How To Love In Every Language
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How To Love In Every Language

A Brief Introduction to the Five Love Languages

How To Love In Every Language

Many, if not all of us have heard of the Five Love Languages. If you haven’t read the book by Gary Chapman that this concept comes from, I would hypocritically recommend you read it (I myself have only gotten through 2 chapters but have talked about it a lot in my daily life).

Personally, it has been super important for me to be aware of my own love language and the love languages of those around me. My main love language is physical touch and my secondary is words of affirmation (here’s the link to the test to find out what yours is). On the flip side, acts of service, receiving gifts, and quality time—while still demonstrating love—are not as natural for me to receive and perceive as love.

The whole concept of each individual having their own combination of love languages makes for very complex relationships. For example, some of my best friends are non-physical touch people. Not only is physical touch not their top love language, but it makes them very uncomfortable and can even trigger anxiety. So how do we love people with different love languages? We learn to speak their language.

We can show people in our lives that we love them, and this is not limited to just those we are romantically involved with. Showing love in different ways to our relatives and friends can take our relationship with them to the next level. In fact, for the rest of this article please associate the word “relationship” with the interactions you have with anyone, not just your significant other.

Since not every love language comes naturally to every person, here’s a few ways to demonstrate love in each love language (listed in no particular order). This list is by no means complete and not every person will appreciate each suggestion. Make sure you know the person you are trying to love and filter what you do and say through your knowledge of them. Also, don't try to change other people. You can only work on yourself, so try to meet them where they're at and grow from there.

1. Words of Affirmation

Say nice things. Here are some ideas to get you started:

I’m proud of you!
I like your *insert feature here*
I’m glad you’re a part of my life.
I really like how you *insert habit of the person here*
I love you.

As a general rule of thumb, try not to be negative around these people. Words hold a lot of weight and can be destructive if not used properly. Any negative comment has the potential to be dwelt on and overanalyzed to the point where the relationship could be permanently damaged. Also, here is an article that has 64 positive things that you can say to anyone, even though the article is suggesting them being said to children.

2. Quality Time

Spend time with them! I know this sounds like a “no duh” statement but this can be a struggle for some people. Here are some activities you could do with anyone that you want to show that you care about:

Get food or coffee. The best way to a person’s heart is through their stomach.

Go on a walk. Walks are great opportunities to have real conversations with people. As a bonus, walks are free so you don’t need to spend any money!

Sit down. Just taking the time to sit and not do anything with a person can be a huge way of communicating that you care.

Work on a project together. Find something you are both passionate about and learn more about it.

Undivided attention. Do whatever you want but turn your phone off and focus on the person you’re with.

3. Gifts

Make or buy things for people that reflect you paying attention to the details of their lives. They don’t have to be extravagant gifts, but rather little things that let them know you’re thinking about them.

Food. Again, the best way to a person’s heart is through their stomach (it really works).

Pictures. Take pictures together and print them out. Remind them that you are present even when you’re not physically there.

Love letters. Even for friendships, write a letter out to the people in your life and tell them what you love about them and what you enjoy about your relationship.

Holidays. While you can’t actually give them a holiday, try to make the most of them. Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day…try to go the extra mile on these special days.

Random things. Pay attention to the details of what your people like. A lot of people who’s top love language is receiving gifts will, subtly or not so subtly, tell you the things in their life that they enjoy receiving.

4. Acts of Service

Do things to help out the people in your lives.

Take them somewhere. To the store, to the movies—offer to take them anywhere and be their partner in crime.

Clean up. Take out the trash, vacuum, clean the dishes—whatever you can do to help make their life that much easier.

Fetching. Run to the store for them, refill their drink, grab the remote that’s two feet away from them. Physically go get something so they don't have to.

Take care of them. If they are sick, be with them to nurse them back to health. If they need something, try to be one of the first people they would ask to help.

Surprise them. Try to make a point of anticipating what could be done to help them out.

5. Physical Touch

Touch people. Be careful with this one because some people are super sensitive to people touching them. When in doubt, ask if they are comfortable with physical contact.

High fives. This is great if you personally don’t do well with physical touch.

Hugs. This is self-explanatory. Hugs are great. So warm and comforting. Try to avoid these hugs if possible.

Awkward Christian side hugs. If you’re not quite ready for a full hug.

Shoulder/arm contact. A simple hand on a person’s shoulder or upper arm can convey that you are present with them and investing in your relationship.

Mini shoulder massages. If you’re approaching your person from behind, lay your hand on their shoulders and rub for a couple seconds. After the initial shock wears off, most people whos love language is physical touch will appreciate this.

It is possible to demonstrate all of these love languages, even in one interaction. Here’s a real life example: I went out to lunch with someone a couple days ago (quality time). They drove (acts of service) and paid for my lunch (gifts). While we were eating, the conversation was very positive and uplifting (words of affirmation). When we parted ways they gave me a hug (physical touch).

While every interaction does not need to include every type of love language, it is possible to demonstrate all of them so you can better show your affection to everyone in your life.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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