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Author: Arundel Stevens

5 Love Languages

The Five Love Languages: How You Give and Receive Affection

by Arundel Stevens

Illustration by Tra Mi Do

How do you communicate with loved ones? How are they communicating with you? What love languages are most compatible with your needs? The first step to answering any and all of these questions is to understand what the 5 love languages are!

A “love language” is a term coined by Gary Chapman, in his book, “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.” His wildly popular book is an early starting point from the now-mainstream beliefs about healthy communication. In this book, Chapman outlines the five different ways that people, consciously or unconsciously, express their feelings.

Acts of Service

If your love language is acts of service, you feel most appreciated when someone selflessly contributes their time and effort for your sake. For example, a family member offering to drive you to the airport. For some, this might seem like a helpful but minor act, but for people with the love language of Acts of Service, this can mean a lot.

What if you know someone who’s love language is Acts of Service? They probably appreciate and internalize the times that you offer to take on a task for them, or run an errand. If you notice that these things seem to mean a great deal to them, they probably possess this love language! This means that if you are trying to think of a good way to express your appreciation and love for them, you should volunteer to take over a task.

When considering this love language, just remember the saying: “actions speak louder than words.” You don’t have to verbalize your love for a person, but your actions should reflect your appreciation.

Receiving Gifts

You can identify whether you qualify for this love language by a little self reflection. Do you feel most appreciated when a person buys or makes you a gift? Has someone surprised you with flowers or a thoughtful item and you felt overwhelmed with gratefulness? You probably have the Receiving Gifts love language!

What does the expression of gifts love language look like? Have you ever bought someone a birthday gift and spent a long time trying to figure out the perfect present, just for them to claim, “Oh, you didn’t have to do that! I’m happy just getting to see you!” In this scenario, you probably express yourself through gift giving, while they fall under Quality Time. Miscommunications like this are common, but it doesn’t mean that either one of you are wrong! The way you express your love is just as valid as the way they receive love! 

Quality Time

In the last scenario we talked a bit about Quality Time. However, the important aspect of Quality Time is not that you are spending time with loved ones, but that you feel truly engaged and appreciated with those people. People with the love language of Quality Time really want to interact and be the center of your focus when you are together. 

If you have a loved one who’s love language seems to be Quality Time, the best way to accommodate their needs is to let them be your full focus. When you are together, put down your phone and all other distractions, and pay attention to them. This doesn’t mean you always have to be staring into their soul, it just means you should be present and engaged in your interactions!

Words of Affirmation 

So far, plenty of these love languages have been expressed, but not explicitly stated. For Words of Affirmation, a person needs to hear your affection vocalized. If you take what people say to heart and value the times people have said they love you, this is probably your love language!

With a partner or friend who values Words of Affirmation, it is important to regularly give voice to your appreciation. Terms like, “I love you,” “thank you,” and “I missed you” will make them feel loved and seen.

Physical Touch

Have you ever been told you are a “touchy-feely” person? Do you like giving and receiving hugs? Do you hug your friends every time you see them and like to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the person you care about? Physical Touch might be your love language! This expression of love is concerned with the way you physically interact with people. 

You can express your love for someone who prefers physical touch by staying close when they need you! Holding hands, giving hugs and even just being near to them can make them feel loved!


Hopefully, you identified yourself through one or more of these categories. Many people use multiple love languages to fully express and accept appreciation. If you find yourself using different love languages around different people, that’s fine, too! A common misconception is that love languages are only for romantic partners. This isn’t true! Everyone expresses their love in many ways to many different people! Friends, partners, parents, children, coworkers, etc., the way you communicate your affection to any and all of these people is reflective of your love language!

Moving forward, you can try to identify your loved ones’s love languages and identify the different ways you express yourself around them! You can find more information about love languages in Chapman’s book, or on healthline’s website




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