International Friendship Day is a great time to discuss how we communicate our love with others. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, describes there are five ways people communicate love. He states each one of us has a “love language” that is more dominant followed by a secondary language.
1. Words of Affirmation. Do you feel loved when someone gives you a positive comment? How do you correspond with people? What words do you use? We should be thoughtful of the language we use. Oprah says “I believe three of the most important words anyone can say are not I love you, but I hear you.”
2. Quality Time. Is someone giving you their undivided attention or doing something for you? Do you feel valued when a friend meets you for lunch or takes time to call you? Quality time also includes quality conversation. Give someone your full attention. Don’t text or watch television when someone else is talking.
3. Receiving Gifts. This can be material or non-material items. When you receive a gift, you know someone was thinking about you. The gift of your time may be one of the most important gifts you can give. My daughter and my friend Darlene are excellent gift givers because they pay attention to what is important to the person they are gifting.
4. Acts of Service. This is when someone does something for you, like picking up groceries, emptying the dishwasher, or cooking a meal. Acts of service need to come from the heart. Intent is important.
5. Physical Touch. Giving someone a hug, sitting next to someone, or touching someone on the shoulder as you walk by are just some ways to express touch.
To figure out others love languages, pay attention to what they give. It is usually what they value most. When you “talk” to your friends using their love language, they will feel your love even more.
Otherwise you may not be communicating effectively and it may seem as if you are talking in a foreign language. An example would be if your friend does an errand for you but your predominant love language is words of affirmation, then you might look at their action as simply performing a chore. And share your love language with others. Honesty and openness bring clarity for better communication.
It comes down to what we value. We give to others what we want in return. When we learn the love languages, we become effective communicators in life and love. Build better friendships by taking the time to discover what language your BFF communicates. It will strengthen your relationship.