“What are you doing here?”

It was an honest question. I had no idea how to respond, greatly aware that I hadn’t completely considered my reason.

The question hung in the air — time passing, and I still wasn’t answering. I had apparently lost the ability to “language.”

Before I could answer, though, I had to know myself.

Why was I there? My friend hadn’t requested I join him. There was no real purpose for my presence.

I’d just volunteered — maybe more like invited myself in. I tried coming up with my logic for joining him.

Do I want him not to be lonely?

He’s an introvert, so that wasn’t gonna fly.

He might need my help with something.

But he’s a grown man — older than I am, actually. Not taking off either.

I just want him to know I care.

That’s interesting. How would sitting next to him without speaking to each other while we work show care? Who on earth would find that “caring” or “loving”?

I would . . .

The answer hit me like a big yellow school bus. I wasn’t here for him; I was here for me.

Regarding The 5 Love Languages, my second greatest “love language” is quality time. I communicate and receive love simply by being physically present with someone.

We can be silent for hours — but if we are “intentionally” together, then I perceive it as a sign of care and love.

I joined my friend this day literally just to communicate that I care about him and, maybe more so, as a gesture to receive similar care and love from him.

I’d hoped to feel love from him.

That sounds innocent — but, obviously, I hadn’t told him this. I hadn’t even asked if quality time was a love language he understood enough — to give or receive.

It was like I’d started speaking Chinese to him without asking if he even spoke Chinese. And then I got upset when he tried to speak English or just didn’t respond to me.

I processed all this as fast as I could, the question still hanging in the air:

What are you doing here?

I laid out the answer. Plain and simple.

However, it didn’t quite work. The asker wasn’t convinced — or, at least, he wasn’t sure that was an okay reason.

But I do tend to ask myself hard questions and not be satisfied with the answers.

I decided to abandon the quest to feel okay and go back to reading.

My friend sat adjacent to me, oblivious. He had no idea I had just interrogated myself on my presence with him today.

Far as he knew, my focus on my reading never broke. As I flipped the page of my book, I glanced over at him.

I just hope he knows I care, I thought.

What are your primary love languages? When have you had a hard time either giving or receiving this love language to/from another man?

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