Do you have a friend who says they’d take a clean kitchen over flowers any day when you’d prefer a little romance? That right there is a basic example of different love languages.
We all express and receive love differently and those differences could be the reason why feelings and good intentions sometimes get lost in translation.
For example, you spend weeks trying to find a partner the most amazing gift ever, but come their birthday they respond with “I would’ve been happy just ordering in and then snuggling up on the couch together.”
It’s not necessarily that they’re ungrateful or that you messed up. They just communicate their love differently — or have a different love language.
Recognizing how you and a partner like to receive and express love could lead to more thoughtful connections and a healthy relationship — not to mention less explosive birthdays and Valentines.
There are five love languages as first introduced in 1992 by marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman in his book “The 5 Love Languages.”
The five love languages are:
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Physical touch
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
FYI, love languages don’t just apply to romantic relationships. They can be helpful in your platonic relationships, too. (We’ll get into that and more in a sec.)
|Love language||Associated with||It might be yours if||If this sounds like a partner|
|Words of affirmation||Verbal expressions of love, appreciation, and encouragement||You like hearing “I love you” often, you thrive when you’re encouraged by others||Say — and mean — more I love you’s, thank you’s, you matter to me’s, and the like|
|Quality time||Giving another person your undivided attention||You make time for others, you feel disconnected when you don’t spend enough time together||Have date nights, turn off your phones when you’re together, sit together and talk about your days|
|Physical touch||Connection through appropriate physical touch (nonsexual or sexual)||You’re a “touchy-feely” person, you feel most loved when embraced or touched||Hold hands, be generous with affection and other types of PDA, prioritize sex if it’s important in the relationship|
|Acts of service||Selfless, thoughtful acts that make a person’s life easier||You’re happy when someone helps without being asked, actions speak louder than words for you||Make them meals, take on a chore or two around the house, draw them baths|
|Receiving gifts||Tangible tokens of love and thoughtfulness||You pride yourself on giving thoughtful gifts, you most appreciate meaningful gifts||Surprise them with gifts outside of special occasions, bring home their favorite treat, buy or make them gifts that are personal|
The first love language is words of affirmation, and it’s all about expressing affection and appreciation through words, be it spoken, written, in texts, or all of the above.
This may be one of your love languages if you thrive on:
- being told that you’re appreciated
- hearing “I love you” often
- receiving words of encouragement
The key to using words of affirmation is to be your authentic self and express them often. If you have trouble expressing yourself out loud, write a note or send a text. What matters is that you acknowledge them through words.
For a partner, it could mean telling them you love them more often or checking in throughout the day to tell them you’re thinking of them. For a friend, words of affirmation could mean a text to say “You’ll be great!” before a job interview or complimenting them on their outfit.
Here are some examples of words of affirmation you can use in romantic or platonic relationships:
- “I love you.”
- “Our friendship is important to me.”
- “You got this.”
- “I’m so proud of you.”
- “Thank you for loving me/doing all that you do/being my friend/etc.”
(Video) 5 Ways to INSTANTLY Uncover His/Her Love Language
Quality time is the second love language and it’s precisely what you think: appreciating spending quality time together.
A person whose love language is quality time may feel most loved and appreciated when people they care about make time to be together and give their undivided attention.
Quality time may be one of your love languages if:
- You feel disconnected when you don’t spend enough time with a partner.
- Not spending enough time with your partner(s) affects your libido.
- You work hard at making time to spend with others.
Quality time looks different to everyone. Some people value a few minutes of dedicated time to just sit and relax together at the end of the day. For others, quality time means setting aside time to enjoy activities together.
No matter what you’re doing, quality time requires being completely present and free of distractions.
Here are some examples of expressing your love through quality time:
- Cuddling together in bed for a few minutes every morning before getting up.
- Making a point of having a date night every week.
- Scheduling time to hang with your BFF, no matter how busy you both are.
- Turning off your phone when you’re having a conversation or doing something together.
- Creating a ritual, like meeting for lunch once a week or taking a walk after dinner.
Physical touch is the third love language. Let’s be clear that this is appropriate, consensual physical touch, which looks different depending on the situation and the type of relationship you have with the person.
For people whose love language is physical touch, expressing and receiving love through physical contact is important. Touch is the way they connect and feel connected with others.
Physical contact might be your love language if:
- You feel lonely or disconnected when you don’t get physical affection from your partner(s).
- You feel especially loved when a partner randomly kisses you or holds you.
- You consider yourself a “touchy-feely” person and enjoy PDA.
Obviously, the way you can and should touch others really comes down to the relationship you share. Expressing affection through physical touch can happen through small physical gestures, like a hug or snuggling. If appropriate, it can also involve more intimate contact like kissing, and yes, sexual activities.
Here are some examples of expressing love through physical touch:
- Kissing a partner hello and goodbye.
- Being generous with your affection, including in public.
- Spending some time cuddling in bed before and after sleep.
- Prioritizing sex, even if you have to schedule it.
- Using touch when comforting them, such as placing your hand on theirs or holding them.
Again, consent is a must. Only touch someone or use these examples if they’ve conveyed they’re wanted and welcome.
Acts of service is the fourth love language, and this one will resonate if you believe with your heart of hearts that actions always speak louder than words.
By actions, this means doing selfless, thoughtful things for the other person. Remember that these don’t need to be romantic in nature; friends and family relationships can benefit from these acts, too.
These are some signs that acts of service may be your love language:
- You’re over the moon when a partner helps you with a chore without having to be asked.
- You’re the person who shows up for a friend having a bad day.
- You’re always ready to jump in and do things for the people you care about.
Acts of service aren’t about grand gestures, but rather thoughtful gestures that serve them, like pouring them a coffee in the morning, or running an errand for your busy friend or loved one.
Here are examples of ways you can use acts of service to love on others:
- Taking them to dinner without it being a special occasion or asked for.
- Drawing a partner a bubble bath without any sexpectations.
- Offering to babysit for a friend so they can enjoy a much-deserved break.
- Letting them choose which movie to watch, even if it’s “Star Wars” and you hate “Star Wars.”
- Picking up their favorite flowers/soap/wine/chocolate/whatever, just because.
Receiving gifts is the final love language. It needs to be said that this love language is not reserved for the greedy or so-called “gold diggers.”
For someone whose love language is gifts, it goes way beyond just wanting stuff. For this person, it’s all about the meaning behind the gift and the thought that went into it. No diamonds or luxury cars are required.
Signs that receiving gifts is your love language:
- When it comes to gift-giving, you put in the time to choose the most thoughtful gift.
- You treasure everything a partner gives you, no matter how small.
- You’re hurt when someone you love doesn’t commemorate an event with a thoughtful token.
Showing love through gifts isn’t about extravagance. A small memento will be just as appreciated because big or small, a gift is a tangible reminder that they were thought of and are loved.
Here are some ways to show love to someone whose love language is receiving gifts:
- Picking up their favorite pastry or candy on your way home.
- Surprising them with flowers — whether store-bought or picked from the side of the road.
- Giving them a thoughtful greeting card just because.
- Bringing your BFF a keepsake from your early friendship, like a picture from your first road trip.
- Choosing gifts that are personal to your relationship. (Think: an inside joke or shared memory or event.)
The five love languages provide a great framework for understanding your relationship(s) and each other, but they don’t necessarily represent exactly how everyone wants to give and show love.
Chances are that you resonate strongly with more than one of the love languages and your partner(s) and other loved ones do, too.
Gender and cultural norms have also shifted quite a bit since the love languages were first introduced, and how we express love and how we want to be loved has shifted right alongside.
While we all have our own ways of expressing love, they don’t necessarily fit neatly into one of the five presets laid out in a time when women were historically more likely to serve and men were better equipped — financially speaking — to give gifts.
If you’re looking for better understanding and communication in a relationship, the original love languages can be a good start, but there are other tools you can use.
A survey by Truity, a company offering personality tests, recently shared their finding of seven love styles based on a survey of over 500,000 people. Consider it an updated framework of the original love languages, plus two extras. You can fill out their online quiz to figure out your styles.
There’s also the Routes of Safety model created by Jake Ernst, MSW, RSW, a Toronto-based psychotherapist, that’s in his words, “trauma-informed” love languages.
Connecting with a relationship counselor is another way to go. You might find it helpful to look into online counseling or in-person therapy.
(Video) What is Your Love Language?
Everyone has a different way of communicating their love. While you shouldn’t take it as gospel, the love languages could be a helpful starting point on your way to understanding each other better.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.
How do I know my love language? To figure out what your love language is, consider the way you express affection to the people you love—whether friends, family, or romantic partners. Do you tend to cuddle with them on the couch? Or do you like to shower them with compliments and verbal affirmation?What are the 4 types of love language? ›
What are the love languages? We all give and receive love in 5 different ways: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. These are called 'love languages' - a concept created by Dr. Gary Chapman through his long-time work as a marriage counsellor.What is the most common love language? ›
The love language preferred by the most people is quality time: 38% rank this as their top love language. Women — those under 45 (41%) and those 45 and over (44%) — are especially likely to say quality time is their favorite way to receive love.Can I have all 5 love languages? ›
The five love languages are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Each love language exists on a spectrum, and it is possible to learn to “speak” all five love languages.Is your love language what you lacked as a child? ›
If you really, truly value something so strongly it defines the way you give and receive love, your love language must be what you lacked throughout your life. Don't we all want what we've never had? If your love language is words of affirmation, encouragement and support may have not been in your childhood vocabulary.What is a woman's love language? ›
Apparently there is one love language that is extremely common: quality time. In second place for women comes words of affirmation, as well as a tie between words of affirmation and physical touch for men. But quality time is SO common that it is twice as popular as the second place languages!What is the deepest form of love? ›
Agape (universal love)
It's the love you feel for all living things without question, that you extend knowingly without expectations for anything in return. It's a very pure and conscious love. It's similar to what we sometimes refer to as unconditional love.
According to the 2021 edition of Ethnologue, the most widely spoken of these languages are Spanish (543 million), Portuguese (258 million), French (267 million), Italian (68 million), and Romanian (24 million). Regional Romance languages also exist, including Catalan, Occitan and Sardinian.What are the 13 Romance languages? ›
The full list of Romance languages is pretty long: Aragonese, Aromanian, Asturian, Arpitan, Catalan, Corsican, Emilian, Extremaduran, Fala, French, Cajun French, Friulian, Galician, Istriot, Italian, Jèrriais, Judeo-Italian, Ladin, Ladino, Ligurian, Lombard, Minderico, Mirandese, Napoletano-Calabrese, Occitan, Picard, ...Are love languages real? ›
The short answer to the question of whether or not love languages really do exist is yes. There really is such a thing as a love language. In fact, there is lots of literature surrounding this theory to help prove that love languages are in fact real.
Everyone's language of love is different. Some prefer physical touch, others acts of service. Some people choose “quality” time, others like words of affirmation. For most people, their language of love is receiving or giving a gift.How do you know what your gift is in life? ›
- Ask others to let you know. Sometimes we don't see in ourselves what others can see in us. ...
- Look for gifts in adversity. ...
- Pray for the help to recognize your gifts. ...
- Don't be afraid to branch out. ...
- Search the word of God. ...
- Look outside yourself. ...
- Think about people you look up to. ...
- Reflect on your family.
- Bring them their favorite flowers, just because.
- Buy them something they've been wanting for awhile.
- Send them a surprise package at work.
- Make them a mix CD and explain why you chose each song for them.
- Sign them up for a class they've been wanting to take.
Words Of Affirmation
It's one of the easiest Love Languages to speak because it doesn't take a lot of time and doesn't cost anything. Saying “I love you” is an example of words of affirmation. If Words of Affirmation is your Love Language, it's important for you to let your partner know.
In the book, he outlines the five ways he believes humans show—and want to be shown—love. These so-called "love languages" are: receiving gifts; quality time; words of affirmation; acts of service (devotion); and physical touch.What is the most beautiful language to say I love you? ›
Italian: Ti amo
We come now to the language of Casanova himself—Italian—which is considered by many to be the true language of love. Italians, regardless of gender, all speak one of the most passionate languages around.
Love Languages Are Fluid
Most people have more than one love language, and they can also change and shift over time. That's because our needs and wants are constantly shifting, and the way we experience, receive and give love can change, too.
Relationship experts agree that you can have a mix of love languages. That is, there are a variety of ways you may like to receive love. However, there is a primary one, or the dominant one, that speaks your love language.Is it possible to have 2 or more love languages? ›
Because you two are different people, it's okay to have different love languages. However, loving someone sometimes requires you tailor yourself to their needs.Can trauma affect your love language? ›
Trauma creates barriers to using love languages
Trusting them or using them can feel too risky, without a foundation of safety inside themselves and in the relationship. Any of the love languages — affirmation, physical touch, gifts, etc. — can be memory triggers for times they felt endangered or manipulated.
For this reason, people whose primary love language is words of affirmation are often extremely wounded and hurt by gaslighting, narcissism, and emotional abuse. Negative words, accusations, and criticisms are like daggers to their heart.What happens when you grow up without affection? ›
“When a person's first attachment experience is being unloved, this can create difficulty in closeness and intimacy, creating continuous feelings of anxiety and avoidance of creating deep meaningful relationships as an adult,” says Nancy Paloma Collins, LMFT in Newport Beach, California.What kind of love language is eye contact? ›
Quality Time. Someone with this love language wants undivided attention. They feel loved if you are present and focused on them when you are together. This means putting down the cell phone, turning off the computer, making eye contact, and actively listening.How can you tell if someone's love language is physical touch? ›
- You're comfortable with public displays of affection, even in front of large groups.
- You feel alone in a relationship if you're not able to express or receive physical affection.
- You like to get massages on a regular basis and love the occasional foot rub.
If two partners aren't on the same page, however, of if they don't understand each other's love language, it can lead to hurt feelings and misunderstandings. "It's important to understand your partner's love language because that is how he/she likes to be treated," author and coach Angie Nuttle tells Bustle.What is ludic love? ›
People with a ludic style view love as a game that they are playing to win. Often this can be a multiplayer game! Ludic individuals are comfortable with deception and manipulation in their relationships. They tend to be low on commitment and are often emotionally distant.What is the highest form of intimacy? ›
Level Five: My Needs, Emotions and Desires
Level five is the highest level of intimacy. It is the level that requires the greatest amount of trust. If I can't trust that you won't reject me, I'll never be able to share my true self with you. Unlike the other levels, there is no escape at this level.
- You Would Never Intentionally Hurt Them. ...
- You Naturally Want What's Best For Them. ...
- You Don't Worry About Failing Around Them. ...
- You Implicitly Trust Them. ...
- You Don't Constantly Worry About Them Leaving. ...
- You Have More Patience Than You've Ever Had.
Overall, they concluded that Romanian is the least intelligible language for speakers of other Romance tongues, and that Spanish and Portuguese share the most similarities, with Spanish and Italian being the second closest.What is the most complex Romance language? ›
Romanian is widely considered to be the trickiest of the Romance languages to learn, due to the challenge that mastering its grammar poses. French and Spanish are sometimes cited as being difficult, too.
The closest language to English is one called Frisian, which is a Germanic language spoken by a small population of about 480,000 people. There are three separate dialects of the language, and it's only spoken at the southern fringes of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany.What are the two closest Romance languages? ›
Spanish and Italian are two languages that are very close in terms of vocabulary and grammar. Why Latin is no longer spoken? - So exactly why did the language die out?Which Romance language is closest to English? ›
Close Language: French
That said, linguists have found that English and French are 27% lexical similar, and there are many words of French origin that English speakers use every day.
Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center puts Mandarin in Category IV, which is the list of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers.Are kisses a love language? ›
Physical touch is one of the five love languages, and it refers to expressing and receiving affection through touch, physical closeness, and other forms of physical connection. Kissing, hugging, holding hands, and sex are all ways of showing love through the physical touch love language.What is the opposite of a love language? ›
In addition to learning how to show love, knowing a person's love language is also extremely helpful to keep from hurting them. We have taken to calling this, the opposite of your love language, your “Hurt Language” (or “Hate Language” as my son likes to say, since he thinks that describes it better).Which love language is money? ›
The five love languages of money are: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts, of service, and receiving gifts.What are some examples of love language? ›
- Physical touch. This includes physical contact, like hugging, kissing, holding hands or massage.
- Quality time. Examples include focused conversation, a romantic dinner, taking a long walk, playing a game or doing a puzzle together.
- Receiving gifts. ...
- Acts of service. ...
- Words of affirmation.
Although food has NOT YET been officially recognised as one of the love languages, as you can see, food is by default, the sixth language. So, the long and short of it is, when it comes to showing someone how much you care for them over Valentine's Day, make sure that you include food!What is the 5 gift rule? ›
In the 5 Gift Rule, the first four gifts are the same - something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. But the 5th? The 5th is the real winner. It's something they need or want but don't really know it.
Everyone has a gift, but not every person recognizes what his or her gift is. Being able to identify it is the key to fulfilling the unique purpose of your life. However, don't confuse a gift with talent. Anyone can learn a talent, but a gift is something you're born with.What are 5 spiritual gifts? ›
Ephesians 4:11 lists 5 gifts which are Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. These 5 are unique – they are governing ministry gifts given to people who are called to ministry leadership within the global and local church.How do you know someone's love language is gifting? ›
- You always remember small hostess gifts, or gifts to mark even small special occasions.
- You remember to bring back gifts from trips for loved ones.
- You put time and effort into picking the right gift.
- You put effort into wrapping or packaging the gift just right.
- The Different Love Languages. In 1995, Dr. ...
- Physical Touch. From the moment a child is born, mothers are encouraged to place their newborns on their chest. ...
- Receiving Gifts. ...
- Acts of Service. ...
- Quality Time. ...
- Words of Affirmation. ...
- Get Help With Your Relationships.
- Words of Affirmation. When was the last time you told your partner how wonderful he is, how much he means to you, and why you love him? ...
- Gifts (the most common love language on anniversaries and birthdays) ...
- Acts of Service. ...
- Quality Time. ...
- Physical Touch.
Well, the most common love language by far is quality time for both men and women. In fact, it's chosen so frequently that it's more than twice as common as the second closest response, words of affirmation. When it comes to second place, it was a tie between physical touch and words of affirmation for most men.What is woman's love language? ›
Apparently there is one love language that is extremely common: quality time. In second place for women comes words of affirmation, as well as a tie between words of affirmation and physical touch for men. But quality time is SO common that it is twice as popular as the second place languages!