Are you talking the right love language?

‘Sometimes you love people in a language they can’t understand’


I’ve received some amazing presents over the years. Actually the older I’ve got, the better the gifts have become. I believe this is because the people close to me have really got to know me well. Some of the best presents I have received in the last few years are:

  • Home made CaraMEL vodka (something I love and you can’t get in Hungary)
  • A soda maker (so I can make sparkling water without using lots of plastic bottles)
  • An online learning course on writing
  • A little book of lists (a notebook for me to write my ‘to do’ lists, that I am famous for in)
  • A wall hanging signed by all of my old team with good luck messages on it
  • A photo collage from all my friends in South Africa
  • A t-shirt with all my favourite sayings printed onto it

Do you see the theme for these gifts? Each and every one of them is really thoughtful and personalised specifically for me. Do you know what it shows me? It gives me the impression that my friends and family know me so well and really listen to me. It also shows me that they care about me, based on the fact that they had really spent time thinking about what present I would like to receive.

For someone else these could be the worst gifts in the world. Gifts are so unique. One persons soda maker is another persons designer handbag or diamond earrings! Getting me diamond earrings would be such a ridiculous waste of money as I would not appreciate them at all.

If you don’t understand what is important to the person you are buying for, the whole gift purchasing process can go horribly wrong! Have you ever had the feeling that you have completely misread what gift your loved one would appreciate? Or maybe they didn’t seem that excited about their present at all, when you thought it was something amazing and thoughtful.

According to Dr. Chapman, who has over 30 years of experience of couples counseling, there are five universal ways that all people express and interpret love.  Chapman developed a quiz that helps you to determine what he calls your love language. 

Although it is also highly possible to figure out your preference just by reviewing the list below and determining what is most important to you, by completing the quiz, you will receive your love language profile which will explain your primary love language, what it means, and how you can use it to connect to others.

 The 5 love languages are:

1) Words of affirmation – giving and receiving compliments, hearing ‘I love you’. Words that confirm their love for you.

2) Acts of service – doing something that eases the burden for each other. Lessening the work that you have to do.

3) Receiving gifts – thriving on the love, thoughtfulness and effort behind a gift. Feeling known and cared for through the choice of gift.

4) Quality time – giving and receiving undivided attention, totally focusing on each other, having your phone off and no other distractions around, committing to doing something together and sticking to it.

5) Physical touch – Giving and receiving hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and  physical contact to show your love and affection.


Although I started off by discussing what gifts I had recently received, this is actually the least important love language for me. My primary love language is quality time followed by words of affection.

What makes me feel loved is when someone allocates quality time for us to spend together. I need to feel that they want to spend time with me, organise fun things for us to do together and give me undivided attention. The issues arise when someone else doesn’t realise the importance of this to me and shows their love in another way. If someone else showed their love through gifts, but did not make time to spend together, whatever gift they had got may seem meaningless to me.

This can be a problem in many relationships if you do not understand each others love language. You can believe you are showing love, but it is totally missed by your significant other if it is not the way that they feel loved.

Fear not, if you are not in a relationship, this is still relevant, as it doesn’t only have to apply to romantic love, it can also be important with how you communicate with friends and family. When my mum has done a big pile of ironing for me (regularly!!) I know that is her showing her love for me through acts of service. When I feel upset if someone lets me down at the last minute, it is because of my quality time love language, it makes me feel that they don’t care about me and no amount telling me otherwise will help!

Knowing your love language won’t fix everything in a relationship, but it might well help you to communicate more effectively with each other and and to understand and empathise with others better.  You can take the test here to discover your love language.
It would be great if you shared your love language profile and whether knowing it helps you to communicate better with your loved ones.

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