Updated: Feb 14
COVID-19 has definitely made things very different for all of us. Something unique about this pandemic is social distancing. Many people are staying at home, feeling completely isolated and alone. For some of us, it’s causing us stress because it’s in our human nature to interact with other people frequently. It is now more important than ever that we tell the people we love that we love them. This doesn’t just apply to our significant others or partners, but also friends, family members, and other people we care about. You never know how much people need to hear and COVID-19 has taught us that time is precious.
While many people try to express their love, it doesn’t work that way. Ask yourself, how often did you feel the people you loved didn’t really get that you loved them?! This may be because the way you communicate your love is different from them. Because of this pandemic, it is now imperative that we avoid any miscommunication because these times are already challenging enough.
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How do people express their love?
Gary Chapman answered this question in his book called The Five Love Languages. We can use all of them, but we depend on just one of them depending on several factors including our personalities. To know how to show people you love them, you need to express it through their love language or your actions may not resonate strongly with them.
The 5 Love Languages:
1) Words of Affirmation:
“I love you” is the simplest way to explain this language. It’s about verbally telling the person you love how much you love and appreciate them. It’s about giving them compliments and motivating them often.
2) Quality Time:
“I’m always available for you” is a strong illustration of this language. Who speaks this language will express love by spending more time with whom they love. You can tell who uses this language if they are spending time with you when they are busy doing other stuff.
3) Receiving and Giving Gifts:
“I saw this souvenir, and I thought of you” shows how this language speakers express love. It’s not about the money value of the gifts, it’s about you caring enough about a person and taking the time to pick the perfect gift for them. Those who give you a lot of souvenirs from their travels are showing you how often they thought about you during their travels.
4) Acts of Service:
“I can fix that for you” and “I’ll do the grocery shopping for you” are being used frequently during the pandemic. People who use this language take great pleasure in helping the ones they love do any task. If you feel that you express your love by helping people, you are speaking this language.
5) Physical Touch:
“I want to give you a hug” represents this group. We know them as huggers and they encourage others by giving them a pat on the back and try to express most other emotions through physical touch. Unfortunately, the pandemic has affected this group the most since we have to maintain social distancing.
What if you aren’t sure what your own love language is?
Luckily for all of us, there is a FREE quiz that says exactly what love language is yours. The quiz uses the same clues as mentioned in this blog. The quiz will also tell you how often you use each language to know how to rank them. In this link, you will find 4 quizzes: for couples, for teens, for children, and for people who are single. You need to take the quiz that suits you to get the most accurate answers.
Why is it important to know how people express love?
Because people feel loved when it’s being expressed through their love language. If I speak to you in French and you only understand German, you would never understand what I am trying to say. Applying that to the love languages, you need to express your love using the languages that other people use. Expressing your love is done through your actions and words.
It may sound easy, but many relationships end because someone doesn’t feel loved. A person from the “Quality time” group won’t feel loved by the person who spends most of their time doing chores, even if that person is from the “Acts of service” group. The problem here is that the latter group does extra chores to express their love.
If your loved ones are not exactly sure about your love language, it will be helpful to tell them what language group you are from. As humans, we all need to feel loved, and telling people your love language will help them fulfill your needs.
How can you identify someone’s way of expressing love?
The first and easiest way to know is to ask. People know what actions and words they use to express their love and to feel loved. If the person you asked didn’t know, ask them to read The Five Love Languages book or, better yet, send them this article and have them take a look at it in just a few minutes then fill out the quiz linked above.
The less direct way is to observe the person’s behavior in order to notice a specific pattern. What do they do for people they believe are special, whether those are friends, family members, or even their partners? When they fight regularly with a person they love because they don’t feel loved, what exactly do they say to support their point? Do they say that they aren’t getting enough attention, they rarely receive any gifts, they don’t hear the person say loving words or something else? If you observe carefully, you will find that there is one complaint that is more repetitive than the rest.
How to express your love virtually (Some ideas and examples):
Everybody should try to express their love according to the recipients' language.
For the “Acts of service” group, you can do something as simple as designing new background pictures for Zoom or helping them with grocery shopping.
For the “Quality time” group, you need to make sure you spend as much time as you can with them during these times, whether through a video call, daily check-in chat, or a socially distanced walk. Just be careful that you don’t drain your own energy.
For the “Words of affirmation” group, you need to be sure that you express your love, whether verbally or over a text message.
For the “Receiving and Giving gifts” group, even though travel bans are still in place, you can send them gifts remotely to show that you’re still thinking about them even from afar.
The most challenging group is the “Physical touch” group. Especially with all these social distancing restrictions, it’s even more important for you to see how you can help them feel less lonely or stressed during these times. Luckily, every group can understand the four love languages to some extent so you can express your love differently and still show care to them.
Being intentional about your love towards others is important. But finding how to help people you love emotionally can be hard. After some time, you may overthink it and start getting stressed. If you feel you need to talk about it to someone who cares, sign up for Talklet’s waitlist. If not, you can always inform those you think will need a caring and qualified listener and that will be an excellent expression of your love.
By: Ragy Amin