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Languages of Love Around the World

Languages of Love Around the World

We celebrate love all over the world; love is the only true universal language.

As Erich Fromm, a German social psychologist said, “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”

Though not all countries celebrate Valentine’s Day, all over the world people show their love in different ways throughout the year.

Here are nine ways cultures around the world express love, and how you can learn to express your love in different ways, inspired by languages of love around the world.

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Send a love letter made out of beads like Zulu lovers in South Africa

In Zulu culture, colorful beads are used to communicate between young men and women, with different colored beads representing different feelings. For example red means anger and blue surrounded by yellow represents pining.

If a girl likes a boy, she can send him a love letter in beads, called ‘ucu’. After the two have been dating for a while, the boy can then ask the true meaning of the beads. To express your love through Zulu cultural traditions, make your loved one a beaded bracelet or necklace, and let them guess the meaning of the beads.

Have a month-long Valentine’s Day like the Japanese

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is spread out for a month. On February 14th, women will give homemade chocolates to the men in their lives, but will create a special ‘honmei-choco’ (prospective winner chocolate) for the object of their affection. One month later, the chosen man should give the woman his own chocolate gift in return, expressing his love.

Celebrate like the Japanese by spreading out the love for a whole month; you could make a batch of chocolates and give one to your lover every day, until the day he returns the favor.

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Celebrate Love Day with the birds in Romania

In Romania, Dragobete, or ‘Love Day’ is celebrated on February 24th, and is thought to be the day that birds get engaged, birds being the messengers of God. The name Dragonbete comes from a Romanian mythological character similar to that of Cupid, a celebrator of love. In nature, this date is around the time that birds begin to mate and build nests, so boys and girls celebrate this by exchanging gifts and chocolates.

Celebrate your love with the birds by swapping February 14th for February 24th.

Love your community as they do in Mexico

In Mexico, Valentine’s Day is more about celebrating love as a community, rather than the traditional one-on-one love. On February 14th, Mexicans have a holiday called El Dia del Amor y Amistad, where women bake for friends and neighbors, and men bring balloons and sweets.

Instead of having a one-on-one date, or being alone this Valentine’s Day, why don’t you invite your friends, family and neighbors around and hold a party to celebrate all of the people who are important in your life.

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Go after the first one you see like the Scottish

Some singletons in Scotland spend the day searching for their Valentine’s day date. How does this work? Well, the first man or woman spotted on the street by the person looking for a date becomes their Valentine for the day. Whether or not the unsuspecting object of affection wants to be their Valentine is up for question.

If you want to incorporate the Scottish tradition into your Valentine’s Day, you could use it as inspiration to meet someone special. Go up to the first person who takes your fancy and offer to buy them a drink; you never know where it could end!

Take part in China’s Qixi Festival

In China, they have their own version of Valentine’s Day, the Qixi Festival, which comes on the seventh day of the seventh month on the lunar calendar. It is a day in which the sense of union through working as a couple is celebrated, and it is an important day for weddings. In China, they are more likely to celebrate strong family ties rather than showing physical of verbal affection and the day praises the women’s roles as homemakers and wives.

Celebrate like the Chinese by spending the day doing an experience that you both enjoy and that strengthens your relationship, like a day trip or something adventurous, rather than spending money on gifts or chocolates.

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Celebrate Man’s Day and Woman’s Day with Iceland

Icelanders are more likely to celebrate Man’s Day and Woman’s Day, which falls on certain dates according to the old Icelandic calendar. On those days, food, gifts and displays of affection are exchanged on those days, similar to our Valentine’s Day.

On February 12th, the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik celebrates ‘Museum Night’ where all the museums and music venues stay open until midnight.

Celebrate love like an Icelander with special days for each partner, and enjoy some culture by visiting a museum or seeing a live band together.

Decorate a spoon to signify unrequited love like the Welsh

In Wales, St. Dwynwen’s Day falls on January 25th. On this day Welsh men carve lovely, touching designs on wooden spoons and give them as gifts to the object of their affection as a sign of unrequited love. The idea harks back to ancient Welsh lore, celebrating love and affection. The story goes that Princess Dwynwen fell in love with Maelon, but they were not able to be together. Angry, the Princess fled to the woods and received a potion from faeries that turned Maelon into an eternal block of ice. That is a serious metaphor.

Give your loved one a decorated spoon this year, or, if you don’t fancy a spoon, use this Welsh tradition as an excuse to make your Valentine a homemade gift.

America and England

In the USA and England, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th and lovers and secret lovers give romantic gifts to the objects of their affection. Valentine’s Day gifts such as chocolates, jewelry, roses and teddy bears are the traditional gifts, though many people use this day to go on a date to a fancy restaurant. Children are encouraged to make Valentine’s cards and send them in secret.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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