In part 4, I talked about how to develop charisma and good communication skills. In this article, I’m going to talk about a really easy and simple to understand framework you can use to more effectively bring value to the women you are romantically involved with. Just to clear this up—the frame work isn’t mine. I shamelessly stole it from a really interesting book called, The 5 Love Languages.
What Language Do You Speak?
In the book, the author distinguishes 5 languages (or methods) people use to show love and caring:
1) Acts of Service
2) Gift giving
3) Words of affirmation
4) Quality time
Gary Chapman, the author of this fine book, says that each person has a primary way to encode their experience of love. In part 1, I used the example of a married couple where the wife valued gift giving (she wanted a fat diamond ring) while the husband, valuing quality time, spent months self-renovating a room in their house for the two of them to spend time in together. In this case, he misunderstood her “love language” and spent a lot of time and effort with the best of intentions but failed to create a closer relationship with his wife.
Spend some time and think about your own love language. What makes you think that someone really cares about you? Is it when they go out of their way to do you a favor? Does getting the right gift from someone make you feel really cared about? Do you feel warm inside when someone says something nice since it lets you know that she’s really paying attention to you? What about when someone takes time out of their day to be with you, even if it’s just to pick up the groceries? Or is it a hug, an arm around the shoulder, or even a light touch on your hand that lets you know you are really valued?
Think about times you felt truly cared about and you’ll start to realize which one or two “love languages” you speak. Now think about your past relationships. What was your partner’s love language? Do you remember wondering why she just didn’t feel loved enough? Did you go all out to make that person happy and fail miserably because you misjudged what would show them that you cared? Did she get angry because she didn’t feel properly appreciated?
Finally, look at the other people in your life, such as friends, your parents, or your siblings. Think about what patterns you see in them. All of this should train you to start noticing other people and the things they want. In some ways we’re almost like aliens to one another. Something that you think is silly or meaningless could be the one thing that will touch the person you want in your life in a way that they will never forget.
Tripping Over Words
For me, acts of service and touch are the big ones, and I find gift giving and words of affirmation to be almost totally worthless and silly. On the other hand, I always feel that telling someone how much I care about them and like them is either a waste of time, or a lie, and when I was dating a girl who I eventually realized needed to hear how much I cared about her to feel loved, I struggled. The things I did that I thought should have wowed her, had little or no effect. I probed about her past relationships, and it sounded to me like there had been a parade of losers. But as I listened closely, I realized what was going on.
Instead of creating amazing experiences for this girl (quality time and acts of service), I could have met her once a month, taken her to McDonald’s and she would have been perfectly happy as long as I regularly and continuously told her how much I cared about her and how much I wanted to be with her (words of affirmation). It really was a major revelation that made me think that I’d finally figured out the secret sauce to making the relationship with her work. Not surprisingly, it was very hard for me to continuously verbalize my feeling for her because at a deep level I felt I was being fraudulent. My self-absorption and personal biases were glaring through and getting in the way of building a great relationship. The fact is that I did want her to know how much I cared and doing what I was doing wasn’t working. It’s much easier to do what you feel most comfortable and genuine doing to show you care but, in the end, if you can break out of your own head, you’ll get what you really want, which is a happy woman in your arms.
People say that everyone’s favorite word is their own name, and whether or not that’s true, there is truth in it. We all want to be the center of attention. We all want to be the richest, smartest, funniest, most interesting, and most attractive. The trick is to understand that if we want that, we have to stop thinking about how much we want to hear our own name, and start thinking about how we can help others to hear their name more. To win friends and influence people, make them feel they are the richest, smartest, funniest, most interesting, and most attractive person you know, and do this by first taking the time to understand them. When you give people exactly what they want, you become indispensable.