My love language is touch. I am a very tactile person. Due to the fact that we love other people in the way we ourselves prefer to be loved, at family gatherings during the Christmas season, you would find me welcoming everyone to the house with an affectionate hug, firm handshake, peck on the cheek, high five, fist bump, or holding someone’s hand as we catch up, depending on which emotional bracket the person in question falls into. However, because we live in South Africa now, we haven’t been able to go home for the holidays to be with family during the festive season. Over the years we’ve gathered with other families and had a celebration together. At these events there will be people I know and some I don’t. People will have different acceptable gestures of touch as a way of greeting depending on their cultures and personalities, and as the person whose love language is touch, I’ve had to learn how to navigate those so as not to cause discomfort to others and to myself. Rule of thumb though, handshakes for those I do not know!
At gatherings like these, my husband Tafadzwa will often look for me to hold my hand or give me a hug. We have had to learn this over the years. He knows that’s how I get my love tank filled. He isn’t a touchy person but I’ve appreciated how he has embraced the fact that it is mine and goes out of his way to do it for me.
What to watch out for
As most cultures use touch as a form of greeting, during festive seasons I watch out for my children and other people’s children. For some reason, children will not always feel like or want to hug, kiss or sit on so and so’s lap….please listen and do not force. It’s not that there is something wrong with the person they are refusing to show affection to, it’s just that they are uncomfortable and learning about boundaries and personal space, which adults should understand and not take offense over. As much as touch is my love language, when it comes to children, I always take the cue from them: do they want a high five, fist bump, hug, wave or would they rather be left alone? It’s perfectly fine.
On a personal level, I’ve also come to realise that although touch is my primary love language, I am very protective of my personal space and body. I totally hate it when random people touch me with no context or relationship. I try to respect other people’s boundaries and I expect mine to be respected.