This week, we picked caring with the 5 Love Languages as our focus. If you’ve read the book or know of the 5 Love Languages by Dr. Chapman, it’s a pretty fast read overall. This whole love language thing took off because it really just makes sense – in a common sense kind of a way after you learn about it. In fact, you don’t really need to read the book to understand the concept. We’ll give you the down-low on it in this post.
So why did we pick the 5 Love Languages for our post – and more specifically, how we can be more caring with the 5 Love Languages? There’s a lot going on in the air in 2017 – we’re all coming off a heated presidential election season, a monumental Women’s March that just happened this weekend, and the Martin Luther King (MLK) Junior holiday. We wanted to share this post as a way to help bring the focus back inwards towards those that mean the most to us in our lives: our spouses, our families, our children, our parents, our communities, and our friends.
Like this guy.
Seriously, who doesn’t love images of dogs and babies. 🙂 Some questions to think about to help. What are the ways you like to show someone you care? What are the ways you really like it when someone shows they care? What are the ways you’ve noticed the loved ones in your life like to be cared for? For this post, we’ll share ways to give and show that you care both in 1) personal relationships and 2) the general community.
Caring with the 5 Love Languages:
Words of Affirmation – Expressing affection through spoken affection, praise, or appreciation. According to Dr. Chapman, this language uses words to affirm other people. For those who prefer the words of affirmation language, hearing “I love you” and other compliments are what they value the most. Words hold real value within this language. Furthermore, negative or insulting comments cut deep — and won’t be easily forgiven.
- Personal: Send a card, write a handwritten note, send a message over Facebook – whatever form you use, make sure you take the time to tell them how you really feel about them. Example would be, “Susan, thanks so much for coming to our baby’s birthday. I love how supportive and thoughtful you are with everything you do – whether it be a gift for our baby or commenting on my ramblings on Facebook. Thank you.”
- Community: Just like our parents (may or may not have) taught us, simple things like saying ,”Please”, and “Thank You” go a long way – to the barista at Starbucks to the random person who just held the door open for you.
Acts of Service – Actions, rather than words, are used to show and receive love. For these people, actions speak louder than words. People who speak the language of service want their partner to recognize that their life is rough and help them out in any way possible. Lending a helping hand shows you really care. People who thrive on this language do not deal well with broken promises — or perceived laziness — and have very little tolerance for people who make more work for them. Basically, if you’re not willing to show your appreciation by doing them a favor, you’re saying you don’t value them.
- Personal: Do what you say you’re going to do, and when you can, go above and beyond. That’s probably the most simple way – by being dependable to the people around you. Example would be, if I say I’m going to an event, I go to the event. If something happens, being accountable and saying I know I was supposed to go. Unfortunately, the baby is not feeling well and I cannot leave him.
- Community: Use your power, your resources, your connections to help the community around you. This is donating to a cause, joining a board, or even, picking up trash off the street when you see litter. Every little bit helps all of us.
Receiving Gifts – Gifting is symbolic of love and affection. Dr. Chapman says for some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a tangible gift. This love language does not mean a person who values gifts as a love language is materialistic, but a meaningful or thoughtful present it was makes them feel appreciated.
- Personal: Take the time to give small and big gifts to those that appreciate gifts. Example would be showing up with a small flower for your wife. A bigger example would be funding a beautiful cashmere scarf from a community of women that appreciate an act of service you did.
- Community: Giving is cultural – the more people that give in the community, the more people that’ll follow in giving. Give what you can – $5, show your support for a cause by going to an event and making friends, “like” or “share” a post from an organization/person you think is actually helping the community. Spend your dollars on products and services that are all about being good to society and the community we share.
Quality Time – Expressing affection with undivided, undistracted attention. This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention. Unlike the words of affirmation language, talk is cheap and being a loved one’s main focus leaves quality timers feeling satisfied and comforted. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful to these individuals. Being there for them is crucial.
- Personal: Spend time with the people you care about – and be present. Don’t have that cell phone out at all – not even facing-down on the table. Listen to their feelings and ways you can help someday in the future. Get coffee with a new friend. Do an activity with your spouse that they love doing. Just lay around and talk.
- Community: One of the best ways to do this for the community would be taking the idea of “paying it forward”. Someone helped you get your first job or your promotion – do that for someone else, a student, or an intern. At work, let someone else go first or take the lead in a meeting – even better, coach them to success over a series of coffees. Do a talk with a local organization or university on real tips and tricks.
Physical Touch – Nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch. That doesn’t mean only in the bedroom and with your significant other if you have one — everyday physical connections with all the people in our lives, and any type of re-affirming physical contact is greatly appreciated (not just the romantic kind). A person who speaks the language of physical touch isn’t necessarily an over-the-top PDAer, but getting a little reassuring touch does make them feel safe and loved. And because not all relationships are with other people (not just significant others), don’t forget about hugs, patting people on the back, neutral comforting ways of touch. Hug your children, your parents, your siblings, your friends, pat your coworker on the back, fist pump and high five all the way.
- Personal: This is pretty straight forward. With your significant other, give them reassuring hand squeezes or put your hand on their shoulder/back/leg to let them know you are theirs. With family members and friends, a pat on the back or a hug goes a long way.
- Community: Give a good handshake to people you meet. Smile – smiles are contagious and will get the other person to smile (an indirect way to “touch”). Give high-fives to people as you walk by or a thumbs up. Spread positive interactions. Humans weren’t meant to be alone – humans were meant to love and be loved in community.
Thank you so much for being on this journey with us and reading all the way. Hope these reminders for being more caring with the 5 Love Languages helps – we are here to help everyone keep their 2017 resolutions around “being a better person” (see our last post on how 2017’s top new year’s resolution is “being a better person”).