Relationships

What’s Your Love Language?

Michelle and Barack kissing

The concept of love languages has been around for almost 30 years, and it has been written about on 8 million blog posts since then. But! We’ve never talked about it on Cup of Jo, and I’m curious to hear about yours. This week, I was talking on the phone to my friend…

And she told me a fascinating story.

First, the five love languages, if you need a refresher, describe the ways you give and receive love. They include:

words of affirmation
quality time
receiving gifts
acts of service
physical touch

To figure out what your love language is, think about what makes you feel most appreciated — or, on the flip side, what makes you feel unloved if it’s missing. You can also take this online quiz.

Knowing each other’s love languages can be helpful for any relationship — significant others, siblings, parents, children, friends, colleagues. And the fascinating thing is that two people in a relationship may have different love languages — so, what makes you feel loved might not be the same thing that makes your partner feel loved.

On the phone, my friend told me how she had once picked up her husband’s dry cleaned shirts, brought them home and hung them on the bedroom door. When he saw them, he turned to her and said, “You love me.”

Another time, she wrote long list of reasons she loved him, from his brilliant mind to his dark wavy hair. “He was sweet but could barely read it,” she laughs now. “It made him feel so awkward. At the time, I thought, ‘What’s wrong with him?’ But now I know, his love language isn’t words of affirmation — it’s acts of service.”

My love language is definitely words of affirmation — I want to be told I’m loved like a thousand times a day, I’m so needy! But I don’t care about gifts or acts of service at all. Alex’s is definitely physical touch and words of affirmation.

What’s your love language? If you’re in a relationship, is it the same as your partner’s?

P.S. My sister’s awesome dating tip, and 14 reader comments on dating.

(Photo of Michelle and Barack Obama.)

  1. Annie says...

    First, daaaang what a pic!!!

    Then, my husband and I did this a few weeks ago. He reads this blog sometimes for ideas for our date nights/daily conversation as he knows I read it daily.

    We ended with similar scores with about 20ish percent in all categories except gifts.

    But the conversation was great and I decided that maybe I’ll allow some cuddling BEFORE sleep, definitely not during.

  2. My husband and I talk frequently about love languages and the fact that there are two sides to it that are really important and not necessarily the same:

    1. How you FEEL loved
    2. How you SHOW love

    1. and 2. can sometimes be the same, but often times they aren’t! My husband FEELS love through physical touch, but SHOWS love through acts of service. Luckily for me, at least, I FEEL love through acts of service from him, but SHOW love through words of affirmation. I firmly believe that someone needs to just make a dating app that matches folks based how they show and feel love (i.e. how one person shows love is how the other person feels love, and vice versa) because I imagine that would make for some successful partnerships!

  3. rarelycomments says...

    I got about twenty percent of the way into the singles quiz and had to stop, because it was like… I don’t really care about any of these things. Can one have *no* love language? Ha :)

  4. Erin says...

    What category does worrying over somebody fit? :)

  5. pmia says...

    Whoa Joanna. I took this quiz a few years ago and my results are SO DIFFERENT now, since we are in a pandemic and have a 2 year old. My partner and I both work from home (pandemic/quarantine) now, and we live in a small house, so I see him All The Time; i.e., no need for additional “quality time.” Our 2 yo is very much a mama’s boy, which means I am doing a large share of the caregiving as well as housework, etc. So, whereas a few years ago I wanted love through touch, these days I 100% want HELP (god please) and, if not that, at least I want him to to verbalize that he sees how much I’m doing. I definitely do not want to be touched–we have 2 cats, 2 dogs, and the toddler, and among them, someone is always on my body. Anyway, I would be so interested to hear other perspectives on this–how has the pandemic changed your love/needs?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so fascinating/true!

    • Amanda says...

      I’m in a similar boat! I moved back to my hometown literally the week before we shut down for the pandemic and it’s just not realistic to expect quality time (esp through the socially distant lens of technology) when people are so on edge because of the pandemic and need some time to not be on zoom or whatever. I have found myself appreciating tokens of people’s affection and found myself expressing myself through gifts more and more, even though I’m not really a materialistic/stuff driven person. It’s tangible acknowledgment when I can’t really give or receive much else.

    • I literally just had the EXACT same experience! I was like “whoa! I didn’t think my love languages was acts of service!” But yes, a 2 year old and 7 month old changes things!! Very interesting!

    • Victoria says...

      Goodness, yes! I was very much a “quality time” and “touch” person prior to having a child. Now, I do not want to be touched or needed 24/7 – my 18 month old is very much a mama’s boy, my husband seems to be friskier (or maybe I’m just less so?!?), and I’m 10 weeks pregnant. I’d 100% rather hear how amazing I am or get an afternoon off from caregiving and chores to remember what “alone time” used to feel like. Glad I’m not alone!

    • Cynthia Miller says...

      Not a pandemic- but having little babies and little kids- I got touched out! I didn’t need physical touch so much. Now I think that is a bigger one for me again- my kids are older. I like to cuddle or hug- but I always initiate- I wish he would!
      Acts of service are SOOO important in daily household tasks, too! I always say him doing dishes is foreplay!

  6. Scarlett says...

    My love languages are definitely physical touch, and apparently gift giving. Gifts are nice to receive I guess, but I really LOVE finding good gifts for other people. My husband recently just told me, “You’re such a good gift giver! I suck.” And I said, “No, it’s just not your love language!” He has often told me how he’d think about getting some flowers or something special for me but just doesn’t prioritize it. What his love languages are are physical touch and words of affirmation. I know when he wraps me up in a big hug and tells me how much he loves me he really means it and I’ve learned not to mind when he doesn’t get me a gift for certain occasions lol. I just buy them for myself now. ;)

  7. Anaïs says...

    Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s LOVE entry in her Encyclopedia of An Ordinary Life is forever my favorite love language. (Thank you Jenny and Joanna for introducing me to her work in 2017):

    LOVE – If you really love someone, you want to know what they ate for lunch or dinner without you. Hi, sweetie, how was your day, what did you have for lunch? Or if your mate was out of town on business: How was your trip, did the meeting go well, what did you do for dinner? Jason will stumble home in the wee hours from a bachelor party, and as he crawls into bed I’ll pry myself from sleep long enough to mumble, how was the party, how was the restaurant beforehand? The meal that has no bearing on the relationship appears to be breakfast. I can love you and not know that when you were in Cincinnati last Wednesday you had yogurt and a bagel.

  8. I am Quality Time, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, and Receiving Gifts in that order. My love language has definitely changed as I got older so it was worth taking the quiz again and I think I will make it a habit to take the quiz yearly because we all grow and evolve as people both personally and in relationships.

  9. Kerri says...

    Me: I’m going to take the quiz but I already know I’m an “acts of service”
    Quiz: You’re a “quality time”
    Me: Yeah, okay Quiz, you don’t know what you’re talking about

    Also Me: Mad my husband fell asleep on the couch while we were watching a movie

    • I am definitely a Quality Time kind of girl and getting annoyed or upset when my boyfriend falls asleep while we watch something triggers me, so I feel for you.

  10. ABC says...

    This is incredibly timely because my husband and I just argued about our love languages this morning. His is physical touch – he wants to hook up every day. Mine is acts of service. I want the house to be tidy (he works from home, I don’t) and will gladly have sex with him if I get home to a clean house.

    Trouble is that neither of us “feels” like doing the other person’s love language right now (covid fatigue, anyone?), so we’re stuck in a cycle of my tidying the house every night when I get home from work because I’m the only one who cares about it, and HIM not getting laid during the work week because I’m resentful. And then he feels unloved because we’re “only having sex on the weekends” but won’t lift a finger. WHAT GIVES?!

    OUF it feels better just typing that out.

    • Madeline says...

      somebody has to give! I’d try to start laying him more often and i bet you your house starts getting cleaner! Good luck!!

  11. Alexandra says...

    I highly recommend also checking out the apology languages! Super useful for figuring out how to navigate situations when you or your loved one has messed up and is trying to make things better.

    https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/apology-quiz/

  12. Akg says...

    Taking the love language test has had a huge impact on our marriage going through a 3 year long fertility struggle. I always want to talk about my feelings, especially when things got hard, and expected more “words of affirmation” type responses and my husband would be kind of silent not knowing what to say. Then I realized words are not how he shows his love but physical touch is. So now when I’m crying and he doesn’t have the words he just gives me the biggest strongest hug and holds me for however long I need not needing to say anything and I know how much he loves me and we’re going to be alright.

  13. Shira says...

    Mine is quality time and words of affirmation. My husband’s is acts of service and…I’m not sure of his second, actually! It makes it really challenging to pick upon the depth of what we each mean when we do the things that we equate as love. This reminds me to do better . Also, another reader’s comment reminded me of to follow the platinum rule rather than the golden rule: do unto others as THEY would want to be done to them. I also think, and this is especially true for women, and true for now, during the pandemic: we could all try exercising some self-love via our own love language. Cheers, ladies!

  14. Jennifer Reudelhuber says...

    My love language changed as I grew older. I took the quiz in college and I remember physical touch was at the bottom. Then, after my divorce to someone who had become increasingly non-affectionate, I happened to take it again, and physical touch was right at the top. I guess being deprived of something totally changed my outlook.
    I’ve also asked my close friends and family members take the quiz, and I understand them so much more now.

    • KC says...

      Yes! I have not had that specific experience, but I think, just like introverts can end up with too little people-time or extroverts can end up with too little alone-time, our love languages can shift sometimes based on what’s going on and where we are adequately fed or where we’re ravenous.

      (but… I’m probably never going to be a gifts person. Basically, I am thrilled with anything – words, time, service, gifts, touch – if I feel “seen” and loved, but by default, gifts that do not also say “I know you”: not really my jam?)

  15. KW says...

    My husband’s are physical touch and words of affirmation, mine is acts of service, sounds like this is typical LOL!

  16. GG says...

    I noticed that there are more than a few comments saying “words of affirmation are what I want, but my husband gives acts of service. oh well!” and it’s making me kind of sad. It’s making me think about how men are largely socialized not to be emotionally vulnerable or share their feelings. I’m sure it’s more complicated than that but it’s a bummer to see. Also reminds me that I should strive to love others as they want to be loved, not as I want to be loved. So thanks for that! The golden rule didn’t quite get it right.

  17. celeste says...

    I guess…I’m acts of service…but maybe all moms are??

    • Anonymous says...

      True that

    • Courtney says...

      I agree Celeste! I like how Jennifer said hers changed over time. Mine has become acts of service and I feel like it is very much due to my stage in life of being a mom to two young daughters.

      I also like how another reader commented that we should give ourselves self love based on our love language. I always feel like it is SUCH a treat to get groceries delivered. I might have to treat myself more often :)

  18. honore says...

    Love Languages was transformative for me in several ways but especially in that it inspired me to learn to identify the way the people in my life expressed their love to me so that I could be grateful. Because even if they were not speaking *my* love language they were still communicating as best they could. Now I have the LL discussion so that we can both know how we each love to be loved most. It’s really be revolutionary!

  19. Laura says...

    Mine is definitely service. My husband’s are words of affirmation & physical touch. It is SO hard for me to remember that he needs things that I am completely indifferent to, and frankly view as hollow. Also, he joked at Christmas that gifts are not my love language; they are, in fact, my “hate” language. Not only do I resent the giver giving me a “chore” if I do not like it (I have to regift it, give it away, or recycle it responsibly), but sometimes I am horrified at how the gifter apparently sees me–or does not see me, as the case may be (e.g., once I got a gift that was definitely for a fusty old lady, which I never saw myself as…until that moment). So yeah, no gifts over here. On the flip side, I do love to find the PERFECT gift for people, that makes them feel seen, loved, and special :)

    • Holly says...

      Omg did I write this comment!?! I agree with EVERY sentence and my husband and I are the exact same .

    • JM says...

      1,000% same

    • Janna says...

      I always thought gifts were my love language and that I was too picky bc I feel EXACTLY like this. Love the “hate language” angle.

    • Anonymous says...

      I hate seeing a gift in a huge bag and omg when you give me big boxes for my kids I’m like noooo. I live in a small house .

      Don’t even get me started on my frilly dress gifts from my mother in law.

    • Lauren says...

      YES!! I cannot stand receiving gifts. And it’s never ending. Christmas valentines birthday anniversary…. just when you think it’s over there’s another holiday and a new round of chores. I feel so ungrateful but that just adds to why I hate getting gifts.

  20. riye says...

    I’m acts of service and my bf is words of affirmation–which kind of works out because he does stuff for me and I say thank you. :-)

  21. Liz says...

    A few years ago at a family gathering a bunch of couples went around and took the survey and discussed our answers – a fun party activity. My cousin’s new wife came up as Words of Affirmation – I won’t ever forget the shock on my cousin’s face. I swear we saved his marriage that night!

  22. Wink says...

    Haven’t had the chance to read all the responses yet, but I do agree with what a poster said above, that love languages most likely fluctuate and even change entirely, due to the place you are in your life. During the courtship phase, I was all about words of affirmation and touch.
    In the baby years with my son, it was acts of service I craved. Now that we have all been cooped together in a tiny house for almost a year, I would say a new love language needs to be created. How about: Knows when to give me some space? Understands how to get out of my hair?!

  23. Sarah says...

    I think they need to add this exact category too! Nothing is as exciting to me as an engaging conversation. With two small kids at home, I can never really TALK to my partner, and it makes me feel pretty lonely. I miss the charming, funny, unexpected talks we always enjoyed. None of the other categories really speak to the same need.

    • Maya says...

      maybe that would fall w/i “quality time”?

    • SarahN says...

      Same name, same feeling! (he has two small kids and gosh do I relish when they’re with their mum solely for the chats it means him and I have, without interruptions!)

  24. Ro says...

    As a fellow needy person, I like to receive words of affirmation from everyone in my life. If they aren’t telling me they love me, I forget almost instantly lol I also enjoy a good hug from a partner or family member.

    As for giving love, I’m all about quality time.

    It’s really hard for me to put into words how I feel about other people. I’m also really bad at picking out gifts. But I will plan parties, talk on the phone, and hang out with the people I love for HOURS to show I care :)

  25. Kelsey A. says...

    I was in line at Chipotle when I first realized physical touch was my love language, haha. My high school boyfriend was standing behind me and he grabbed me in a sweet, boring embrace while we waited in line. I’ve never felt so loved and years later, I still think about it even though it was such a mundane gesture!

  26. Rachel says...

    How much do I love this photo?!? Let me count the ways…

    – Melia’s face!
    – Joe’s face!
    – Barack’s (can I call him that?!?) full-torso twist toward Michelle, his arm around her, his other hand grasping her. Swoon.
    – Michele grasping him back.
    – How everyone nearby is watching it on the jumbotron, instead of in real life.
    – How long I (clearly) looked at this photo.

    • Jean says...

      Exactly! How have I never seen this photo! I want to be kissed like that :)

    • Jess. says...

      Yes! I was thinking that maybe this photo is my love language? :)

  27. Mel says...

    I am without a doubt words of affirmation and physical affection. My husband is acts of service, quality time and gifts. We used to butt heads because we felt like we were loving each other SO well but it was falling flat. I know now that writing him beautiful cards will get me nowhere but doing one of his house ‘jobs’ and grabbing him something from the store will make him feel so loved. And while he’ll never be a words of affirmation guy i’ve learned to interpret his endless thoughtfulness and service as love. Fortunately sex is a big love language for us both so that helps ;)

  28. Meg says...

    I am a words of affirmation person, of course married to a man who lives by the philosophy that he told me he loves me once and he’ll let me know if anything changes. He is great at giving acts of service, though. Early on in our relationship I was like “DO YOU EVEN LOVE ME?” and he was like “I SPENT FOUR HOURS ON A LADDER YESTERDAY HANGING WALLPAPER FOR YOU” and I was like “Oh.”

    • ARC says...

      That made me laugh so hard! My number one is quality time, and my husband is just like yours. I am lucky to have him, just sometimes I wish he would go hiking with me … oh well, but he does do those lovely acts of service, especially when it comes to house- and car-related things. And I deeply appreciate them, because I don’t want to deal with these things, unless I absolutely have to.

    • Kate says...

      Omg this is my relationship!! I said I wasn’t sure if he still loved me and he looked at me like I was crazy and said “I just spent 3 hours hauling your boxes to the post office.” Whoops! Trying to do a better job recognizing his expressions of love, my big goal for the year!

  29. Anna says...

    Anyone else feel like they’re all of them?! Which sounds needy but really means easy to please :)

    • Em says...

      I love this view of it! Yes! I am also easy to please/love :-)

    • Colleen says...

      The orig book mentions you can certainly be more than one :) though most often with one strong predominant trait and then secondary etc. But you do you, and get loved all the ways!

    • El says...

      I took it and I thought that too. But now I think it’s more about which you would really miss/crave most if it suddenly stopped. I think physical touch pips it for me and I’m still working on figuring out another one :)

  30. Linds says...

    I think there should be an added category:
    Quality Conversation.

    I love quality time and words of affirmation but there is something about an intimate, vulnerable conversation or an inspiring, engaging exchange with another person that makes me come alive and feel love.

    • Kara says...

      I consider that an aspect of quality time, coming from the perspective of someone who has quality time as my top love language and words of affirmation 4th to last (I’m like the husband in the post feeling awkward in WOA situations). I live for those kinds of conversations, it feels like what life is all about! Just my thoughts though, I’m sure your particular combo adds a layer of meaning to that experience.

    • Julie says...

      YES! Love this. My greatest fear is eventually finding myself sitting in a Cracker Barrel with a partner and having nothing to say to each other. We just eat our depressing breakfast in silence. Conversation that has depth and curiosity is so important to me!

  31. Elizabeth says...

    I only took the quiz a couple of years ago, when I was in the throws of the really tough years of working full-time and caring for toddlers/pre-school age children. My number one love language was acts of service. Recognizing this enabled me to ask for help from my husband and our support system. It improved our relationship and my mental health. I can’t help but wonder if in a new season of life, my love language might change. When my kids are older and we are all a bit busier with our own things, I could imagine ending up with quality time or words of affirmation higher in my ranking.

    • Louisa says...

      I just took the quiz. If my husband rubbed my back while I was folding laundry- instead of helping me fold the freaking laundry – I would feel unnoticed and unloved. In my 20’s when there was endless time and limited laundry I would have a different response.

  32. Courtney says...

    Mine is acts of service, with quality time and words of affirmation tied for a slightly-distant second. But I do wonder how the pandemic has changed that–I mean, how much more quality time can we get? I know mine also shifted away from physical touch after having kids, because of the whole “being touched out” thing … they’re definitely fluid.

  33. Agnès says...

    I love that “the concept of love language has been around for 30 years”! where was I? Honestly, I find it quite fascinating and can’t stop thinking about it now! thank you!

  34. E says...

    Understanding Love Languages was a GAME CHANGER in my marriage. I am very much Acts of Service. When I would ask my husband to do something and he wouldn’t I would nag until we both got mad. Understanding this made us realize that I need him to be specific “I will do the dishes when I am done watching the football game.” And when he just does things without being asked it really does make me feel loved and like he cares about what I care about. His are Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation. He comes from a family that is very huggy and always says I Love You constantly, whereas that’s not a big deal in my family so I would brush it off, not realizing it made him feel unloved. To me, saying it all the time made it feel less important. We made it a point to touch as soon as we got home from the day – not necessarily a hug, because sometimes I need space, but at least an arm touch which may evolve into a hug and kiss. I’ve gotten better about thanking him for little things and saying I Love You more, and he’s therefore been able to cut back on saying it constantly.

  35. Lakshmi says...

    My partner and I don’t share a love language. But it hasn’t stopped me from speaking in my language, or comprehending his. My parents and I don’t speak the same love language. They are from a different generation, and we express ourselves differently. Not that it has ever been a hindrance in communicating our love and caring to each other.

    Note: “I love you” doesn’t feature in any of our languages. It simply doesn’t fit.

  36. Dana says...

    In the past I would have said words or touch—until I met my husband. The first thing that drew me to him was how giving he was, how effortlessly loving. He fluently speaks all of the love languages at once, completely enveloping me. I am grateful that I can return his love in kind every single day, and that our two-month-old daughter will grow up seeing a multifaceted love, expressed constantly, earnestly, and joyfully.

    • Em says...

      Wow, this is so beautiful & inspiring. Thank you for sharing with us! <3

    • Well, this is beautiful and hopeful! Thank you!

    • Christine says...

      This is so beautifully written- how lucky for you and your daughter to feel such a deep and complete love!

  37. Twyla says...

    I read once that the Love Languages philosophy can be used to make self care especially meaningful – meaning you show love to YOURSELF in your own love language! For example, if your love language is Words of Affirmation – how you speak to yourself is very impactful, so try writing affirmations and putting them up on your mirrors/walls, or tell yourself regularly that you’ve done a great job. If Quality Time is your mode – schedule days off in your calendar for just ‘me’ days. Mine is Acts of Service, so I like to plan things to treat ‘future me’: cooking a few extra things so I can have a nice lunch another day or a dinner I can pull from the freezer on a stressful day; booking massages weeks in advance, or buying books that I save for a vacation. I appreciated this perspective because I was raised to believe that being completely selfless was the best way to live. We focus a lot on giving love to others, but what would happen if we loved ourselves just as much in the most meaningful way?

    • Rusty says...

      Twyla – Wow!
      You just gave me a whole new way of looking at this!
      I’m going to be on my own, come May, and there’s a gazillion miles of healing for me to do.
      THIS is massively helpful!
      Thank you immensely! xox

    • Eli says...

      This is wonderful thought and exercise, Twyla! I am going through an extensively long and drawn out breakup that just won’t seem to end. And the things that I so desperately crave are things I can do for myself – to show love to myself. Acts of Service – prepping food for later in the week for my busy nights. Scheduling a hair, nail, or massage appointment, which also hits the physical touch need. Quality time – plans on the weekend that are just for me and the things I love doing.
      Thank you for sharing this idea. It may help with the breakthrough my therapist has been laying the path for me to have… I just hadn’t found the starting point yet.

    • Great idea – what an amazing reframing. thank you.

    • Cami says...

      Amazing! Never thought of it this way. Love when I read the COJ comments and stumble upon a gem like this.

    • Mel says...

      I LOVE this idea. I am for sure physical touch which explains why I feel taken care of when I exercise, shower, put lotion on, take care of my skin. I’m taking care of my own physical attention. Brilliant

    • Kara says...

      This is SUCH a great idea. Acts of service is pretty high for myself, yet I’m always putting off those types of examples you named. The way you’ve framed it is a very motivating way to prioritize it!

    • Karin says...

      Exactly this! I have always, from a young(ish) age realized that the greatest relationship that we all have is the one we have with ourselves and unabashedly I am the Queen of looking after my self and prioritizing what I need so that I can remain a wonderful partner / aunty / friend / daughter etc. I’ve always had stellar boundaries on time / energy / work / commitments etc but ultimately I think it’s so important to always be kind to ourselves. As always, such lovely comments from kind, compassionate readers! I truly do love COJ

    • Mimi says...

      wow! I can’t believe I have never considered this! Mine is receiving gifts so you can bet I’m going to have a few packages coming my way soon haha

    • mym says...

      The most brilliant thing I’ve read in a long time, in relation to self care. The quiz showed that I am very low on words of affirmation, and no wonder the idea of telling myself how great I’m doing or having a poster of encouraging words NEVER ever worked for me! Thank you for this wonderful insight!

  38. Alexis says...

    I like receiving *thoughtful* gifts and acts of service. I guess I like being the recipient of thoughtfulness.

    And I love to give gifts. But often I hold back because sometimes they’re for people I don’t know that well but will see something that reminds me so much of them. I have ongoing lists all year for present ideas and I also buy things throughout the year to take advantage of sales and limited releases. By the time birthdays or holidays roll around I have it sorted. Usually! COVID has really knocked me for a loop with having to move it all online.

  39. Allison says...

    I think there is a 6th love language because the way I feel loved doesn’t neatly fit in these boxes (though I score high on acts of service).
    I feel loved when someone shows me they know me – sometimes that’s an act of service, sometimes that’s a gift that is perfect but I never would have thought of it (but definitely not just gifts in general…do not feel loved when receiving something I don’t actually want).

    • Britt says...

      Exactly. Someone else commented attunement. That’s how I feel cared for, when someone shows that they know me, particularly through small details.

    • Tess says...

      Well said Allison. I think the truth is, all of the “Love Languages” come down to being SEEN- this is the common thread that runs through all of them.

    • Gilly says...

      Great insight, Allison. My best friend in college nailed this one. I knew she loved me when she started noticing the things i liked and hated and would remind me (watch out, there’s goat cheese in that; they have bread pudding on the dessert menu, your favorite; my date had a soul patch, i thought it was hot but you would have puked in your mouth). It says something like, I’ve been paying attention and even if we have different preferences, I care enough to remember yours too.

    • Rusty says...

      Yessss!
      My best friend said “Because you dwell in the truth. You tell the truth!” and I felt soooo seen, so known!

    • M says...

      Gilly, a friend was offering me some clothes she didn’t want anymore, and she said, “I know you don’t usually wear red, but I think this style would be really cute on you.” And *I* hadn’t even realized until that moment that indeed I do not wear red. I have NOTHING red in my closet. I have never felt so seen.

    • rach says...

      i love this so much and it resonates with me!!!

  40. Erica Lee says...

    I used to think my primary language was gifts. However, as the quality of my relationships became healthier and more fulfilling, I have leaned more into quality time. Although, i do still love a thoughtful gift.
    I really love learning my friends’ love languages so I can be more intentional in how I relate to them. Enneagram has been an amazing tool too!💛

  41. Jennie says...

    Quality time! I think everyone in my family has the same love language. My mother was a single parent to three children and had virtually no spare time, but she was creative about taking only one of us on an errand with her and turning it into an opportunity for quality time. I’m thirty now, but I still get warm and fuzzy when I walk into a grocery store. It reminds me of sharing my teenage hopes and dreams with my mom while we wandered the aisles.

    • Yulia says...

      Jennie, that’s such a lovely image. I’m so happy you had that kind of relationship with your mom. It honestly gives me joy just thinking about how loved you were as a teen. (My own relationship with my mom is different—okay, but different!)

    • rach says...

      this!

  42. B says...

    Mine is acts of service, I am not going to ask for help but if you just pitch in, that makes me feel like you care and see me. My husband is quality time and physical touch (all of my kids are the same) isnt that crazy???

  43. Lauren E. says...

    I knew mine was physical touch when I started dating my husband and I could not get enough of him touching me. Literally any time, anywhere – hand on my back on a crowded sidewalk, next to him on the couch watching TV with just our hands touching, in bed spooning. To the point where if he pulled away I’d call him out – “why’d you stop?!” And I knew this was my love language because I had always HATED being touched by everyone else. My friends in college would joke, “Oh don’t do that to Lauren, she HATES being touched.” It was a funny realization.

    • Julie says...

      I am the SAME way. No hugs from others, but yes, touching my partner 100%!

  44. I think about these often. It’s good to be aware of these with yourself and the people you love!

  45. Hannah says...

    Don’t forget the 6th love language: FOOD!

    Trying to make a new friend? Food!
    Caring for someone who is sick, just had a baby, or is going through a hard time? Food!
    Gathering together with friends and family? Food!
    Expressing a heartfelt thank you? Food!
    Just boppin around town with your bestie or lover? Food!
    Self care? Food! (to a healthy extent of course).

    “Love people, cook them tasty food.”

    • Sarah says...

      That would all definitely fall under acts of service!

    • Elspeth says...

      Yes! I wholeheartedly agree. When I’ve been at my lowest people bringing food has meant the world. And I LOVE feeding people in my home – you truly bond with people when you eat with them!

    • Hannah says...

      Technically we can argue it supports all love language! Quality time? Food! Gifts? Food! Acts of Service? Food! Physical Touch? Gotta energize with Food! Words of affirmation? Best said while eating food, making food, or written on food. ;)

    • Kara says...

      This reminds me of love languages expressed in terms of tacos (I don’t know who came up with it!):
      Words of Affirmation: your tacos are delicious.
      Acts of Service: I made you tacos.
      Receiving Gifts: Here’s a taco.
      Quality Time: Let’s go out for tacos together.
      Physical Touch: Let me hold you like a taco.

    • Ellen W says...

      I’m guessing you are a fan of Penzeys Spices – I have that bumper sticker in my kitchen and office.

  46. anna says...

    I’m newly-ish seeing someone (since the fall!) and we haven’t had the love languages discussion yet, but mine are gifts and words of affirmation. I love picking out something sweet for others or writing them a card that makes them cry! My SO is away at a military training right now and I won’t hear from him till he gets back, so I’m satisfying that void by buying him small gifts (a book from the thrift store, his favorite chocolates from Trader Joe’s) and writing notes to give him when he returns. Still hard but it makes me feel like I’m still ‘showing love,’ even when we can’t be together or talk to each other.

  47. Laurel says...

    I am words of affirmation all the way, even when it comes to sex. I’ve joked with my girlfriends that I won’t ever believe a guy wants me unless he says it. Pursue sex with me relentlessly? Actually HAVE sex with me? Nope. None of that means anything on the question of whether he wants me. But SAY you want to have sex with?? Oh, yeah. He wants it ;)

  48. Alice says...

    Touch and quality time are absolutely mine. I feel most loved when I’m holding my boyfriend’s hand as we walk around a gallery, or watching a film with my mum with my legs stretched over hers, or linking arms with a friend as we take a walk in the park. Words of affirmation are great too, and definitely give me the warm and fuzzies- but I don’t need gifts or for people to do things for me at all!

  49. C says...

    Love Languages is a topic that never gets old to me, no matter how many articles I’ve read or how many personal conversations I have with mates or friends about it.

    It’s become a not-so-subtle way for one person to let another person know that they are romantically interested in the other, asking “what are your love languages?” One man who had pursued me had been Venmo-ing me coffee money at a concerning frequency, only to find out that “gifts” were my lowest scoring category. He quickly stopped the coffee treats and transitioned over to telling me kind and encouraging words after learning that words of affirmation was my highest scoring language.

    As an Asian American, we also dabble in blood types and Chinese animal horoscopes when dealing with romantic relationships. There are blood type men to avoid (B blood type men are notorious womanizers or playboy types, but oh so much fun and passionate), and the Chinese zodiac has each animal’s preferred match or mortal enemy/disaster match. It’s so much fun.

  50. Maria says...

    I always say that food is my lovelanguage. I always bring food to neighbours that are going through a hard time, and if you cook me diner after a long day, I will be so grateful!

    • Sarah says...

      That’s acts of service!

  51. Gretchen says...

    I am absolutely words of affirmation in most of my life. Tell me something you like about me and I will dine out on that feeling for days.
    With my husband, though, it’s a bit different. Words of affirmation is still my primary, but every single other category comes in at a close second. I guess it can be boiled down to “pay attention to me!”
    (His are easy. All he needs are quality time and touch and he’s happy. He’s thrived with us getting to spend so much time together during the pandemic.)

  52. Meghan says...

    My husband and I got to talking a few months ago. After nearly ten years of marriage, we—for the first time—clarified/realized that all he really wants is sex and all I really want is sleep. We tried an experiment wherein he started waking up early with the kids every single morning and letting me sleep myself out. Lo and behold! That man has gotten laid A LOT.

    • MB says...

      Genius!

  53. B says...

    One amazing NYE my lover and I went to an amazing party with live music and danced and drank ourselves silly. He got way more drunk then me, but I managed to get him home and help him to the toilet to puke. After hurling his guts out and stripping down to his underwear, this gorgeous Adonis of a man lied on top of me, both of us sprawled out on the floor, and asked me very sincerely, “What are your love languages?” It’s one of my sweetest memories.

  54. Abbey says...

    Whenever I have taken this quiz I get “words of affirmation” but I feel like what I REALLY respond to is something more nuanced than what the 5 categories focus on.

    In a word I’d say I thrive on … stimulation. All of my closest most treasured friends and best romantic partnerships show/showed affection by inviting me into something or showing enthusiasm for something I invite them into: particularly support for a creative project, or engaging in a creative project together. But also things like asking me on a spur of the moment trip, or going to a niche sort of film night nobody else seems interested in, or reading aloud to each other, or listening intently to each other’s favorite albums and chatting about them at length, or letting our imaginations run wild in vivid conversations, or talking about the meaning of life! …. the list could go on and on and on. But that kind of stimulation feels like L-O-V-E to me.

    Perhaps this relates into the nuance of the Meyers-Briggs types for me, because I’m an INFP and all my closest people are also –NFP types. Give me any ENFP and whatever they say will sound like love language to my heart.

    • Charlotte says...

      Wow, Abbey, thanks for describing this so clearly because I feel exactly the same way! Interestingly, I’m also an INFP and my love language is also words of affirmation. I think you’re onto something in regards to ENFP partners! One of the largest issues in my current long term relationship is exactly this– I describe it shorthand as a lack of “oomph”. While my partner is loving and kind and I consider myself lucky to be with him, his lack of passion really drains a lot from the relationship for me.

      Many years ago I dated a hot mess express of a guy, but oh boy, I can still hear his enthusiasm about the smallest things. It was wonderful. Having a joy and passion for living and the person you’re with feels like love to me too.

    • Abbey says...

      Charlotte, I’m so pleased that what I said resonated with you! I can totally relate to the lack of “oomph” — that’s a good way to put it. I am actually currently having a similar issue.
      Do you want to know my **incredibly** INFP way to deal with the problem? I’m writing… a romance novel 😂😂😂 We can always have it all… in our imaginations.

  55. Diana says...

    So we took the love languages quiz in my birth class a few years ago and all I remember is how every single pregnant woman was like for the love of god ACTS OF SERVICE PLEASE DO SOMETHING HELPFUL FFS! and every dude was physical touch. Still makes me lol.

  56. Elisha G says...

    I like to joke about how early on in my marriage I learned my husbands love language was quality time- but quality time with himself. He’s the most introverted person Ive ever known, and he feels most appreciated when I give him time to just be alone. He can sit in a quiet room and read, research upcoming trips, or dream up future homes. I’ve found that he gives me the best quality time together when he gets that quality time to himself.

    • rachel says...

      wow this is insightful!!! and SO ME. plus hulu and a cozy bed.

  57. Elizabethkatt says...

    My love language has always been gifts, and I sometimes wish it would be renamed “tokens.” I don’t necessarily want presents–I want physical tokens of our relationship and to feel remembered and understood. I want you to let me wear your sweater until it becomes mine and write me a sweet note I can put in my jewelry box and look at when I’m sad and remember when you go to the bank to bring me home one of those good mints they have so I know you were thinking of me.

    • Erin says...

      YES YES YES

    • Teresa says...

      Mine is also gifts, which on the surface seems materialistic. I used to feel weird about it, but hey I like things. Even the smallest thing. For my recent birthday, my partner gifted me 30 or so baby washcloths because those are my favorite for washing my face and I only had a few. That was it. Nothing fancy. But meaningful and personal and perfect.

  58. Annalisa says...

    Here’s some words of affirmation for you, Joanna!

    Your blog got me through some of the darkest time in my life by connecting me to my best friend when we were coasts away. I love you, Gillian. She introduced me to this blog right after (or before) I got married and moved to Notre Dame. That first year of marriage was so hard. I remember emailing or texting her blog posts — love this (fill-in the blank) and thought of your use of color” (she has an incredible sense of color palettes).

    Thank you.

  59. Meghan says...

    Rob Anderson on instagram (heartthrobanderson) posted a video about the love languages in December that is shockingly vulgar and also hilarious.

  60. Nina says...

    I immediately recognized my top love languages to receive (physical touch, acts of service), and my husband’s to give (acts of service). I’ve spent the last several minutes trying to identify my husband’s preferred received love language, and I don’t think it’s quite on the list. I’d call it: Being Seen or Reflected.

    My husband grew up feeling different from his family. He’s a decade younger than his brothers, and with a very different personality, interests, and “lens” through which he views and understands the world.

    When I think of what resonates with love for him, it’s when I say something back (“reflect”) to him that describes his perspective or self in a way that makes him feel understood. He’ll even stop short and remark on it: yes.

    Probably this is something everyone craves, and I agreed with the other commenters who said, regardless of language, it’s most important to feel noticed and seen (e.g. remembering a big event in someone else’s life, bringing a favorite flower, anticipating a craving for coffee or wine after a bad day, and so on).

    • Shruti says...

      Thank you for this perspective. It’s triggered an aha moment for me.

    • Mollie says...

      They say whatever you give is what you wish to receive, so maybe your husband wishes to receive acts of service? I think this would also probably make him feel seen! But it sounds like you know him very well and are a great partner to him :).

  61. Ok, but next can we talk Enneagram?! I love this one as it gives insight into how we deal with stress, how we grow and who we (most likely) connect with most. https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/

  62. Erin says...

    Physical touch! Needless to say, the pandemic has made this tough. I need more hugs!

    • avignon says...

      I go for massage for this reason – wearing a mask during a massage isn’t THAT bad and gives you peace of mind but I can’t wait for this to be over.

  63. Emma says...

    I want all five every single day lol so look who’s needy now!

    • Amy says...

      lol same!

    • Meg says...

      Yes Emma!!! Picking one or two most important love languages always reminds me of when my kids ask if broccoli, blueberries, or salmon are REALLY the healthiest food. Eat ’em all, ladies.

  64. My love language is gift giving which I already knew (but for me I love buying people gifts to show how much I care), then acts to service and spending time together are equally next followed by words of affirmation and physical touch is last.
    I am not a touchy feely person at all, like I can go days without physical touch and it doesn’t bother me. My sister says I give the most awkward hugs and I have to agree haha

  65. Lauren says...

    Acts of Service is the biggie in my marriage, but Words of Affection and Physical Touch are huge dialects for both me and my husband *specifically and only applied to the cat.* Neither of us is particularly shmoopy or snuggly in other contexts; with the cat it’s obscene. He’s like a prism that gathers and refracts the beams we don’t send directly at each other.

    • M says...

      Ha! I just love this comment!

    • Cills says...

      Yes, that is absolutely hilarious. Lucky cat!

    • M says...

      My husband of 16 years is incredibly generous with acts of service, but not forthcoming with words of affirmation or physical touch (which are what I really want). But with the dog, it’s all petting and rubbing and “Who’s the best girl in the whole world? You are the best girl.” I’m just standing there like WTF?!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahahaha

  66. Amy says...

    Mine is quality time and acts of service! I’m Chinese and when I was 11, my brother and I moved in with my grandma. She never really said I love you growing up instead she showed it by cooking our favorite food on fridays and weekends, and didn’t let us to do many chores so we could focus on school work. My grandma’s was acts of service too. So when we went grocery shopping, we always made sure she didn’t carry any bags. As she got older, we would hold one of her arms while our other arm carried the bags of groceries.
    We also washed the dishes and cleared the table after dinner. Not because it was a chore but a way of saying thank you to my grandma for cooking dinner. As we got older, she softened up and finally became more affectionate. She started telling people how proud she was of my brother and I as adults :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s so beautiful, Amy.

    • Caitlin says...

      This is so sweet. And a good way for me to reframe my dislike of chores and tasks as showing thanks and affection toward my wonderful partner who is for sure an acts of service type!

    • Anna says...

      This made my day.

    • Althea says...

      I am also Chinese and I can relate to this so much! My grandma was never very affectionate and I don’t think she’s ever said “I love you”. But every week when we went over for dinner, all of our favorite dishes were on the table and she would always cut our favorite fruits for dessert.

  67. Zo says...

    The picture of the Obama’s with the title of this article is brilliant….what a wonderful way to start the month of February.

  68. Lucy says...

    Mine (and luckily my fiance’s!) is quality time, hands down no contest. My mom is BIG into gifts though, and it’s been a very fraught part of our relationship for years now. The Love Languages absolutely saved us by helping us understand each other. It’s still hard, and I DREAD Christmas and Birthdays (why is it so hard to accept love from someone in their love language but not yours, even when you KNOW it’s just how they express love?!?). But it’s so much easier when we can both compromise, and at least understand where the other person is coming from.

  69. Shannon says...

    For me, gifts almost do the opposite of show love! I don’t want impractical things, and I believe practical things typically require much more market and comparative research than my husband believes :D

    • D tiz says...

      Same! Physical gifts are almost suffocating to me! I now need to do something with or have this piece forever!

    • Kara says...

      I’m exactly the same with gifts! Receiving gifts is rock bottom of all my love languages, and I’m sure my husband is sick of my rants (that I keep between us) about getting them. Whenever someone questions the value of gift cards as gifts, they clearly have never tried to understand someone who hates getting physical things. Gift givers, there is nothing wrong with gift cards or something I can consume, please! (Books are consumable ;))

  70. Jessica says...

    Touch wins by such a long shot, the rest of them just seem “nice.” Luckily my husband is also a big, BIG cuddler – so we’re well matched, and well loved.

    But if I really think about what makes me feel loved, my runner-up isn’t really on the list! It’s being seen and known and loved all the same. And that can be manifested in acts of service (I know that you need coffee to not be grumpy when you are underslept, so I made some for you after a night up with the kid), gifts (Not just flowers, but remembering your favorite flower), words of affirmation (I see you do a thing because I pay so much attention to you, and I am telling you about that thing you do that I love). It is that specific “Oh! You noticed!” feeling that I am uniquely seen and appreciated.

    That “feeling noticed” feeling doesn’t seem t quite match any of the languages on the list.

    • M says...

      This brings to mind the word “attunement.” This is my primary goal when it comes to parenting my kids, but probably every/any relationship would benefit from it. Dan Siegel writes about this topic quite a bit in each of his books.

  71. Caitlin says...

    Anyone else take the quiz and realize you honestly don’t know how you would answer many of the questions? It was a stark realization that I *don’t know* how I want to be loved…sigh, now what do I do?

    • M says...

      Hmm. Maybe you can read some descriptions of each of the 5 types and see what really doesn’t appeal to you and whittle it down that way.

    • Jenny says...

      If your childhood didn’t show you examples of loving relationships, you might not be sure what feels right to you. (Said my therapist, to me, and I was like DAMN)

    • jules says...

      Agreed. my issue is often I don’t find either highly compelling.. Or I find them both equally compelling.

    • Johanna says...

      I think that’s fine, unless it troubles you. Love languages are a concept that many people find helpful in navigating relationships. The idea was outlined by a pastor based on what he found helpful to counseling couples.

      So it can be helpful, but it’s not a science, and not really identifying with any of them may just speak to your flexibility, or to a less-westerinized perspective on love, or to being in a stage of change in your life.

    • Sid says...

      I get this. I found the test really depressing because I had a hard time remembering when the last time I really “felt” loved was. That and because I suspect a lot of hetero-married women with kids pick “acts of service” only because they’re so overwhelmed with managing their families that they’ve replaced the feeling of being loved with simply having a bit less work to do. I think the comments that say “being seen” is the closest thing I have to a real love language.

    • K says...

      I took the quiz and everything was almost divided evenly between affirmation/quality time/receiving gifts/acts of service with physical touch being super low, like 7%. So I don’t really know either.

    • T.B says...

      I took the quiz and all I could think of was that Malcolm Gladwell book (?Tipping point- can’t remember which) where he shows that personality traits are very difficult to describe because they’re so dependent on the situation. (The experiment with the priests who were late for their services and had to walk by an injured biker). So yes! If I’m exhausted at work and the kids are destroying me, I want acts of service. If I’m on vacation- probably physical touch. If I’m feeling down about myself-words of affirmation If it’s my birthday- an unbelievably thoughtful gift!

  72. Rachel says...

    My husband and I are opposite! I love acts of service and gifts, and he is words of affirmation and quality time. Those are my lowest two and mine are his lowest two. We have to be very diligent in trying to show the other love the way they need it.!

  73. Toni says...

    Mine is acts of service. I only got 3% for gifts and I have to say that’s 100% true – I hate receiving gifts!! I always feel so incredibly awkward pretending to like something that I definitely don’t. I almost never like a gift unless it’s homemade, edible, or a plant!

    • Nic says...

      Same! Even when I like the gift, I feel like I’m supposed to react a certain way for the giver, and I always feel like I’m not giving them the reaction they want! Awkward.

    • rachelle m france says...

      I feel the exact same way. However, after 20 years of marriage me and my husband took the test and his language is receiving gifts. Ughh poor guy. As much as I don’t like receiving gifts, I have also never enjoyed giving gifts either, probably because I just don’t get it. But after seeing how important they are to him I am trying to change my ways. I just ordered his first valentines day present ever!

  74. Sarah says...

    You are wonderful, Joanna! We love you!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Awww thank you!!!! :)

  75. Catharine says...

    Acts of service no contest❤️❤️❤️

    Absolute last for me would be gifts, no need for a gift, just fold my laundry😉

    • Sarah says...

      Same!

    • Katha says...

      Same!
      Acts of service for sure.
      And then physical touch.

    • Claire says...

      This is me also, 100%

  76. Shelley says...

    Mine is words of affirmation and I want very specific flowery language compliments all the time. Haha very difficult for my husband who is generally reserved with praise and generally not very specific with his compliments. Usually just hear a random damn! Or woo when I bend over or reach into a cabinet haha.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahahaha

  77. Rebecca says...

    Speaking of relationships, what if you and your partner are opposites in politics or differ on moral issues? Can you do a post with couples that have very different politics? Especially in light of 2020 and all of the Trump years, I could use some tips on surviving and thriving in those circumstances. (Asking for a friend, of course ;) one married 20 years but finding things more challenging than ever).

  78. Lindsey says...

    I think it is so important to discuss (and separate out) love languages that we like to *receive* and the way in which we most naturally *express* our love. I have been in several relationships with men who say they want words of affirmation, but deeply struggle to express words of affirmation themselves. (Which is unfortunately what I would like — a love letter is my favorite!)

    My theory is that women are socialized from a young age to talk about their feelings more with their friends, and thus are much more practiced at the words of affirmation love language. I hope this is changing with kids and teens today, but the situation amongst the late twenties crowd seems pretty bleak.

    • Johanna says...

      Yes. Give vs. receive — and also what we respond to in different contextS.

      One person might really feel loved with words of affirmation from their partner, but when it comes to their teenaged son, it’s an act of service that really touches them.

      They’re often not the same across the board.

  79. AE says...

    I am words of affirmation and gifts! My husband is acts of service and touch— which is so hard for me because I’m not naturally touchy-feely. I find that everyone treats each other as though they share the same love language (ie my instinct is to give gifts! Because *I* love receiving them). But these past 2-3 years, I’ve tried really hard to show people they are loved in the ways that they receive it (for my sister, it’s visiting/calling more because she’s a quality time person, for my husband it’s making sure to touch him and do tasks,etc). It’s been fun to learn everyone else’s :)

    • Anu says...

      My husband and I are the exact same way. It is tough – I feel that he *should* appreciate my incredibly thoughtfully chosen gift much more than he does haha. And he does a lot of stuff without my even asking him to around the house and probably thinks that I don’t appreciate it enough. And that’s without even getting into the whole physical touch thing which is it’s own can of worms!

  80. .S. says...

    I loooove love languages! I’m similarly needy and score pretty evenly between all five (lol) but what truly blew my mind was realizing that the ways I best receive love (words of affirmation, quality time) are different from the ways I instinctively show love to others (acts of service, gifts), with the exception of physical touch, which I love to receive and give :)

    Because of that, my new year’s resolution was actually to be more intentional about loving my friends in their love languages. My husband and I are really thoughtful about it, and it dawned on me that extending that to my friends would nurture those relationships too!

  81. Emily says...

    Mine is quality time. :) but it’s not satisfied by just sitting and each being on our phones or something where we aren’t really TOGETHER. It’s all about focused interaction and conversation (or doing something together!) where I feel we are really connecting. true for friendships as well! i feel it’s been missing for me with the pandemic this year.

  82. Lara says...

    I think gift-giving as a love language gets a bad rap sometimes because people associate it with materialism. I’m generally pretty minimalistic and try not to acquire much, but I also show my love through gift-giving. For me, it’s all about the thought and intentionality behind a gift – remembering a book a friend mentioned weeks earlier that they wanted to read, or picking out a new flavor of kombucha to bring home to my boyfriend from the grocery store. Things don’t have to be big or expensive to be meaningful (and quite often it’s the opposite gifts that are most special).

    That’s why I love the Cup of Jo gift guides so much too – there’s so much thought that goes into curating the guides and I always know I’ll find something special in them.

    • Apple says...

      I totally agree with this, but I do find buying meaningful gifts hard, not everyone is a natural at it. I think distance also needs to be taken into account, my friend who lives in the US, I’m in the UK, sent the most thoughtful and moving gifts when we tragically lost our first baby, she was stillborn. Her generosity is something I will remember for my whole life. I could write a whole piece on the things she sent. But she also messaged/emailed regularly, and I was astounded at how much closer I felt to her than to those around me. We had tons of support but she seemed to know what I/we needed, and it wasn’t just flowers. A masterclass in sensitive gifting.
      The only hard thing about it all, is I can’t possibly send anything back to her as meaningful as what she sent to me! xx

    • Lainey says...

      This!! My love languages are acts of service and gift-giving. To me, picking a thoughtful gift for someone is the ultimate act of service, even if it’s just bringing a colleague their favorite coffee when you know they’ve been having a rough time. My husband is not an eager gift-giver (or receiver), and it took me many years to understand that he truly doesn’t equate these things.

  83. kirstin says...

    Mine said words of affirmation,70% and receiving gifts 13% – but the thing is I LOVE GIFTS! like LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE them, I must have lied on the quiz.

    • Kristina says...

      hahaha this made me laugh so much, because I’m the same. I *want* to be a person who is casual about gifts (and would totally fudge a quiz to make it so) but I love them. LOVE them. And I love surprise gifts even more! No shame ; )

  84. Em says...

    My #1 is words and #2 touch. Lowest for me is gifts, I have never been a gift person and I would struggle in a relationship with a person who prioritises gifts because it’s just not how my brain works, thinking of thoughtful gifts is hard and stressful for me. (I can give compliments/praise and snuggles all damn day though).

  85. D says...

    I’m a words of affirmation woman to the core, as in, I will ride high on a compliment I received 10 years ago, still relishing in some sweet affirmation to put myself to sleep at night. Although in my closest relationship, I’m often picky about the affirmations I get. I want them to strike me as new and original, as something perhaps I hadn’t even noticed about myself but want to believe. My husband, an economist, and one who certainly economizes words, sometimes struggles to come up with affirmations that I approve of. “I love you so much–you are so wonderful” often doesn’t cut it, because I want specifics. I’ll say: “Tell me something you love about me that you’ve never told me before,” which often leads to him kind of rolling his eyes or throwing up his hands (because it IS actually hard to come up with entirely unique compliments after several years of marriage). To this one night he said: “I love that you’re not entirely like your mom.” And the exercise went south! Ha!

    • Lauren says...

      Hahaha. I can relate to this. I don’t want appeasement, I want to know he’s paying attention. And just because he’s heard me complain about my mother doesn’t mean he can do it – that woman birthed me!

  86. Calla says...

    I definitely feel like I need all five almost equally, but maybe acts of service slightly edges out the others. I mostly say this because I’m always taken aback by it. In my last relationship, when my boyfriend would run an errand for me or fix something around the house, I couldn’t believe my luck and it made me feel so cared for. I think part of this might have to do with being single for the vast majority of my life, I’m so used to doing every little thing myself that it of blows my mind when someone takes something off my plate for me.

  87. Emily says...

    We took the quiz for premarital counseling, and I came out with acts of service on top and all the others were tied for second. I told our counselor and my husband, “if you’re going to make me pick between flowers and a clean kitchen, I will pick the kitchen… but let me be clear, I want all of these things.”

  88. Roxana says...

    Love this! Gary Chapman is great, by the way. He’s super nice and funny.

    I’m definitely acts of service and words of affirmation. I used to be physical touch and gifts, and now I’m like “Please just do stuff for me while telling me how wonderful I am.”

  89. Caitlin says...

    Words of affirmation and quality time are mine. Most days my husband and I have an exchange that starts with me singing “baby do ya love me?” and he responds “mmmmhhhmmm and how!!!” He thinks it’s pretty funny that I request quality time together considering we’ve been stuck in the house 24/7 during quarantine. I don’t care if it’s shameless, I have no qualms asking for what I want (and need, really)!

    • L says...

      This is so adorable!

  90. Britt says...

    I’m not even sure what mine would fall under, but I feel cared for when someone remembers small details of things that I’ve said or small details about me – to me, it shows that they really listen and when it’s something about me, I feel seen. For example, I had told my bf that I was disappointed that we couldn’t go to Cabo for my 30th as originally planned, so he decorated the condo with Mexico themed decorations. Or when I mention that I have a big test/presentation coming up and my friends or bf will text me to wish me luck on the day of it (despite weeks passing in between).

    • Abbie says...

      ME TOO!!! I naturally remember small things about other people and find it so touching when I am on the receiving end of it.

  91. Laura Greenwood says...

    I was 100% convinced my love language is all of them equally (I even tried to convince my therapist). Funny enough, I took a quiz and was approximately 1/5 of each. My poor husband!

    • Johanna says...

      Haha. I am the same. I’m very flexible with them and want all of them in different contexts.

  92. kiki says...

    Mine is quality time! Which has helped me to understand why I get SO frustrated with friends who flake or with coworkers who are late to meetings. I value time, and I take it quite personally if others don’t respect it. I read this book years ago and it helped me to see that it is just a language and not everyone speaks the same one, and that’s okay! This acknowledgement helps me not rage. ha!

  93. Laura S says...

    when i was younger i was physical touch and quality time. now i’m words of affirmation and quality time. my husband is acts of service and quality time. my dog is quality time and physical touch.

    • Kara says...

      Lol re: your dog. This must be why my friends and family call my husband my “chow chow” because he’s the same.

  94. I would say gifts. They melt my heart every time. Also acts of service. When I got hit by a motorcycle and my boyfriend dropped everything to be by my side, I knew he was a keeper. That to me signals love.

  95. Julia Knapp says...

    I also think an important key to love languages is using them to recognise when someone is giving you love in the way that’s most meaningful to them. I always lament that I don’t get enough words of affirmation from my partner (my love language), but that’s just not how he expresses love, he’s super uncomfortable with it! He’s all about acts of service and I’ve had to tune into that and appreciate when he demonstrates love by making me a cup of tea or giving me an (unsolicited) neck rub.

  96. Elle says...

    Can it change? At the beginning of our marriage, touch and words of affirmation were all I needed, and my husband’s love language was always acts of service, so it worked great. Now after 11 years of marriage (and especially after almost a year of close quarter with our two young kids), I actually get irritated with love words and longing for intimacy, all I want is to be left alone and for my husband to start F help with the ginormous workload that I have to deal with everyday (incl. all of these acts of services that he is still needy for). So I guess now mine is also act of service!? Ahaha, sorry, not really in the mood for love these days but I applaud those who still are ;)

    • Millie says...

      Totally!!! We need a new category for pandemic love languages (alone time, haha)

    • Anna says...

      YES ELLIE! In looking at the questions re: physical touch…well, we snuggle on the couch together and/or in bed every single night, so that’s just so easy and prevalent right now (the last ten months), it doesn’t strike the same chord it maybe once did. He is WFH full time, and I WFH 50% – we get a LOT of time together, even with two little kids.
      I’ve been saying since last summer that time *alone in the house* is our greatest currency right now, and sadly, it’s in shortest supply as well. And it’s hard to differentiate the “acts of service” as “I feel loved” vs “I feel overwhelmed almost daily and have too much on my mind” .

  97. Sheila says...

    One of my favorite things to do with my wife is …. go grocery shopping! We have so much fun together just walking through the aisles! (even in a pandemic!) I am 1000000% a “quality time” lover. And it’s never been more apparent than in recent months, since her role at work has ramped up and I’ve been doing the grocery shopping solo. I just think of how much more fun it is with her, how it doesn’t even seem like a chore.

    • Lauren says...

      This is so sweet

  98. Lindsay says...

    I’m such a card-writer and for years my husband and I wrote cards for all the special occasions BUT he finally told me he doesn’t like writing cards and never knows what to say! He’s a physical touch guy and acts of service, I would say. For me it’s words and acts of service. Some people I know are gifts people and bc I’m not I sometimes drop the ball on gift giving.😬

  99. Rosie says...

    I receive love through words of affirmation and give love through acts of service. I need positive feedback and reassurance that people love me and every I love you lands hard. I love to take care of people by cooking and doing errands and sending care packages. Quality time and physical touch are the hardest for me to give someone.

  100. Kate says...

    The dry clean shirt story made me smile because my husband is the same way. He was finishing his PhD dissertation about a year into dating, and he was working tirelessly on it. A few days before it was due, I brought over dinner and I did dishes and I proofread a few sections. He said, “I feel so loved right now.” Which of course melted my heart (and probably set up unrealistic expectations :D) It’s easy to have a partner who feels loved with Acts of Service, but sometimes it does just feel like doing chores for love!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s so sweet!

  101. Cecile says...

    This made me realise that, although I really like nice things, gifts are not much of a love language to me, and more of a fun holiday/birthday thing. Also: these ‘acts of service’ sound so boring, but they often mean so much to me. To be reminded that someone likes to offer me his sweetest care… swoon. And isn’t laughing/joking a love language too?

  102. Jo says...

    Joanna – Love your blog and you are wonderful. The love language concept has a lot of appeal, so I bought “The Five Love Languages of Children.” I only made it through a few pages before throwing it away due to some really unfortunate gender stereotypes (e.g., working moms lead to unloved children) and language that had homophobic undertones (e.g., that physical touch won’t make your boy “feminine,” it will in fact help him develop an “appropriate” sexual orientation.) Gary Chapman is pretty prolific out there with some problematic thoughts. I just thought you’d want to know that because that’s nothing that you would support!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      WHAT?? Looking into this now. Thank you!

    • Rusty says...

      Yikes!😳

  103. Lindsey says...

    I just took this quiz and had to stop because it made me feel claustrophobic. My partner and I have not had a date night since March due to covid. The thing that makes me love him the most right now is giving me an hour of alone time while he takes my toddler outside. Is this what love is like during a pandemic? Anyone else feeling like this?

    • Nic says...

      Yup! I’m sure most parents can relate. Alone time for me with nobody else in the house is the biggest act of service my husband can offer. I get to finish a thought! I get to eat the good snacks! I don’t have to be at the beck and call of the 3-year-old! I love my kid, but hooboy, sometimes I need a break from the questions about everything. When they’re gone I get the luxury of MISSING them! And when they return I looove hearing about their adventures together, the toddler babbling away excitedly and my husband filling in the blanks. The best.

    • Lauren says...

      Yes. I feel like, when he doesn’t allow me time to myself, it is the psychological equivalent of manspreading. Even if he isn’t directly interrupting my thoughts, just knowing that it could happen at any moment (as it has at least 3…now 4 times while I read this article) is enough to throw off my concentration. The TV, loud walking, not knowing where any of his personal possessions are again despite never leaving the house for the past 12 months and ransacking the entire apartment to find them…I feel like I go about my business at home in a way that doesn’t disturb him, but this is not something that even enters his consciousness. I recently went back to working outside our home and I asked him if it was nice to have the house to himself for a bit. He said there was no difference. What?!
      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/21/woman-greatest-enemy-lack-of-time-themselves

    • TC says...

      I would consider that an act of service.

    • Lily says...

      I had just pulled up that Guardian article in a new tab when my husband (who had been working down in the basement) came up and sat down next to me on the couch. He talked at length about his worries about work, some issues that his close friend had been dealing with, etc. After about half an hour, he took a breath and asked, “What about you? How’re you doing?” I slowly turned my laptop towards him so he could see what I had been about to read. “Oh,” he said, sheepishly, “Sorry. I’ll take this as my cue to leave.” 😂

    • another Lily says...

      It’s telling, and quite sad, that the Guardian article referenced above was written in 2019 – pre-pandemic. Imagine how much harder it’s become since then…

    • Lauren says...

      Lily (OG) – Aww haha. At least the message got across?

      Lily – Yes, I think the women who keep getting interrupted have been too busy to write the updated pandemic version. Last week I was working at the kitchen table and my husband walked in, opened the fridge, and stared into it as he asked me, “Do we have any food or do we need to go shopping?”

  104. Meg says...

    I’d also recommend using these in the workplace. (I’m obviously not recommending romantic physical touch in the workplace!) I once had a direct report who was frustrated by how a project was going and I could tell wasn’t really hearing my praise and encouragement. So over the course of a few days, I tried out a few love languages – and I’ll never forget her smile, appreciation, and sense of calm when I brought her a cup of coffee from a shop near our office.

    • Rachel says...

      This is so lovely. You must be the best supervisor! I will think of this example with my own team!

    • Em says...

      Wow, this is lovely! Inspiring that you thought this way. I will try this with my team, too!

    • Erin says...

      Oh, good idea!

      On a similar note, I have found the principles in the book “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” helpful with workplace communication.

  105. Staci says...

    I show love by giving gifts. I feel loved through quality time. My partner wants words of affirmation and acts of service. Our combo seems to work well for us.

  106. Doris says...

    Is it bad to say I need all of them? #sorrybutnotreallysorry

  107. jane says...

    I am forever grateful to the random woman at a party who recommended this book – it has radically increased my ability to give and receive love!

  108. Abby says...

    Words of affirmation here too! You mentioned colleagues briefly, but I wanted to emphasize even more that this applies to work relationships too! I had heard about love languages before, but with the name being what it is, I had never thought about it outside of romantic or familial relationships.

    I had a therapist who talked to me about this in terms of some issues I was having with feeling appreciated at work, and I realized that it really applied for me. I felt so undervalued not because I was actually being underpaid or that no one had time for me, but truly because no one ever took the time out to just tell me, “hey, you do a great job here, and I appreciate it.” When I realized that, I was able to express that more to my manager and it went a LONG way for me in terms of work morale.

  109. Kate says...

    My love language is acts of service and nothing makes me feel more loved than when I start the car up on a cold Monday morning and see that my husband has filled the tank up over the weekend.
    My husband’s love language is words of affirmation and physical touch and he is not above fishing for a compliment at times! I need to be more proactive in giving them!

  110. Amy says...

    I show love by giving gifts, words of affirmation, and physical affection. Yet I find I want to receive acts of service and quality time! Is there a term for people who “speak” a different love language than they “hear”?

  111. Robin says...

    Mine is physical touch, which surprised me because the only person I really want to touch is my husband. With everyone else, I’m an awkward hugger and I jump or shirk away when someone touches me.

  112. Charlotte K says...

    I need for people to talk my ear off and be funny. Is that “words of affirmation”? If someone doesn’t talk to me, I can’t believe they love me. All my best people make me laugh.

  113. emily says...

    We read this book over 20yrs ago when we got married. I didn’t quite fit with any of them. My husband said that’s bc they left off a 6th love language, which is mine: cash. 😒

    • c says...

      hahaha

    • Robin says...

      Lol!

    • Megan says...

      Dying!!!!

  114. Elle says...

    Quality time is definitely mine. More important since having kids too. And I really think ‘gifts’ should be renamed gestures, as actual physical/material gifts don’t mean much to me, but a ‘gesture’ – such as booking my favourite restaurant as a surprise or getting my friends to send happy birthday messages via video will always make me feel loved.

  115. Illana says...

    Acts of service, totally! To me it means *so many* things – you’ve carefully paid attention to what is important to me, what is on my plate, or what is stressing me out; you’re attuning to what is happening for me right now and willing to connect with me where I am; and then you’re going to give of your own time, energy, and skills to try to make the moment better, improved, or healing in some way for me? WOW.

  116. b says...

    My love language is physical touch. As someone who has been single since 2010 and has a less than affectionate relationship with family, it’s a hard love language to have.

    • M says...

      I remember in college being away from my family, it was so hard! I wish there had been something like a dating app, but just for people who wanted hugs!

  117. SJ says...

    I feel mine has changed over the years! I used to think physical touch was non-sense because touch (i.e hug, cheek kiss, hand holding) naturally comes with being in a romantic relationship. I realized that doesn’t make it any less special or meaningful to someone. I know that when my mom gave me a head massage or we held hands that I felt loved by her in that moment (Sadly, past-tense since we live in different states).

    I used to LOVE words of affirmation but as I get older, I see the importance of living out your truth and knowing your inherent worth/values and not needing someone else to express it. Of course, it still means a lot when a loved one or stranger expresses something kind but it’s more important that I believe good things about myself.

    I think gifts and quality time are my top love languages as of now (Both in giving and receiving). I’m such an introvert so time is currency. When I choose to be with someone other than myself and dog it means that person means a lot to me. And vice versa! Life as an adult can get so busy so to make time, be present, and slow down with someone is the greatest gift.

  118. Eline says...

    Mine’s gifts, haha! I feel so superficial but it’s true. “The perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you.”

    It’s more about the thought that goes into it. But I also like nice things, and I swoon when my partner doesn’t judge me for that.

    • AR says...

      Same! For me it’s not just the thought but the delivery— do you know/love/listen to me well enough to get me not just any gift but something that speaks to me? My best friend is always on the nose with it! My husband is learning.

  119. Erin says...

    There is also a version of this book about children’s love languages which I read and really enjoyed as my two boys have very different personalities & needs.

    • Elise says...

      This conversation always makes me think about the difference between your RECEIVING love language versus your GIVING love language. I find myself doing acts of service for my husband when that’s not really his love language or mine. Anyone else?

  120. Allie says...

    How’s this for needy? I took the quiz awhile back and it told me I was split almost perfectly between all five! ha!

    • Kirstin says...

      I feel like too – I can’t even answer the questions because I can’t pick one over the other. Maybe it just means we’re really to love and feel loved.

    • Shelley says...

      Well that just means you’re easy to please maybe haha!

  121. Natalie T. says...

    I didn’t know too many with words of affirmation so nice to see that on here!
    I’m hands down quality time. Just be around me! Hang out with me to show me you care. All we have is time in this world anyways. With my friends, I’ve been doing a lot of friend calls on my walks and I’m feeling so much more connected to them. It’s closely followed by acts of service, possibly because I’m feeling resentful that I have to do the cooking and the dishes wayyy too much. Clean the floor and I’m yours forever. Ha ha

  122. Cass Chisholm says...

    Mine is so acts of service. When my husband does something for me without me asking first, that’s the best. Swoon. It is interesting that many women are saying acts of service. Maybe it’s because we all are doing so much.

    My husband’s love language is physical touch (dudes?) and words of affirmation. I have force myself sometimes to say nice and romantic things because it makes me feel awkward but he loves it.

    • Lisa says...

      Learning about different live languages earlier in our marriage (32 years in March!) was so helpful for us. Our primary love languages are diametrically opposed: mine is quality (read:quantity😄) and his is acts of service so we were totally missing the mark with each other. Learning to “recognize” and appreciate each other’s attempts at showing love was a game-changer. We also learned to ask more directly for what we need and want. Still learning and growing at it.

    • Rebecca says...

      Totally agree. I feel very sappy having to repeat “I love you” all the time. I’m like, did you not notice your clothes are magically washed and put away every week? Dinner cooked and served 5 nights a week? Leaves raked and bagged? Obviously, I prefer acts of service over sweet nothings whispered in my ear.

  123. Sarah says...

    I think when I first took this quiz, my husband and I were just married and my highest love language was physical touch. Now, after four kids, it’s without a doubt acts of service!

    • SJ says...

      I hear this a lot from parents! I could totally see that being the case for me if I were to get married and have children <3

    • Roxana says...

      Ha! That is exactly what happened to me. My husband was like “What happened to physical touch?? You were all lovey dovey.” And I’m like “Uhh, that language produced three very active and messy children. I only occasionally speak that language now. P.S. the kitchen is a mess. Thanks!” ;)

  124. Tyler says...

    Quality time, FOR SURE. I feel most loved by my husband, friends, and family when they set aside time just for me, phones off, for dinner, coffee, drinks, whatever. Bonus points for planning something special or going out of your way to see me. The way I show love to my friends/loved ones is by cooking them dinner, buying a special bottle of wine for us to share, planning a beautiful hike they’ve never done, spending money to come visit them, etc. etc. Being excessively late, flaking, or being distracted while we are hanging out (things I realize are probably annoying to everyone) truly make me feel so unloved.

    • SJ says...

      I agree, Tyler! Breaking of commitments is my antis-thesis of love. Especially when it’s done last minute. I feel very disrespected and unvalued in those moments. I do acknowledge, however that someone may not be in a season to commit and that’s okay. I just think it’s important that you not make commitments if you truly aren’t able to and to communicate the why.

  125. Sarah says...

    I am 1,000% words of affirmation, followed by physical touch. My husband is acts of service and gifts. We’re the absolute inverse of each other.

    It took a long time for us to understand how we were each giving and receiving love. A continual work in progress, for sure!

  126. Kate says...

    Mine is definitely words of affirmation and physical touch, followed closely by quality time. Acts of service and gifts mean nothing to me! And for words of affirmation it’s not just about hearing that I am loved but why!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes I want all the particulars! Haha

  127. Allyson says...

    Mine is acts of service, for sure. If you do the dishes or go out of your way to take care of something for me I’m so *honored* you feel strongly enough about me to do it! My husband is physical touch & words of affirmation. Another fascinating tool for self discovery is the enneagram. I’m a 6 and my husband is a 5 and there are SO MANY spot on descriptions of what motivates us and what we act like in good mental health and in unhealthy spots.

    • Meredith says...

      Mine is quality time 100% 😊 And my love language toward others is gift giving!

  128. a.n. says...

    both mine and my husband’s is words of affirmation, hands down. and the same applies for me at work. we did the quiz to find out before we got married (10 years ago now), and it has been so nice for us both to be able to re-center ourselves if we’re in a tiff or one of us is extra high strung. it helps to be able to easily think of something that might take the tension away, even if just a little bit!

  129. M says...

    Don’t forget to show love to yourself in your love language!

    • Tyler says...

      Oh dang, I love this comment and have NEVER thought about it this way.

    • K says...

      Yes! This little graphic blew my mind: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJ47QGOFdZk/

      I love thinking about how organizing and planning are ways I show myself love through acts of service!

    • Michelle says...

      I never thought of that! Great idea!

    • SJ says...

      Yes!

    • Anna says...

      Omg K that graphic! Mind blown. And M, yes!!!

    • katie says...

      So true!! In fact, I’m realizing in this article that I’m a gifts person, so it makes perfect sense that the self-love actions are what I already do – craft supplies and a new pair of pjs makes me so happy. Here I thought it could be seen as shallow that my happy place is a run to the store, but dang! it’s my self-love! My husband is SO different from me and I think we need to revisit these love languages. I’ve had multiple Mother’s Days in tears due to our differences/no gifts and and I don’t feel seen. Thanks CoJ and readers for enlightening me again!

    • Vero says...

      Comment of the week! Wow I had never considered that!

    • Rusty says...

      THIS is what I’m going to practise!

  130. Amanda says...

    words of affirmation for me. A “thank you” or a “good job” goes a long way….

    • Meghan says...

      My husband and I got to talking a few months ago. We’ve been married for nearly ten years and only in that conversation clarified that all he wants is sex and all I want is sleep. It helped me to understand that these are the ways we inhabit our bodies. We tried an experiment wherein he woke up early with the kids every single morning and let me sleep myself out. Lo and behold! That man has gotten laid a LOT. But more important than the frequency is the fact that I’m really into it and really into him.