2 min read

Face Value

As long as neither party talks about it, anything goes. There aren’t any real rules. It’s chaos. Words as a primary communication tool forces you to take all that is spoken at face value.
Face Value
me coming to the realization in this essay

Much like the Myers Briggs personality test, there exists a quiz called the “5 Love Languages”. It was created by psychologist Gary Chapman who conducted studies to find effective ways to communicate in intimate relationships based on each individual’s self regulatory behaviors. I make the analogy of this quiz to the Myers Briggs personality test because I feel both have the power to reveal something about ourselves, whether it’s the way we act or think on instinct, or how we believe we act or think on instinct. The labels these quizzes or tests output do not define us as people. They instead provide us with a tool to reflect on our actions and thinking pattens within a framework, which do indeed define us as people.

I’ve taken the 5 love languages quiz multiple times over the course of the past 5 years and each time, I’ve ended up with the same result with “Words of Affirmation” ranking highest and “Gift Giving” ranking the lowest. (Interestingly enough, my Myers Briggs personality tests have yielded varying results over the past 5 years). Words communicated to me hold more metaphorical weight to me than any of the other categories (acts of service, quality time, physical touch, gift giving). It means I value communication specifically through spoken language, to the point where it overshadows communication in other forms like body language and succeeding actions. This value holds strong in all aspects on my life: how I make plans with friends, how I date, how I engage with my team at work, and how I deal with my feelings/emotions overall. I’ve always found comfort in spoken words. Words overrule any other signal of communication for me.

I’ve found high value in mastering the speaking and listening of words. Understanding tone, patterns of rising & falling inflections, and choice of wording with respect to the person speaking provides so much information about a person’s intentions. Intentions behind other forms of communication such as acts of service, quality time, physical touch, and gift giving are often harder to define. The lack of clarity about these intentions may serve as a form of security for some people. Undefined intentions means expectations are allowed be vague. Some may find it preferable to train themselves in way where their own actions are not considerate of someone else. Others may find it preferable to excuse someone else’s actions because of the absent conversation about expectations and boundaries. Undefined intentions mean assumptions function as the closest thing to a source of truth. Assumptions replace the veil between our intentions and theirs. It’s like blindly trying to meet someone in a dark room without knowing where they’re really at. The more assumptions you’ve made, the larger this room gets. Past experiences + coping mechanisms hide what we do not want to see and form the basis of all our assumptions. The dark room is also known as “gray area”. As long as neither party talks about it, anything goes. There aren’t any real rules. It’s chaos.

Perhaps I value words because of the sense of control I get from demanding clarity through them. It feels powerful to ask for an answer. It feels like justice to set boundaries out loud. It feels calming to know that an ambience has been set and all parties have an understanding of the same information. Words as a primary communication tool forces you to take all that is spoken, at face value.

Here’s the part that completely fucks me up right now: the amount of value there is in the lack of words. Shouldn't that be taken at face value too?

please note: this is an incomplete thought