I recently finished Vanessa van Edwards’ Captivate which was interesting. It’s an easy short read, useful for anyone looking to network, or improve their people skills. (Another good book on networking is Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone).
One of the chapters goes on about the different ways that people feel loved and valued, and how useful this information can be. This applies to all relationships – your partner, friends, family, even colleagues.
What are the “languages”?
Apparently, (based on the book by Gary Chapman), there are generally five main “love languages” which people use to show and feel love and appreciation:
- Acts of Service e.g. if you feel most loved or valued when someone does something for you;
- Affirmative Words e.g. if you feel most loved or valued when someone lets you know that they care about you verbally or in writing;
- Physical Touch e.g. if you feel most loved or valued when someone hugs you or is affectionate;
- Receiving Gifts e.g. if you feel most loved or valued when someone buys or makes you something; and
- Quality Time e.g. if you feel most loved or valued when someone gives you attention or spends time with you.
Most people usually have two dominant languages, (apparently).
How do you find out which are yours?
There are plenty of online quizzes you can take to figure out your main languages.
This one is free. It’s 30 quick questions and takes 5 minutes. (You can enter a fake name and email address to get access if you don’t want to include your real details – you get the results straightaway.)
My “Love Languages”
My scores (i.e. how I feel loved and appreciated) were:
- Physical Touch – 33%
- Quality Time – 31%
- Acts of Service – 23%
- Affirmative Words – 13%
- Receiving Gifts – 0%
I kind of knew this anyway, but it was helpful to have it articulated.
I’ve always valued physical affection and spending time with people above anything else.
Why is this information valuable?
The problem is, people have different languages, which can lead to people feeling unloved and under appreciated.
People get in trouble because they invariably try to show others love and appreciation in the way that they themselves most feel valued. E.g. if someone likes to receive gifts, they might buy their loved ones lots of gifts, and be disappointed when they don’t receive any themselves.
They also struggle with expressing love in ways that they themselves don’t appreciate.
I’ve never cared about gifts of any sort, (I’m not sure why), and words have never held much weight, (too many people saying one thing and acting differently maybe?). I find buying people gifts massively stressful, and I’m also a difficult person to buy for myself. I’d rather go for a meal or spend time with people any day. I also struggle with expressing my love and appreciation for people with words, which I know has caused issues.
I guess Andrew and I sometimes struggle with differing “love languages”, (FYI the above photo was us in Japan – we look happy but our relationship was definitely not in a good place at the time! We made up though).
Andrew values acts of service more than I do. He loves doing things for me, like, carrying my shopping, and making me dinner. As much as I enjoy having a slave, I would much prefer that he showed me affection or spent time with me, (I know, call me ungrateful…!).
Life would be so much simpler if people advertised this information. You could easily make the people you care about feel loved and appreciated and there would be less conflict.
I’ve been asking my friends about their “love languages”, which I admit, does seem a bit gay… (they kind of expect this kind of thing by now…🙂)
I’ve found it pretty difficult to have these these conversations. Even with people I’m close to. (I’m not great with emotional stuff.) But, if you care about someone, you want to know how to make them feel that you care about them right…?
I think finding out how people feel valued has improved my relationships. It’s kicked off some interesting conversations at least! I’d definitely recommend talking about it with the people you care about.