Friendships, just like any relationship, are A LOT of work.
The effort doesn’t stop simply after meeting someone you click with, because every friendship will hit a few stumbling blocks along the way. Even BFFs need to put in the work to make their friendships last.
On top of that, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that you can apply to all your relationships. It can get confusing AF when different people interpret things differently, making them second guess your perfectly innocent intentions.
That was when I discovered the ultimate life hack: Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages.
You’ve probably heard of Love Languages before, but more likely applied to romantic relationships. But surprise, surprise, it works just as great in friendships too.
Knowing My Friends’ Love Languages Made Me A Better Friend
My results showed that my top love language was ‘quality time’. Everything made sense! That was when I realised how knowing my friendships love languages could make me a better friend too.
Me realising that my friends love me just as much, they just show it in other ways.
There’s nothing I love more than going on “dates” with friends, whether it’s a one-day outing or just a quick one-hour lunch. And nothing can make me feel more loved than my friends showing that they want to spend time with me.
Each time a friend asks me out on a date, even if it’s a simple “hey, dins?” over text, my eyes sparkle with a hundred stars.
My friends wanting to hang out with me makes me feel wanted and loved.
Which also explains why I get a tiny bit hurt when my friends are on their phones or when I feel like they’re rushing to get back home. The worst is feeling like my friendship with them is a one-way street because I’m the one who has to do all the asking out.
Everyone Gives And Receives Love Differently
Subconsciously we may know our love languages are different, but acting on this knowledge requires active effort from both parties.
When I found out that friend A’s love language was ‘words of affirmation’, it immediately explained why his favourite thing to do seemed to be sending me daily selfies while talking about how good he looked and why he’d pout at my lackluster reactions.
I have since started to hype him up more often, much to his delight.
What I look like when I’m giving my friend his daily dose of affirmations.
It also helped me become more confident in my friendship with friend B whose top love language was ‘acts of service’ while ‘quality time’ was second to last.
I stopped judging the state of our friendship based on the amount of time we were spending together. Instead, I learned to appreciate how she always jumped at the chance to lend me a helping hand whenever I found myself in a sticky situation.
Being aware of my friends’ needs in a friendship and knowing the ways I can show my love for them naturally made me a better friend.
So TL;DR: educating yourself on your friendships love languages can save your friendships while strengthening them. If you’re still new to the concept, here’s a basic rundown.
The 5 Love Languages
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If your friend’s top love language is quality time, nothing makes them more happy than freeing up your schedule to squeeze in even a short lunch with them. As long as you’re making time for them despite how busy your life’s getting, they’ll be happy just knowing that they have a place in your heart.
One of the biggest faux pas when spending time with them is being on the phone or having your attention stray elsewhere. Also, don’t be a flaky friend by cancelling dates without bothering to reschedule because you can bet that they’ll take it to heart.
Words Of Affirmation
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People with this love language thrive on kind, positive words from their loved ones.
In this case, actions don’t always speak louder than words. Since they feel the most loved when they’re receiving words of affirmation, you can do that by simply telling them you love ‘em!
For those who aren’t the sappy type, you can still show them you care by sending love emojis or having regular check-ins with them even if it’s through text. Just shoot them a simple “Hey, I’m thinking of you,” and it’s sure to make their day.
These little affirmations may seem trivial, but they can do a lot to fight off your friend’s doubts and overwhelming thoughts. Knowing your friendships love languages can work wonders.
Acts Of Service
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This is a tough love language to cater to, especially if your friend is not one who’ll shout for help when they need it. After all, how can you show up for them if you don’t even know whether they need your help in the first place?
To this, always be prepared to say “How can I help?” or “Is there anything I can do for you?”
Having a friend whose top love language is ‘acts of service’ will also push you to become a more considerate person as you’ll always be keeping an eye out for them to see if there’s anything you can do to make their day better.
It can be something as simple as offering to do their chores for them when they’re swamped with work or offering them a ride home. It doesn’t have to be big, you just have to show that you’re willing to put in the effort.
Image credit: @shawntung on Unsplash
As someone who isn’t too big on physical affection with friends, I used to remain indifferent whenever my friends moved to sit closer to me or gave me a friendly nudge. But when I realised that my lack of reaction was making me seem more distant, I made it a conscious effort to respond positively to their actions.
I’ll give them a tight squeeze when they come to hug me, ask them to move closer when I see them scooting next to me, and even fiddle with their accessories when talking about how much I like their style. That simple act of reciprocating made my friends really happy. Oh, the power of knowing your friendships love language.
Before you ask, no, it has nothing to do with materialism. When I say that it’s the thought that counts, it truly is so! You’re not expected to spend loads of money on an expensive gift because even something as small as a candy bar can make them feel cherished by you.
Things like, “I bought this for you because it reminded me of you,” and, “Hey, I saw this at the store and remembered that you like it,” are just some of their favourite things to hear. It’s really all just about paying attention to your friends and knowing what they like.
Start Applying Your Friendships Love Language
There are few things worse than getting into a fight with your close friends—the cold war, the low jabs, all the unvoiced grudges… Everything about it is horrible. When you’re constantly misunderstanding the signals, it becomes easy to want to give up and say, “Maybe we’re just a bad match.”
You never know, applying the love languages may just help you save a sinking friendship, nurture friendships that are just blossoming, or even bring you that much closer to living the Golden Girls life with your pals by your side for a lifetime.