The 5 Love Languages (And The Pros And Cons Of Each)

Photo: getty
The 5 Love Languages (And The Pros And Cons Of Each)

Okay, I’m not going to front. I didn’t pay much attention to love languages until recently.

Yes, I know. I’m a relationship coach. I should know this stuff. But I just thought it was another hokey concept created to sell books.

But recently, my friend and business partner, Noelle, who always checks me and gets me to take my medicine, demanded I explore it. Assigned me homework like do with my clients and said it would help me with my dating journey. So I took a deep dive.

First, what are the 5 love languages? In a nutshell, they are the ways we show love and interpret love back.

RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About Each Of The 5 Love Languages

It’s the language we speak when expressing love. Because the action of loving is different for everyone. There is room for misinterpretations and people can mistake that for lack of connection or I don’t love you back.

Here are the five love languages.

Simplified of course.

1. Words of affirmation

Showing love through language and affirmation.

This doesn’t just mean compliments.

I Love yous. I’m thinking about you. Hope you’re having an amazing day!!! Can’t wait to see you later.

And if this is your language, hurtful words and character assignation cuts deeper than people who don’t speak this language.

This is definitely one of my love languages. If I’m into you, you will be getting phone videos, texts, emails, things I notice about your face. It’s just the way I show love. For some, this may be annoying or too much. It may not be their love language. And if that’s the case, there’s going to be a disconnect.

Ask yourself if this is one way you show and interpret love.

2. Quality time

Showing love by giving someone your full attention, not just making an effort to spend time.

This sounds obvious but, especially in the world we live in today, we don’t give people our full undivided attention. We’re busy looking at our phones. Thinking about tomorrow. Watching television.

So if this is your love language, you may perceive someone who is distracted when she is with you as her not loving you. But it just may not be her love language. That’s not how she naturally shows love.

Note: That being said, there is a common courtesy respect thing if the person you’re with is constantly not present. That’s a problem no matter what your love language is. So don’t make that an excuse to be checking likes while you’re making love.

3. Receiving gifts

Showing love through things.

This doesn’t mean you’re materialistic. It can be little things. Flowers. A dress. Motorcycle riding gloves?

Many see gifts as an expression of love. If you speak this language but your partner doesn’t, you may think he doesn’t love you because he rarely gives you gifts. But he may just not show love in that way.

Note: If this is not your love language, don’t use it as an excuse to not buy your partner gifts. That’s something everyone should do because it’s thoughtful and shows you’re thinking about that person.

Also, if this is your love language, demanding gifts as a way you need to feel loved isn’t really fair either. In short, don’t use love languages as a way to control how you want someone to love you.

RELATED: Why Taking Space Is Secretly The 6th Love Language

4. Physical touch

Showing you love someone by physically touching them.

Are you tactile or not? Is your partner tactile or not? How important is that to you?

I’m a very tactile person. My hand will always be on you. Massaging you with my right hand as I drive with my left. Stroking your back while we’re watching a movie. Massaging your legs after a long day. Cuddling you while we sleep. That’s just how I show love. I have high skin hunger.

And of course, I enjoy it back so if being touched is annoying to you, we probably won’t be a good match.

I know people who genuinely don’t like being touched. They squirm when you hug them. They hate PDA. It doesn’t mean they love you less. It’s just not their thing. It may or may not be a dealbreaker but it’s definitely something to consider.

5. Acts of service

Expressing love by doing something for someone.

Filling her car with gas without her knowing. Cleaning the House. Doing the dishes. A massage.

Service doesn’t mean submissive. For many, it means I love you and this is how I choose to express it. If acts of service is not your love language but you’re with someone who speaks this language, one’s going to feel unappreciated and unloved.

Now you may be thinking but I show love in all these ways. They are all important.

Okay, I get that. But you gravitate toward one or two languages more than others. They are how you naturally show love.

That being said, there is room to grow and stretch and adapt. That’s what relationships are about. You don’t just plug and play. There is a dance. It’s a process.

Love languages are just one more thing to explore and discover about someone. It’s all about understanding people’s needs as well as yours. Not about trying to change someone or make deals. This is about fit and compatibility.

Also, remember that love languages are not an excuse to not stretch how you show love. Yes, you may have a primary love language, one or two that you gravitate toward the most, but that just means you should work on the other ones. So you speak fluent love, not broken.

RELATED: How Learning My Partner's Love Language Saved My Relationship

John Kim LMFT (The Angry Therapist) pioneered the online life coaching movement seven years ago. Kim became known as an unconventional therapist who worked out of the box, and when he built out a coaching team of his own, launched an entire movement to change the way we change. Follow him on Instagram.

YourTango may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through links featured in this article.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.