Care for less people, but More
It’s not hard to blame Social Media for one more thing. Here goes.
In the years BZ (before ‘Zuck) Dunbar’s number suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships—relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person.
If you had 1,000 Facebook friends, how many would visit you visit in the ER?
Dunbar’s surveys of village and tribe sizes appeared to approximate this predicted value, including 150 as the estimated size of a Neolithic farming village, a Amazon tribe, or the basic unit size of professional armies in Roman antiquity and in modern times. Dunbar has argued that 150 would be the mean group size only for communities with a very high incentive to remain together.
In other words, if you don’t know people, you’re unlikely to care for them.
Caring is not always recognized, or appreciated. That’s because it comes in so many different forms, and being good at one type of caring does not mean it will be received with all the energy that it is given. According to 5 Love Languages, the way we care boils down to affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts.
Affirmation is all about using words to express love and appreciation. If your partner’s primary love language is affirmation, they need to hear “I love you,” “You’re amazing,” “I’m proud of you,” and other words of affirmation on a regular basis. When you speak this language, you are building your partner’s self-esteem and showing them that you notice and appreciate the things they do.
Quality time is about giving your undivided attention to your partner. If your partner’s primary love language is quality time, they want you to put down your phone, turn off the TV, and spend time with them. When you make time for your partner, you are showing them that they are a priority in your life.
Physical touch is about using physical touch to express love and affection. If your partner’s primary love language is physical touch, they crave hugs, kisses, holding hands, and other physical displays of affection. When you touch your partner, you are creating a sense of closeness and intimacy that can deepen your connection.
Acts of service are about doing things for your partner to show them that you care. If your partner’s primary love language is acts of service, they want you to take out the trash, cook dinner, do the laundry, and help with other household tasks. When you do these things, you are showing your partner that you are willing to put in effort to make their life easier.
Receiving gifts is about giving your partner tangible symbols of your love. If your partner’s primary love language is receiving gifts, they appreciate thoughtful and meaningful gifts that show that you know them well. When you give your partner a gift, you are showing them that you care about their happiness and that you pay attention to their wants and needs.
In Japan, Keiro-no-Hi, is a national public holiday. As the name suggests, it’s a day to honor and respect the country’s elderly citizens. It is held on the third Monday of September each year, and it is ingrained as a year round cultural obligation. This feels right to me.
I think caring should be taught in School, like HomeEc was, back in the day.