends, time spent being genuine and caring about the person right in front of you.

Quality time is about full undivided, attention. Being there for this person is crucial, but it’s more about setting everything aside and listening that makes this person feel loved and special. It’s not about doing activities together, going out to dinner, or even completing chores around the house. In other words, distraction and the failure to listen can be particularly hurtful even if the friend is doing favors for this person.

This really explains a lot about who I am and what I value. I treasure gifts from all my friends and will show you the special things that people have given me. I deeply appreciate all the favors and assistance that people do for me.* But it all pales in comparison to spending time getting to know me and for me to get to know you simply by listening, caring, feeling together.

Abigail

*Words of affirmation and physical touch? They really only matter to me in the context of quality time and even then are not that important.

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