What If Your Love Language Is Sending Memes?
It goes down in the DMs.
Though the future of our favorite social media platforms may be uncertain (looking at you, Twitter), one thing is for sure: Memes aren’t going anywhere. In the few decades they’ve been around, memes have become such an inescapable part of our culture. Sharing these viral moments with family, friends, and romantic partners has evolved from simply being a way to stay in touch into a greater expression of love and intimacy. You have to know the receiver’s sense of humor to send a meme successfully, so it feels good when your crush starts DMing you posts related to a conversation you had on your second date. Does that mean, then, that sending memes should be considered a new love language? Three dating experts weigh in on where the modern-day communication form falls on the spectrum.
In case you need a refresher, there are five official love languages: physical touch, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, and quality time. Simply put, these languages help you categorize the way you prefer to show and receive love from a partner in a platonic or romantic relationship. One could argue sharing memes falls under a few of these categories already — if your language is words of affirmation, receiving a meme from your partner related to your interests can show they were listening. If you’re a quality-time person, communicating via memes all day while you’re apart can help you feel closer.
Love languages are oftentimes more than just qualities you’d like your partner to have, and according to dating coach Sabrina Zohar, for some people, love languages can be nonnegotiable. If their partner isn’t affectionate in the way they require, some individuals likely won’t stay in that relationship. The dating coach believes, however, that it is possible to maintain a happy, healthy relationship with someone who might be less interested in meme culture than you, which is why Zohar doesn’t believe that it counts as a love language.
Zohar also acknowledges how sending memes may be used as a “bid for connection” or a tool to help build a bond. This is why she views it as an added bonus in a relationship, rather than a be-all and end-all. “[Sending memes] can maintain a relationship, but I think if all you have is that, you’re pretty much in the same place as if you omitted those. I don’t see how it can strengthen [a relationship] versus just maybe enhance it,” Zohar shares.
Finding someone you can share a laugh with is a major must-have for many people in the dating pool, which is why it may seem odd there isn’t a love language that encompasses that. Host of the dating podcast We Met at Acme Lindsey Metselaar thinks sending memes as a form of communication could qualify as a love language since it shows if your sense of humor is compatible with a potential partner, but it more likely falls under one of the official love languages instead.
“If [sending memes] was going to be any of the love languages, it would be gift giving because the meaning behind people who have that as their love language is that they like to know that someone was thinking of them when they saw something.”
Sexologist Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, who has a Ph.D. in human communication with a focus on sex and relationships, feels a bit differently. The Los Angeles-based expert recognizes that forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC), like texting or video chatting, have become a huge “part of life” for younger generations, especially in their relationships. She feels sharing memes allows “generations that are very comfortable with computer-mediated communication” to demonstrate how much they care about each other. Instead of categorizing just meme communication as a love language, Suwinyattichaiporn believes all forms of online communication should be a new love language category.
“CMC serves as a tool to strengthen relationships, especially nowadays when we’re running around everywhere,” Suwinyattichaiporn tells Bustle. “CMC becomes [a] more and more important tool to show affection or closeness to the relationships in your life in ways that it’s never been like before.” Just look at long-distance relationships, for example. Tools like FaceTime make it much easier to stay in communication with your partner throughout the day, even when you’re three time zones apart.
Everyone who is fluent in social media trends knows memes are basically their own form of communication, which is why finding someone who understands your meme “language” can be a truly special feeling. Though it might be a hard sell to convince your partner your love language is sending memes, there’s no denying it has ties to other equally important aspects of successful relationships, like having a shared sense of humor and valuing communication.
Sabrina Zohar, dating coach and host of the Do the Work podcast
Lindsey Metselaar, host of the We Met at Acme podcast
Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, Ph.D., sexologist, professor, and host of the Luvbites by Dr. Tara podcast