Love languages

Tomorrow, Ima see my friend Jo, and it got me thinking about women and friendships and love languages and why I prefer men. No offense, Jo. (In case you didn’t click on the link that I placed on her name, up there, in case you just stampeded along this post and picture Jo with a giant man part swinging, Jo is, in fact, a girl.)


I adore Jo. We met when she sent me her book years ago, along with a note saying she read my blog and that we were kindred spirits or soulmates or would I like to see her giant swinging member or something. I don’t recall. I didn’t save the note, and of course now I wish I had.

For probably a year I didn’t read her book; I was very busy getting divorced. But one lonely afternoon I opened it, and I realized she was right and we were kindred spirits and I wished she’d sent nudes.

So I–I don’t know–called her or emailed her or something, because next thing you know we were friends.

Jo has lived all over the place and was a DJ in New York City. She’s met the Bee Gees AND Howard Stern. If she’d met Laura Ingalls Wilder I’da have to’ve married her.

That was seven or eight years ago, and in that time, Jo has moved maybe 60 miles away. But when she lived here, I went to all her BookUps. (Every month, at some restaurant or coffee shop, she’d hold a BookUp, where people would gather, bring a book, say a perfunctory hello to one another, and read. The very first picture I have of Ned and me was taken by Jo, at one of her BookUps. Both of us huge readers, Ned and I never read a word cause we liked each other so bad. I’m sure the other BookUp attendees wanted to kick our asses.)

(photo credit, Jo)

Anyway, I also went to all her future book-readings and hello-I’m-an-author events, attended her parties–once all the dang way to her new place 60 miles away, on New Year’s Day, all hung over.

I went to her brother’s funeral and to her yard sale.

I showed UP for things, is the point.

And that is my love language–time. That’s why I drove all the way to Michigan for my ex-boyfriend Steve’s father’s funeral, even though I hadn’t seen Steve since 1996.

That’s why I flew to Seattle when Paula had breast cancer.

I mean, that’s my thing. I show up. Or I try to, anyway, and I feel terrible if I fail.

But while I’ll always show up, I will not bring a gift. It just doesn’t occur to me. I’m leaving work, screaming home and feeding everyone, leaving my house again 7 minutes later, driving to your thing and spending an evening with you even though I’m exhausted and will have to cram all my nightly chores into one sweaty 45 minutes when I get home.

I’m not stopping off at Charming Charlie’s and getting you a bobble as well. It just never even dawns on me.

So when I saw Jo at her latest book reading, she had a really cute necklace on that her other friend had bought her, and it was PERFECT for the theme of her new book. I mean, I can’t imagine how long it took her friend to find something like that.

“That necklace is so cute,” I said to Jo. “I never think to get gifts.”

“I know,” she said.

And right then I knew.

I’m not sure that all that showing up means nothing to Jo, but it didn’t mean as much as it would had I gotten her lava lamp from Rite Aid on the way. For gifts are her love language.

And while I said earlier that I prefer men because they aren’t as … concerned with stuff when you’re friends with them (my whole friendship with Hulk: “Hey.” “Hey.” “Fuck you.” “Asshole.” “Okay, bye.”), they still have goddamn love languages.

Back when I liked Ned and we were living together, he left for work every day before 8, stayed till 6, then almost every night went to the gym after, THEN he’d go to the grocery store and come home and cook something


like, boil-the-beans scratch

and THEN at like 9:30, be ready to talk to me. I go to bed at 10:30.

See. Time. That’s my love language. This drove me berserk. And he’d be all, “But I get up every morning and feed your dogs for you. I change the litter boxes before you’re awake. I swept all the floors and WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?”

He really couldn’t see it. Acts of service were his love language.

And Marvin. Oh my god. Touch was his love language.

Marvin was on me like a barnacle 24 hours a day. I’ve tried to find this one picture and can’t, but it’s us at some event — maybe my stepsister’s rehearsal dinner. Anyway, I’m talking to my friends and there’s ol’ Marvin, standing behind me, LAYING HIS FOREHEAD on my shoulder while I TALK TO PEOPLE.

Even now I want to jump out of my skin. I think touch is my very last love language. Get in, do your business, get back to me in a day or two.

I wonder why I’m single.

The point is, knowing this helps you tolerate people when you don’t fucking understand them.

What’s your love language? What’s your person’s love language? How does it screw you guys up? Do you know each other’s and make up for it? Once I understood Ned’s, I tried hard to empty the dishwasher and make biscuits and so on. I remember standing in that kitchen early on a Saturday making goddamn biscuits.

And by the way, Jo and I are going makeup shopping tomorrow at this beauty supply near my house that she tells me is fabulous.

I got her a little gift.

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At one point, I was sort of hot, in a "she's 27 and probably a 7" kind of a way. Now I'm old and have to develop a charming personality. Guess how that's going.

67 thoughts on “Love languages”

  1. The love language of my teen daughter (Rachel, for those of you who read the blog) is sarcasm. When she’s in a snit or rolling her eyes or whatever, all I have to say is “Oh, yes, I forgot – the whole world revolves around you” and she says, “Actually, YES” and calms down. It’s awesome.


  2. Quality time, then words of affirmation. Recently divorced from a toucher and gift demander. We were doomed from the beginning.


  3. Remember the song from Fiddler on the Roof where Tevye asks his wife “Do you love me”? I’m his wife…I cook (not well), do laundry, clean, take you anywhere you want to go, if that’s not love, what is? Acts of service…that’s me. I need to have everyone in my family take this test so I can at least be more aware of whether I am letting them down or not.
    I love that Ned got busted for reading your not-blog. You’re hard to give up, Joob.


    1. My love language was quality time. When I was in a five year relationship and was a single mom I did a lot of juggling.

      I spent time with my ex boyfriend on the weekends my kids were with their dad. I would make sure I had time with my kids and that my “chores” were done so that on those kid free weekends I’d have quality time to spend with my ex.

      My ex on the other hand expected me to sit around and wait for him on our kid free weekends. He always had tons of projects going and a lot of times expected me to “help”. It was a huge sticking point in our relationship. I got sick of it and told him that when he got his shit done to call me and we’d spend time together.

      I felt like I was being organized and clearing my schedule for him while he sat back and did nothing. Plus, I didn’t want to work like a dog at my own house and then spend those weekends being his work bitch. And he never once came to my house to help with anything. He showed up one time because I had some guys from work help me move a couch in that I bought from a friend.

      I guess his love language was acts of service, but only if someone was helping him with all his ridiculous projects and his stupid obsession with having a perfect lawn!


  4. I don’t think those categories are very complete. I feel like I, and also my ex, didn’t really match any of those. However, I think that my ex’s thing was giving surprises via grand gestures. (Which I didn’t like, and which caused me and our lives a lot of stress.) For example, he would suddenly announce that he’d invited 20 people over for dinner…in an hour. Neither of us particularly enjoyed cooking.
    One time I went out to the car to go to work, only to find the car gone. He returned half an hour later (making me late to work) with a new car–he’d suddenly gotten the urge to trade in and upgrade our perfectly functional vehicle. Ta-da!
    He was always disappointed, I think, that his unwanted big surprises were not appreciated by me.


    1. I don’t like unwanted and big surprises especially when it means I’m going to be worrying about a bigger car payment or working overtime to pay for these new “surprises”.


  5. My therapist asked me to read this book when I first started working with her and I was shocked, shocked i tell you that my languages are Physical Touch and Acts of Service. She said “what on earth are you surprised at? You are a doula and a massage therapist. It’s what you do”

    I thought for sure there would be gifts in there. I love to give gifts. But I don’t receive them very well. I get all choked up and never think I am as appreciative as I should be.


  6. I think my love language is touch but imma go take the quiz.

    I am 100% certain my other love language is Howard Stern and I’m impressed/jealous that Jo met him.

    Lovely post Juan. I never think to bring a gift and then feel terrible that I didn’t. But the next time I still don’t think of it.

    Hey now, Ned!


      1. Right? Laura Ingalls Wilder and Elliott from thirtysomething? Nancy must have finally died from the cancer.


  7. Ooooooo also, I LOVE the header picture! I have never seen a vintage tree like that, love! And the gal’s outfit with the turquoise sweater and slim skirt and those heels!


  8. That’s it for the love languages? I’m none of those and I don’t think husband is either. There has to be more. Maybe husband is the touch thing, I’m good at not annoying him with physical abuse and neglect. All those languages give me hives, so many expectations and dos and don’ts. What’s the love language for low maintenance? Having written that, I imagine husband would stand there and just stare at me if I told him I was low maintenance. I’m basing this on conversations that we have where he says he will never ever get married again if we ever broke up. I believe his exact words are “NEVER!! I.WILL.NEVER.EVER.GET.MARRIED.AGAIN!!!EVER!!!” Okay, where’s the love language of Complete Exhaustion, cause that’s mine. Apparently it’s exhausting keeping me happy. He does a pretty good job at it though.

    Nice a**, Joob! (TM Sadie)


  9. I am definitely acts of service. You may never hear “I love you” fall from my lips, but when I’m making sure your day to day life is as stress and chaos free as humanly possible and you have the things you need and a home that’s inviting and warm and functioning well… well, that’s me. Saying “I love you”. My husband is a combined Word and Touch. Definitely tries to be an Acts kind of guy, but he just doesn’t see the things that I see that drive me nuts. Like if you’re gonna open the bedroom drapes, you have to open both sides. If you open just ONE side and I drive up to the house and see those lop-sided drapes, I’m going to be in a murderous rage when I walk in the door. Not the first time or even the 10th time, but it’s not going to be fun after that. And it would just be so EASY to do it the RIGHT WAY… right?

    P.S. Any of you who have not read Jo’s book – you need to get ON that! It’s so good!

    Lovely post June!


  10. Sadly, I think I just realized from the graph that my language of love is just not enough or at least even acknowledged anymore and maybe it’s time to accept putting myself first. Discoveries made on June’s blog, ahem. You’re pretty.


  11. No partner, but I looked at this through the lens of my multitudes of friends. I’m a Quality Time person, so I assume they are all as well. One clearly likes The Gifts, which I never do. I feel like I don’t know what she’d like or not, or that maybe it’s just another “thing” to have and deal with. I don’t give anyone dustables, but I do like time with my people. Even if it’s just a coffee outing. In fact, that’s really a perfect gift for me.


  12. Mine is acts of service. My husband’s is definitely words of affirmation. I’m like you it never occurs to me to take a gift when meeting someone or going to their home.

    Ned is smiling.


  13. Mine is acts of service and my husband’s is touch. I know this, but it is still hard for me to deal with sometimes. I get over touching really quick and want my own space. I try to get over myself and hold hands in church etc., but it ain’t natural for me.


  14. My love language is Words of Affirmation, my husband’s is Acts of Service. OH MY WORD the havoc this caused in the first 10 years of our marriage (we’ve been married 20+ years). While I made sure to tell him how much I appreciated how hard he worked and how great he looked and thank you for blah blah blah, all he could see is that I left dirty dishes in the sink overnight and I didn’t file that paper he asked me to file and I never made him breakfast in the mornings. Meanwhile, he’s over there mowing the yard, fixing the leaky faucet, and changing the oil in my car and I’m pouting because he never told me I was pretty anymore. Hearing about this Love Language thing was a revelation. Seriously. And it’s not that I suddenly started making him breakfast or that he started telling me how pretty I am once we figured this out, but at least now we know the other isn’t just being an ass on purpose.


  15. I started reading your blog because of Jo! We have a good friend in common, someone she’s known since middle school, and that I’ve known since the early ‘70’s. Jo and I became Facebook friends around the time she was promoting her first book. She posted a link to your blog on Facebook, and I’ve been reading since then. Have a great time!


  16. My love language is words of affirmation. My husband confuses me. I can’t pinpoint him. I’m INFJ, so I confuse him and most everyone else. What finally helped us were the ennegram personality types. I’m a 6. He’s a 1. My youngest is also a 1 and the same issues pop up in both relationships.


  17. I just took the quiz and I am fairly even with 4 of the languages and way low on receiving gifts which is funny because I adore giving gifts. I get so excited when I have some perfect little thing for someone. I think that when I took the quiz that I just didn’t want to seem greedy or shallow so I purposely didn’t choose the C answers. Come to think of it I’ve always been that way on personality quizzes in magazines, I just pick the right answers so it looks like I am even keeled.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I have no idea what my love language is now. It used to be physical touch, but now? Who care? Maybe words of affirmation? I don’t know. My husband? I don’t know about that either. I know gift giving is NOT his. He doesn’t know how to receive gifts at all. Christmas just pisses him off with all the gift giving. Maybe acts of service? That would be unfortunate for him, since I hate housework. Huh. I guess this is worth thinking about–after Christmas! Ha! Maybe I will clean the laundry room as a gift for him and see what happens!

    Lovely post, lovely June!

    p.s. It was nice to see Ned join the conversation! Who is Cormac McCarthy anyway?


  19. Mine is quality time. I have no significant other because when I say I have five kids men turn into puffs of smoke.


  20. We used to occasionally watch the show Everybody Loves Raymond. I distinctly remember in one episode, in his efforts to prove he is right about something, Raymond vacuums the curtains. His wife watches him as he is working away with his back turned, over the noise she screams “I’VE NEVER BEEN MORE ATTRACTED TO YOU IN MY LIFE!”

    Acts of Service. BOOM.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Mine is gift giving and acts of service. That book was an eye opener for me, I recommend it to everyone! I think even if you have different love languages it’s helpful to know, that way you can understand why there’s so much miscommunication in relationships sometimes.


  22. I’d venture to say that physical abuse and neglect are things to avoid no matter what your love language is. I don’t really know that I have just one love language. It sort of changes with my mood or the amount of sleep I got the night before or the seasons. I haven’t a clue.


  23. I know everyone’s over here now, but I just got emailed a comment from whatever day it was that I said Cormac McCarthy sucks. The comment was FROM NED. So you guys were RIGHT. We smoked him out.

    Liked by 5 people

  24. Ooooooo… Good question, Juan.

    I prefer to receive love as Acts of Service and probably give it that way, too, or as Quality Time (because time is the most scarce thing for me). I’m not sure what Gumbo’s is. He’s a dude, so OF COURSE he likes the physical touch, but that may not be primary. (If it is, heaven help him.) If something reminds me of a person so strongly and is affordable, I sometimes will buy the thing and give it to them but that’s not typical.


  25. I really need to think about love languages for me and my husband because that might help clear some things up. And I think I told you this before, but I read Jo’s book about her mother a few years ago. When I realized where she lived I thought, Oh, she should be friends with June! I wonder if they’re friends! Then I reminded myself that the world is not that small and I should quit with the beginner-level stalking. And I read at least one of her other books. And then you mentioned that you are friends and I was so happy. Anyway, big fan of you both – thanks for everything!


  26. Mine is physical touch, closely followed by quality time. His would be acts of service followed by recieving gifts. Opposites attract? He was an extreme workaholic, gone a lot. It made me very sad at times. He is home most of the time that he isn’t working (desk job since the cancer) but too tired to do much. We have bonded more intensely since the cancer.
    I had two previous loves who shared the physical touch thing and oh that was heaven but they were not reliable in the way Michael was.
    Security and knowing in my bones (strong women’s intuition at twenty years old) that he would not leave me except by death, trumps everything on that chart. Security is my ultimate aphrodisiac (that spelling could be on FBOJ, I need a new dictionary for Christmas). Losing him will be hell for greedy me, thirty-eight years is not enough.


  27. I don’t know which one is most important to me, maybe it’s a tie between gifts and service. My husband is all of the above(aka very needy).


  28. Mine is definitely Quality Time. I think Mr. Helen’s is Acts of Service but I’m not actually sure. I’m just guessing that because he does things for me all the time when what I really want is for him to plan a date lol.

    I am married to someone who is not very demanding and I think he wouldn’t even tell me if he really wanted something. Believe it or not, that causes issues sometimes because he can very much get the attitude that HE’S not demanding, so why should I be? Between dating and marriage we’ve bee together for 32 years, so even though we haven’t figured it all out we somehow manage to keep going.


  29. Mine is quality time—specifically quantity time. I don’t care what we do, I just want to be together. His is acts of service.
    He’s in the army. Deploys for 9-18 months at a time. Good choice on my part.
    And when I have a migraine and I just want him to sit by me and feel sorry for me, he won’t. He washes the dishes or something. He thinks he’s helping, but migraines make me feel sad and lonely (and the dishwashing is too damn loud).
    I screw it up because I don’t keep everything perfectly put away and organized all the time. So he sees anything that is left undone as a personal slight. Like if I leave for work early and don’t make the bed. He can’t stand it.
    So most of the time I feel lonely and he feels like a housekeeper. I don’t know about other combos…but our love languages do not mesh well.


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