Love Languages

Years ago, my parents told me about the five love languages:

  1. Gifts
  2. Quality time
  3. Physical touch
  4. Words of affirmation
  5. Acts of service

The languages, I learned, could be applied to any type of relationship (familial, friend, romantic, work, etc.). The premise is that you should figure out your love language–the way that you feel most loved–so you can clearly communicate it to those around you. Those around you can reciprocate by telling you their love language.

It’s such a simple thing, but I think our default is to mess up when it comes to love languages. Say you feel most loved when you receive gifts. Thus, when you want to show someone you care about, your default is to give them a gift. But that person has a really good chance of having a completely different love language than yours. So when they receive that gift and they fake their enthusiasm about it, you know why.

This is so, so important in romantic relationships, because it’s with that special someone that you’re going to spend the most time and effort.

You can probably figure out your love language by looking at that list, but if you’re unsure, take this 3-minute quiz online (found by Penelope). Forward it to your significant other–you might be surprised by the answers.

Personally, my love language is acts of service. Specifically, if someone runs an errand for me that saves me time and inconvenience. Like, if someone runs to the post office or grocery store for me, or if someone picks up dinner for me, or–a biggie–if they take my car in for an oil change for me. Maybe that sounds foreign to you, but I feel SO loved when someone saves me time and inconvenience by doing those types of things.

One other note for all managers and human resource directors out there: Know your employees’ love languages. When they deserve commendation, don’t reward them the way you would like to be rewarded–reward them based on their love language. For some, it’s a gift (a cash bonus or even just a box of chocolates for a job well done). For others, it’s quality time–maybe lunch out with you or a walk. Maybe they’d prefer a day off over anything else. Physical touch is probably a no-no in most work places, but in some, a good hug is perfectly acceptable. That goes a long way for some people, just as a well-written (or said) compliment can really touch others. You want to be a good manager? Know this stuff.

Also, most everyone has a sixth love language, and it’s always the same: chocolate. Even with chocolate, there’s variation. Milk or dark? Room temp, fridge, or freezer? Nuts, peanut butter, mint, nougat, or nothing? Foreign or Hershey’s? Bite size or full bar?

What’s your love language? What’s your chocolate love language?


27 Responses to “Love Languages”

  1. Lorena says:

    I took the quiz. I had 3 languages all within a percentage of each other. What’s the deal with that? And what’s the deal with the quiz results explanation saying: “You have been requesting that which would meet your deepest need for emotional love. Your requests, however, might have come across as nagging or criticizing and thus drove your spouse away.”
    Is this quiz only for people with turmoil marriages?
    Anyway, good post. I guess we’ve chatted on this before because I knew yours already. Hope your well!

  2. T-Mac says:

    Great post! I think knowing your significant other’s love language can make a world of difference. Thank goodness Laura and I have similar ones. It’s interesting though–at Christmas time it’s always abundantly clear that we don’t speak the same language about gifts. We’ve been giving each other gifts the way we’d like to receive them for 3 years, and we finally had a conversation about it this past weekend.

    My chocolate love language, by the way, is milk chocolate with caramel. And quantity. I’d rather have 100 lbs of low quality chocolate than 1 lb of high quality chocolate. The rest is just details.

  3. Penelope says:

    I really like this post! My love language is quality time.

    I definitely agree that it is human default to assume that other people will like to be appreciated in the same fashion we like to be appreciated.

    Ah, chocolate. 🙂 My preference is dark. I like caramel and mint if there’s anything other than just the chocolate involved.

  4. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Lorena–I guess it’s possible to have a number of love languages. None of them jumped out to you as number one?

  5. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Trev–That’s awesome that you and Laura were able to connect the dots regarding your love languages. Now she knows to give you 100 lbs of cheap chocolate filled with caramel on every special occasion. (Do you mind sharing what your real love languages are?)

  6. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Penelope–Thanks! I wonder if there’s a way to combine quality time and dark chocolate…

  7. Joe S says:

    Thanks so much for that link to the self-test, it was very helpful, and I’ll probably re-visit it again. Thanks a bunch.

  8. T-Mac says:

    Mine were physical touch, followed by words of affirmation. Your highest one, acts of service, was actually by far my lowest.

  9. Penelope says:

    Trevor- Acts of service was lowest for me as well. Someone getting the oil changed in my car would not be the best way to wish me a happy birthday! 🙂 I guess that’s exactly why it’s good to recognize that everyone has different love languages and feels cared for in different ways.

  10. Lori says:

    My sister and mother have read this book and love it, and this Christmas I put it on my list and my sister gifted it to me with delight. (I’d been avoiding the book for a few years, sincerely saying I’d borrow it from my mom sometime but never following through. I tend to recoil to books that give a vibe of self-help.)

    After I read it (sometime in 2010?) I’ll let you know what I think.

  11. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Trev and Penelope–Thanks for sharing. I know acts of service is foreign to some people, making it all the more important for me to communicate it well.

  12. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Lori–I hope you enjoy the book. I ended up skimming the book because once you get the basic concept, you get the whole thing. I’d recommend taking that survey anyway.

  13. Gabby says:

    Quality time and physical touch were by far the highest ones for me. Also, not the hugest fan of chocolate, but I like a Mr Goodbar every once and a while

  14. Harley says:

    This was great and I loved the little quiz Penelope found! My top two love languages were Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. I love all chocolate. I don’t discriminate. Thanks, Jamey.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Thanks Harley! I’m surprised at how many people have more than one top love language. Mine was a clear favorite, with a few secondary options.

  15. Josey says:

    Oooh – I’ve read this book (received it from two different couples for our wedding!) and I seriously REread it immediately after reading it b/c it clarified SO MANY THINGS for me. I am 100% quality time…and right behind that, Physical Touch. My husband is words of affirmation…and right behind that, Acts of Service & Gifts. It explained so many things about our relationship – why we were on COMPLETELY different pages about so many things all the time. Now if I can just get him to read that book…. 🙂

  16. @JMJKDulce says:

    I’m really glad I found this post. I took the quiz and Quality of Time and Physical Touch were one apart with Time first, then Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation and Receiving gifts. While answering the questions, I recognized immediately that touch was going to be tops. I was always worried I would come off as needy with how much contact I seemed to need, but I always explained early that I like touching. More often than not, there would be absolutely NOTHING sexual about it. I just liked touching and being close and being alone anywhere together.

    Acts of Service isn’t foreign to me, but I never would have thought it would in a category by itself. Very interesting. This definitely helped me understand myself a little better. I’ll save it for the next guy I date!

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Isn’t it a great quiz? So the lesson is that since you know you like/need quality time and physical touch (that’s how you feel most loved), that you may find yourself doing those things for your significant other even though their love languages may be different. So you’ll have to go out of your way to learn their love languages and be considerate of them.

      • @JMJKDulce says:

        Very true. As far as my needs though, I don’t think I could date someone who hates cuddling or making out or holding hands. Either way, it’s definitely something I explain early.

  17. @JMJKDulce says:

    Oh, I forgot! Chocolate PERIOD. Doesn’t matter what it is. Dark, white, milk, mint, caramel, creme, nuts, fruit. Chocolate is chocolate and I love chocolate! Do you know chocolate releases the same chemical into the brain as being in love? Hello! That’s why most women can’t get enough!

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Wow, you really are flexible on the chocolate. There are certainly some types that I bite into and am like, really? You had to put that in the middle? But I love most types–must be the chemicals, like you said.

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