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  • Writer's pictureTy Bailey

What Are the Five Love Languages?

Whether it's with family, friends, children, a spouse, or other loved ones, we all want to put effort into those relationships and let those individuals know how much we care. Here are the five "love languages" that can help you gain some insight into the emotional perspectives of those you care about.

Disclaimer: As with anything like this, the information provided is not some magical guide to resolve all relationship problems nor take the work out of building a foundation of trust, compassion, and closeness with another person. This information is strictly provided to allow you to learn a bit more about five of the common "love languages" that apply in many situations and help you gain better insight into the perspectives of those you care about.

What are love languages?

Love languages are ways to describe the ways in which a person gives and prefers to receive love. They were first discussed in the book "The 5 Love Languages" by author and counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman.*

He came up with the concept to help others gain a better understanding of how we may try to show love to another person, but if we aren't matching up well with their love language, they may struggle or fall short of truly understanding the love we're trying to send their way.

For example, my partner is much more of a talker and much less of a touchy-feely individual, and I'm the exact opposite. He can tell me he loves me all day long, and I'm just unphased. However, a good hug makes me definitely feel loved and will perk my mood up. For him, he can live without physical contact most of the time and could not care less, but he thoroughly enjoys praise when he's done well with something, and he also enjoys good conversation.

When it comes to the love languages explained by Dr. Chapman, there are five primary languages, and any individual may have one or more languages that apply to how they give and receive love with other people: acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, and quality time.

Acts of Service

This love language pertains to when a person experiences feelings of love and appreciation when another individual does something for them, such as helping with a chore, doing them a favor, or helping them with an errand or project.

Often, these same people will also try to show their love to others by performing acts of service, going out of their way to perform kind and helpful actions for others.

Physical Touch

One of the easiest love languages to understand is the language of those who experience the greatest feelings of love from physical touch. Hugging, holding hands, giving a kiss, or snuggling on the couch are all examples of this love language.

If you have a loved one that absolutely thrives off of hugs and constant touching, you've got a person close to you whose love language is physical touch.

Words of Affirmation

When someone's love language is words of affirmation, they thrive when receiving words of praise, appreciation, and other positive communication. These are the people who appreciate a "thank you" for their hard work the most and are motivated to receive such praise.

To show love and affection to someone with this type of love language, you can send or leave them little notes each day, text them, compliment and praise them (especially in front of others), and offer them kind words on a consistent basis.

Receiving Gifts

The love language of "receiving gifts" may sound a bit entitled, but what matters to these individuals is the thought behind a gift. They don't simply want to accumulate "stuff" from others, they appreciate when something has been specially made or chosen for them in a way that shows the giver was truly thinking of them and understanding them as a person.

Quality Time

For many people, spending quality time with their loved ones is the greatest display of love. If quality time is your love language, you don't just want to pass time with another person though, you want it to be quality time—hence the name. Quality time means being present in the moment with the person you care about. No distractions, no electronics, no multi-tasking, genuinely listening, and making eye contact.

How do I know what my love language is?

If you haven't already gotten an idea from simply reading the descriptions above. Dr. Chapman himself has provided a free quiz on his website to help you narrow it down.

More information

If you'd like to learn a bit more about how knowing a loved one's love language can benefit your relationship and improve communication, be sure to check out our upcoming post on How Knowing a Person's Love Language Can Improve Your Relationship. We will also be featuring a post on Love Languages for Children.


*Please note that the mentioning of this author, book, and the concepts within said book does not imply support of the heteronormative, religious, nor outdated relationship ideologies presented in the main text. The concept of the "Five Love Languages" has simply been discussed in this article as a tool to encourage deeper and more meaningful relationships for all individuals regardless of gender, sexuality, or religious background.

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