How to Show Affection to Loved Ones


Max Tapper

Throughout our lives, we have all likely been taught to show affection for those that we care about. For some of us, showing our love to family and friends has come naturally. However, for other people, it can be difficult to display emotions regarding those around them. It is important to acknowledge that not everyone shows affection in the same manner. Just because someone is naturally loving does not mean that he or she is quick to give their grandmother a kiss. Even the most solicitous people can hold viewpoints against common affectionate behaviors. Also, just because one does not willingly show affection does not mean that he or she is not a compassionate individual. This person might have grown up in an environment in which he or she was not taught to show affection for others. Hence, he or she may find alternative methods to communicate with others, which can be interpreted as rude or harmful. However, one must be aware that these interpretations do not necessarily reflect the person’s intentions. People such as these still have the capability to learn how to show affection for others around them. However, the efforts to influence these people are not always successful, as they simply might not value amiable relationships. However, I am a firm believer that one must always make the effort to develop valuable, sociable skills. I am Max Tapper, and I am here to give you, my fellow students, guidance on how to show affection for those that truly matter to you.


  1. Provide Advice or Verbal Support to a Family Member or Friend 

Today’s society greatly encourages young people to help those around them. Ever since the COVID-19 Pandemic, many of us have faced difficulties with the quality of our mental health. Therefore, many of us struggle to find ways to cope as we return to a sense of normalcy. This is where many agree that it is time to seek guidance. Lately, people have contacted figures such as therapists and teachers to receive advice on how to develop their self-management skills. However, it has not been uncommon for adults to turn to children and teenagers if they need a hand. One night, my mother came home late  after a stressful interaction with her boss. My mother would respectfully vent about how she felt disrespected despite her contributions to the company. Upon hearing my mother open up, I would consider all of the times where other children would ignore my efforts to develop positive relationships. I would also consider how some of these children came off as quite disrespectful towards what I had to say. However, I would always put myself in the other person’s shoes to not let the situation bother me more than it should have. Therefore, I would tell my mother that in life, you catch more with honey than with vinegar. What this saying means is that if you are courteous to other people, you will receive more support and develop a better image of yourself. What I meant by saying this is that if my mother kept being her pure, considerate self, she would eventually receive recognition for her hard work after all. I would also tell my mother that in life, it is impossible to please everyone. I elaborated that even if my mother’s boss did not show appreciation, she should still respect him even if she did not like him. I would also add that my mother’s boss was likely fighting his own battle that she was not aware of. What I said that night would change my mother’s perspective on the situation. A few days later, my mother told me that at work, her boss continued to make the experience difficult. However, she would also add that her day had gone better since she had thought about my advice. I now had confirmation that I had made a difference for someone that I cared about. Whenever you see a family member or friend having a rough day, say something positive or provide some guidance. Even if you do not see a result right away, you need to have hope that you are reaching the person in need of assistance. If you think positively about the person’s capabilities, you will desire to continue helping the person in question. If you try hard enough, you will notice your family member or friend changing their behavior and/or perspective on a situation. This will likely give you a great sense of accomplishment, as well as a desire to continue changing other people’s lives for the better. 


2. Perform a Random Act of Kindness

In recent years, society has developed a greater focus on demonstrating generosity in public settings. In middle school, I would notice that staff members encouraged picking up another student’s books and discarding others’ lunch trays. I appreciated that people around me began to take this approach as early in childhood, I held a constant desire to clear the table or wash the dishes. Even if my help was not needed, I would always embrace my desire to assist the people that I loved. Therefore, I would make myself feel better about who I was as a person. To explain, at a young age, I was insecure about my capabilities to make an effective contribution to the world around me. I feared that other people viewed me as too small or too naive to have an impact on their own lives. I was aware that I was only a small child, and that I was only capable of so many things. Sure, I could throw out my own plate after breakfast, but it was not like I knew how to use the oven to cook a turkey. Therefore, whenever I volunteered to pitch in at family dinners, I often found myself carrying mere plastic cups of ice to the table. While performing these small tasks made me feel good, I would always feel the desire to do bigger, better things. Even as I saw a smile form on my grandfather’s face, I felt somewhat guilty as I knew that I could, and should, be doing more for him and my grandmother. Today, I realize that my grandparents are in need of assistance more than ever. I have noticed that more recently, it has gotten harder for them to perform essential life functions, such as dressing and walking. Whenever I have to buckle down on schoolwork over the weekend, I practically feel ashamed of myself. I could be using that time to do the right thing and pay a visit. What if my grandmother needs help getting into the car? What if my grandfather needs his walker placed in the bathroom? What if the aid is sick and no one else is at home? Whenever I am not there for my loved ones, it hurts me to think that they will have to face obstacles on their own. As a child, I also feared what would happen if I were to make a mistake in helping others. What if I were to drop a tray while carrying it to the sink? Would it make a big mess? Would my mother yell at me? I held the unjustified prospect that if I were to mess up one thing one time, I would lose the respect of those around me. This mindset would often prompt me to overreact to minor errors in communication or executive functioning. However, I have learned that ultimately, mistakes are acceptable as they are unavoidable. We tell a lie. We get an order wrong. We fail a test. However, it is critical to have the ability to learn from mistakes so that you avoid the repetition of what is wrong. Even if you lack confidence in your capabilities, always make the effort to ask if you can help take someone’s plate or carry their books. You never know. These small, seemingly trivial actions can lead to the development of amiable, long-lasting relationships. All you need to do is try. 


3. Stay in Touch With Old Friends and Relatives

Throughout my childhood, many faces have come and gone. When I started preschool, I was introduced to an environment with all unfamiliar people. Most of my classmates were rather quiet, as we were all still learning the basics of speech. However, a portion of my classmates were more verbal, with some being able to use their words better than others. Personally, I had the capability to talk at a basic level with other students and teachers. However, I would struggle to utilize my socialization skills in order to establish connections. To explain, I was aware that I did not hold similar interests to my other classmates. Whenever someone picked up a die-cast Optimus Prime at playtime, I found myself more interested in a Wooden Railway Thomas. Since I saw that transformers were favored over tank engines, I would feel foolish for choosing the less popular option. Also, whenever someone asked who my favorite superhero was, I would get quiet. I could tell that Spiderman was the talk of the town in the classroom. However, one could find me fixated on a red-capped Italian plumber more often than any teenaged web-shooter. Therefore, I would not often mention my true childhood heroes as I feared humiliation from my peers. However, I have found that those with even the most peculiar interests can find like-minded friends. Although it did not necessarily happen in primary school, I would meet students and even staff members that held similar interests to me. One day at Conover Road Elementary School, I was sitting next to a student and his friends that were sharing a pack of Super Mario gummies. I would note that the student sharing them spoke with genuine interest, as he would note what character or power-up each gummy represented. Specifically, the student would identify a green mushroom-shaped gummy as a 1-Up Mushroom. I would verbally note the student’s enthusiasm, and I also mentioned that the 1-Up Mushroom first appeared in the 1985 Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System. My recognition of this piece of video game trivia seemed to impress the student. I could tell that I had made an impression on the student as he would ask me about my favorite character and power-up from the Mario series. At the time, it was Yoshi and the Wing Cap from Super Mario 64. Ultimately, this third grade lunch would prompt me to spend my time around students that accepted me for the person that I was. As of today, I still acknowledge these students with a periodic wave in the hallway. I am also open to a quick text or call from someone that I was close with back at Conover Road. If you ever have down time, I suggest that you try reaching out to an old friend from your earlier years of education. In addition, you must remember that indirect family members are just as important. I propose that you give your aunts, uncles, and cousins a text or call when you find the chance. If you do this, you will receive the best of both worlds from those that matter. Whenever you need help or just someone to talk to, these people are only a phone call away.


4. Write a Letter to a Fellow Student or Family Member 

Society has assigned penmanship towards those that we hold dear for many generations. Earlier in our educational lives, we students were all likely told on holidays to write cards to our classmates. These cards would reflect our writing abilities at the time, but would also reflect how students felt about their peers. During primary and elementary school, most of my classmates had close, amiable relationships with one another. If you regularly saw a group of girls singing and playing games together, you could tell that they were good friends. However, as we progressed into middle and high school, trends, popularity, and emotions would taint many long-standing friendships. Hence, it would become difficult for students to work and cope together through all of the dances, tests, and shutdowns. Today, some friendships have survived, but others have cracked underneath the pressure of adolescence. However, there is still hope for parted pals to get back together. If you want to reconcile with a former friend, I suggest that you start out by writing them a nice, thorough letter in the coming week. As you write, think about how this person has influenced you to be the person that you are today. Maybe this person always scored the last hoop for your team. Maybe this person helped you pass Pre-Algebra through personal tutoring. Maybe this person made you laugh until chocolate milk squirted out of your nose. The more you think about how this person matters to you, the more you will want to write in the card. However, you do not want to utilize diction that will make you appear desperate for one’s friendship. Personally, I avoid those who seem like they would collapse if they do not receive a like or follow request. Make sure that you put heart into your card, but do not make the reader picture you on your knees begging for a second chance. I understand that one card might not rekindle past relationships. However, from my experience, it is more worthwhile to attempt reconciliation than to never make the effort. You can utilize the writing skills you gain to warm the hearts of your family and current friends. Your family and friends will see how much you care, and you will likely see the difference that grabbing a pen and paper makes in our lives. 


5. Listen to Those Who Want to Help You

Throughout my life, I have always valued hard work in order to find success. I can tell when someone is pensive about their workload, whether it be in school or in their occupation. Obviously, I have felt this way myself many times. However, my friends and  family have developed my focus on self-care and time management. To explain, when I entered high school, I would realize that I needed to study more often in order to pass my classes. However, the more I focused on this notion, the more stress I would cause myself. This would cause me to lose touch when I had to stop myself from overanalyzing school. For example, if I were to receive a 70% on an Algebra 1 quiz, the effect of it on my overall average was always less than my exaggeration. Despite this, I would get lost in the moment instead of learning from what I did wrong. Of course, I would get over the quiz or test in the end. However, this year, I have come to understand the difference between taking school seriously and letting it cause you stress. To explain, the advice that my friends and family have provided me often runs through my head. Take it one day at a time. Not everything is monumental. It is just school. For some time, I did not necessarily apply these pieces of guidance to my life. I remained stuck in my nervous, negative thoughts instead of reaching out of the clutter to try a new mindset. However, I knew full well how much it hurt for my loved ones to see me struggling emotionally. Therefore, I would learn to listen to my family and friends when they told me that I needed to calm down. I am thankful that I have chosen to take this approach. By listening to those that care about me, I am no longer trapped in a cage of fear. Nowadays, I tell myself that I am capable of controlling my emotions as well as my destiny. I would also like to thank the staff members and students that have helped me develop this new approach to life. My advice for my fellow classmates would be that if you ever have an issue, please ask for help. Seek guidance from a staff member or a student you know that you can trust. Make sure you talk to this person in a tone that will make him or her want to help you. If the staff member or student agrees to help you, make sure you listen to what he or she has to say. The acknowledgement of other people’s thoughts and feelings is a skill that will get you far in life.