The Five Love Languages And What They Mean For Your Dating Life

How do you show the people you love just how much you care about them? Do you pick up their groceries for them? Maybe get them a cookie when they’re feeling down?

There’s a theory that people have different “love languages” that show how they express love and how they feel loved and here’s what you should know about it.

What Are Love Languages?

two people holding black paper heart
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Kelly Sikkema
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Kelly Sikkema

No, we’re not talking about French. Love languages are different methods of how people communicate their love to others that are less direct than simply saying “I love you” to them.

They’re Really Important To Relationships

woman and man holding hands while drinking coffee
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Priscilla Du Preez
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Priscilla Du Preez

Communication is the pillar that holds up any relationship, whether it be with a romantic interest, your family members, or your friends, so being able to communicate your love and understand how people show their love to you is vital.

You May Have Heard Of Them Before

post: ah yes, the 5 love languages: touch starved, my parents never told me they are proud of me, I love Stuff, I'm so tired please god just let me rest for five minutes, and hey pay attention to me
Photo Credit: Tumblr / literally-a-piece-of-trash
Photo Credit: Tumblr / literally-a-piece-of-trash

There are five common love languages that most psychologists agree upon as being the most used among humans: words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, and gift-giving.

What Are “Words Of Affirmation” As A Love Language?

neon sign says
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Tri Vo
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Tri Vo

Words of affirmation is a love language that is based upon communicating positive thoughts about a person: you tell them you’re proud of them when they accomplish things and verbally express how you admire and care about them.

Reassurance Needs To Be Clearly Communicated

neon sign has speech bubble
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Jason Leung
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Jason Leung

You must directly verbalize your feelings towards a person who has words of affirmation as a love language—you cannot simply imply your emotions or assume that they know how you feel about them. They need to hear concrete affirmations from loved ones to feel secure.

What Do Words Of Affirmation Sound Like?

little heart lights in darkness
Photo Credit: Unsplash / freestocks
Photo Credit: Unsplash / freestocks

Some examples of words of affirmation are “I notice how hard you work on a regular basis and I just want you to know I appreciate your work ethic,” or “I feel very lucky to have you in my life.”

What Is “Physical Touch” As A Love Language?

people clasping hands
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Renate Vanaga
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Renate Vanaga

Physical touch is a pretty straightforward love language: people with this as their love language need physical interactions to feel loved: cuddling, hugs, holding hands, and other physical interactions help them feel loved.

They Don’t Need Constant Contact

man holding woman from behind
Photo Credit: Unsplash / freestocks
Photo Credit: Unsplash / freestocks

I’m not saying that you need to latch onto them 24/7 in order for them to be loved, but if you don’t give them reassuring touches, like a hand on the shoulder or a hug, they might feel like you don’t really like them.

What Does Physical Touch Look Like As A Love Language?

man and woman hugging
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Priscilla Du Preez
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Priscilla Du Preez

Some examples of “physical touch” love interactions include physical proximity, massage, hugs and cuddling, kisses, or even simply putting an arm around your partner. They might not seem like much, but they’re important to help them feel loved.

What Are “Acts Of Service” As A Love Language?

person holds umbrella over someone else
Photo Credit: Unsplash / JW
Photo Credit: Unsplash / JW

People who have “acts of service” as a love language communicate their love by doing things for others that make their life a bit easier and, in return, they want others who love them to do the same.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Consistent Tasks

heart made out of flowers
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Susn Mattheissen
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Susn Mattheissen

If your partner has acts of service as a love language, you don’t always have to be doing something for them, and it doesn’t always have to be big: it can be as simple as washing the dishes.

What Do Acts Of Service Look Like?

woman grocery shopping
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Phoung Tran
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Phoung Tran

Acts of service include running errands for a person, helping them solve a personal problem, helping them complete household tasks, and sometimes just offering to help with a task or asking if they need anything from the store is enough.

What Is “Quality Time” As A Love Language?

woman with man on couch playing guitar
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Toa Heftiba
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Toa Heftiba

Quality time really is exactly what it sounds like: they simply want to have close, personal interactions and hang out with you. It’s truly just about being together for people with this love language.

They Want To Feel Like You’re Really Present

man and woman on couch outside
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Jed Villejo
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Jed Villejo

It’s not simply about being in the same room, but someone with this love language wants you to be present in the moment with them and invested in having substantial interactions.

What Does Quality Time Look Like?

man and woman sitting together on mountain top
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Cody Black
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Cody Black

Expressing love for someone who has quality time as a love language looks like going to the grocery store together, going on meaningful dates, hanging out on the couch together, and having deep conversations.

What Is “Gift-Giving” As A Love Language?

woman holding present up to man
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Mack Johns
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Mack Johns

It’s really just that: giving gifts. People with this love language show their love and want to be shown love through the giving of gifts that are thoughtful and personal.

It’s Not Just About The Item

woman presenting man with treat
Photo Credit: Unsplash / The Creative Exchange
Photo Credit: Unsplash / The Creative Exchange

People with this love language want the gifts to carry extra meaning about how they feel—gifts that show they know their partner well and vice versa. Additionally, they like receiving gifts that show their partner is thinking of them and paying attention to their emotional life.

What Does Gift-Giving Look Like?

present with bow on top
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Mia Golic
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Mia Golic

Examples of what gift-giving might look like in a relationship could be buying a partner flowers, grabbing them their favorite takeout on the way home, or seeing something you know they’d love and getting it for them.

Most People Have A Mixture Of The Five

tweet: the five love languages - Physical Touch: My loneliness Is killing me. Words of affirmation: I must confess, I still believe. Quality Time: when i'm not with you I lose my mind. Gift giving: give me a sign. Acts of service: hit me baby one more time
Photo Credit: Twitter / @onbrandbrandon
Photo Credit: Twitter / @onbrandbrandon

Rather than just having a single love language, people tend to have a tiered mixture of all five with one or two being the most important to them, while the other love languages don’t really translate to how they perceive love.

Why Do These Matter So Much In Dating?

pages of book folded to look like heart
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Aung Soe Min
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Aung Soe Min

It’s important to know your own love languages so that you can understand what you need to feel loved and secure in a relationship, but also you need to know how your partner accepts and receives love.

Take The Time To Express Love The Way Others Want It

man kissing woman's forehead
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Allef Vinicus
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Allef Vinicus

You might need quality time to feel loved, but if your partner wants physical touch, the love you show them might not translate. Being transparent with a partner allows you to make sure you’re communicating love in a way that they’re able to really receive it, making your relationship more secure in the long run.

How Do You Know?

woman in thought
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Paola Aguilar
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Paola Aguilar

Most people are able to figure out what their love languages are based on their past behavior patterns compared against the descriptions: however, if you’re unsure, there are lots of online tests and books that can help you figure it out.