There are many ways to show and receive love. We may think the other person wants love shown him in the way we want love shown to us. It may not be what the other person wants. The different ways to show love will apply to a spouse, a friend, a parent or child. Each person needs love, but each may receive it differently. Below are five ways that people need love from The Five Languages of Love by Dr. Gary Chapman.
- OFFER WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT, PRAISE AND RECOGNITION. Give compliments based on a specific achievement the person has done or characteristic of that person. Comment that the person has a fantastic ability at defusing angry people or staying focused on a project until it’s finished. Put some thought into your compliment.
- SHOW ACTS OF SERVICE. Do something that you may not want to do, like take out the garbage. Do something that takes up your time when you are pressed for time, like visit someone who is sick or help without being asked.
- GIVE AN UNPLANNED GIFT. It shows that you are thinking of the other person.
- SPEND TIME WITH THE PERSON. Listen to the person and do things together.
- TOUCH PHYSICALLY AND SHOW CLOSENESS. Hold hands or massage the other person. Stand close by. It may mean only being in the same room or the same house with the other person. Talking may not be necessary.
“When we love someone our love becomes demonstrable or real only through our exertion — through the fact that for that someone…we take an extra step or walk an extra mile. Love is not effortless. To the contrary, love is effortful.”
― M. Scott Peck
By looking at the personality styles we get more information about how people accept love. One person may see loyalty as love. Another may see valuing his opinion as love.
The Direct person is a strong, independent, dominating person who needs to feel that he has control over reaching his goals. Helping him meet his goals will make him feel loved and appreciated. Allowing him to go his own way, doing his own thing without nagging is appreciated. He needs freedom. He is a doer, not an observer. Help him do whatever it is he is involved in. He needs to talk about his goals and what he is doing. Listen to him. He is driven. Keep him healthy without annoying him.
This person likes to solve problems. Let him. Show him love by taking care of the details that he hates so much. If you argue, use facts. Confront him if he needs it. He will respect you for it.
He may not want to be touched.
The Influential person is a friendly, outgoing, bubbly people person who also needs freedom. He is spontaneous and lives in the moment. He can be crushed with a negative word or anything he views as rejection. Listen to him talk about himself. Listen to and appreciate his feelings and ideas. Never embarrass him and always laugh at his jokes. Encourage him to get out and socialize. Be enthusiastic and upbeat. Give him praise in front of others. Help him by completing all the details for which he has no time. When he explodes, do not hold a grudge or take it personally. He will soon forget about it.
He may love to be touched.
“Flatter me, and I may not believe you.
Criticize me, and I may not like you.
Ignore me, and I may not forgive you.
Encourage me, and I will not forget you.
Love me, and I may be forced to love you.”
― William Arthur Ward
The Steady person is a quiet, shy, introspective person who needs an informed plan without any complications. Help him solve his problems and encourage him. Ask him if he has any questions and explain any changes. Be sure that changes are understandable and safe for him. Encourage him. Be positive and do not argue with him. He sees that as confrontational. He likes to be around a friend or two, not too many people at one time. He does not want to participate unless he feels comfortable. He may want to be by himself. Do not push him. He likes to take things slowly and methodically. Do not rush him. Encourage him. He uses up a great deal of energy fighting the world. Allow him time to recuperate. Compliment him often, especially about how reliable and loyal he is. Encourage him.
He may want you to merely be there.
The Cautious person is an analytical, rule oriented, opinionated loner who needs a clear idea of what is happening. Don’t simply tell him the results and expect acceptance. He wants to know everything. Answer all his questions with facts. Be patient and let him explain until he is sure you understand. He takes time to think things through. Give him time. Do not take his preference for isolation personally. He needs to be away from distractions and think. He is task oriented and may procrastinate until he is certain the preparation is enough to make him comfortable. Compliment him on the perfect job he’s doing. Realize that he is much more sensitive than anyone may suspect. Be kind to him.
He may want acceptance of his idiosyncrasies and may need space.
Women need to talk about their feelings and men need to NOT talk about their feelings. Children need discipline and boundaries to feel safe and loved. They also need large amounts of touching and holding.
As you can see, different people need different things from you. Above all, they need you to accept them for who they are and love them.
Ask your loved ones what they want from you, how you can show them love. If you listen carefully, you may hear the person tell you what he wants without your asking. Then, consider how you want to be loved. What can the people around you do to show you that they care? Don’t be afraid to tell them. They are not mind readers. Give them the opportunity to demonstrate their love.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- How do you want to be loved?
- Have you explained it to your loved ones?
- Have your loved ones explained how they want love shown to them?
- Are you able to give them what they want or are you stuck in, “This is how I give love. I can’t do what you ask?”
- Are you comfortable discussing this?
- If so, when will you discuss this?