“@yourfriend tagged you in a photo.” Have you ever received this notification and immediately felt excited or happy?
Appreciation posts, screenshots of funny text conversations, memes specific to an inside joke—all these things generally make people happy. They are small displays of one’s appreciation for the other even if they don’t realize it. Through the pandemic, we see how technology not only eliminates distance and allows people to stay connected but also aids our expression of love.
If person A has 10 units of love to give to person B but they don’t know the most efficient way to deliver it, person B will never get the full 10. We all receive and display our love in different ways, which is often influenced by the way we were given love as children.
To better understand these, Dr. Gary Chapman created the five love language categorizations: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and gifts.
Words of affirmation is about putting aside all bells and whistles and being honest with the person about the importance they have in your life. Normally, you can just speak to your friend at some point when you’re around them but through technology you can send them a random paragraph throughout the day, make an appreciation post on social media, or even just send them a post that talks about good friends.
Quality time is about taking a pause in this busy world and carving out time for the person. Most people associate quality time with being around the person and, while that may still be the ideal way, it’s now easier to make time when you can FaceTime, have deep late-night conversations, or play video games together.
The only love language that does not benefit from technology (yet) is physical touch. However, who knows, in the future realistic artificial intelligence could supplement human touch.
Acts of service is about going out of your way to do something that will make the person feel better. Traditional examples of this include aiding them in day-to-day tasks like picking something up, giving them a ride, getting coffee, making dinner, or even helping them finish a stressful project. Now, through technology, there are endless ways to support someone whether it be reposting their small business, editing their essay, ordering their favourite food, or finding them resources for their problem.
The gifts category is often misunderstood as materialistic when in reality, it is simply about a physical manifestation of love. It is essentially something a person can always look at to remind themselves of the support they have. If someone is walking along a beach and finds a rock that they feel their friend would like, even that is valuable. This is made even easier through technology by online stores and delivery services. Even sharing a meme that you know this person would appreciate is a small form of a gift. The point of it is showing them that it reminded you of them.
Living in the digital world means expressing our appreciation is much easier. The thing with love languages is that we may not always have the same ones as the people we want to appreciate, so it is our responsibility to learn how our friends best receive our appreciation. That can be through paying closer attention to them, or simply by asking them and using that love language to show them how much they mean to you.
I think we all agree that, in such turbulent times, the most valuable thing is love.
Staff Writer (Volume 48), Contributor (Volume 49) — Hamna is in her fourth year at UTM specializing in Digital Enterprise Management. Her love of reading and writing is only paralleled by her interest in random Space News and impromptu discussions about society, ethics, and technology. She writes for The Medium because she believes that one of the most beautiful elements of humanity is discourse, which she is given the opportunity to encourage through her work. In her free time she likes drinking chai, reorganizing her bookshelf, and reading complex technical books to her nieces and nephews.