By Janna Adams
If you’re an avid reader, into personality tests, or maybe just interested in what makes people tick, you’ve probably heard of the love languages. If you haven’t, the explanation is pretty simple: your primary love language is the way you feel the most loved by your significant other, or even your friends, co-workers, or family, and discovering how you feel loved, and how those closest to you feel love, can do a lot for your relationships.
The love language concept was created by Gary Chapman, who actually wrote a book on the concept. But you don’t have to read the whole book to benefit from its contents and from the idea of love languages—just knowing the basics will give you everything you need to reap the benefits and make your relationships better.
There are 5 primary love languages out there, so here are some brief details on each one:
- Acts of Service
In this love language, saying “I’ll wash the dishes” holds as much weight as saying “I love you.” Doing things for the person who speaks this love language shows them that you appreciate them and that you’re willing to take some of the burden of responsibility off of them—to share it between the two of you. This love language may seem simple, but actions can move mountains in showing your loved one that you care for them.
Whether it’s watching a Netflix show, grabbing coffee, or just sitting in the living room together as you do separate activities, the love language of quality time simply means being there. Shared time with someone who speaks this language brings them comfort and stability, and it shows that you want to be around them, that you enjoy their company just as much as they enjoy yours. This love language can mean undivided attention—no distractions or other responsibilities, or it can just mean completing personal tasks together, like joining them as they run errands or finishing your work on your laptop as they finish their phone call beside you.
If you’ve ever received a “just saw this and thought you’d like it” gift, you probably know someone with a love language for gifts. People with this love language find deep connection when given thoughtful trinkets that remind them that you understand them and think about them. The perfect gift reflects the deep thought that goes into a relationship with someone who speaks this love language, and the time and responsibility that the person who gave them the gift has sacrificed for them does not go unnoticed.
Those who speak this love language find comfort in the small touches—a pat on the arm, a hug, a hand on the shoulder, or even just the touching of arms when standing beside them. It’s all about being accessible, within arm’s reach, in order to feel safe and secure. Being physically available for people who love through physical touch is crucial, and tells them that you are there for them emotionally as well.
Words of Affirmation
The power of words is one that the speaker of this language doesn’t take lightly. To open their heart, someone who values words of affirmation appreciates a sincere compliment, an unexpected text about why you appreciate them, or a handwritten letter from the heart. They are most likely very careful in how they speak and talk to others, so when that same intentionality goes into how they’re spoken to and about, they hold it with great value.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to love languages. Knowing your own love language can help you navigate your relationships with great self-awareness. Start by taking the Love Language quiz at 5lovelanguages.com (don’t worry, you get your results back right away!) and leave a comment telling us which love language is yours!