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How to Use the 5 Love Languages to Improve Your Friendships

The 5 Love Languages is a book written by Gary Chapman intended to help couples improve their communication skills so they could have stronger relationships. Chapman identifies the five love languages as physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gift giving, and acts of service. The book and its ideas is now most commonly known through their website in which you can take a quiz to find out the raking of the five love languages in order to your personal preference. Since love doesn’t only exist in romantic form, the quiz is open to single people too. In this way, having your friends and family take the love language test can really inform you how to show them you love them in ways that are most meaningful to them. 

The important thing to remember when taking the quiz is that you need to consider how you like to receive love instead of how you show love to others.  While sometimes the two line-up, often we find that how we give love tends to be different to how we receive. Knowing how your friends like to receive love can guide how you show that, especially if it’s different than how you like to receive. So, take a break from this article (don’t worry, we’ll wait), go take the quiz with some friends, and come on back to see what those answers mean. 

Physical Touch

Moments of appropriate, consensual physical touch can communicate love for another in a very tender way. The range of physical touch is large, so be aware that it may take some observations and conversations to figure that out between you both. With a friend, this could mean anything from hugs, cuddling up while watching a movie, playing with their hair, resting your head on their shoulder, or something else of this nature.  A gentle pat on the leg when something funny happens or just being physically close can show your love for that person. It is very important to remember that just because someone loves physical touch doesn’t mean that they love it all the time or in all settings. Someone could be very comfortable with physical touch in private but be very opposed to it in public settings. Always make sure that your partner or friend is comfortable with physical touch in that moment.

We’ll just drop the link to the iconic tea video here, since the same rules apply and we know you’re thinking it: https://youtu.be/pZwvrxVavnQ


Words of Affirmation

Language can be a great way to communicate how much you love your friend. Words of affirmation come in many forms. Sending a good luck or hype text when you know your friend has a big test, a presentation, or interview is a great way to show love and support. Taking the time to make a very specific compliment or verbalize your appreciation for the other person makes them feel truly cared about and loved. When living with someone who appreciate WOA, break out those sticky notes and find little moments to leave them love when you can’t be there to say it. Basically, If your friend’s top love language is words of affirmation, find all the ways you can say “I love you” through words and slip them into your daily life. 

Quality Time

Quality time seems like a very odd thing to be considered a love language because, of course, everyone loves to hang out with their friends. However, quality time is really all about being intentional about the time you spend with your friend. If your roommate who loves QT has a stressful week, they will feel super loved if you schedule time with them later on in the week to relax and celebrate getting through it. Quality time can also mean doing things that really interest your friend. Say your roommate really likes picnics and board games and their top love language is quality time. If you then plan a group trip with all your friends to picnic in the park and play board games, your roommate will feel really loved. Making the effort to set aside time to do fun or relaxing things with your quality-time lovin’ friend will fast track you to the BFF category.

Gift Giving

Gift giving is a love language that is often looked down upon. People tend to see gift giving as materialistic and that you are putting a price tag on a relationship. This perception is all very much related to one’s definition of a “gift.” While a gift can be a cute nicknack from Target or some flowers to brighten your dorm room, it doesn’t always have to break the bank.  A gift can be giving them a doodle you scribbled during biology, pressing a cool leaf or flower you found outside, bringing home your really great Cheesecake Factory leftovers for them to eat, or letting them pick the movie for movie night. Giving a gift is all about letting your friend know you thought of them and wanted to make them happy. The price won’t matter when your intention is so strongly rooted in love. 

Acts of Service 

Acts of service refers to doing something for a friend to make their life easier in order to show them you care. Acts of service can be offered outright or done out of observation. For example, If you see your friend stressed, you can offer to go pick your mutual friend from the train instead so they can keep working on their homework. Other AOS offers could include driving a friend to target, dropping off a coffee to a study session, or asking if they’d like you to get them dinner when you know they’ve been very busy. When it comes to AOS based on observations, it’s very easy to think about your relationship with your roommate. If you observe that your roommate is having a really stressful day and they appreciate acts of service, you can show your love for them by seeing what you can do around your room to make them feel relaxed before they return home. Anything from folding their laundry, making their bed, or cleaning the dishes that are beginning to stack up will show your roommate that you see their stress and are trying to help alleviate it. AOS really shows your love in a practical and helpful way that your friend will really appreciate. 

We hope that knowing how to use your friends’ quiz answers will improve those relationships in your life. We like to think about love languages in terms of ice cream. If you know your friend’s favorite ice cream flavors, it’s very easy to know what to pick if you want to do something nice and order for them. Take some time, possibly over ice cream, to talk about love languages with your friends so you can be extra sweet when they need it.

Maddy Oldham

Hofstra '21

Maddy Oldham is a junior with a double major in Drama and Early Childhood/Childhood Education. She is passionate about iced coffee, thrifting, music, and making people smile.
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