Written by: Valentina Rampazzo
This is love: A Lingoda’s Survey on love languages
Published on: Feb 13th, 2024
February might be the shortest month of the year but it is definitely the one most charged with affection and displays of devotion. Right at its core, Valentine’s Day proudly stands as a day where we celebrate love, romance and emotions.
Words do not always come easy, though. Not to everyone at least. So how do we express our emotions when we choke up or we don’t really think we are eloquent enough to convey how we feel?
And when we find ourselves at the receiving end of it, are words always what we expect? Sometimes small acts of service or a hug serve as much better messengers.
In a traditional Lingoda fashion, we didn’t just ponder these deeply human questions but we brought them to the public. More specifically to 2,000 adults based in the US who shared with us what their preferred love language is - favourite approach when giving and receiving love.
Key survey insights
|23% of our respondents value spending quality time as a way to express their affection with their loved ones.
|20% rely on thoughtful gifts to show love and appreciation to another person.
|In turn, 24% and 20% lean on quality time and gift giving respectively when being at the receiving end of a loving gesture.
|19% of the participants also cherish small helping acts both as an expression of their fondness.
What are love languages?
Love languages were first introduced to the wider public in the 1990’s by Gary Chapman, a Southern Baptist pastor with a doctorate in adult education. In 1992, he published The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, a book aimed at improving the relationship with a partner.
The concept of love languages isn’t based on any scientific study but rather on patterns pastor Chapman observed when counselling married couples in his church.
Not everyone perceives love and affection in the same way. And to avoid misunderstandings and to make sure we shower our people with love (the way they are more receptive to it), let’s spell out what shapes these languages take.
The 5 main ones, as presented in Chapman’s book, are:
- Words of affirmation - a positive acknowledgement oral or written of the value of your counterpart.
- Quality time - the mindful and attentive presence of one’s partner without distractions.
- Acts of service - small gestures that make another’s life even just a little easier.
- Gifts giving and receiving - a visual token of one’s affection.
- Physical touch - a way of feeling closer and more intimate with one another, be it a cuddle, a hug or a kiss.
Shower the people with love
James Taylor in one of his hits sings “Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel. Things are gonna be much better if you only will”. And we couldn’t agree more. The best songs, movies and poems were written about great loves.
However, saying that you love someone out loud presents a challenge for some. Or simply you might lean towards something more pragmatic than outing those three magic words. So, for those of us not comfortable with vocal declarations, what love language do they prefer?
23% of the participants in our survey agreed that, in times where we seem to be constantly busy, slowing down and spending quality time with loved ones is the way to go. This entails putting aside digital distractions, being present in the company of others and respectful of moments together.
Alternatively, and a good 20% align on this, enjoy wrapping their affection in gift paper and appreciate their counterpart with thoughtful gifts every now and then.
Finally, not too far with 19% of answers gathered, people recur to everyday gestures and acts of service in favour of their dearest.
Passing the right message in the right language
Let’s now jump to the receiving end of our scale. Understanding what love language our partner or friends are more receptive to will make us much more intentional when we share how they make us feel.
What matters most, then, when receiving affection? Considering the responses we got overall, the triumvirate presented above doesn’t differ much: quality time stays in pole position, followed by gift giving and thoughtful actions.
What is interesting to report is how, reading the results purely from a responder’s age perspective, younger participants give more value to pragmatism (43% of them tend towards getting a helping hand) where 27% aged between 43 and 58 are more grateful for dedicated quality time.
Finally, getting a hug, a kiss and feeling close to their loved ones seems to be the desire for most older respondents (31%).
How language learning shapes and enhance love sharing
With our survey we dove into how love has unique ways of transmission, which require consistency, care, observation and practice. Sounds familiar? Learning a language isn’t that different after all.
From building meaningful connections to enhancing empathy and boosting our understanding of non-verbal cues, foreign and love languages mirror each other in plenty of ways.
1. The power of expressing
The simple fact of passing a message and reaching out to another person can immensely empower both parties involved. It might take time to get there, but when it happens it automatically creates a deeper connection.
2. Enhanced sensitivity
Approaching a new culture and outing our feelings are sensitive subjects. But speaking a different language from your own enhances the respect and understanding we have of our counterpart, be it from a foreign country or your own family.
3. Emotional intelligence
When we communicate, we require a certain awareness of non-verbal cues. And failing to catch them, it might lead to misunderstandings, inappropriate or no response. Foreign and love languages need just the same conscious effort.
4. Cross-cultural enrichment
Nowadays, we are in the increasing presence of multicultural environments. And cultures differ greatly in using linguistic concepts. This is true when translating an idiom from a foreign language to the next; but also when expressing your emotions.
Understanding and communicating in your partner's love language is crucial for nurturing strong, enduring relationships. And language learning is also about building connections and understanding others on a deeper level.
Language learning is about more than just words and grammar - it's about building bridges between cultures and connecting with others on a deeper level. Just as in relationships, it's essential to adapt to different communication styles and preferences to truly understand and connect with others.
The survey underscores the significance of recognizing and honouring diverse expressions of love. By embracing these differences, individuals can cultivate deeper connections and stronger relationships, both in their personal lives and during their language learning journey.
OnePoll collected quantitative data for this study on behalf of Lingoda. Between 31 January 2023 - 6 February 2024, 2,000 US adults aged 18 and older answered questions regarding the various ways individuals express love and how they prefer to receive it in return.