Have you ever met a person who complains that one of their parents never hugged them? If you dig deeper there's a good chance that same parent was always going out of their way to make sure they were provided for by running errands, fixing things and keeping them safe. Perhaps you know a girl who wishes her boyfriend gave her gifts sometimes (this may have happened in her past relationships), but in fact he always tells her he loves her deeply and spends all his time and undivided attention with her. I don't know about you, but I've heard such stories many times.
The child was never unloved, the parent just didn't speak the same love language as their child. The child wanted physical touch, but the parent was more comfortable with acts of service. The girl enjoyed receiving gifts but her partner preferred to express love through words of affirmation and quality time. Gary Chapman published a best selling book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, where he talks about the different ways people show or expect love and distills it into these five categories. I haven't actually read the book, but I have friends who have, and honestly, I feel like you can probably get the most of what you need to know from the website (www.5lovelanguages.com).
I think on some level most people are aware that different people show love differently, but I feel like taking the online test and encouraging people you love to take the test opens a huge amount of conversation about what it takes to converge on happiness. In fact the very act of communcation on this topic is sure to make all your relationships (romantic, family or friends) better. You might think that your ideal partner has the same language as you, but with the right communcation I'm sure it doesn't take much to appreciate your differences and smile every-time you receive a gesture of love in their own form. :)
So what are you waiting for... take the test!
5 Love Languages (Cheatsheet)
Gray's "love letter" technique has five stages:
- Word of Affirmation:
This language uses words to affirm other people.
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important— hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. You thrive on hearing kind and encouraging words that build you up.
- Acts of Service:
For these people, actions speak louder than words.
Can helping with homework really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. When others serve you out of love (and not obligation), you feel truly valued and loved.
- Quality Time:
This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.
In Quality Time, nothing says “I love you” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes you feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed activities, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Whether itʼs spending uninterrupted time talking with someone else or doing activities together, you deepen your connection with others through sharing time.
- Receiving Gifts:
For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift.
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are heartfelt symbols to you of someone else's love and affection for you.
- Physical Touch:
To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch.
A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, and thoughtful touches on the arm—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Appropriate and timely touches communicate warmth, safety, and love to you.
My Results and Thoughts
Here's my own results as of April 2017:
Every time a refer a friend to the test, I forget my scores, so I seem to retake it! Now at least I have a record on this page. No big surprises here... although actually around Nov 2016 quality time was at the top with 10 points (the rest in the same order) because I felt I was wanted more quality time at that moment. I think physical touch belongs in my top two - I was raised mostly by my mum, who was very affectionate, and so it's unsurprising that I'm a big hugger. The surprise is that I went into science and engineering, a world where hugs are very rare, hence I love to dance so much - because that community (especially free form modes of dance) is very big on touch.
Keep in mind that's the difference of just a couple of questions, so it's not like this test is precise or repeatable, because your mood changes moment to moment, but after seeing your results you will get to think about what you value most in relationships, and what you feel you are lacking. I've taken the test multiple times and receiving gifts is always way at the bottom. I'm sometimes awkward receiving gifts, but I actually love giving gifts like you wouldn't believe. Sometimes if you're not able to be with a person, a thoughtful girl you make yourself shows how much you care... and just that act of creation you might feel like you are with them. I don't like expensive gifts... they have the be experience gifts or creative gifts - perhaps it's just a chance to express creativity, as you can see on my Gift ideas page. Who says you can't be creative with your words of affirmation and acts of service though. When you are filled with love, the sky is the limit. I hope this inspires you to take the test and email someone your results and/or extend some other gesture of love to let them know you were thinking of them.
Actually why not pick up the phone now and sing on their answer machine "I just called, to say.... I love you". I dare you. :)
- 5lovelanguages.com - Official website, by Gary Chapman.