Have you ever arrived home after an evening of holiday festivities with your guy and felt drained and kind of blue for reasons you can’t quite put your finger on? If this sounds like you, you are probably more of an introverted personality type, but it may also be that you are suffering from a case of the empty “Love Tank” and could use a refill.
When my husband Joe and I were dating, this kind of thing would happen to me frequently. We would be out with friends and having a nice time, but for some reason I felt drained and even a little hurt by Joe by the end of the night. I came to realize that as someone whose primary love language is Physical Touch, crowded parties meant a lot of time standing next to Joe but no physical affection (for fear of grossing out our friends with PDA).
Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, explains that we all have a primary language (or two) that makes us feel most loved: Quality Time, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Gift Giving, or Acts of Service. Dr. Chapman explains that when our loved ones fail to speak to us in our primary language, we can feel unloved and unappreciated. Dr. Chapman says we can think of our capacity for feeling loved as a tank, and when we aren’t being shown love in our primary language, that love tank gets low.
A jam-packed social calendar can make it hard for us to get our love tank filled, but if you make a point to extricate yourself from a conversation or two for a little QT with just you and him, it’s possible. Here are six ways to make it happen at your next crowded holiday party.
01. Plan a pre-party date.
If your love language is Quality Time, this is an easy way to get all charged up before you and your guy get separated by friends and family. Your pre-party date doesn’t have to be elaborate, and it can be just an hour or two—after all, you have a party to get to. Grab dinner, go for a walk down a street that has been decked out with Christmas lights, or snuggle on the couch with some hot cocoa beforehand. When Quality Time is made the priority by planning it ahead of time, you won’t feel forgotten or unloved at the end of the night.
02. Touch in with each other throughout the evening—literally.
For those Physical Touch people, like me, this is a really important strategy for surviving a busy holiday itinerary with friends and family. Make a point to check in with one another as often as you can with a brush of the arm, a hand on the shoulder, a quick hug, or kiss on the cheek. You don’t have to be the PDA queen to let your guy know that you need a charge. If he knows you well (or if you wisely told him what you need), he will be happy to shower you with gentle touches throughout the night that are both discreet and do the job of filling up your love tank.
03. Whisper sweet nothings.
Who says Words of Affirmation are just for when you and your guy are alone? A crowded party actually provides the perfect camouflage for a whispered compliment or word of adoration. You may blush a little when he discreetly tells you that you’re the most beautiful woman in the room, but you will survive, and your love bucket will overflow.
04. Plan to do a secret gift swap.
He could whisper “I love you” quickly in your ear, but if your love language is Gift Giving, that might not quite do the job. If you are worried that your love tank might be in danger of running dry during the holiday festivities, plan to do a secret gift swap at some point in the evening. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant (as any Gift Giving person can attest). Having him mix up your favorite drink or surprise you mid-night with a peanut butter cup from the candy bowl will make you feel warm and fuzzy for the rest of the night.
05. Arrange a rendezvous halfway through the night.
If the pre-party date wasn’t enough, arrange to meet at a specific location and time after you get to the party, or if you are feeling romantic, slip a note in his hand that says, “Meet me in the kitchen for a drink at 9 p.m.” Besides getting a chance to talk just the two of you, this maneuver is helpful for temperature checking. It may be that this is the perfect opportunity to say your goodbyes as a team.
06. Take notice of those little chivalrous gestures.
It can be easy to take little customary gestures of chivalry for granted, but pulling out a chair, opening the door, pulling around the car, and bringing you your drink are all acts of service that, if appreciated as such, should make the Acts of Service person feel loved. Don’t forget to show appreciation for your guy’s chivalrous gestures; when he knows you appreciate them, he will be sure to look for more opportunities to fill up your love tank.
Photo Credit: Nirav Patel