According to Dr. Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” we all have preferred ways in which we like to receive love. Some like gifts, some like touch and affection, some acts of service, some words of affirmation, and some prefer quality time. Similarly, Shipley Communication’s “Four Lenses” teaches that all have unique personality strengths and motivations by which we lead our lives and behave through. Some see through the blue lens which is relational, empathetic, passionate, loving; some are orange; competitive, risky, creative; some gold; structured, thorough, straight-forward, organized, and some green; calculated, fact oriented, statistic driven, introverted. Since we have our personal preferences, unique, and tightly weaved-into who we are, my question to you is this; since you desire to be loved in your preferred way, and you perceive life through your lens, is that also the love language and lens by which you treat others? If so, you might be frustrating your relationships. On the other hand, if you’re considerate of other people’s needs, you might be strengthening your relationships.
You could show love in a way that works for you, or you could show it in a way that works for the person you’re showing love to. For example, if you feel loved when you receive gifts, do you believe gift giving is the way to show love to others? Let’s say your significant other likes quality time. If you spend most of your time shopping so you can bring them gifts, but you give them zero quality time, are they going to feel frustrated or built up by your love, demonstrated by gifts? You feel built up when you receive gifts right? So why shouldn’t they? How dare he/she! Chances are, if they prefer quality time, then your gifts aren’t having the same affect as they do for you. Your partner needs quality time, and although the gifts are nice, they aren’t the same, nor are they a replacement for simply spending time together. My wife likes acts of service, and I like touch and affection. So if she’s working her butt off trying to do things for me to show that she loves me, it would be 1000 times more effective to just give me a hug every once in a while. Vice versa, I can’t expect her to be moved by touch and affection as much as she would be if I’m doing things for her, showing acts of service.
You could be dealing with friends, family, coworkers, and even strangers in a way that YOU prefer versus a way THEY prefer. For example, you may prefer to be challenged and competitive, so do you challenge and compete with others and expect them to appreciate it? Do you believe you should treat others the way that you want to be treated? If you prefer that people speak boldly and get into roasting battles with you, making vulgar jokes back and forth, laughing and having a good time, but your coworker likes kindness, friendliness, and teamwork, do you compete and challenge them with the expectation that they’ll like it? I have a friend I used to box with, so it would be fun for us to throw on boxing gloves and get it in, but my son is a basketball player, so if I throw boxing gloves on and try to get a fight with him, it’s not going to be his cup of tea. Does that frustrate me? What’s wrong with you son! Boxing is FUN! No…that’s what I like, but it doesn’t mean it needs to be what everyone else likes. It’s going to be much more appreciated, and more effective for me to get on the basketball court with him if I’m trying to bond, rather than boxing.
These things may seem small and trivial, but they matter. Some people want to know how to be more influential. If you want to influence people, don’t treat them how YOU like to be treated, treat them how THEY like to be treated. If you are treating people the way you want to be treated, but ignoring the way they want to be treated, you might be frustrating your relationships. If you want to create and strengthen relationships, you should consider the needs of others and realize what you prefer isn’t always what others prefer, and that’s ok. When you make adjustments to touch others where they are at, you will be more successful in your relationships.