How To Use The 5 Love Languages To Love Yourself & Others
Written by: Shelby Torrese - Feb. 3, 2020
Imagine being in a foreign country, not knowing a lick of the language, and trying to express all of your most basic needs to the people around you. To make matters worse, you aren’t even completely sure what your needs are at the moment! What the… To be honest, that sounds like the beginning of a horror film (or a really cheesy rom com) to me. Yet, so many of us unknowingly live in that strange, mute little world everyday! If you’re scrunching your brows, trying to figure out what this twisted world I’m painting is, welcome to your first lesson in love languages.
Love languages are the way we interact with the people around us. They’re how we show connection to our friends, to our family, even to our pets and our significant others. Love languages explain how we feel most loved and supported, and in turn, how we feel most empowered and called to love others. The teachings of these 5 love languages have saved every type of relationship, from marriages to trillion dollar teams, by simply helping people better understand and communicate their needs in both personal and professional relationships.
What Are The 5 Love Languages?
The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate is a book that was written by Gary Chapman in 1992 explaining five different, main love languages that we all innately possess. The five “languages” he defines in his book are the acts of service love language, the quality time love language, the physical touch love language, the gift giving love language, and the words of affirmation love language. He defined them after studying thousands of people who were claiming to not feel loved, while their partner, friend or co-worker felt like they were doing everything they could to love them!
How Do The Love Languages Work?
Love languages help us get to the root of the way, or ways, in which we feel most loved. Some of us enjoy physical touch, whereas some of us may have no interest in that! It works the other way around, too. We may have a completely different love language for the way we show affection. I, for example, absolutely go crazy over gift-giving. I love to do it! But receiving gifts? Makes me anxious.
Keep in mind that love languages are meant to be fun! They are ways to bring you closer to your friends and family, and co-workers. It is simply a communication hack. They help us understand how we can best support the people around us, as well as better understand how we, ourselves, yearn to be supported! I’m going to break down each love language below, and give you insight as to what your love languages may be! Who knows, this may just be your marriage’s (or friendship’s!) saving grace!
1. Acts Of Service Love Language
The acts of service love language is the sexy maid of love languages. Also known as the “actions speak louder than words” language. This love language is highlighted by simply being helpful.
- This is you if—If you feel most supported when others are considerate of the little things, and go out of their way to help you on even the most mundane tasks, you may speak the acts of service love language! If you blush at the thought of your man opening the door for you, or hug your friends extra tight after they offer to take your kids to soccer practice, all signs point to you!
- How to nurture this person best—If someone you love feels loved through acts of service, then you must show them you care! Do the dishes after they make you a meal, or better yet, make them a home cooked meal and clean up! Offer to fill up their gas tank in the winter, beat them to making the bed in the morning, and even take out the trash regardless of whose “job” it is. This person would especially love for you to brew them their Detox tea in the AM, or lull them to sleep with ZzzTox in their favorite mug! 😉
2. Quality Time Love Language
The “we can just sit here and I’d be happy” love language. The quality time love language is uninterrupted, one-on-one time.
- This is you if—If you get irritated when you do not have someone’s undivided attention, or you just love being around your friends and family—whether on a wild adventure or binge watching a movie series on the couch all the same—this may be your language!
- How to nurture this person best—This may be one of the most simple love languages to support. The person who appreciates quality time would much rather you plan a day of togetherness, rather than bombard them with gifts. This is my love language, and how I feel most loved is in a ‘no phone zone’. So whether we’re sitting around a fireplace, a nice dinner, or doing a puzzle, I just want it to be you and me, baby. Nurture this person by planning a picnic, a movie date, going to a theme park, or literally staying home in pajamas all day and making every single Super Youth recipe they’ve bookmarked and been eyeing for weeks.
3. Physical Touch Love Language
The “I just need a hug” love language. Also known as, do not keep your hands to yourself! The physical touch love language is a non-verbal, very physical communication of love.
- This is you if—If being hugged from behind when doing the dishes sends chills up your spine, or a full 60-second hug from a friend makes your whole week, you 100% speak the physical touch love language.
- How to nurture this person best—It is a common misconception that this is a strictly sexual love language. Wrong! Holding someone’s hand does not have to be romantic, FYI. You can hug, kiss, and snuggle your friends without it being sexual at all! If you doooo have a mate that loves physical touch, though, go 👏 all 👏in. 😈They want their feet rubbed, they want you to kiss them…everywhere. They love holding hands when you walk from the parked car to the grocery store entrance, and don’t you dare forget to kiss them goodnight. Ever.
4. Gift Giving Love Language
The “Daddy Warbucks” of love languages, the gift giving love language is about giving, giving, giving! For occasions big or small, gifts are a must!
- This is you if—If you count your gifts on your birthday…need I say more? Seriously, though, if you would feel extra loved by your S.O. surprising you with a subscription of Daily Glow because they know you’re always running low, this is you.
- How to nurture this person best—It may seem fairly simple, this person likes to receive gifts right? Not quite. This person LOVES to receive gifts. They can’t wait to see what you got them, so it should be special. Reminder: special doesn’t necessarily mean expensive! This person would be just as happy receiving a coaster from the first bar you went to together as they would from a diamond necklace. They just love the idea that you thought of them enough to want to gift them something.
5. Words Of Affirmation Love Language
The “tell me I’m pretty” love language. The words of affirmation love language is highlighted best by encouragement, appreciation, and active listening.
- This is you if—If you absolutely love being complimented, this may be your love language. It may not always be physical compliments, either. You may feel really seen, supported, and loved when someone simply says they’re so proud of you for accomplishing something.
- How to nurture this person best—Nurture the words of affirmation love language speaker by telling them they look nice, or that they did a great job on their presentation at work. They feel loved when they’re reminded of their value. These people could care less about receiving a Rolex watch or being hugged until their eyes pop out of their head. They want to be told that they are special, important, and talented!
Use love languages to deepen a relationship, and never punish anyone for not knowing yours. Keep in mind that someone may be supporting you based on their own love language, rather than yours. When someone is showing love and affection, no matter how, try and practice gratitude. Even if you could care less about a home cooked meal, and all you wanted were the new ultra-trendy sneakers that just dropped in your size, give thanks.
When you do know your love language, don’t be afraid to share it! Tell your significant other, and/or your friends what you’ve learned by learning your love language, and encourage them to figure theirs out too. It will not only strengthen your bond, but also be a heck of a lot easier when holiday and birthday time comes around. So show up, share your findings, and spread the love!