This is perhaps my favourite as I only just discovered today that this is my primary language. I was talking to an ex and asked what he felt my language was amongst all five and when he told me, it hit me. I grew up in a family where quality time was so important. My father worked in a bank and every free time he had, he wanted to be with his family. In fact these days, if there is as little as a 2 day holiday, he wants us home. And most times we end up sitting down and discussing what we have done since the last time we were home (don’t mind the fact that this might have been discussed over the phone a zillion times) and what you next plans are. Then we all go out for dinner, get back home and just gist. Same with my mum. These days when we are all home, she gets very upset when it seems we are physically present BUT not present (you get what I mean). Also, I remembered days when all I wanted to do was spend time with my sisters or someone and the person thinks otherwise. I get teary eyed and at times cry. In fact I remember reporting one sister to the others that she doesn’t wanna “play” with me. Lol.
The central desire of quality time is togetherness. Not necessary close proximity. I remembered days with this ex when we fought and most times it centered on we are chatting and I am not getting replies as often as I want. I always got upset. He wasn’t speaking my language. I didn’t even know it was my language. I remembered that most of the best times we had were days we spent just alone. Even with people around, just us talking was bliss. I remember there was also I guy I almost dated. What was the attraction? He was someone I found it easy to talk to; someone I could send quality time with and converse with. Togetherness has to do with focussed attention. It is giving your undivided attention to someone. When quality time is used as a means of expressing genuine love, it is a powerful emotional communicator.
Like words of affirmation, quality time also has many dialects. One of the most common dialect is quality conversation. Quality conversation involves hearing and talking. When we use affirming words, the focus is on what we are saying. With quality time however, the focus is on what we are hearing. Quality conversation communicates that you care. Conversations also involve talking. A skill a lot of us don’t have. Some people find it hard to talk; to express their feelings. With this ex, it was a situation of he knew things by what I said but I at times had to “force” him to talk before I knew anything. For someone who doesn’t talk much yet talks much (irony yeah), it was hard. We must learn to get in touch with our emotions, thoughts and desires. And then learn to verbalize them first to ourselves and then to others.
Quality listening is another dialect of quality time. For the talkative, listening requires skills as most of them are poor listeners. They are adept at analysing problems and creating solutions but don’t listen with a view to understanding the person. This creates problems as they are then seen as controlling. To speak this language, you need to be a sympathetic listener. Dr Chapman listed 8 steps to becoming a sympathetic listener.
1. Maintain eye contact when you are listening to someone.
2. Don’t engage in other activities while you are listening to an individual.
3. Listen for feelings.
4. Observe body language.
5. Refuse to interrupt.
6. Ask reflective questions.
7. Express understanding.
8. Ask if there is anything you might do that would be helpful.
Quality conversation takes time and effort.
The third dialect is quality activities. As stated earlier, I cherish most the times I spend with people I love. To learn this language, you need to enter into the other person’s interests. See things together. Go to places together. Spend time together. And create memories for years to come. One of the by-products of quality activities is that they provide a memory bank from which to draw in the years ahead. It however requires careful planning.
Side note: Guess some people are wondering why I asked an ex. When you talk about someone who knew me, he knew me. Really knew me. Knew my thoughts and actions most times even before I voiced them. So I figured he was the right person to ask.