Have you ever wondered why actions you believe to be affectionate don’t always give you the desired result?
From your flat-mate not noticing you’ve washed the dishes and done the hoovering, to your romantic partner not batting an eyelid at the endless compliments you’re giving them.
This can be so frustrating.
Let’s remind ourselves it’s completely okay for kind gestures to go unacknowledged. But let’s face it—sometimes we want that recognition, especially in regard to making someone feel loved.
Recently I’ve heard more and more about “Love Languages” and I think I’ve finally discovered the key to helping someone feel amazing; and I’ll be sure to share this knowledge so they can help me feel fabulous too!
The truth is, it’s different for everyone. Most people don’t give and receive love in the same way. Thanks to Dr. Chapman—the Love Language guru who developed this theory—I now know the five different ways we show people we love them; and why some of these methods, although kind, simply don’t hit the spot.
So, without further ado, here are Dr. Chapman’s 5 Love Languages:
- Receiving gifts
- Acts of service
- Quality time
- Physical touch
- Words of affirmation
But what does this mean?
Receiving Gifts is a pretty self-explanatory one and is much more than being materialistic.
Have you ever heard the saying, “it’s the thought that counts?” This is most likely said by people who respond well to gift-giving and receiving as a love language.
It can be something expensive but the appreciation of this act doesn’t increase with monetary value. The same amount of love is received whether the gift is a necklace from Tiffany or a hand-made Christmas card.
For people whose love language is receiving gifts, your heart is likely to be full throughout the festive period.
Acts of service
We can all take pride in knowing we have made someone else feel good by completing acts of service. This love language focuses on the giving of your time to do something for your partner you know they would appreciate.
Whether that’s cooking your partner a delicious home cooked meal, helping them with something they’re stuck with, or filling the car with gas on your way home so they don’t have to do it the next day.
Although it’s important to remember that love languages don’t only relate to romantic relationships, an act of service can also be as simple as being committed and loyal to someone.
Quality Time is exactly what it says on the tin (with an emphasis on quality).
For a lot of people, the time they spend together day-to-day isn’t particularly special. It’s time where their attention is elsewhere and they’re wishing the time away until they’ve finished their tedious to-do list.
For people with a love language of quality time, they appreciate ultimate dedication. This could be in a group setting or 1:1, but either way, active listening is a must. Phones off, a thoughtful activity and undivided attention is the way to their heart.
Sex, hugs or a reassuring pat on the shoulder all have the ability to make some people feel loved.
Personally, this is the love language I find hardest to get my head around, as it’s evident physical touch isn’t exclusive to loving someone. Nevertheless, to others this is the ultimate sign of affection.
Words of Affirmation
Words of Affirmation otherwise known as praise, compliments, encouragement and reassurance. A kind message on a post-it note can make the day of people with this love language, which means insults have the power to do the opposite.
For these people actions don’t quite speak louder than words in all cases. Similar to physical touch, words of affirmation aren’t necessarily exclusive to loving someone, as they may not always be genuine or heart-felt.
I believe that it’s vital for words of affirmation to be supported by all of the love languages above, which is why I was surprised to discover that my personal love language by a mile was in fact words of affirmation.
Dr. Chapman often explains that it is very likely that you’d appreciate any one of the above; and at first glance may find it difficult to determine which you gravitate most towards. However, he also believes that there will always be one primary love language for each individual.
This is why at times, when we feel unappreciated despite our best efforts, it’s purely because you’re speaking to someone in a foreign language; a love language that they don’t relate too.
You can also reverse this for your benefit. Be mindful of others actions as they try to do kind things, appreciate their efforts and tell them exactly what makes you tick. Responding to people with the correct love language will help to strengthen all of the relationships with people around you.
What Love Language do you most relate to?