Around 30 years ago, Dr Gary Chapman introduced in his series entitled The 5 Love Languages the concept of the five categorical ways that people prefer to express and receive love.
It applies mostly to our romantic interactions, but with a little reflection we can see that it filters into the platonic, familial, and all the other countless relationships we hold throughout our lives.
It was a revolutionary introduction in its time and has since become an inherent part of our sociocultural vernacular. But 30 years seems like a pretty long time ago, and in the same way that our society as a whole shifts and transforms over time, so too does our perspective on this very concept of love languages.
Word on the street these days is that perhaps a sixth love language has been discovered. And who knows? Maybe in another 30 years, we’ll have a whole new collection of love dialects and vocabularies.
But first, let’s do a little recap on the five we’ve become so familiar with over the years:
Gift giving and receiving:
Usually misunderstood as being materialistic, the key phrase in this love language is actually ‘physical affirmations’. Regardless of the elaborateness, cost, or even size, it’s all about the meaningfulness of the gift itself and the thoughtfulness behind it that makes this person feel loved.
Dating tip: The little occasions make the biggest difference. For the calendar events, be sure to mark it and honour your partner and the day with a thoughtful gift. Depending on your partner’s preference, it doesn’t have to be something extravagant. Random small gifts on non-occasional days like a hand-picked flower or a crafty key ring are where all the good brownie points lie.
A person with physical touch as their primary love language feels love through physical affection. Whether that’s holding hands, lingering hugs, cuddles, sex or all of the above, it’s within these moments of tactile intimacy that they feel the most loved.
Dating tip: Physical affection and tender caresses are everything. Something as simple as reaching out for connection by laying your head on their shoulder while you’re watching Netflix together or – everyone’s favourite – a quick tap on the booty as they walk by will have the love butterflies fluttering instantly.
Exactly how it sounds, when a person whose primary love language is Quality time feels they have your undivided attention, best believe they feel like the most loved person in this entire world.
Dating tip: The key is to consciously carve out some intentional space in your schedule for some bonding time together. A simple stroll while taking in some fresh air, or having an in-depth discussion about your day without any interruptions from your phones. The actual activity isn’t that important, it’s the act of connecting wholeheartedly.
Acts of service:
Actions speak louder than words when it comes to this love language. When they see you making even the most seemingly miniscule gesture to either help make their lives a little easier or simply to show your care and understanding, they’ll be falling head over heels in love every time.
Dating tip: This one requires a little bit of extra effort. Go above and beyond with your actions to show your love. It’s not necessarily about simply doing their chores for them (although for some people it might be, depending on their interpretation of the love language), even something as simple as putting petrol in the car because you know they’ll be driving tomorrow qualifies as above and beyond.
Words of affirmation:
Words of affirmation is all about expressing affection through spoken words, compliments, appreciation and praise. Think ‘Good morning’ messages, little love notes, and random phone calls just to let them know you love love them.
Dating tip: You know how they say words cut deeper than a knife? A knife can be removed, but words are embedded in the soul. Well the same goes for words of affirmation – in a less murdery type of way of course. A simple “You did so well, I’m proud of you” or “I really appreciate everything you do for me” along with an “I love you” will make all the difference.
And now… for the big reveal:
How else might one prefer to express and receive love?
If you’ve ever felt that perhaps you don’t quite fit into any of the more known love languages, or perhaps you fit into some of them but it feels a little more secondary than primary, then perhaps it’s because you feel the most loved when you feel known by your partner.
So what exactly does this mean?
Well, according to TikTok and a few people around the world, this love language is all about taking note of what makes them uniquely who they are on the inside. For people whose primary love language is feeling known, paying attention to things about you, your habits, likes, dislikes and remembering all the tiny little details you’ve maybe mentioned in passing is what makes you feel like you’re in seventh heaven.
@awwlexis I always felt that there was one missing, here it is ♥️ credit: @wethelees #lovelanguage #6thlovelanguage #intimacy #relationship #selflove #attachmentstyle #lovelanguages #romanticgestures ♬ original sound – awwlexis
@wethelees i never knew this is love. #strangerthings ♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 山口夕依
In her podcast, More than Small Talk, Holley Gerth refers to this love language as simply your unique element that makes you feel that ultimate meaningful connection in your relationship. For her, it’s naps and or chocolates and peanut butter. For her friend, it’s silliness, and for others it might be a little bit of solo downtime to decompress.
While there’s been a great deal of yay-sayers across the globe, there are some that argue that “feeling known” is simply an amalgamation of all five love languages combined.
Others in the cyber realms have taken this idea that perhaps even more ‘languages’ should make it to the list to the next level, including concepts like intimate communication or connection, distance or space, and even social media as its own love language category.
What do you think?