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Speaking Your Roommate’s Love Language

“What’s your love language?” is a question many of us have both heard and asked in recent years thanks to author Gary Chapman’s bestselling book, ‘The Five Love Languages’. Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the concept of love languages, or different ways that people best give and receive love. It’s likely that we are aware of our own love language as well. Quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, gift giving and physical touch are each one of the major categories of expressing and understanding love, according to Chapman.

The conversation surrounding love languages commonly centers romantic relationships but being conscious of another person’s approach to love does not have to begin and end with your partner. These ideas can be applied to valued relationships of any kind, including friends, family and, of course, roommates.

Living in close quarters with someone else requires a level of mindfulness and a solid understanding of how others live and communicate. The ability to express varying means of affection can help build and maintain positive relationships with roommates and keep the social atmosphere favorable. Not to mention, it’s also nice to make someone else feel special!

Unsure of where to begin? Here are a few ideas for expressing love languages with your roommates:


As the name suggests, those with quality time as their primary love language feel the most loved while spending time with their friends and family. This can be done from the comfort of your dorm or by going out and taking them to your favorite spot on campus. Another great way to spend quality time together is by attending an on-campus event together. For some, it can be awkward going solo to campus activities, so having a friend there with you can easily add a lot of fun to the experience. 


If your roommate’s love language is acts of service, they value when others do something thoughtful for them, often something they would normally do themselves.Those with acts of service as their primary love language appreciate actions more so than words. 

When living in a dorm and sharing such a small space with another person, one of the easiest acts of service you can do is cleaning up the space. Returning to your room to find everything in order can be such a relief, especially if your roommate is typically the person who does the cleaning. Know your roommate has a big test today? Help them out a little bit and make sure the space is clean and cozy for when they get back from their exam! Little things go a long way and we all need a little extra help sometimes.

And, be sure to follow through on promises and commitments, too!


People with words of affirmation as their main love language receive love best through kind and supportive words, whether they be verbal or written. Meaningful compliments are always cherished, and not just ones focused on physical appearance. Words of affirmation can be used to acknowledge their accomplishments and, as college students, we could all use a bit of uplifting from time to time.

Try leaving an encouraging note for them! As someone whose personal love language is with words of affirmation a gesture like this would make my entire day.  


Often misinterpreted as materialism, gift giving as a love language is more concerned with the thought, not the price tag. No need to break the bank with these gifts! If this is your roommate’s love language, even the smallest gifts are significant to them. Are they a coffee lover? Pick up a cup for them from a coffee spot on or near campus. You can do this for any of their favorite snacks, too! 

Similarly, if you’re out and about and see something that reminds you of them, you could gift it. For example, a roommate who is big on organization might love a cute planner. The main idea is to show that they were on your mind, not that you spent a bunch of money on them.


Physical touch as a love language can be a bit tricky in terms of friendships, as there are obvious limits to what is appropriate for this type of relationship. The key is finding ways to express non-verbal affection that work for your specific roommate. For instance, some people enjoy getting close and cuddly with friends, but it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. Make sure you understand your roommates comfort level with physical touch before you go in for a big bear hug. Some might prefer things like made-up handshakes or casually holding hands. Hugs are another versatile way to show love through physical touch. For those who are more uncertain about physical touch, go for a short and quick side hug to show you’re there for them.

Ultimately, figuring out how your roommate prefers to be shown love and appreciation can really help your relationship with them. Whether they like to spend time together or just hear that you’re there for them, it’s never a bad idea to show someone that you care.

My name is Stephanie. I’m a third year student at Old Dominion majoring in professional writing. I'm a huge bookworm, so you'll likely always find me with a book on hand. When I'm not reading or writing, I love listening to music, playing video games, and spending time with friends.
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