Love Languages: How to Care For Your Friends, Family, & Partners More Deeply
Even if you haven’t read Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages, you may have heard people talk about this concept. While the book comes under fire for being too overtly religious to be welcoming to some readers, too dumbed-down, and too heteronormative, I think that even without diving into the details of Chapman’s strangely entrepreneurial relationship advice (one look at the website is enough to have me cringing) we can learn something about ourselves and our loved ones—whether they’re our romantic partners, our family members, or our close friends. If you know what makes your loved ones feel valued, you can make more tangible efforts to love them in a way that feels meaningful to them.
The idea behind The Five Love Languages is that everybody has different actions that make them feel most appreciated:
- Words of Affirmation – saying you’re proud of someone, you love them, giving them a card, or sending them a nice text
- Acts of Service – helping someone out with a project; doing the chores for them
- Receiving Gifts – surprising someone with a gift, just because!
- Quality Time – giving someone your undivided attention; spending time together
- Physical Touch – a comforting hug; holding hands; putting your arm around someone’s shoulders
You may not have one “love language” that stands out above the rest—my results had 3 of the 5 sitting at an even tie—but knowing which interactions are the most meaningful to an individual can help build closer relationships.
If I know my best friend feels more connected with me when we spend time together than when I tell them I value them, I can put more effort into making plans together over sending them a card or a nice text.
In my opinion, learning someone’s love language and using that to care for them more deeply is comparable to learning their enneagram type so you can understand their needs.
If you’re willing to brave the advertising on Chapman’s website, you can take an online quiz to determine your “love language.” The website has them divided into one quiz if you’re single and one if you’re in a relationship. If you don’t want to have to input personal information to take the quiz online, you can also do it through a PDF; again, there’s one if you’re single and one if you’re in a relationship.
Get to know your friends, family, and partners more deeply, and love them in the ways that mean the most to them!