Language of Love: Learning Love Languages Can Boost Employee Relationships
By Carolyn Ramp, Owner, Resolution Counseling Professionals
In 1992, Gary Chapman first published his book, The Five Love Languages. Since that time, more than 10 million copies have been sold and it has stayed on the New York Times bestseller list since 2009.
The book was originally inspired by Chapman’s many years of counseling couples and hearing the same comment over and over: “I just don’t feel loved.” What Chapman discovered by researching his notes was that partners often speak different love languages.
For example, for years I would make my husband an Easter basket or a Christmas stocking – even a big Valentines heart. I would fill a basket (stocking) with things I knew he liked. I took a lot of time picking out items for those baskets and spent a lot of money. My husband’s response was usually, “Thanks. That’s nice.”
Wow! doesn’t even begin to cover my disappointment at his response. Then I read Gary Chapman’s book…and things changed.
I realized I had been speaking my love language, not my husband’s. One of my love languages is gift giving. My husband’s love language is acts of service. If I had just washed his car, I would have gotten a more jubilant response!
Chapman’s book has been translated into 50 languages around the world. And it seems to be a universal concept that we all want to be loved and cared about by the significant people in our lives.
Chapman sees the love languages as a clue to better connect with the people in our lives. While he agrees that there may be more than five love languages, Chapman has stated that no one has come back and told him a number six. His five love languages are
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Personal gifts
- Acts of service and
- Physical touch
Now, just reading the book and getting the information will not necessarily make things any different. After all, love is a choice. Having the will to follow through with speaking another person’s language is what will make the difference.
Choosing to speak another person’s love language is an Act of Love. You don’t have to do it. You choose to do it. It may not come naturally to you, and it may be a challenge. But it is, oh, so worth it!
So why bring this up in a business magazine?
Well, we don’t leave our emotions at the door when we head into work. We want to know we are valued and cared about in our offices as much as we do in our homes. We spend most of our waking hours Monday through Friday in our offices or classrooms or with co-workers of some fashion. And if you want to make an emotional connection with that person – to make your work day more enjoyable – you might want to think about those five love languages and how they might apply to those around you.
It’s not that difficult. Just listen to the people around you and you’ll get a clue as to their love language. Listen to what they complain about…
“While my boss was gone on a business trip, I kept him up to date on all emails and snail mail, and what did it get me? Not even a thank-you!” Ahhh, this individual needs words of affirmation.
“My co-worker was gone for a week’s vacation and I did all her work, but she didn’t bring anything back to thank me.” This individual is telling you gifts are her love language.
“I used to get to eat lunch with my co-worker but now we never even have time for a chat.” It seems quality time matters to this individual.
Listen to what they request most often….
“Hey, if you get a minute, would you fill out that form and get it back to me today?” Acts of service…
“Could you let me know if you think that letter is written correctly?” Words of affirmation…
“I’d really enjoy eating lunch with you today if you get the time.” Quality time…
Applying Chapman’s concepts at work can help create a positive environment where friendships can flourish and the sometimes stressful day can lead to humor and laughter instead of conflict.
If your co-worker is the one who always makes the coffee (and no one else has offered) maybe you could suggest you take turns…
If no one ever tells the other how much they appreciate getting the paperwork on time, maybe you could start the habit…
If everyone fills the shredder but only one person ever seems to empty it, maybe you could do it this time…
You get the idea, I’m sure. Listen. Then find a way to speak that love language. It can make all the difference!
Oh, and by the way, my husband is learning to speak my language!
Carolyn A. Ramp has a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Augusta State University and a Specialist’s Degree in Counseling from Georgia Southern. She is a Nationally Certified Counselor, a Licensed Professional Counselor and an Approved Clinical Supervisor. She served as an Adjunct Professor at Augusta State University in the graduate counseling program. She is the owner of Resolution Counseling Professionals located in the Atrium on Wheeler Road. Contact her at 706-432-6866.