Here’s a scenario:
For your partner’s birthday, you’ve planned a big birthday party planned for them. You’ve invited so many friends it’s a house party. After that, you’ve set up a trip. You are taking them to the beach, and you have even made reservations to a Micheline star restaurant.
At the party, they are very quiet, and at the beach, they just read. You notice that at the restaurant you booked months in advance they barely touch their food.
You go back home and wait a few days, and don’t mention the trip. You’re angry and want to know how you could ruin a trip so painstakingly for them. You wanna know so you ask them. They say it was fine, but you know they’re lying so you aksing, and they tell.
They thank you for all of the hard work and effort you put in. They say that they love what you’ve done, but they wished you had actually planned this for them and not yourself.
Does this person seem selfish?
Without any details, you can feel for the planner. They planned a party, a trip, and they made reservations at an expensive restaurant for their partner’s birthday. It could seem like their partner is just a selfish, inconsiderate, and ungrateful person.
BUT what if:
The person whose birthday it was: hates going to the beach, and they’ve mentioned it before. They have a short attention span and don’t enjoy it for more than an hour. And what if I also told you the type of food at the restaurant was their least favorite kind of food. Lastly, this person is an introvert and was overwhelmed by the number of strangers at this party.
It changes the narrative entirely, doesn’t it?
A big part of doing something for someone you care about is knowing and caring about what they want. If I gave you a dog when you don’t like them and have been talking about wanting pink butted tarantula. Am I being loving, or am I just giving you what I want you to have?
Also, you have to account for love languages into account. Learning a person’s love language is often a big deal, in treating them well. It will stop you from spending $1000s of dollars on someone who would be happier with you cleaning up the house.