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Improving communication in work and life with the ‘Five Love Languages’

February 12, 2021 in

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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 our personal lives.

Let’s face it — communication is challenging. Sometimes we just can’t seem to get on the same page with someone we work with. Sometimes we try to communicate appreciation and it falls flat. And in our home lives, we often face the same challenges as we navigate showing care to our friends and family.

This week, the Belle Curve hosts discuss the power of understanding how to communicate love and appreciation to others in ways they value, whether at home or at work.

Twenty-nine years ago, Dr. Gary Chapman distilled his years of couples counseling into a book called The 5 Love Languages. From his 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.”

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), 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:

  • It’s good to be aware what your love languages are. You can take the quiz here.
  • 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,” may find that words of criticism 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 and show appreciation at home.
  • Belle Curve discussed some of the ways the Languages of Appreciation are useful in the workplace.
  • The hosts discuss which languages feel personally “cringey” to give or receive.

Resources Mentioned:

Belle Curve Podcast is sponsored by HigherEchelon, Inc. and co-hosted by HigherEchelon Director of Communication Rachel Bryars.