Friday, February 10, 2012

Are You Speaking My Language?

(I have been thinking about the topic of this post for a while now; I honestly didn't plan this as a Valentine's post. I should also explain that I have been thinking about love languages in regards to relationships other than romantic relationships- this post should be read as such.)

I have never read the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, but of course I have heard people talking about the different languages and had a pretty good idea of which language was my language based on the way I saw myself reacting in different social situations. I had an experience recently where I was beginning to feel hurt/neglected by a close friend and had to remind myself to take a step back and realize that this friend was not out to hurt me, but more than likely I was feeling this way because we speak different languages.

Wanting to learn a little more about the way I express and recognize love, I looked up the 5 Love Languages quiz here. The beginning of the quiz explains that you will get a "thorough analysis of your emotional communication preference. It will single out your primary love language, what it means, and how you can use it to connect with those closest to you and effectively enhance the relationships in your life." After taking the quiz I think there is a slight flaw - I think that the results show how I recognize or feel that I receive love, but don't necessarily reflect how I try to show love to others.

My results showed that I actually have TWO languages that tie for the number one spot: Quality Time, and Physical Touch (I scored 9 out of 12 on each).

Quality time confirmed what I had already figured out on my own: when I feel like people don't have time for me, I feel unloved. Simple as that. In this case I think quality time is important to me on both the receiving and giving side of relationships. When I care about someone I try to spend time with them, which is probably why part of the description struck a chord with me by saying "distractions, postponed dates [plans], or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful."

I was kind of surprised that I scored just as high in the Physical Touch category, but after I read though the description I realized that it was more accurate for me as the receiver of physical affection, rather than as the giver. I don't consider myself an incredibly touchy person, but when a friend offers me a hug, plays with my hair, touches my arm to get my attention or more recently, when a friend put her hand on my back to check up on me while at a party (and subsequently let me crash on her couch because I was too wiped out to drive home), I find that that physical touch means a lot to me!

I scored quite a bit lower on the remaining three love languages, yet the quiz suggests that we should "not dismiss those other languages as insignificant." I scored 5 out of 12 on Words of Affirmation, 4 out of 12 for Receiving Gifts, and 3 out of 12 on Acts of Service.

I know I like words of affirmation when I feel they are honest and unsolicited from the giver, but think I'm pretty poor at giving words of affirmation to others. There have been times I have found myself holding back a compliment for no reason at all.

Receiving gifts can be fun now and then but too many make me feel indebted to the giver. However I love finding the perfect gift for someone - something that shows that I have paid attention to things they like or need, but it's not something I do on a regular basis.

Receiving acts of service typically makes me feel uncomfortable - especially if I think someone may be offering to help me because they think I am incapable of accomplishing a task on my own. This is completely my perception as the recipient only; I'm sure people offer acts of service just to be nice, or because it's their love language...because on the flip side it is one of my languages as the giver! I like serving other people when I care about them! If you're sick and need someone to force fluids down your throat, need a last minute babysitter, need a ride to the airport, whatever - I'm there. Perhaps it's because in many instances of service I am able to spend quality time with the friends I'm serving.

Overall I think the quiz was pretty accurate in defining the way I interpret (receive) love. It was also good for me to re-realize that even though I may sometimes think friends aren't doing the best job of making me feel loved, it doesn't mean that they aren't trying hard to express their love for me through another language!