My mom went to college for social working and counselling. She fostered five(?) kids before I was born, and met my dad when she was working in a local group home. When it comes to psychology, she knows her stuff. And, as you might suspect, my house has always been filled with hundreds of books on personalities, lifestyles, psychological disorders, and a heck ton of other counselling resource books. Wanting to go into a similar field myself, I like to think that I know a little about this stuff myself.
Anyways, one of my favorite ideas is the five love languages. Feel free to disagree with this concept, I didn’t create it, but I find it a really simple way to understand the people around me a bit better.
Basically, the concept goes like this: there are five main love languages, obviously, and everyone is predominately two of these. That’s not to say that you don’t appreciate the other three – you do, of course – but those two are the ones that make you feel the most loved. The five are as follows:
Touch: Physical contact, hugs, kisses, etc etc.
Gifts: Giving people things. Awesome.
Words: Shower me in compliments, baby.
Time: Just sit here with me for hours and I’ll be happy.
Service: Fetch me tea, slave.
For myself, as an example, I’m mostly words and time. If someone wants to make me feel special, all they have to do is say nice things and spend a bit of time with me. That’s all. Pretty simple, right?
Awesome. But how do you tell what love languages the people around you have?
Easy: people give love in the same way they like to receive it. My mom, for example, spends a lot of her time helping out others. She’ll do anything for anyone, and she loves it. Clearly, one of her love languages is service.
So why is this important?
Knowing the love languages of the people around you will allow you to not only understand them better, but help you love them properly. For example, I know Justen’s (that ex-boyfriend(?) of mine) love languages are touch and service. So if he had been having a bad day, or I just felt like spoiling him a little, I knew how to do it. Instead of buying him a bunch of things that won’t matter much to him, I know how to go about things in a way that’ll make him feel more loved.
The reverse of that, however, is also true. If I know that time is really important to me, I’m going to let him know that so he can give me what I need. And if I’m not getting what I need from him, instead of jumping right into anger and worst case scenarios, I can see were the gap between us clearly is, and we can work together to fix that.
The more you understand about yourself and those around you, the better you’ll be able to communicate.
On the other hand, this can also work to serve a bit of a darker purpose than simply helping you out in your relationships. If you’re able to understand what makes a person feel extra special, you can get on their good side in no time at all. Put a hand on someone’s shoulder, throw out a random compliment in the middle of a conversation, or bring a gift to the party – all these things will have different effects on different people. It’s not so much about manipulating someone into liking and trusting you, but rather, a way to start bridging the gaps we as human beings have between us.
Not to mention that if you’re a writer, this is a really great concept for character creation and development.
What do you guys think of the five love languages? Did you learn something about yourself, or think the entire thing’s dumb?