What a week, what a week. Let me tell ya, this week has definitely been one where I capitalized on my love/appreciation languages, but that’s a story for later.
If you have not taken the quiz yet, I highly suggest it (link is down below)! I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding these languages when it comes to relationships, whether that be friendships, romantic relationships or even work relationships. I only started hearing about love languages at the beginning of this year, and I was so confused when someone asked me about mine.
There are a bunch of different definitions and ways to explain what love languages are, but in a sense they are the modes in which people express and like to receive love and appreciation. Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages and co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, delves into the languages: the definitions, the testimonies, the examples, and more. I highly recommend both books if you want to further understand what your top love languages are and how you can work with other people who have a different love language from you.
Knowing and understanding all five of mine and how they rank has helped me better understand my relationships in my life, whether they be work or personal. I remember in past years, I would struggle in my personal relationships. Whenever I felt down or low, I wanted help, I just didn’t know how to ask for it or what to do to make me feel better. People would try different things. With physical touch, others would try to give me hugs or massage my hands. With quality time they would take me out to eat at my favorite pho place or we would drive to a view and talk. Sometimes they would perform words of affirmation, giving me compliments daily or verbally supporting me or giving me advice on how to encounter and solve my current situation or mindset. I struggled so much. There would be miscommunication or a fight would ensue because I did not feel appreciated or loved in the moment despite their efforts, and they would get frustrated because I was being stubborn and not receptive to their help. That was a fail. After some time and some occurrences later, I began to better understand my love languages and how it translates for others. I also began to learn and identify other’s love languages and how I can better help them or be there for them in the mode they are receptive to in a moment in time.
I recently took the test again just to see where I was at presently in my life, and this is where I am at:
This is my number one. I love, love, love quality time with people. This can range from running errands together, going to watch a movie, having dinner or lunch, walking to class together, or even studying together. Spending time with a person or when a person spends time with me is something that I love and appreciate because it shows that my time and my well being are valued. I have their full attention and presence. Other than worldly forces and the occasional vibration of a phone signalling a text or call from someone else, the person or people are with me right here, right now.
Lately I have been going out quite a bit to catch up with friends or people I have not spoken to in awhile. I’ll ask them out to a meal or get some boba and we’ll just talk and catch up. Especially in a one on one setting, it helps me learn more about them and how they are as a person, versus a large group where it is hard to promote and permit trust, honesty, and vulnerability.
Quality time, for me, doesn’t have to always require full attention. Especially as college and post-grad students, we tend to get caught up in the mix of things and we have overlapping responsibilities and commitments. For example, while I was in undergrad my close friends were all insanely busy. So when there were times that we had no free time to just sit, eat, and talk, we would schedule a day and time where we go somewhere together and just do our work. We bounce ideas off one another, comfort the other when they hit a road block in their work, or just keep each other accountable.
Acts of Service
Acts of service is my second love language, and sometimes this will change with my first one depending on what the scenario looks like. As I have mentioned, life is pretty busy for me. I am always on the go and always doing multiple things at once, whether that be physically or mentally. However, I really do appreciate it when people in my life do me a favor. This can range from helping me carry stuff when my hands are too full to helping me clean my room or the house.
I was in a long distance relationship with someone a couple years back and I had no means of leaving where I was to go visit them. The idea of me visiting them where they were was very rare. I lacked a car and did not understand nor did it seem reasonable to take public transportation. So when they would come visit me wherever I was, planned or unplanned, I loved it. They took the time to do something that I was unable to do and that was a sign for me that they loved me.
I also love to do things for people. This is why acts of service and quality time interchange with each other. I think this is also the thing with most people who identify with Filipino culture, or any culture that loves to give back. When I have the financial means, I will pay for most, if not all of the check. When friends need a ride somewhere like the airport or to an event, I will offer my services and time to take them where we or they need to be. When I see someone at work with quite a bit on their plate, I offer my help and either assist them in what they are currently doing or work on something that is on their plate so they don’t have to worry about it later.
Words of Affirmation
I love to give words of affirmation, but I cringe whenever I receive it. Don’t get me wrong, this is why it is my number three on my list. I love complimenting people, especially women, on their looks, their personality, or just what they’re doing at the moment. I won’t be the most confident person saying it out loud in public, but I love giving my two cents on how good you look or seem today.
There was one day recently I was visiting some friends in a cultural center on my break from work, and someone tapped me on my shoulder while I was grabbing stuff from my bag. I looked up and it was this girl I hardly see, and she just straight up told me, “You’re so beautiful~” And I kid you not, I clenched my heart and I DIED (fell to the floor and gripped the chair closest to me). And she just kept complimenting me and telling me how much she loved my style and clothing and I was tearing up. With giving people compliments, there would be times I would attend volleyball or basketball games for my club, and I would be *that mom*. That friend cheering them on and screaming at the top of my lungs, “You’re doing great, sweaty!” Even when they’re about to do a big move, I’ll hype them up and say things like “Yeah do it again!” Or “You got this, let’s push!”
When I am spending time with people and we get on really deep topics, I take time and care to listen to what they are trying to share with me. Especially if it is something super personal and confidential, I do my best to support them through conversation and sympathize/empathize with what they are going through. One night, I was about to head home and I noticed a friend of mine walking past my car. I called them over because they looked pretty down and something was looming on their mind. For a good hour, we just sat in their car and talked about what has been going on. I gave them my support through ideas and examples, and really acknowledged how they were feeling in the moment and asked how I can support them further.
I don’t like being touched unless I permit it or if the other person asks. For my friends and family who do hug me and cuddle me and have that as their number one or two love language, please understand it took quite awhile for me to acknowledge that was your top love language and that it took something significant to allow you to touch me or give me love and appreciation through that mode. It’s sometimes nice and comforting to be held or hold someone. Like they say, “actions speak louder than words”.
I have a friend who likes to physically gravitate towards other people and just be physically affectionate. The first time I met them, they immediately hugged me right on the spot without warning and I froze. After a year of getting to know them and understanding what their love languages are, I don’t mind when they do display physical affection to me. Things like approaching me and jumping on my back for a ride or sitting next to me shoulder to shoulder doesn’t phase me as much anymore. However when I do need my space, they understand and know when to stop.
In romantic relationships, this definitely becomes my number two, if not my number one, love language. This is usually intertwined with quality time because my favorite thing about relationships is when that threshold for me is broken and I can comfortably cuddle with my partner. I love sleep. I can spend hours in bed, burying my face into their chest or the nape of their neck, fingers intertwined and being intimate, just talking to my partner.
This last one is pretty much a hit or miss. I, personally, am very sentimental. There are items that I keep on me at all times that have been given to me by very key people in my growth and development: letters, bracelets, stuffed animals, bags, photographs, you name it. I keep them either with me when I go places and I can’t leave the house without them, or they have a special place in a special box in my room where they stay. That’s the catch though, it has to have value between the person giving and the person receiving. If you were to give me something random without any thought or something that I do not relate to, I, unfortunately, may not appreciate it at the time. I also would personally prefer to give a gift in the form of an experience where I can transform it into my top love language, quality time.
Although these are my top five in this specific order, these can actually change over time and with each circumstance. As I have mentioned in some of my examples, there will be days where I actually need someone to hug and it will re-energize me or there will be days where I just want to be alone and not spend quality time with anyone but myself. So it definitely takes time and patience to understand someone and how to grow a healthy relationship with them.
I encourage you all to take the test if you have not already, and share your results with your loved ones, your co-workers, and me! I would love to know what your top love/appreciation language is for our relationship moving forward.