How to love well

How to Love Well


Loving and being loved is the primary need in every human. Yet many people don’t feel loved. That’s a problem.


The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love and to let it come in. — Morrie Schwartz


There are many reasons people don’t feel loved but one is a lack of loving well. It’s easy to not love well. We can do things for people thinking we’re showing them love and be wrong.

What we think is a great demonstration of love may not say love to them at all.

We might be trying to love them using our idea of the golden rule.

Do for others what you want them to do for you.

For example:

You wish someone would send you flowers so you send flowers to show love. But then they don’t respond how you expected. They’re polite and say thank you but the joy you were trying to communicate didn’t show up. You ask yourself what’s the problem? You might even feel angry if you went to a lot of trouble.

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love and to let it come in. — Morrie Schwartz Click To Tweet


No Capisce (Italian for no understanding)

The problem is you’re speaking your love language, not theirs. Because we’re all different we process information differently—even our perception of love.

The book by Gary Chapman The 5 Love Languages helps us to see and understand our perception of love. Both in the giving and in the receiving. In his book, he focuses on romantic and marital relationships but it can help anyone learn to love well.


I’ve found that the concept of love languages helps pretty much any relationship, not just romantic ones. It’s useful to understand what matters to people. —Lifehacker

How to love well


Learn a New Language

To love a person well you need to speak their love language. The 5 love languages from Gary’s book are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

You may look at that list and certain people pop into your head right away. You know just which one makes them feel well loved. And then there are the others we don’t really know.

All of them can be wonderful so sometimes we don’t want to pick one or two. But the truth is this language is real.

To understand better I’ll translate them into what they look like.

To love a person well you need to speak their love language. Click To Tweet


Translate into Action

Words of Affirmation

Express affection through words of encouragement, praise, or appreciation. Examples:

  • Tell them you believe in them when they’re nervous about a presentation or test.
  • Remind them of how amazing they are when they fall into perfectionism.
  • Encourage them to continue when something is difficult.

How to love well


Acts of Service

When actions speak louder than words. The giving of kind assistance and help. Examples:

  • Offer to help with the dishes, fold the laundry or take the garbage out.
  • Teaching someone how to do something.
  • Calling to check in on someone who lives alone, is going through a difficult time, or recovering from illness or surgery.

How to love well


Receiving Gifts

Symbols of love and affection. It’s not the cost, it’s the thought behind it. The gift says I was thinking of you when I bought this because I love you. Examples:

  • Pick up a souvenir when you go someplace new.
  • Send them flowers or give them produce from your garden.
  • Pick up something ridiculous just because you know they’ll get a kick out of it. Could be a simple as a pack of gum or golf ball tees.

How to love well


Quality Time

Expressing affection with undivided, undistracted attention. Talking and active listening speak love loud. Examples:

  • Setting aside a day or a weekend to spend time together.
  • Have a day once a week for a deeper conversation on the phone or in person.
  • If you live far away from each other use some form of video technology (FaceTime, Skype, Zoom…)

How to love well


Physical Touch

Can be intimate or not. Hugs, holding hands, hand on the shoulder and other forms of appropriate touch convey love. Examples:

  • Give them a neck or back massage.
  • Sit next to and lean on them while watching a movie or a sunset.
  • Play footsie or tickle monster.

How to love well


These are meant to help us—not for us to get hung up on.


Knowing how to love someone is more powerful than the best intention Alex Blackwell


Knowing how to love someone is more powerful than the best intention. — Alex Blackwell Click To Tweet



Applying the above to the people around us; family, friends, co-workers, etc., will speak volumes to them.

We can learn our love language and let people know what makes us feel loved also.

This is loving well.


What now

  • What is your love language? Mine are Acts of Service and Quality Time—share yours in the comments.
  • Need more help identifying yours? Take this fun quiz to help you The quiz
  • There’s a 5 Love Languages book for men, singles, children also. Get them here.
  • More on love here

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8 thoughts on “How to Love Well

  1. Great piece! I like how you break down the five steps. It’s true that sometimes I’ll do something for someone else that they don’t seem to appreciate and then I’ll feel hurt, but you’re absolutely correct that people have different preferences and gifts, for instance, just don’t resonate with some people. My own preferred language is words of affirmation, touch, and quality time.

    1. Thank you, Kate.
      I’m sure we’ve all done something for someone that’s foreign to their love language and been disappointed by their reaction.
      I remember one year I took my granddaughter to her end of the year preschool picnic and helped her deliver a card and small gift to her 3 teachers. It was amazing to The the difference in the reactions of the teachers and I was tempted to be annoyed by one of them. But then I remembered this. It’s important to let people be who they are.
      Thanks for sharing.

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