How to Maintain Social Connection During the Holidays
Embracing the 5 love languages to help you stay connected.
There may be a lot of missed opportunities to connect with family and friends this year due to social distancing, and as a result, we forget to celebrate what the holidays are meant for: spreading joy and love to the people that matter the most. The less connected we are, the more likely we are to feel lonely at a time when these feelings are already at their peak. Imagine saying, “I was so busy connecting with friends and family over the holidays, I forgot to feel lonely.”
Reset Expectations: Embrace the Five Love Languages
A meaningful way you can stay connected during the holidays is by expressing gratitude and love. And here’s where holiday expectations need a reset. Expressing love toward someone isn’t measured by how much you spend on a gift, it’s actually measured by how much intention you put into your relationships. Reset your expectations to, “I want to express love toward someone by understanding how they like to receive love.” A-ha! Here’s where understanding and embracing the five love languages come into your holiday “feel-good” strategy.
What are the five love languages?
The five love languages are different ways in which a person prefers to receive love: acts of service, quality time, physical touch, receiving physical gifts, or words of affirmation. It helps break down barriers to reaching out in a loving way towards friends and family, and provides an opportunity for you to learn more about the people in your life. For example, if your partner complains about having to take the trash out, a great expression of love – your gift to them – would be an act of service: surprise them by taking the trash out! This expression of love would show your partner that you’re listening, understand what causes them stress, and actively gifting your time to alleviate that stress. (Bonus gratitude points for making it a weekly gift!)
How do I find out someone’s love language?
You might already know someone’s love language by looking back at the ways they’ve expressed appreciation towards you – if not, take a few minutes to consider the questions below.
Is your person an excellent listener who always gives you their undivided attention or feels that most activities are more fun with others involved?
Love Language: Quality Time
Is your person someone who appreciates help? Think about someone who might be stressed out because they don’t have time to do all the chores on their list, would they appreciate someone shoveling the snow or grocery shopping for them without having to ask?
Love Language: Acts of service
Does a friend of yours always come in for a hug every time they see you? If it’s your partner, would they appreciate a massage after a long day at work? Does your mom still like holding your hand even though you’re not a child anymore?
Love Language: Physical touch
Does your person like to be acknowledged for how they show up in your life or light up when receiving compliments on something they’ve been working hard on? Think about someone who appreciates genuine and open communication.
Love Language: Words of affirmation
Does your person enjoy receiving physical gifts? For example, if you brought them back a memento from a vacation you went on, would they be excited to receive it because it means you were thinking about them while you were away? What if you surprised them with their favorite cookies, simply because you were paying attention recently and noticed they needed a pick-me-up?
Love Language: Receiving physical gifts
Still not sure what their love language is?
Be open with your family, friends, or partner to let them know you care about supporting their needs and ask them what is most meaningful to them. Try this:
- Write, “What makes you smile?” on a piece of paper.
- Add some examples of each love language with checkboxes next to them.
- Fold it up (like you did in middle school), and leave it in an obvious place for them to find.
It’s a great little surprise and shows them you’re thinking of them. It’ll also open up the conversation even more about love languages and how best to give meaningfully to a person you really care about.
Way to Express Love Based on Each Love Language
Partner: Offer to give them a massage or show affection by holding hands while watching a movie on the couch.
Friend or Family: Greet them with a real, heart-to-heart hug. Everytime.
What about social distancing? It’s better to be safe than sorry these days, especially if you or a loved one is immuno-compromised. Sometimes, simply saying, “I really wish I could hug you right now,” can release the same chemicals in the brain for someone who favors physical touch.
Friend or Family: Make time to give them a call on the phone or, even better, a video chat. Send them an invite for a coffee or evening wine date (even if it’s virtual)!
Friend or Family: Create a virtual karaoke or dance party. Create a playlist with your friend’s and family’s favorite songs, send them a video chat invite so everyone can sing or dance along.
Partner: Schedule an evening to spend quality time with your partner. Put the devices away, create a cozy space at home to play a board game or just have quiet time listening to music with each other. Make it extra special by creating a hand-written invite.
Acts of Service
Friend or Family: Make sure they’ll be home and drop off a home-cooked meal. Making it freezer-friendly means they could save it for another night if they already had something planned!
Everyone: Show up and shovel snow, rake leaves, or mow the lawn without them asking.
Partner: Surprise them with a spa night at home – run a bubble bath with music, candles, and their favorite beverage.
Words of Affirmation
Friend or Family: Send a hand-written card or make a holiday-themed video message. Tell them how much you appreciate them and the impact they have on your life.
Everyone: Create a playlist filled with songs that put your feelings about a person into words. Think of songs that explain how that person shows up for you in your life and how purely awesome they are.
Everyone: Create an advent calendar with each day dedicated to one thing you love and appreciate about them, a photo of the two of you, or a fun memory.
Receiving Physical Gifts
Friend or Family: Making holiday baked goods? Find out their favorite treat and whip up a batch! Send them via snail-mail or do a drive-by drop-off!
Partner: Whether you’re at the gas station or grocery store, find something small that made you think of them, a silly keychain or something from a TV show you recently watched together. Alternatively, fresh flowers are always a great surprise.
Everyone: Keep a list (Fabriq is great for this). When you hear them talk about something they’ve never tried, but really want to, jot it down. When you hear about something they need, but just haven’t prioritized getting for themselves, jot it down. Is there an artist they love, a book they’ve mentioned, or a restaurant they’ve been dying to go to, jot it down.
When it comes to purchasing gifts, it’s all about listening and learning about what makes people tick. The right gift doesn’t have to be expensive, and they don’t have to be material either, experiences are awesome ways to surprise and delight as well as something you can enjoy together!
An Expression of Love for All Five Love Languages
Gifting Fabriq covers all the love languages:
Give quality time by setting reminders to connect with each other
Words of Affirmation
Connection starters support each other with words of affirmation.
Acts of Service
Add a life event note for someone who mentioned they needed help with something or connecting them with other people that could support them.
Birthday gift notes allow you or your friends to easily save gift ideas from online retailers, and receive a reminder when it’s time to send the gift.
Create a note as a reminder about your person’s love language. We understand this may not be an option for most right now, but even sending a message to say “I really wish I could give you a hug right now,” can be a great way to let them know you understand their love language.
Build Better Social Habits
Fulfilling relationships are scientifically proven to keep you happy and healthy — boosting your immunity and longevity. When you prioritize the people that matter most, even when life gets full, you naturally show up better for them and yourself.
Science-backed and the first of its kind, Fabriq is designed to improve your social health and make building better social habits easy, so you can focus on what (and who) really matters.
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