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5 Love Languages – What are they?
According to Dr Gary Chapman, there are 5 ways of expressing and experiencing love between couples – receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch. His theory also mentions that every single person has a combination of a primary and secondary love language, unique to themselves.
You might be thinking “I am not in a romantic relationship, so why do I need this?”. Well, you might be surprised. Contrary to Dr Chapman’s findings, these 5 languages can be used for maintaining relationships with almost EVERYONE, at school, in the workplace or even at home.
Today, I will be explaining the 5 love languages, and how to effectively, yet very simply use them to fulfil the relationships in your life.
1) Words of affirmation
In the ages of adolescence, we often find it hard to express ourselves in words. We often dismiss the idea of saying “I love you” to our parents because it makes things awkward. We dismiss the thought of complimenting someone’s actions because we are “shy” about it.
But, can you imagine how much better their day would be, after hearing it?
According to studies done by Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, when you compliment someone, the functions in the parietal lobe changes. These changes can promote better self-perception, as well as the perception of the outer world. As time passes by, the thalamus will also go through changes, affecting the language, thoughts and feelings of a person – overall, making them more positive.
Image source: Leaderonomics
To put it in simple terms, positive words can create a domino effect of “good feelings”, which then passes around the community. So, don’t be shy to tell people you appreciate them or compliment the things you have admiration for!
2) Quality time
We are constantly distracted, and I cannot blame you for that. Our environment is so rich in detail – colours, noises, smells… How many times have you found yourself spending minutes of an outing, checking your phone or gazing at something in the distance, just because you have nothing to say to the person in front of you? Too many?
The reason why most of us are so distracted is that we are, to put it simply, bored. If a simple cafe meeting doesn’t work, maybe you can try out a pet cafe! Or if you are bored of watching movies, maybe do something more physically demanding like rock climbing, archery or a visit to a waterpark. Some cheaper alternatives also include playing a board game at home, having a picnic in a public park, or a simple game of sports. So, there are no excuses to say you are “broke”!
“Hang out with people that make you forget to look at your phone.”
It is important to remember that the time we have on this Earth is limited. Although you might enjoy the time you spend on your phone looking at memes, the time can instead be spent to talk to a loved one or do an activity with them.
3) Receiving (or buying) gifts
Consumer culture is at its peak right now. The convenience of buying things offline and online, allows us to get what we want when we want it. But, how often do you decide to buy something for someone?
Very often on social media, it is a competition of who can buy the most expensive gifts for a loved one. Yes, perhaps most of us would choose an expensive branded bag over a cheap one, but the point that I would like to make is that gifts do not have to be expensive. Instead of items of value, gifts can be items of convenience or help.
A gift can be as simple as buying someone a meal or buying them a pen to replace the one they lost. A gift can also be a collage of meaningful photos or a book by their favourite author.
Image source: CNN
You do not need a special occasion to give someone a gift, but it can be more special if it is a big day for them!
4) Acts of service
As quoted by the 5 Love Languages website, “acts of service are to be acts of love (and) must be freely given”. It cannot be considered an “act of service” if you force someone to do something for your benefit.
Most of our parents probably have this love language quite high up their list. I know for a fact my mom has this as her primary love language. The simplest way to fulfil this would be to just do your chores. If you already know you have to do the dishes after dinner, do it willingly without having someone remind you. If you already know it is your turn to cook today, do it without having someone remind you.
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5) Physical touch
Physical touch might seem like the hardest love language to transcend into friendships. However, when done properly and modestly, it can often be the simplest and most beneficial.
Most of us think of kisses or something more when it comes to “physical touch”. But, physical touch can honestly be as simple as a hug or a handshake. It can even be a pat on the back of someone who has been going through a hard time.
Studies have shown that touch is actually psychologically and physiologically beneficial for our health. Touch has been shown to induce the production of a hormone called oxytocin, known for reducing stress. Oxytocin is also the hormone produced during sexual reproduction, childbirth and breastfeeding! So, do not feel shy to ask a close one for a hug. But, if you are not so much of a hug person, even a handshake can change a lot about you.
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Not every single love language caters to you, or a loved one. So, the best way to utilise the languages would be to know which ones are your main ones.
Do you want to know about your love languages? Click here to take the official quiz.