The Introvert’s Baby Shower:: Loving Friends in THEIR Love Language

The Introvert's Baby Shower:: Loving Friends in THEIR Love LangaugeFor more than a decade of our marriage, my husband heard me refer to my “love language”. While I know that I gave a detailed account of the topic, it was only when he overheard a friend talking about using the tools they had recently read about to discern their own style of expressing love that my precious hubs screamed in annoyed fury, “You mean there is a book about this stuff?!?” Apparently, the copy{ies} in my house about spouse and kids and teens were unnoticed and clearly unread. I however, have leaned heavily into the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman in all areas of relationships. This has been especially helpful in teaching me that loving my kids in MY love language produces little expressed affection. I can, with great work on my part, shift from an ‘acts of service’ mindset to a ‘physical touch’ moment if I focus on what they need rather than what I want. 

I am fortunate to have an incredibly diverse community of friends. I am the friend that always wants to host a party. I love having all the people in my house. Give me a reason {or not} and I will gladly invite you over for for a costume party, an end of season celebration or to watch the latest political debate. We built our backyard with the intent of hosting friends and family. Much like a love language, I have discovered that others are diverse in their excitement about hosting guests, much less a party, in their living space. 

Years ago, I was going to a friend’s house for the first time. While we had been friends for a while, I knew that his home was not land of many guests. The occasion that necessitated my visit was a ride home from the emergency room. As we pulled up to his house, I said, “Do friends usually use your front door or your back door?” I thought this was a gesture of good will, as I knew that I needed to park and help him from the car with his newly broken arm. His response was so him. “They don’t.”

We Are All Different 

There is no right way to love people or have guests. We all have different ways we feel comfortable and loved in relationships. It has taken me more than 2 decades of marriage, 18 years of parenthood and 44 years of life to finally wrap my mind around the fact that not everyone enjoys parties, games, glitter, cake, fancy punch and people. What makes me feel celebrated and valued makes my oldest {and most introverted} child scream inside. Just this year a precious friend gave her a gift and said that half of the gift was that she did not have to open it in front of them. Who knew? One of my greatest joys is the 3-hour long Christmas morning tradition of watching every family member open every single gift – one by one by one. Apparently, this is not fun for everyone.

Learning to Speak The Love Language of Others

My previously mentioned broken arm friend’s wife is expecting a child this month. These two dear people are some of my favorites and I wanted to be a part of celebrating them well. Much like my daughter, they would rather have a root canal than a baby shower. The idea of the people and the unknown gifts and the watching you open all the presents and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over things that I picked out and they never wanted is exactly their idea of hell on earth. So with all that I could muster, I joined with some other brilliant minds to try and plan a party that would celebrate them in their own special way. This is tricky – especially for those that enjoy all the planning and decorating and fun. But, we continued with one goal in mind, loving them in a way that they would feel loved.

A Brilliant Plan

The Introvert's Baby Shower:: Loving Friends in THEIR Love LangaugeI cannot take credit for originating this amazing idea, but I feel the need to share the end result of 4 friends that were determined. The co-hosting party planner’s email began with this line, “let’s show up at their house, decorate their porch, leave presents and dinner, ring the doorbell and run away!” But the best was the title of the email – Introverted Baby Shower Flash Mob. It grew from there to include freezer meals for after the arrival {or GrubHub gift cards, because let’s be real, they don’t want to eat what I cook}, diapers, sidewalk chalk messages, gifts from their actual registry and most of all decorations on their porch. All of this happened while they were sitting in their living room. This required incredible stealth like work and a teenager with quick getaway legs to ring the door bell. It was so great!

And They Felt All the Love

The Introvert's Baby Shower:: Loving Friends in THEIR Love Langauge

Here is my confession, it was hard. I wanted to see their faces when they opened the door. I wanted to watch them open the gifts that we had picked out because I love that stuff. But this shower was not FOR me. The very best way to love my friends was to leave. By honoring them in our gift giving, we loved them in ways that we cannot even understand. It was all worth it when this text came through, “I’ve never felt so known or loved. You all succeeded in making us cry on our front porch.” I can assure you that a room full of people and baby food diaper guessing games would have made my friends cry, too, but not out of love. I’m thankful that I did not insist on my way. They would have hated all of it. Instead, I was reminded in this flash mob, that loving my people is only loving if it is done in a way that they can feel it. To all my introverted, non-party people, I see you. I want to do better. And from now on, I am going to try. 


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