It’s the week of Valentine’s Day, so it’s time to talk about love. More specifically, it’s time to translate how we communicate love and appreciation into the workplace and home.

29 years ago Dr. Gary Chapman distilled his years of couples counseling into a book called The 5 Love Languages. From the website: “The premise is simple: different people with different personalities express love in different ways. Gary called these ways of expressing and receiving love the “5 Love Languages.” They are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Each individual has at least one language that they prefer above the other”

When you know your love languages, and can communicate them to your partner, you have a much better chance of really feeling loved, and thus being able to pull in the same direction.

Dr. Chapman and co-author Paul White also wrote The 5 languages of appreciation in the workplace. The “languages” are the same, but how they are interpreted and applied are a little different. 

Words of Affirmation – This language is about affirming others using written or spoken words, e.g. praise for accomplishments, affirming someone’s character.

Quality Time – Quality Time is about giving someone undivided personal attention, e.g. quality conversations,  shared experiences (e.g. retreats), small group dialogues.

Acts of Service – Acts of Service is about pitching in to help and get things done, though there are nuances to watch for (e.g. asking before helping, finishing what you start), else it may backfire.

Tangible Gifts – Tangible gifts involve offering thoughtful, non-monetary gifts to those who appreciate them (e.g. tickets for a soccer match or a concert).

Physical Touch – Physical Touch is a much less valued (and more sensitive) form of appreciation compared to the other 4 languages, but can be still relevant in the workplace. 

Key Points:

  • Take the Quiz here to learn your love languages
  • Knowing and communicating your Love or Appreciating Languages can reduce tension at home and work.
  • With every positive for a Love Language, there is a corresponding way it can be used to hurt. For example, people whose Love Language is “Words of Affirmation,” words of criticism may sting more.

Episode Highlights:

  • Liz, Rachel, and Mary Scott share their own Love Languages, including the one they each scored lowest in. To their surprise, it’s the same one!
  • Belle Curve discussed how they they’ve learned to be mindful of their own Love Languages as well as those of their spouses to keep the peace at home.
  • Belle Curve discussed some of the ways the Languages of Appreciation are useful in the workplace, both in managing employees and in “managing up” by letting their supervisors know what they need to be more successful members of the team.

Resources Mentioned