Learning to speak different Love languages

Learning to speak different Love Languages


Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages, first published in 1995, is a classic in human-relations psychology. The love languages are:

1. Gift Giving

This is the most easily corrupted and misunderstood love language: people who live only for inflow of material goods, and people who give nothing but material goods, are both heading for chronic heartache. Nonetheless, it’s possible to speak “GG” and still enjoy loving relationships.

People who speak this language:

  • Never lack an answer to “What do you want for your birthday/Christmas/etc.?”
  • Show obvious enthusiasm at material surprises.
  • Always have the perfect gifts for others.

If your loved one speaks this language:

  • Bring home surprises between “official” gift-giving times.
  • Don’t feel pressured to spend a lot of money. “From the heart” is what counts.
  • Present your gifts personally and attentively.

2. Quality Time

“QT speakers” hate to be alone and, if human companionship is in short supply, will spend all their time on the social networks or feeding stray animals.

People who speak this language:

  • Are very open about their thoughts and feelings.
  • Invariably look you in the eye when talking.

If your loved one speaks this language:

  • Turn off your smartphone in their presence—nothing infuriates a “quality timer” like having to wait behind a physically absent party.
  • Choose activities that give you space to talk—sitting side by side as spectators won’t cut it.

3. Words of Affirmation

Mark Twain said he could live for two months on a good compliment. “WOA speakers,” however, need at least one good compliment a day.

People who speak this language:

  • Frequently ask others’ opinions of their work/clothes/grooming/etc.
  • Put a lot of effort into pleasing others.

If your loved one speaks this language:

  • Really look at them. Learn to read their faces for things they want you to notice.
  • Smile a lot! This is a nonverbal word of affirmation.

4. Acts of Service

“AOS speakers” are prone to feeling overwhelmed by all that needs doing—so having someone pitch in means the world to them.

People who speak this language:

  • Have a habit of sending dirty looks at those who “just sit” while the AOS speaker is bustling.
  • Can be counted on to notice tiny dust spots and small patches of clutter.
  • Hate doing routine work, yet can’t bear to leave it undone.

If your loved one speaks this language:

  • Always pick up after yourself.
  • Always offer to pitch in when you see them working (or if you must relax, do it outside their view).
  • Make an inviolable promise to yourself never to take them for granted—set computerized reminders, if necessary.

5. Physical Touch

“PT speakers” are rarely satisfied with mere handshakes. Even casual acquaintances are greeted with a full hug.

People who speak this language:

  • Sit or stand closer than the average person.
  • Rarely see a drooping shoulder without putting an arm around it.
  • Can be a trial to non-speakers, “ambushing” others with eager clutches.

If your loved one speaks this language:

  • Hug them often.
  • Sit close—or put a hand on their shoulder—during even casual interactions.
  • If your own comfort zone detests close contact, level with the other person and set boundaries you both can live with. Remember, the PT speaker may feel equally pained if you flinch or pull away.