this is one of those posts where i re-teach something super cool i learned in one of my classes.
i’ve heard and written plenty about love languages before. but i promise this isn’t more of the same. in other words, me begging for hugs and ranting about how much i hate words.
i’d never read the actual book until this semester when i had to. i figured i’d be really bored with it, since i’ve taken the test plenty of times myself and heard all about them twice at camp training. but the book actually clarifies some things i didn’t get before; my whole list is actually totally shuffled now. except Physical Touch is still undeniably my first. of course.
if you don’t know what a love language is, it’s the way that you best like people to love you. not that the others don’t mean anything to you; your primary one just makes you feel the most loved. i call it that warm fuzzy ahhhh this is the best day ever feeling. the book describes it like this: each of us has a “love tank” that needs to be kept filled, and it gets filled when someone loves you in your primary love language. you suffer the longer your love tank stays empty.
the book points out that each of these can also be your “hurt language.” in other words, the absence or the opposite of what makes you feel most loved can make you feel the most hurt.
and sometimes the best way to think which one you speak is to think about what you can’t live without. for instance, i love gifts, but if someone gave me things every single day and never ever touched me, i would shrivel up and die. hence my first language is touch.
so. this is what i’ve figured out that each language needs, or the one thing that sets them apart from the rest.
also, with every language, it’s the thought that counts. i’ll give a little example of that for each one.
Physical Touch–well, pretty obviously, these people feel most loved when someone makes some sort of physical contact with them. we don’t need you to tacklehug us every time you see us, or cuddle with us anytime you sit by us(unless you like that. we’ll of course take as much as you want to give us). any kind of meaningful touch works. if we can tell that you love us and you’re giving us what we need, a pat on the back or a high five will fill our love tanks just as much as a sixty second hug.
for instance, i have a friend whose language is Touch, and she hugs me every time she sees me. but that doesn’t make me feel as loved as when one of my best friends, who can’t stand to be touched, gives me a hug, because i know that she’s really trying to love me. it’s not what she likes best, but since she knows how much it means to me, she’s willing to do it anyways. and that makes it mean twice as much.
unloving things: refusal or rejection. my illiteration-ish way of saying,
1. if i really need to be touched and you aren’t helping me out. like if i’m sitting with you telling you about something really sad that’s happened, and you’re purposely standing five feet away from me? no. either get over here and put your hand on my shoulder or something, or don’t even bother listening to me.
2. if i haven’t seen you in a long time and i try to hug you, and you say “get off me”, or in some other way make me feel bad or stupid for my efforts.
Receiving Gifts–if you’ve ever given me a gift that you really thought about and tried to make special, and seen my reaction, it’s probably no surprise to you that this is so high on my list. once my brother and sister went to new york and came back with something for me from the NBC store, and when i fixed to open it, my mom warned them “back away, if she likes it she may scream or jump on you.”
since i’m already referring to Touch people as me though, i’ll call Gifts people chana’s.
chana’s aren’t greedy, selfish, material people who want to get lots of things all the time and complain when they don’t. they simply like tangible expressions of love. more so than any of the other four, the thought behind it is the most important thing. to them, anything you give them that shows them that you care about or were thinking about them fills their love tank. they don’t even have to be formally categorized as a “gift.” for instance, at camp, whenever one of us picks up a pack of croutons at the salad bar and end up not using it, we give it to emily because we know she loves them. it’s simple and free, but again, cost isn’t what defines it; it’s the thought. so, if emily’s love language was Gifts, this would mean even more to her than it already does.
homemade things or inside jokes are also a big deal. the time and thought put it into something you make is what they care about.
and this is what bumped this one up to number two on my list. i didn’t know until i read it in the book: sometimes the best present can be your presence.
this is different than for Quality Time people. for chana’s, when something special is going on(whether it’s a wedding, a birthday, a soccer game, what have you), you giving your time to be there makes them feel just as loved as if you gave them an actual gift. or if they’re having a hard time(from just an ordinary bad day, to someone dying), it’s ten times better if you take the time to go and be with them instead of just giving them a call.
for instance, on my birthday, texting, talking on the phone, or even skype won’t make me feel half as cared about as being WITH someone. and when you give me a gift, i like for you to be there when i get it. like if you mail it, or give it to someone else to give me, it means a teeny bit less.
i had thought that was because Time is my second. but i realized it’s not the time that makes me feel loved, it’s having them there. the tangible thing in this case would be yourself.
unloving things: forgetting a special day(whether this means not giving them anything on their birthday, or saying you’ll go to something like a soccer game or a band concert and then not showing up), or giving a thoughtless gift(basically a gift that shows you don’t know them at all. i.e, giving me a hershey bar[anyone who loves me knows i hate chocolate] or giving a chick fil a gift card to a vegetarian).
Quality Time–if you speak this language, you like for someone to give you undivided attention. “quality” time doesn’t mean a certain length of time. five minutes or even thirty seconds can mean a lot to a Quality Time person if it’s spent the right way.
from here on out i’ll refer to these people as tori’s.
when tori’s have bad days, they want someone to listen to them. again, it doesn’t have to be forever. to use another camp example, if tori(i mean the actual tori here) is really stressed out and i run into her on my way to an activity, if i take thirty seconds to stop and ask her how she’s doing, and really listen to her, that little bit of time i gave her can lift her spirits for a whole day.
“quality” doesn’t always mean just sitting and listening. doing things together counts too. my littlest brother needs this a lot. if i’m watching a movie with him, he does NOT want me to read a book while we watch. he wants all my attention focused on him and whatever we’re doing together.
basically, together and focused are the keys. whether you’re talking over coffee, getting together to watch something, or throwing a frisbee, it’s not quality if you’re clearly thinking about something else. what makes them feel loved is that you’ve specially taken that time just for them.
unloving things: forgetting time you were supposed to spend together, postponing dates, doing two things at once when you’re with them(like going to lunch then texting someone else the whole time), inviting someone else to join you at the last minute for something that was originally one-on-one time, or doing something with a group of people and not inviting them.
Words of Affirmation–this one, like Touch, is pretty self explanatory. whether in spoken or written form, these people need positive words specifically for them. and i’ll call them erin’s, because i’ve never met anyone who thrives on words more than she does.
this language is so foreign to me and does nothing for me, positively or negatively. but thankfully, i lived with erin for a whole summer, so i learned a good bit.
erin’s like to feel appreciated and encouraged. nice notes or verbal compliments are their favorite things. i’ve met some people who like written words better and others who need to hear it out loud.
really specific things are best for them. if you can give someone like this a list of things they’re great at or reasons why you love them, they’ll be happy for a week.
if erin[the literal one, not the general term i’m using] is having a bad day and looks like she’s about to cry, all you have to do is go up to her and tell her she’s doing a great job and that you know she’s doing her best, and she’ll be smiling for the whole day. and if she goes a couple days without hearing anything good about herself, or worse, if someone tells her something she’s done wrong, she’ll have a really sucky week.
unloving things: lack of words, negative words, or fake words. i think Words people are the best example of their love language being their hurt language, because there’s such a black and white opposite; they need to be affirmed, and hate to be discouraged.
Acts of Service–anything, big or small, that you do to help someone in a practical way.
i’ll call these people cindy’s.
doing some chore for them without being asked is like giving me a hug. asking them “can i do anything for you?” is as good as saying “i love you.”
conversely(double word score), if you do something that makes extra work for them, or you see that they have a lot to do and don’t offer to help, they feel super unloved.
so. seeing the super basic things, can you tell which one is yours? you can take the test here if you’re still curious. http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/