Expert Gary Chapman has pinpointed the five main ways we give and receive love, which impact who we are overall.
1. Quality Time
You’re the type who sincerely enjoys the company of others, and when you’re there you’re really there. You don’t let outside distractions like your cell phone prevent you from giving someone your full attention. You make eye contact and you listen intently, which makes people feel heard—and understood. Since you value time with others so much, you’re also always willing to go out of your way to meet up with a friend, especially a friend in need. Those closest to you know they can count on you to meet up at the drop of the hat. When something goes really wrong (breakups, problems at work, a death in the family), you’re the first person people call for an emergency pick-me-up hangout sesh. You’re also the one they reach out to when things go right and it’s time to celebrate.
2. Physical Touch
You never hesitate to demonstrate affection, and you fully understand that touching can be meaningful even when it’s asexual. Your ability to harness the powers of human contact without making others feel at all uncomfortable is what makes you such a great friend. You’re the one who offers a big bear hug in greeting, who forces even the shyest people to wrap their arms around you and bathe in the positive energy that can only be transmitted through physical connection. You don’t even have to say much because your kindhearted, touch-feely behavior does the talking for you. You shake hands firmly, and kiss people on the cheek enthusiastically. You make people feel warm and fuzzy through interacting with them physically, something that gets lost too often in an age in which everyone spends so much time hiding behind screens.
3. Words of Affirmation
You don’t even have to be present to turn someone’s day around. Since you understand the impact words can have, you specialize in doling out encouraging statements to friends and family whenever they’re needed. People know that they can ring you up when they’re feeling a little down and that you’ll say exactly the right thing to cheer them up. You don’t even have to dig deep to find the right affirmations, and you say them like you mean them—because you do. You see the proverbial silver lining in most situations and you have an uncanny ability to articulate what you see, sharing the beauty of positivity with those you love. You’re also particularly good at maintaining relationships across long distances.
4. Receiving Gifts
Since you’re fluent in the language of giving, you’re an expert at demonstrating how much you care through small, thoughtful gifts. You rarely show up anywhere empty-handed, but you tend to go beyond the typical in selecting presents. Instead of a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers, you might attend a housewarming party with a wand of sage because your host once offhandedly mentioned that she loved that scent. You’re the one who remembers to bake cookies for a friend’s birthday, and who picks up a little something on the way to meeting up with so-and-so because you just can’t help yourself. You can’t help buying that trinket you spot in the shop window that reminds you so much of your old college friend of your aunt Jane or your third cousin Marty, either. You spread joy constantly by distributing tiny reminders to loved ones that you really do care enough to stop in your tracks and grab a little something extra to express your heartfelt appreciation for them.
You’re not the type who does kind things seeking credit or acknowledgement. The very act of doing something nice to ease a friend’s burden and elevate their experience of the world fulfills you. Since you don’t actively seek accolades, your kindnesses sometimes go unnoticed, but that’s okay with you. You trust innately in the value of good deeds, knowing in your heart that the spirit of generosity through service is contagious. You’re the type who does someone a favor before they even think to ask for it. You’re keenly aware of how you can help out, and you actually follow through whenever possible, taking pleasure in alleviating the load that falls on friends, whether or not they know it.