Understanding Why Love Languages are Important In College

What Are Love Languages?

Love languages are sort of comparable to attachment styles, 16-personalities, Meyers-briggs, *insert any online quiz that’s supposed to tell you about yourself*, etc. 

To be honest, I’m not always a fan of these because I think they can create a limited and constrained view of who you are and who you can be.

But at the same time, these tests can give a bit of insight into yourself and others to understand certain things (note all the qualifiers there). So I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re good to take, but with a grain of salt.

In the case of love languages, the website states that “different people with different personalities give and receive love in different ways”. The quiz you take tests how you like to receive love from others and takes about 20 minutes. It’s a bunch of multiple choice questions and in the end, you get a breakdown of your primary love language and how important the other ones are. It’s pretty interesting to read the little captions about each language so I copied them below.

An Explanation of the Languages

Words of Affirmation

“Actions don’t always speak louder than words.” When you appreciate Words of Affirmation, positive language means a lot to you. Hearing unsolicited compliments and encouragement is the best way to feel loved. 

Some examples include:

  • “I love you”
  • “I’m proud of you”
  • “You’re a wonderful person”

Quality Time

“In Quality Time, nothing says “I love you” like full, undivided attention.” Being with someone physically probably won’t cut it. Quality time means you’re really present. If the other person is zoned out on their phone or doing homework, you’re not feeling their full love.

Some examples include:

    • Cooking together
    • Talking on the couch
    • Taking a walk together
    • **two of these examples include the word “together”…take the hint**

Physical Touch

“A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy.” This can include a wide variety of touch–and of course should be appropriate to what your comfort level is. What’s most important is the communication of warmth and safety through touch.

Some examples include:

  • A hug 
  • A pat on the back
  • Lying your head on their shoulder

Acts of Service

“Can helping with homework really be an expression of love? Absolutely!” The point of an Act of Service is to relieve some pressure. Helping them out with any task is a way to show you care. The most important part is doing it because you want to, not because it’s required. Also note that you’re making your best effort to do it the way they like it.

Some examples include:

  • Pumping their gas
  • Getting them dinner
  • Tidy up their space the way they like it

Receiving Gifts

“Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift.” Gifts don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. It’s the thought that counts. It’s meant to show that you care and have paid attention to things that they like. The time you take to pick something out is symbolic to your relationship.

Some examples include:

  • A cupcake 
  • A thoughtful note
  • Flowers

Why Love Languages are Important to Us

Every relationship depends on the person that you’re interacting with. We code-switch according to who we’re with and part of that can be the way we give and receive love.

Just like you don’t talk to your friends, professors, parents, and significant others all in the same way. The way that they receive and interpret signs of gratitude/love should also be adjusted.

This isn’t to say that you should go and ask your professors what their love languages are so that you can treat them accordingly, but at least trying to recognize people’s nuances can be a beneficial step in fostering a powerful relationship with anyone.

Accounting for someone’s love language (and communication style in general) creates a space that can benefit all those involved. 

For example, some professors really like to ramble on about their research, family, personal interests, etc.. As a student, all I really want to know is if I can get some points back on my homework. But it’s safe to say that it probably would be more effective to listen and appreciate what they’re saying before asking them for a favor that they are not required to do.

 Relationships are meant to benefit all parties involved and require effort from each. Listening to your professor’s “ramblings” is as self-centered as you make it. If you go into the interaction only focusing on how you stand to benefit, then that could be considered self-centered. But having a conversation with a professor that may not be part of “the plan” could be a time to learn, listen, and even provide that professor with something they may want/need. 

It’s the little interactions and the little moments that really can add up to form a powerful relationship with the people around you. 

Final Thoughts

Now, that could be considered a stretch from love languages, but love is something that can add a lot of positivity to anything (it can also take, much like we discussed in this article). Doing what may seem like meaningless tasks or chores with love makes them a little more pleasurable for everyone involved. 

Further, any relationship that can be done with love and intention can be a lot more powerful than transactional relationships. So recognizing how people love and get love can make that relationship flow just a little better. 

Like most of the important things in life, improving relationships doesn’t happen overnight and will require a few fuck-ups to really master. But there’s no better time to start than now.

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