What’s your latest yum-cha conversation?

Hong Kong people like to have dim sum, a.k.a. “yum-cha”.  It’s a time for bonding, for food (if you like dim sum) and for quality conversation (sometimes).  So why is it that some people can go yum-cha every day or every week with the same people (let’s say, family members) and yet the underlying relationships between these people may not be so great?  The answer is simple, small talk doesn’t build bonds.  Deep albeit sometimes emotional conversations do.

Have you ever heard parents “teaching” their teenage (or even adult) children, during a dim sum lunch?  Have you ever paid attention to how the children react?  Often times they are either trying desperately to find the nearest exit, ask for a toilet break, or bury themselves in their phones.  Why is this?

The parents are speaking in the same language, but the children are completely non-receptive.  There is a huge need for active listening by the children, but there is equally a strong need by the parent(s) to understand The 5 Love Languages so they can better communicate with their children.  While children of this generation are quite familiar with technology and can rely on the internet to find answers to many problems, the one thing that the internet does not teach is how to verbally communicate.  Being adults, we are tasked with ensuring that we find the “right” way to communicate with our children.  Just as you wouldn’t speak to a toddler using algorithms, you wouldn’t want to speak to a teenager using what you think is the “right” way to communicate.  Getting familiar with The 5 Love Languages is often critical at a time when children are developing and transitioning from one phase of life to another.  If a child is looking for affirmations, giving them plenty of hugs and kisses may not do the trick.

The same applies to couples that have been in the same relationship for a very long time.  There seems to be some form of unspoken expectation that one partner understands the other.  The danger of that is that when two people have had two very different sets of experiences and speak a very different Love Language, they can end up communicating their love in very different ways.  This could result in arguments that damage the relationship, and if it gets very emotional it could also do deep harm that results in prolonged suffering.

Everyone is busy in this modern world.  Yet if you take the time out to learn a bit more about how to address people during day to day social interactions and the result will be stronger relationships.  All of us have relationships that could use some building.  If you are using your time and effort but unable to build a relationship to the stage where you would like it to be, learning more about The 5 Love Languages is a great way to start.  We can certainly pick up the book, but if you are looking for condensed and concise feedback then it’s probably worth reaching out to David Yeh Jr., who is based right here in Hong Kong.  His expertise in the area of relationships and the 5 Love Languages will give your insightful feedback on what it is you are lacking and perhaps doing wrong.

Judy Wong

Writer, Speaker and Lifestyle Coach