We tend to give love the way we want to receive it, but this may not line up with the needs of others. This is true in romantic relationships as well as interactions with friends and family.
For you, it may be important to receive a present on your birthday, but your partner may think the best gift is spending the day together. While that might sound fine on the surface, this difference can get us into trouble.
How do you figure out what you both need? Well there's an online quiz you can take. You can also just think about how you (and those you love) tend to share affection to understand what kind of love you are looking for in return.
Here's a breakdown of the 5 different love languages:
This is when you use words to lift others and show you care. Words of affirmation should encourage, appreciate, and empathize.
* Surprise your loved one with thoughtful messages. Send an unexpected text to your friend or leave a note for your partner to find on their way to work (in a briefcase or packed lunch, for instance).
* Practice sharing what's on your mind more openly. If you find yourself thinking loving thoughts in your head, remember to share them aloud.
Share the importance of caring language in your relationships: "I feel most loved when you explicitly share your feeling with me. Words mean a lot to me, and I'd love it if you could share how you feel more often."
This is when you do something for those you care about that you know they would like. It's often about giving your loved one a break on day-to-day tasks and sharing responsibilities.
* Do chores together or make them breakfast. Go out of your way to make their day easier: do the dishes, vacuum, pick up their errands.
* Use phrases like, "I'll help..." to show that you're in it with them.
Explain how caring deeds makes you feel loved: "I feel most loved when you help make my life easier by sharing my responsibilities. I want to feel taken care of sometimes, so if you could help me with chores more, I would appreciate that."
Gifts are symbolic of the love you have for someone. It shows that you were thinking of them. The value of the gift doesn't matter as much.
* Give your loved ones thoughtful gifts and make gestures. It could be as simple as flowers on a random day 'just because.'
* For big occasions like birthdays and holidays, tell your loved one you want to get them something special and ask for some ideas to help you find a gift they will appreciate and enjoy.
Share the importance of gifts to communicate love and affection: "I feel most loved in when you show you are thinking of me through gifts and gestures."
This is when you give your loved ones your undivided attention. It should be focused and one-on-one.
* Take walks together, talk and actively listen. Usually just sitting together watching TV doesn't meet the quality time threshold.
* Weekend getaways and creating special moments together are huge. It takes a bit of planning but your loved one will really appreciate the effort.
Explain how one-on-one time makes you feel loved and connected: "I feel most loved when we spend quality time together that's just one-on-one. I'd love it if we could do more of that."
This is when you communicate your love non-verbally, through body language and touch.
* Try to incorporate touch into small moments by hugging hello or sitting close together as you chat.
* Make regular touch a part of your routine. Some people like a morning and evening kiss, for instance. Talk to your partner about what kinds of physical touch helps them feel loved.
Share the importance of physical touch in your relationships: "I feel most loved when we are physically close. I feel more connected when we make time to cuddle each evening."
When your loved one gives you affection in your preferred love language, be sure to give them positive feedback using their love language (i.e. a hug, telling them you care, giving an item as a small gesture, cleaning up, or setting aside time to catch up.)
Once you know your style, and the style of those you care about, you can make sure that your love and affection isn't lost in translation. 🙌