Love Languages

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not sending a sassy email when you’re asked for something that’s clearly in your most recent attachment.

For better or for worse, we work with people, and people need all different forms of love. When appropriately expressed in the workplace, love might mean empathy, understanding, validation, and working towards a common goal.

Written in 2007 by Dr. Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages has topped the bestseller list ever since due to its simple message: people give and receive love in different ways. Since we spend so much time working with others, the way we express and receive emotion is relevant in countless settings, no matter if you’re actually married or just venting with your work wife. 

While understanding your and your office mates’ Love Languages can be difficult (we don’t recommend hugging your boss to test out the Physical Touch thing), it is doable. 

Acts of Service

Those whose Love Language is Acts of Service bring meaning to the phrase “actions speak louder than words.” These folks might be the ones who:

  • Wash out the coffee pot when someone inevitably leaves just a sip left
  • Take out the trash after a party, without having to be asked
  • Offer to take notes during a meeting

Receiving Gifts

Materialistic, no. Sentimental, yes. Presents, and not necessarily presence, mean the world to those whose Love Language is Receiving Gifts. They might:

  • Bring in or indulge in shared treats for the office
  • Appreciate a friendly post-it or doodle left on their whiteboard every now and then
  • Procure the most highly-coveted gift at the annual white elephant party

Quality Time

Quality Time co-workers appreciate you just hanging around. Perhaps they:

  • Find value in working meetings, or simply working alongside someone else
  • Enjoy a shared coffee break, midday walk, or lunch
  • Pop by your office every now and then just to see how you’re doing

Words of Affirmation

When it comes to working remotely, Words of Affirmation people likely have it easy. They:

  • Go ga-ga over a nicely-worded email
  • Crave a “quick touch base” or anything that involves conversation
  • Consistently ask for feedback, written or verbal, on their performance

Physical Touch

While the love language of physical touch might seem a little weird to think about in a work setting, we can’t deny this important way of validating exists for a number of people, and therefore shouldn’t be ignored. Peers with this Love Language may:

  • Offer up a friendly high-five now and then
  • Get a grin when their boss gives an appropriate pat on the back

It’s worth noting that, for some, the way they receive affection isn’t necessarily the same way they give it. Maybe they crave a heartfelt email expressing gratitude but they can’t put their feelings into words to save their life. Some might even feel that their Love Language at home differs from that in the office, meaning they want quality time with their partner, but would rather get a thoughtful present come the holidays from their employer.

Whatever you and your coworkers’ Love Languages are, perhaps it’s time we take a closer look at how personality tests like Dr. Chapman’s have the potential to unite, rather than confuse and divide us. After all, a global pandemic and monumental shift in workplace norms have professional conflicts on the rise. Understanding how our colleagues communicate best, and utilizing that knowledge with empathy, professionalism, and courtesy, can only make our workplace more loving.


Julia Regeski

Julia Regeski

Social Impact Strategist

Julia Regeski is a content creator who believes that everyone's story deserves to be told in a way that's intentional, compelling, and authentic. Her work experience has been focused on advancing meaningful social causes, and includes advocating on behalf of Georgia's environmental resources and bringing together nonprofits in the wake of natural disasters. When she's not using her communications skills to try to make the world a better place, you'll likely find her reading, practicing yoga, or adventuring in the great outdoors.