Gary Chapman PhD, author of the best-selling book The Five Love Languages, created the concept of giving and receiving love in ways that are measurable and determine how we engage the world.
Let’s take a look at the five love languages
Words of Affirmation
This love language thrives in giving and receiving nurturing and positive feedback. The Words of Affirmation love language is represented by seeking understanding, asking for forgiveness when wrong, sharing kind and encouraging words, and giving and receiving meaningful compliments.
The Quality Time love language is all about togetherness. The distinction being the time is focused and centered on the relationship; time is uninterrupted with no distractions. This is shown by putting away devices, maintaining eye contact during conversations, active listening, and participating in activities meaningful to the relationship.
Receiving gifts is a timeless gesture of love and respect. Those who have a primary love language of receiving gifts are uplifted by the sentiment of the gift-giving more than the gift itself. It is all about what the gift represents and the effort that was taken by the giver that means so much.
Acts of Service
This love languages distinction is doing things for others that they appreciate. This love language has no gender, no bias, and no limits on what may be offered in service. Husbands and wives serve independently of traditional roles and norms. A wife can fill her husband’s car with gas or a husband can vacuum the floor as an act of service and expression of love.
This love language goes way beyond the obvious idea of sex. This language is saturated in the warmth that comes from being present and being in touch and in tune with the other party. Holding the hand of a friend in distress. Sitting side-by-side with an anxious child. These are acts of love that mean the world to a physical touch love language receiver.
You can take a simple test at 5LoveLanguages.com and discover your hierarchy of languages. You may have a dominant language or a blend of more than one. Generally speaking, how you prefer to express your love is also the same as how you prefer to receive gestures of love. Check out your ratings and get more familiar with the concept to enhance your interpersonal experiences.
How To Discover Someone’s Love Language?
It isn’t too difficult to determine your love language hierarchy. You may have a predominant language or a mixture of preferences. Taking the test at 5LoveLanguages.com will determine your ranking of love languages and I’m confident you’ll nod your head in agreement with your score.
Becoming aware of someone else’s love language isn’t that difficult either. Knowing someone else’s language has huge benefits for creating trust and building solid relationships. Here are some tips to discover someone else’s love language and some suggestions to act on it:
Ask Them Question
If you are new to the relationship, whether it be work or personal, asking questions can give you direct information about a person’s love language. Ask questions such as, “What is the best way to show you that I appreciate you?” or “What is the nicest way that someone has ever showed you how much they care?” Listen to their feedback and create your own version of the actions they mention.
Observe How They Love Others
Generally, we express love in the same way we prefer to receive it. This is a fall back since our ego assumes everyone likes what we like. Chances are the way someone is showing you that they care is likely the way they want to be cared for. Pay attention to the gestures they make towards you and reciprocate. If they warm up to you when you do, you are on to their language and doing well. Keep it up!
Gather The Facts
The more you notice about someone the better you can gauge their love language. Do they gush about an activity that they experienced with someone? Do they ask you to do things together? They are likely a quality time love language. Do you notice that they keep mementos or proudly display gifts that they have received? They are undoubtedly a receiving gifts love language.
Have them take the test
The easiest way to determine someone’s love language is to have them take the easy online test. Have a conversation and compare and contrast your findings and discuss the ideal ways to express them to one another.
Knowing your own love language is a valuable tool to motivate others to fill your emotional bank account. When you are able to determine how to pour into others you will have the key that unlocks relationship success.
Why Is It Helpful To Know The Love Language Most Important To Your Loved Ones?
Knowing someone’s love language is a key that unlocks the door to relationship success. Being able to recognize what motivates someone we care about and pour into them creates bonds that are unbreakable.
Though this is invaluable in our closest relationships, this skill set can transcend into our secondary relationships and increase our success at work, in business, in the community, and with our friends.
In every relationship the goal is to build trust, to feel safe, and appreciated. Understanding the love language most important to your loved ones gives you a blueprint for how to create that trust and safety. It removes the guesswork entirely.
Here are some practical expressions that fuel each love language:
Words of Affirmation
Catch your spouse off guard and compliment him with something very specific that you appreciate about him. Leave him post-it notes in the shower saying you love his laugh or you love his handsome face.
Find an activity that you know your wife loves and commit to participating in it with her. Show up with enthusiasm and engage fully in the time together. If she loves running, commit to a 5k and train and participate in the activity together.
Your coworker loves fresh flowers and has them around her home throughout the year. Send her a floral subscription where she receives a fresh bouquet from you each month for an entire year. She will be reminded of your friendship and your thoughtful gesture each time a new bouquet arrives.
Acts of Service
Your daughter is a determined athlete with a busy academic and sports schedule. Though she is perfectly capable, you help her by organizing her gear each night before she heads out for school and practice each day. You set everything she needs by the front door along with a note saying “You’ve got this! See you at the game today!” right where she can see it. She feels loved and valued each time you do this small act of service.
Your best friend has received terrible medical news. She is overwhelmed and scared. Knowing how much she values a good hug, you sit with her, side-by-side, thighs touching, and holding hands while she processes the information. Feeling the loving energy from touch helps her feel supported through the process.
Knowing your loved one’s love language and being able to pour into them directly is powerful for building long-lasting relationships that are solid and confident. These simple acts of meeting needs in an ideal way aligned and individualized in their approach is what the highest-functioning relationships have in common.
How To Put Love Language Into Action
There is a big difference between knowing how to encourage and uplift someone and knowing how to manipulate them. Understanding how love languages affect others can be a tool used in a powerful way. It is amazing when we know just what someone needs in order to feel safe and close, but it is poor judgement when we use that skill to gain favor with a motive.
In the book The Like Switch, Dr. Jack Schafer PhD, a former FBI Agent shares his tricks and tips for winning people over and making them like you. Some of his content is mirrored in the love languages concept. Schafer shares how he engaged suspects accused of various crimes in such a way that they felt heard, trusted and valued and he used that to gain information needed to either convict or exonerate them.
In cases such as these, it is valuable to be able to manipulate people into a direction that serves the purpose at hand; however, this shouldn’t be standard procedure on the day-to-day with our sphere of influence. Our goals should be noble and in desire to build relationships that are mutually respectful and gratifying.
Putting love languages into action is easy. Here is a list of ways you can express yourself within the various modalities:
Words of Affirmation
- Listen without offering advice
- Say you’re sorry when you’re wrong
- Ask your loved ones how their day went
- Engage in family dialogue at dinner time
- Eat dinner as a family
- Put devices away when speaking to one another
- Read a relationship book together
- Play with your kids
- Engage in a sporting activity
- Buy their favorite magazine
- Add to their favorite collection on special occasions
- Buy flowers
Acts of Service
- Start the coffee in the morning
- Make your kids favorite meal on a Weekday
- Fill the car with gas
- Change the toilet paper
- Give a back or foot rub
- Hold hands
- Lie your head on his shoulder
- Comb your kids hair
The beauty of knowing what motivates and fulfills people is a powerful tool. Being able to use this tool as an easy way to connect and build intimacy is a blessing. Be careful with the hearts of others and enjoy the happiness you are providing.
Using Love Languages In Every Part Of Your Life
Most people taking the Five Love Languages test on the web, the book, or from a coach or workshop are doing so to connect at a deeper level with their loved ones. They see the link between the languages and a tighter bond.
The magic reaches epic proportions when you apply your detective skills and discover the love languages in everyday people you are in relationship with. In similar ways, you can have increased trust and connection in all areas of your life by identifying the love languages of the people you meet regularly.
Let’s explore scenarios where you can gain favor outside the home using the love languages knowledge.
Gain a step up on the competition at work by determining your administration’s love language. Connect with your boss by delivering regular doses of his preferred language. Let’s say he’s a Words of Affirmation guy. Share with him how much his mentorship means and is helping you become better in your career. If she’s an Acts of Service woman, then go the extra mile to knock something tedious off her plate so she can have a break.
In Your Business
If you work one-on-one with clients, determine their love language and engage them specifically in a unique way. If your client likes quality time, encourage a meetup for lunch for your next meeting. Put your cell away and make lots of eye contact. If you know your client loves gifts, send her a small gift via Amazon that is specific to the work the two of you do together. If they love words of affirmation, try giving them a shout out on social media.
Make yourself stand out with the men and women who provide services for you. Don’t wait for the holidays to give your hairdresser or mail carrier a gift. Bring them something in July just to show you care. Give you dog groomer a few extra words of thanks the next time you pick the dog up. Share a specific detail about why you keep coming back and offer to give them a Yelp review.
Random Acts of Kindness
You can change someone’s day by picking up on a language that makes all the difference. Have you ever been in line behind someone being a jerk to a cashier? Before that guy is out of sight, say to the clerk “I am so sorry that guy acted that way, you didn’t deserve that.” By taking action in earshot of the culprit, you champion for that clerk and allow them to recover from the unpleasant experience.
Knowing the love languages and having an arsenal of simple ways to express them is a tool box filled to the brim with love and kindness. Make it your everyday goal to discover the love languages of the people you encounter and apply your skills for the greatest good.