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    A loved one here can be a great friend, your kids, your partner etc.

    This is another example about people’s “Love Languages“.

    The way in which people like to give and receive positive affection – via touch, praise, physical gifts, favors or quality time – determines the nature of your surprise for your friend. 

    Many “surprises” work so well because people don’t always communicate with words what they like. But since a vast part of communication is non-verbal, we can observe and take an “educated guess” what the other person likes. So we all give clues as to what we’d like to receive all the time. Other people, unfortunately, don’t immediately pick up on our hints.

    So we have gotten used to only expect someone to do something for us when we actually ask for it. And when we get our needs fulfilled without saying anything, we are positively surprised!

    To recap the “5 Love Languages
    1. Does somebody touch other people often, slap them on their shoulder etc.? “Touch” may be his favorite language.
    2. Is someone always praising others or love being praised?
    3. Does someone enjoy giving and receiving gifts?
    4. If you talk to someone, is that person present in the conversation and not at all in a hurry to continue with his day? If so, he or she may value time most.
    5. Is your friend often helping you with little errands? Some people just get up and fix the sink while you tell him about it.

    The way in which people behave, how they interact and communicate with you gives you a good glimpse on what their preferred “language of love” is. Someone who is ready to jump ahead and fix your sink might appreciate if you reciprocate in a similar way. In the same language.

    Surprise Kitchen Sink

    Clean the sink and your husband will be happy.

    #1 – Take over small errands

    This can be very simple. Imagine your spouse must bring a DVD back to the library and you simply do that for her.

    Everyone who appreciates favors will like it.

    Other example: If you see your friend or colleague overworked, finish a task that he or she don’t easily get to or may even forget. For example, if they have documents lying around that they have to file or send away by mail, ask them if you can do that for them. They’ll be more than happy to oblige.

    If you talk to people, they will easily mention small projects like these. Or if you observe people a bit, you see them

    #2 – Taking care of a larger project

    Some things on our list we intend to do but never get around to it.

    For example, I once dated a girl who had a plethora of photos on her hard drive and then was told the controller broke and the hard drive was useless.

    I did not believe that and brought the hard drive to the computer department of the university I was working on at that time.

    Sure enough, they could still retrieve the data.

    It cost me an afternoon copying the files – and she would have never gotten around to it.

    Most actions we take will essentially not take more than half a day. if that much.

    But we are sometimes hesitant to carry them out, because they seem like a big mountain of work.

    To us – not to someone else, who may actually have an easy time carrying them out.

    Getting something unexpected off our friends’ shoulder really does not need to take that long. The best?

    There is no time pressure, because nobody expects you to do it.

    #3 – Hugging someone, just like that.

    If your spouse likes physical affection, just hug him or her for no good reason at all. Of course, not everyone likes “Public Displays of Affection”, but if you do it in the privacy of your home, this can be a great surprise.

    #4 – Spontaneous sex

    As a surprise… of course!

    Even after a long while of being together, just seduce her as a complete surprise, maybe trying out some new techniques etc. If you are a man, you can get a good insight as to what women fantasize about when you read Nancy Friday’s “My Secret Garden”.

    #5 – A complete day just for your wife and/or your kids.

    This is something my Mom did for me when I was younger – a “Florian Day”.

    She would leave a little note on my bed just letting me know that today was gonna be an awesome day completely of my own chosing.

    Even though I never really felt the need for a day much “better” than the others, it was the gesture that counted most. Having a day just for myself was making me feel special.

    If your loved ones prefer quality time beyond all else, this is one of the best gifts you can give.

    #6 – Just listen when someone is down.

    Surprise Coffee

    Just listen over a cup of coffee.

    When you see your friend being stressed or beaten down, offer him a cup of coffee or tea and an open ear.

    Sometimes time is really the one aspect which we never seem to have enough off, yet all of a sudden it can be there if someone else offers it for you.

    #7 – Getting your girlfriend or wife a whole day in the spa.

    Or weekend. Wellness. Relax. Massages.

    Women seem to appreciate that more, even though men don’t necessarily DON’T want it.

    #8 – Fulfilling long forgotten wishes

    People say phrases like “I wish XYZ” etc. all the time.

    Then they forget. But you don’t!

    Because you have written all those “XYZs” down. A few months later, when your friend has all but forgotten about it, you have the killer gift for him or her.

    #9 – Spontaneous, direct praise.

    Just spontaneously praise someone for something he or she has done.

    Or what their strengths are. For example, a friend told me once that I was very good in remembering melodies.

    Now, I still remember the whole situation. We were on our way to get some Burgers from McDonald’s.

    It was really not much different from any other day, yet that day stands out because I was praised.

    And here is the trick: on the long run, this adds to the trust I am extending to my friend (or anyone else who does that to me).

    Not only am I happy. Not only do I now think: ‘that was nice’. No.

    I think my friend speaks the truth and is an excellent judge of character. Which he is.

    This illustrates a very general principle, right there: When we give, we will receive gratitude back, often much more than what we “put in”.

    #10 – Praise someone to his or her peers.

    If you are out and about with your spouse (or even a business partner) on a party or work function – why not mention a specific detail that paints your friend in a great light? Something from the past they have likely forgotten. Of course, nothing that would embarrass them…

    Yeah. If I am with a friend talking to someone else, and my friend brings up something flattering for me that happened several months ago, I feel good because I remember something I almost had forgotten myself.

    I then appreciate someone else remembers a detail about me, and the whole praise is completely organic.

    It can’t possibly be something I instructed him or her to say about me to paint me in a positive light to my coworkers. No. This is completely heartfelt.

    If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.

    Yesterday’s challenge: Click me!

    What is this challenge about? This link will teach you more.

    And to get back to the main page, you can click here.

    How do you surprise your friends?

    How have you been surprised?

    Thanks for reading and let us know in the comments below!

    (Pictures from Wikimedia commons.)