Consentir is one of those verbs that is used so commonly that you wonder how English gets along with a clear counterpart. The verb spoil comes close but is usually restricted to child rearing, for which Spanish has mimar. The essense of consentir is doing something that someone else wants you to do in order to make them feel good.
- ¿Me consientes? Would you go out to the tiendita and get my favorite snack, since I’m too lazy/busy/sick to go myself?
- Ya no te voy a consentir, eh. I’m not going to give in so often anymore.
- Te consiento demasiado. I’m too nice to you.
- Te consiento con apapachos. I hug you (since I know how much you like that).
As you can see from these example, consentir goes naturally with romantic or family relationships. However, it could work as well within a friendship, for example, if you don’t like horror movies, but your friend wants you to go to one with him, and you do.
Consentir can be reflexive as well: Me metí a la tina para consentirme un rato. I took a bath (in a tub) to treat myself.
The dictionary lists consent as a translation for consentir, but the meaning described here is a little different. Also, note that consentir is based on sentir, so it has the same pattern of conjugation: consiente, consintió.
Within the family, el consentido is the favorite child, the one who gets the most love and attention from his or her parents. When I meet someone new and the conversation turns to their family, I often ask which sibling is the consentido. They’ll either grin and confess that they are the consentido, or they’ll finger a sibling, or they’ll claim that their siblings are all treated equally. Whichever response they choose, now we have something potentially interesting to talk about.
Una niña consentida is a young girl used to getting her way, daddy’s little girl.
At school, el consentido would be the teacher’s pet, the student who receives preferential treatment from the teacher.
For every consentido there must logically be a consentidor. A ver si no tengo problemón por andar de consentidora. (telenovela dialogue)