Americans feel most loved with small, non-romantic gestures — like someone showing compassion or snuggling a child, while possessive behaviour is seen as the least loving, finds a survey.
The survey, led by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in the US, examined what makes the majority of Americans feel loved on a daily basis, or if it was a more personal thing.
The findings showed that the top four scenarios which made people feel loved were non-romantic gestures like someone showing compassion, snuggling a child, being happily greeted by a pet, or someone simply saying “I love you”.
“We found that behavioural actions — rather than purely verbal expressions — triggered more consensus as indicators of love.
“For example, more people agreed that a child snuggling them was more loving than someone simply saying ‘I love you’,” said Saeideh Heshmati, a postdoctoral researcher at the varsity.
“It is possible for people to feel loved in simple, everyday scenarios. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top gestures,” Heshmati added.
On the other hand, controlling behaviour‚ like somebody else always needing to know where they were‚ were perceived as the least loving in American culture‚ he said in the paper published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
“In American culture, it seems that controlling or possessive behaviours are the ones people do not feel loved by,” Heshmati said.
“If someone wants to know where you are at all times, or acts controlling, those actions are not loving to us. This could be a cultural difference, though,” Heshmati noted.
For the study, the team recruited 495 American adults to answer a questionnaire about whether or not they thought most people would feel loved in 60 different scenarios.