Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Reaching People Through Their Love Language

According to author, Gary Chapman, everyone has a love language- meaning a method of communicating or receiving love which makes them feel most loved.  While his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, is written towards your relationship with a spouse, you can easily attribute the same information towards your children, coworkers, team members, customers, etc...  A key to life and business is building relationships with others.  Treating someone the way they wish to be treated is the proverbial way to build a relationship.  Assessing those you know professionally and personally can give you greater understanding as to how to show love and make them feel good!

The Five Love Languages

Words of Affirmation
Quality Time
Receiving Gifts
Acts of Service
Physical Touch

Below are the notes I took on the qualities and characteristics each love language when I read the book.  Ways to express love to someone with that particular language are included.  Each chapter of the book uses anecdotes to highlight the qualities and how you can best show love to a person with each particular love language.  Chapman also lists additional ideas and tasks at the end of each chapter.

Words of Affirmation
People with this love language feel most loved through oral and written words or language.  They love to be acknowledged for what they do and who they are.  Here are ways you can show love to them.
  • Verbal Compliments 
    • A greater motivator than nagging words.
  • Encouraging Words
    • Encourage untapped potential.
    • Encouragement requires empathy.
    • Opposite of critical or condemning words.
  • Kind Words
    • People often interpret our tone more than our words.
    • The opposite of judgmental.
    • Love doesn't keep a score of wrongs or bring up past failures.
    • "A soft answer turns away anger."
    • Forgiveness is an expression of love.
  • Humble Words
    • Love makes requests, not demands.

Quality Time
A person with this love language feels most loved when you are fully present and focused on a conversation or activity together.  Here are some tips in providing this type of person with great quality time.
  • Undivided Attention
    • Turn the tv off and minimize any other distractions.
  • Togetherness
    • Full, focused attention versus living in close proximity.
  • Quality Conversations
    • Share experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires.
    • Listen sympathetically and ask questions to understand thoughts, feelings and desires.
      1. Maintain eye contact
      2. Undivided attention
      3. Listen for feelings
      4. Observe body language
      5. Refuse to interrupt (The average person listens for 17 seconds before interrupting or interjecting.)
  • Learn to Talk
    • Self-revelation is the expression of emotions, thoughts, and desires.
  • Personality Types
    • Dead Sea:  receives expression from others but does not give outward expression.
    • Babbling Brook:  shares everything and doesn't stop talking.
  • Quality Activities
    • Doing something together that at least one person wants to do and the other is willing to do in order to express love.

Receiving Gifts
A person with this love language feels most loved when people offer a gift great or small.  Here are some details about gifts.
  • Gifts are visual symbols of love.
  • Gifts and Money
    • They don't need to be expensive, the thought does count!
    • If cost, is an issue- change your attitude about money.  Giving gifts to a loved one is an investment.  You are purchasing self-worth and emotional security.
  • The Gift of Self (Presence) counts!

Acts of Service
A person with this love language feels most loved when people do things to help them.  Assisting them with a need or taking a task off their plate will make them the happiest.  Here are some things to keep in my about acts of service.
  • Offer assistance, complete a chore, DO something kind- without being asked.
  • Complete chores or tasks with a positive spirit to express love.
  • A request can give direction as to how someone wants to be loved but a demand stops the flow of love.
  • Love is a choice and cannot be coerced.

Physical Touch
A person with this love language feels most loved when they are being touched.  Here are some things you should know about physical touch.
  • As simple as a handshake, a touch on the arm, holding hands, putting your arm around someone, or embracing.
  • Critical for healthy emotional development in children.
  • Touch communicates hate or love and can make or break a relationship.
  • Explicit touch takes more time (a long embrace) and implicit touch is brief (a quick pat on the back).

Discovering Your Love Language
The answers to these questions could help determine which love language you are or you can use them to help determine the languages of others.
  • What do people do or fail to do that hurts you the most?
  • What do you most often request of others?
  • In what way do you regularly express your love to others?
  • What would be your ideal spouse?

Click on the link below to go to The 5 Love Languages website and take the online quiz there!

People have a few basic needs: love, security, self-worth, and significance.  If we do not feel loved, our differences are magnified and we will fight to have our needs met.  Others are viewed as a threat to our personal happiness.  People who do not feel loved experience great pain and emptiness which impacts all areas of their life and how they deal with it.

Here are a few of Gary Chapman's books in regards to the Love Languages.

Intentionally love someone today!