I’ve always been an advocate for verbal communication. Usually I blame it on my upbringing - you simply can’t grow up with a father who’s a therapist and not learn how to communicate effectively.
But beyond that, verbal affirmation has always been something I simply needed in a relationship. I’ve always wished I could be one of those people who just knows that she’s important to her friends, family, boyfriends, etc. without having to be told so. And while I can certainly recognize that certain actions express love and affection, I’m frequently left wondering, If they really do care about me, why don’t they just say so?
Ever heard of love languages? Yeah, mine’s definitely “words of affirmation.”
I’ve encountered a lot of people over the years who totally disagree with my stance. Actions speak louder than words, they tell me. Believe me, I’m not arguing against the importance of action. If a person told me they cared about me, but never acted accordingly, then their words are empty. But that doesn’t mean you’re somehow exempt from verbally expressing your feelings just because you’re kind to someone. You need both.
And if you ask me, the “words” part is often much more difficult than the “action.” No matter the what the action (a kiss, help with an exam, a loan), you can always argue the motive. If you want to ensure that someone doesn’t “take it the wrong way,” you can always downplay it as just being nice (or horny, I suppose).
Think about the risk you’re taking by actually telling someone how important they are to you. If you keep it inside - known only to yourself, fully understood by only you and clouded in mystery to everyone else - you can maintain a certain control over it. But once it’s said aloud, you can’t take it back. Sure, you can lie about it later. But once you give an honest account of your feelings, well, then it’s out there. Available for judgment and rejection and ridicule.
But also for acceptance and reciprocation and gratitude. Yes, it’s a huge risk to let someone know how much you care for them. But you have no way to experience those great things listed above if you don’t initiate the conversation.
And yes, this is coming from a girl whose natural inclination is to verbalize exactly what I’m feeling, just so there’s no confusion about what’s going on in my head. But I certainly don’t undervalue the utter intimidation of trying to verbally express the inner workings of your heart - or your mind or soul, for that matter. But I have to say, it’s a such a priviledge to be on the recieving end. I just wish people were brave enough to take that leap more often (myself included).
So here’s the lesson I’ve learned thus far, boys and girls:
Language is one of the most accurate ways to communicate with another human being. Yes, action, body language, and sometimes, just looking into a person’s eyes can speak volumes. But if you really want to connect with someone - if you really want them to know how you important they are to you, just tell them. Don’t avoid verbal communication just because it’s scary.
Do it now. Tell your friends how much you value them. Tell that guy or girl how they drive you wild. Tell your parents how grateful you are for their support. Just tell them.