Several days ago, I introduced you to the Five Love Languages, made popular by author Gary Chapman. If you didn’t get a chance to check out the first post, you can find it HERE.
There are five love languages, and each of us both RECEIVES and GIVES love predominantly in one of the following five ways: Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts, and Words of Affirmation. (I discuss each of these a bit further in my introductory post.) If you’re unsure of what YOUR love language is, you can take this Love Language Assessment, to find out!
More often than not, we tend to GIVE love to others in the way that WE would like to RECEIVE it. For example, my love language is Acts of Service, so I tend to give love to others by DOing things for them. I may help with a special project they are working on, donate my time to them, make them a meal, watch their kids, etc. I know that I feel loved when someone does something for me….when they take some of my responsibility away from me…does something tangible to help…This is great, and we should DO things for our friends, BUT if my friend’s love language is not Acts of Service, they many not be receiving my love at all. If my friend’s love language is Receiving Gifts and I don’t take time to leave them little notes or do things like put a bouquet fresh flowers on their desk, etc. they may be feeling like I don’t care about them, and that I haven’t shown them love (when in my head, I’ve done my job, as I’ve done x,y, z for them as Acts of Service.) Likewise, people may call me or hug me, and I won’t necessarily feel loved, as those are not my love languages.
See where this can get tricky? As women, we are beings who need our love cups to be full. We like our needs to be met. We want to know our friends care about us….love us…If we aren’t taking the time to find out how our friends need to be loved, and are just giving love the way we want it back, what we’ll have on our hands is one big miscommunication and two women who are feeling disconnected and unloved. (When really, neither party had that intention, and often were genuinely trying to show love!)
How do we resolve this? The first step is to LISTEN and OBSERVE. If your friend always greets you with a big hug, or reaches out to hold your arm as you confide in her, she’s probably a Physical Touch. If she is constantly asking you to coffee or lunch, or wants to spend a lot of time talking on the phone, she may be a Quality Time. If you find your favorite candy on your windshield or a plate of muffins at your door, she might be a Receiving Gifts. If she helps you paint your nursery, organizes your office, or offers to babysit so you can have a date, she is probably Acts of Service. If she is always telling you how great you look or how wonderful you are, she is probably a Words of Affirmation. We must pay attention to the way our friends are GIVING love if we truly wish to give it back.
Yes, this is time-consuming and requires effort. It is much easier to give love to others the way we want it back…However, if we want our friends to know we care, we need to attempt to figure out their love language, and work hard to meet THEIR needs. Take the first step and begin to show love to your friend the way they receive it, and hopefully in time, they will in turn do the same for you, as you grow closer together. (It also doesn’t hurt to ASK a friend what their love language is.)
When we learn to give love in the way others receive it, it is then we can begin to truly be a loving friend. I hope I’ve inspired some of you to change the way you approach showing love to your friends.