A few years ago, I came across Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, and it completely changed the way I view love in all my relationships. Chapman identifies five ways that people both feel loved by others and express their love to others: gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, and acts of service.
When I first took the love languages quiz, I discovered that my primary love language for both giving and receiving love was quality time. Instead of buying gifts, physical touch, or writing letters, I realized that spending time with someone was the most significant expression of love for me. Whether it was sharing a cup of coffee, running errands together, or simply doing homework side by side, the time invested in each other was crucial. Likewise, when I wanted to feel loved, I desired someone’s undivided attention and investment of time.
While quality time remains essential to me, I’ve learned that what comes naturally to me may not be what others need. For instance, if I spend quality time with a friend every day, assuming that I’m showing my care, but in reality, she craves thoughtful words of encouragement, I’m failing to meet her needs. It’s important to recognize that we should give others what they need, not just what we are comfortable giving.
You might be wondering, “How do I know what she needs?” Well, the closer I become with my friends, the easier it is for me to understand their love languages. I’ve discovered that my roommate appreciates acts of service. She feels loved when she comes home to a clean house or finds her laundry folded. Another close friend of mine loves receiving gifts. A bouquet of flowers or a small souvenir from a shopping trip that reminds me of her makes her feel loved. Another effective way to find out is simply by asking! There’s nothing strange about asking a friend how they feel loved. In fact, she would probably prefer you to ask rather than guessing and potentially giving her something she doesn’t actually want.
I’ve found that showing love to my girlfriends is less complicated than I initially thought. I even take notes on things my friends like or want so that I can refer back to them when I want to express my love. It may sound a bit strange, but it’s an effective strategy—just like starting a Christmas list early to avoid last-minute chaos.
So, here are some thoughtful ways to show love in your female friendships, according to their love language:
- Present them with fresh flowers.
- Gift them a potted plant that’s easy to care for.
- Surprise them with their favorite dessert or candy.
- Find something that reminds you of them and give it unexpectedly, not just on special occasions.
- Offer to walk arm-in-arm with them.
- Let them hug you, even if you’re not into physical contact.
- Take the time to braid their hair.
Words of Affirmation
- Express your love verbally. Don’t assume they know; say it out loud.
- Write a note of encouragement before an important interview, test, or doctor’s appointment.
- Pen a heartfelt note expressing how much their friendship means to you.
Remember, I’m doing my friend a disservice by only giving what I’m best at, instead of giving what she needs to feel loved.
- Prioritize spending quality time together by keeping your phone out of sight and focus.
- Invite her for a coffee date.
- Suggest going for a refreshing walk in the park together.
- Engage in activities like working together or running errands side by side.
- If your friend is far away, plan a FaceTime session to catch up.
Acts of Service
- Run errands for your friend or text to ask if there’s anything you can pick up for them while you’re already out.
- Cook a meal for her or her family.
- Offer help with housekeeping tasks.
To further explore the topic of maintaining healthy friendships, I recommend listening to this podcast episode from Thumbuddy To Love: How Strong Women Can Have Healthy Friendships – 150. It provides valuable insights and practical advice for nurturing strong bonds with your friends.