This Valentine’s Day I felt like taking a different approach since I don’t have a significant other to celebrate my everlasting and undying love with. Instead, I’m spending the day with those nearest and dearest to me, my colleagues. About a week ago, I found myself diving head first into the love rabbit-hole and pondering its true meaning. A few hours of Google deep diving led me to an article about Love Languages. I became fascinated by the idea coined by Gary Chapman, which explains that there are five ways in which people express and experience love between romantic partners.
I couldn’t wait to get back to the office and discuss my new revelation, which was met with different reactions. Naturally, it fueled quite the conversation and a few heated debates. We took turns guessing what each other’s love languages are and encouraged our writers to take the test, results were fascinating. We also ventured towards the idea of our self-love languages and shared how we show ourselves some TLC.
Scroll down to follow our conversation and to see which of the five love languages resonated with us the most.
1. WHAT IS YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE
After taking the Love Languages test, the entire 9Lives team discussed the results and some of the interesting revelations we had. Here are our thoughts…
Leandra: For a long time I thought my love language was physical touch but I realised it was quality time, so I feel most loved when I spend quality time with those I love.
Tasha: I LOVE spending quality time with those important to me, especially with my boyfriend. We don’t have to sit and talk about every mundane thing that crosses my mind (and there are a lot) but just sit with me while I read a book or keep me company while I cook.
Nina: I also enjoy special occasions like that, especially after a particularly stressful day when a drink or a meal means switching off and ignoring all other trivial matters.
Caré: I can relate. When I’m having an off day I won’t appreciate comforting words or awkward gifts, I just need your undivided attention. Preparing dinner, watching a movie or going for a walk will instantly make me feel loved. You don’t even have to say anything.
Elene: I’m an introvert and I think a lot of people who identify as introverts think quality time contradicts this. But I think it’s actually the opposite because nothing makes me feel more loved and appreciated than someone taking the time to be with me one-on-one.
Nina: I love moments that are dedicated solely to that purpose, spending time with the person you love. My love language is definitely quality time and my favourite relationships are ones where we can spend a full day together and not one word needs to be spoken.
Angy: Same! When I’m with someone I really enjoy spending quality time with them doing whatever. I also got words of affirmation, so while we’re spending time together, feel free to throw in a comment about me how much you love me every now and then (ha ha).
Tessa: I got physical touch which I was really surprised by! But when I really thought about it, my parents and family are quite the affectionate, smothering, hugging type, so it kind of made sense. Acts of service will definitely be a strong second for me.
Liezel: I crave acts of service that show me others are willing to help lighten my daily load. Receiving gifts that have been thoughtfully put together gives me immense joy. It’s not so much about getting something, but rather knowing that someone spent time, energy and thought on me.
Marie: Mine is words of affirmation. My heart can be easily won over by beautiful words. I blame Andre P. Brink and Ingrid Jonker for that. I know there’s a one-of-a-kind of love between Brink and Jonker and I’m not saying that I expect a whole book full of love letters, but if my own Brink whispered beautiful passages in my ear, I’d be a very happy woman.
2. WHAT LOVE LANGUAGE DO YOU EXPRESS?
After the first discussion we turned it around. We wanted to know more about how we express our love to others since it might be different from the type of love we want to receive. Here’s how the conversation went…
Angy: So, do you think the love language you got from the test is true for the love language you express?
Tessa: The love language I express is definitely the same as my “receiving” love language, which is physical touch.
Caré: As far as my love language towards other people goes, I’d say it’s definitely giving gifts. I always overspend with my friends’ birthdays and stuff like Secret Santa, and I love making an effort when it comes to picking just the right gift.
Liezel: I’d say mine is split between gifts and acts of service. I take great care in choosing a present for someone. My other prominent love language is through food, and cooking for the people in my life. Nothing beats the feeling when you sit around a table and watch people chat, laugh, and feast on something you’ve prepared.
Leandra: I also enjoy making food for people, or doing something that that person loves or making life easier for that person. That’s how I show my love to others.
Tasha: I’m the same. If you want someone to make you a cheese toastie or a cup of coffee after a long day of work, I’m your girl! Acts of service is definitely how I show love. I’ll help you with the task that’s causing you stress.
Nina: I think my love language for others are words of affirmation. When people around me are feeling good, then I feel great. And if I can participate in the act of making them feel loved, appreciated and valued then I’ll happily accept that role.
Caré: I’m the complete opposite. When you need some words of advice or a shoulder to cry on I’m not your girl. I get super awkward and might just run away!
Elene: I get awkward when I receive gifts, but I love to give gifts and plan surprises. If I can treat you in some manner, I’m content and the reason why I enjoy giving gifts so much is that I love to show someone that I’ve spent time thinking about them and that I took the time to reflect on them as a person. And also the look on their face when they open the gift, I love that look!
Marie: For me, it’s time. Time is the most precious possession you have. And when I give my time to you, you know I give love. You can’t get time back so quality time is the love language that I express to someone special.
Angy: I think quality time is mine as well. I show my love by dedicating my time to doing things with the person I love.
3. WHAT IS YOUR SELF LOVE LANGUAGE
We ended our conversation discussing self love, which is something I am an avid believer of. I think it was something that quite surprised a lot of us, the idea that you can have a love language with yourself as well. I sent everyone an example of how the different love languages relate to how you show yourself some love and here’s what we discovered:
Angy: So, what were your thoughts on the idea of having self love language and what do you guys believe is your self love language?
Leandra: I never realized that just as I have a love language that makes me feel loved and makes someone else feel loved, there is also a certain way I love myself. I realized that I build myself up and get through difficult times with words of affirmation. I’m often encouraging myself in my head, or convincing myself why one thing is not as bad as the other.
Elene: Fortunately, you gave us an awesome self-love love language chart because I’ve never thought about what on earth mine could be. Going through it, touch really stood out to me. I love going to the gym and spending that time on myself and my body. My other guilty pleasure is going for a massage or visiting the spa. I’ll spend literally all my money on a visit to Babylonstoren or Lanzerac for a day of pampering. Focusing on external health and wellness is what the touch self-love language is all about and that makes me happy.
Caré: Mine is also physical touch. Nothing makes me feel better than when I’m doing something to make my body feel good.
Nina: My self love language was difficult to determine since I value all five “official” love languages differently. The one I struggle most with is words of affirmation. While I find it easy to comfort others, my inner voice sometimes struggles with this task. When it happens though, the four other love languages come without restraint. I am a big thrifter so spending money and time on looking for gifts in the thrift store is always a happy occasion. Locking myself away and enjoying a good book is something I’ve been doing for years and I’m only just now realising how much joy it gives me.
Tessa: It was tough for me to pick as well, but the one that describes my self-love language the best is quality time. Things like going for a walk on my own or experiencing new things by myself really makes me feel energised, which in turn makes me feel more at peace with myself.
Tasha: Mine is pretty much quality time as well, and maybe retail therapy because I enjoy buying myself little gifts. Secondhand bookstores are my haven, and despite my growing list of TBR books, I feel like I can never have enough. So when I need some downtime, or a pick-me-up, you’ll find me on the couch, with a glass of wine, a book and hopefully a cat or two for some company.
Marie: When I want to show myself some love it’s in the form of gifts. I am a huge collector of music records. When I need a good pick-me-up, I’ll go to a Vinyl store and find that Louis Armstrong record that fills another hole in my collection. With that said; my second love language to myself is quality time because nothing is more fun than turning on my turntable and setting up for old Louis Armstrong – with a good Chardonnay, of course!
Angy: My self love is definitely quality time. I love spending time by myself doing things I enjoy like watching series (without people’s commentary), reading a book or listening to music or a good podcast. I like to be left alone with my own thoughts sometimes, especially when I’ve been around a lot of people for long periods of time.
Liezel: I have to admit, I’m terrible at prioritising myself. I guess the best way I can show myself love is through time that is selfishly spent on my little pleasures. A quiet cup of coffee. Reading a book. Going shopping (for myself, and not for baba’s wardrobe). Asking, “what do I want to do right now?” and then taking time to do that.
So, in conclusion…
I think this was a really fun little experiment to do with the people in our office. I think we all learnt something about each other and ourselves. Although it might not be an exact science, there’s no denying that when you sit down and really start to think about how you express, like to receive, and love yourself you’ll learn something you might never have thought of before. I hope that every day is a day that you get to express your love in whatever form you please. With that being said… happy loving everyone!