Have you heard of the love languages? If you haven’t don’t worry, because they are way easier to learn than some other languages, like Mandarin or Greek.
There are a total of 5:
Words of affirmation
Acts of service
The theory goes that each of us has a primary “love language” and its usually different than our mate’s/child’s/friend’s primary language. So we give them a diamond ring, when they wanted a hug and they paint our toenails, when all we wanted was a getaway weekend. When we don’t speak each other’s languages trying to connect can feel like ugly Americans ignoring the local customs. The results are not optimal.
You might intuitively know your love language or they have a quiz you can take if you’re not sure. Also, most people are a special blend of a few, not just one. Just a heads up, the site tends toward the hetero-normative and Christian, so take what you like and leave what you don’t. BTW, I sure hope Jesus’s love language isn’t physical touch because people just keep giving him words of affirmation and quality time.
Anyway, my sister’s go to love language is words of affirmation. This girl loves her compliments. And you know what I love about her love language? Its free! You know what I don’t like? Its fleeting and ephemeral. In one ear, maybe a quick lap around the heart and then out the other. For her 30th birthday I wanted to give her something that she would remember and really like. Also it had to be inexpensive, so engraving compliments on a golden tiara was out, though I’m sure she would have liked that.
Enter the Affirm-ata. This is a pinata filled with compliments and affirmations instead of candy, which makes it a great keepsake as well as very low-calorie. It also won’t cause children to stampede or sticky fingers.
She said it was the best present she ever received. EVER.
Would you like someone you care about to tell them you’ve given the best gift ever? Well then read on my friend, because putting together an Affirm-ata is not difficult and will pay off handsomely in joy and human connection.
Buy a pinata. Preferably a unicorn, but any pinata will do. It doesn’t have to be be large, since it will only be filled with paper (you could fill it with other fun stuff too). This step is first because it helps commit you to the project. Now you’re gonna have a pinata staring at you until you do the rest of the steps.
Collect as many email/text/FB contacts as you can for the lucky receiver of the Affirm-ata. On the sly of course, because this is much more fun as a surprise.
Reach out and let the Affirm-ata’s crew know what you’re up too. Make sure your message includes a firm deadline of when you need the compliments. Ask them to pass the message to other people that you might not know, who might like to participate. Tell them they can submit in any form they want from a simple phrase, a paragraph, a haiku, a picture, whatever. Encourage them to get creative if they like or just keep it simple. If they’re shy perhaps include a few sample compliments to get them going.
If the compliments are slow coming in send a couple of reminders and let them know that the compliments don’t have to be poetic, just get’em done! Compliment writers block is a thing, so they might need some encouragement.
Print our write out the compliments, cut them up, fold them and stick them in the pinata. There is usually a flap for inserting things, but if you can’t find it you can cut a little hole and re-seal it with tape.
Surprise your friend with their beautiful Affirm-ata! You can hang it up and beat the crap out of it traditional style or they can extract the compliments in a more civilized fashion. Some people might want to keep it and take out compliments when they need them, say at the end of a hard day or after a terrible first date.
Revel in the feeling of having done something kind and memorable for someone you care about. You are such a thoughtful and considerate person!
Now go find a pinata and stuff it with love instead of high fructose corn syrup!