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Give Thank You Gifts in the Right Love Language

People give and receive recognition differently. Knowing the five love languages and how to use them can be the secret to good romantic and work relationships.

By
Stever Robbins,
Episode #367

Today's we're going to learn how to show appreciation at work, and how to demonstrate love at home. You know, thank you gifts, employee recognition, and stuff like that. But this time, we're going to take a systematic, psychological approach.

Oh, boy! Love! I just love love. Actually, no, I don't. It's supposed to be all Disney and fairy tales, with lots of staring into each other's eyes with glittery sparkles, and animated woodland creatures hanging around. But in real life, relationships are a ton of work. And that's still the good ones. The great thing about loving someone, or liking them, is that doing stuff for them actually feels good. For example, we might clean our entire apartment for our shmoopie. We put everything in its place, we dust, we vacuum, all so shmoopie will feel wonderful tonight! Then shmoopie comes home, takes one look at the fantastically clean apartment, and rewards all our hard work! How? Not by changing out of work clothes into saran wrap. No, shmoopie plops down in a chair and says, "What a day! Will you make dinner tonight? I'm pooped."

This is where the "ton of work" begins. We have to remind ourselves that we love shmoopie—even if shmoopie is an oblivious clod who wouldn't notice how much we do for him or her in a million years, we love shmoopie anyway. So, we grit our teeth and pretend everything is fine, so shmoopie will feel good, no matter how horribly insensitive shmoopie might be behaving. That special pretending, coupled with a healthy dose of denial and self-deception, are what being in a relationship is all about.

People Speak Different Languages

Actually, what's happening isn't deep relationship drama, no matter how much it seems that way. It's simply that shmoopie and you have different love languages. In the book The 5 Love Languages, relationship counselor Gary Chapman relays a surprising discovery. After seeing gazillions of couples who had "fallen out of love," he found that the problem was usually that the couple expressed and recognized love in different ways. These are "love languages." When someone expressed love using the wrong language, their shmoopie didn't get the message; shmoopie felt ignored, not loved.

(By the way, if you're thinking that this is just about romantic relationships, think again. Everything in this episode applies at work in the form of employee recognition, or just making nice with your colleagues.)

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