I've always been under the impression that my love language consists of cracking condescending jokes about people’s sense of humor while making pasta for distressed friends at 3 a.m. According to The 5 Love Languages Quiz, however, it’s actually physical touch and acts of service. But to me, carbs and criticism follow close behind.
Love languages have garnered a significant amount of attention within this zeitgeist, with Instagram influencers, Twitter enthusiasts and actual relationship analysts buzzing about the importance of love languages. According to The Oprah Magazine, the official five love languages include physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts and quality time. Each person can give and receive love in any of these five ways.
Everyone I know, including myself, has taken some form of the love language quiz to determine which type of love speaks to them best. While this is all well and good, it seems to me that the hype really only involves one's own love language. Very rarely do we take quizzes and read books about other people's love languages. With Valentine's Day in our midst, the annual day dedicated to all things lovey-dovey presents the opportunity to show love to those around you in a way that speaks to their love language.
Love languages were introduced in a book written by Gary Chapman. The point of the book was to teach married couples how to read the love languages of their partners, not obsess over their own. Since the publication of “The Five Love Languages” in 1992, the discourse surrounding the concept of love languages became similar to that of zodiac signs and Myers-Briggs tests.
The results are perceived as quirky character traits found from quizzes that confirm beliefs about ourselves we most likely already know. Obviously there’s value in knowing yourself, but the true power of the love language theory is that it helps you effectively make others feel loved, not guilt your partner into loving you in the way you prefer.
Over this past weekend, the importance of learning how to show love to those around me became very pronounced. Some friends and I went down to Kansas City and over the course of the trip I learned with abject horror that the people I was with were the ones I loved most in the world — aside from my family of course.
With this realization, I also came to the conclusion that I don’t know how to show that I love them, or really anyone. 3 a.m. pasta can only go so far, and when every other word that flies out of my mouth sounds like “shut up,” my pseudo-love languages don't exactly evoke the warm and fuzzies.
This Valentine’s Day I’m committing to learning the many ways to say “I love you” to those around me — in their love language. It’s probably gonna be awkward, and with little to no tact, but that’s how I have been told learning any language is. I assume learning a love language is no different.