Most couples know the famous 5 Love Languages developed by Dr. Gary Chapman. But when people think about love languages, they think about using them in committed relationships. This leaves out a slew of singles who are casually dating but could really learn a lot from the love languages when they’re in the early stages of dating.
So what does a love language for singles look like? And how do you use them when you don’t have a significant other? Let’s take a look.
First, a recap on the love languages
For a quick refresher, the five love languages came about in the 1990s after marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman penned his book, The 5 Love Languages, based on a theory he developed during his work with married couples in the 1980s. In essence, Chapman’s theory describes five different ways people give and receive love. Misunderstandings happen when couples have different love languages and they aren’t aware of it. For example, one person might perceive a hug as a loving action, but this could lead to unhappiness if the other person doesn’t understand or identify with it.
Chapman’s five love languages are:
- Words of affirmation
- Physical touch
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
What about the seven Love Styles?
Although I’m about to discuss love language for singles in terms of Chapman’s five love languages, Truity has expanded on the original theory and discovered that, in our modern times, there are seven love styles. The seven love styles include Appreciation, Practical, Physical, Intellectual, Financial, Emotional, and Activity.
As with Chapman’s love languages, Truity’s seven love styles are not a cure-all for all relationship challenges. But for couples and casual daters alike, they can really help you communicate on the same level.
How to use love language for singles
When you're casually dating, you don't need to rush in with every serious question on your mind. Casual daters aren’t always looking for something to turn into the love of a lifetime — and that’s okay. But if you’re looking for someone you connect with who will make a good romantic partner (whatever the stakes), you’ll want to consider learning their love language and communicating your own.
You may be on your first or third date with someone. Maybe you’re both looking for a deeper connection than what you’ve experienced in the past. To start, look inside yourself. Do you know what your love language is? If not, take Truity’s 7 Love Styles Test or Chapman’s 5 Love Languages quiz. A quiz will tell you which love language matches you most and clear up any confusion you might have about your preferences.
Love languages as conversation starters for first dates
It may feel weird to bring up love language on a first date, but it shouldn’t be! If someone’s open to getting to know you, they might even initiate a similar conversation, and it shouldn’t be any weirder than asking what someone’s favorite food or color is.
Nonetheless, if you need a little inspiration, here are a few jumping-off points:
- I was reading about love languages the other day. Do you know what yours is?
- Are you a touch-driven person? My love language is Physical Touch, so when I like someone, I tend to touch them a lot. Are you okay with that?
- Are you interested in personality theories? I’ve done a lot of reading about different theories, such as love languages. I think it’s interesting how everyone has a specific love language. Mine is [insert your love language]. What’s yours?
Questions like these should clear up any early confusion so you know what to expect when your date is ‘speaking’ to you.
Easy ways to talk about it in online dating
Around three in 10 U.S. adults has used a dating site or app in their lifetime. For 18- to 29-year-olds that figure rises to almost half! Dating apps can be a great way to meet someone but some conversations are going to feel awkward when you’ve just matched.
So how do you talk about something like love language?
Well, online dating can make approaching these topics easier for some people! If you’re chatting via text or messages, you have more time to gather your thoughts and express them. The key here is you don’t have to overthink bringing up your personality type or love language—it’s a good ice-breaker. It shouldn’t be an overwhelming question like asking about marriage and kids. Instead, it’s a fun way to dive deeper into who you both are and how compatible you might be, even in a less-than-serious capacity.
One way to create this easy ice breaker is to list your love language in your profile, alongside other fun tidbits about you. This may increase the chances of someone bringing it up before you get around to it.
Include it in your questions if you want to start a conversation about it. For example, what are you looking for? What’s your ideal first date? What’s your love language?
Implementing your love language (even if you don’t know the other person’s)
Even if you don’t have a conversation about your love languages, you can use your own whenever you feel affectionate toward someone you’re getting to know. This, of course, comes with limits! For example, you’ll want to start small if you’re casually dating someone and love giving and receiving gifts. Buy them that extra candy bar at the movies, or allow them to treat you to dinner or a little token once in a while. But you probably don’t want to be buying them an extravagant gift just yet.
If your love language is Words of Affirmation or Physical Touch, you can use these early on, too. For instance, when you laugh at their joke, brush their hand, or touch their shoulder. If you like something about their personality, tell them how much that trait means to you.
Quality Time is easy to pull off as a single. When you’re casually dating someone, make the most of your time. Spend an extra hour instead of cutting the date short.
As for Acts of Service, if you’re getting to know someone, you can show them you care by helping them out. Open a door for them, pull out their chair, or listen to them talk about their worries and give them advice. All of these are small acts that will make you feel connected.
In casual dating, keep these gestures small. Let them come naturally; you don’t need to push or overthink them.
Make sure your date feels comfortable
We all talk about consent and it’s essential, even in minor details. If your love language is Physical Touch, but your date doesn’t take well to it or asks you not to touch their arm, shoulder, etc., respect that. Also, note this person might not be so compatible with you if they find your love language uncomfortable. This goes for any love language, but Physical Touch is perhaps the one that should be doled out with the utmost caution and concern.
The gist of it
When it comes to love language for singles, you don’t have to make the conversation serious; it can be playful banter as you get to know a first date or a prospective date online. And whether you know your date’s love language or not, you can still use your own in small ways. Be thoughtful about how you show you care, but don’t try to push anything. The most important part about your dating experience is that you’re comfortable, open to experience, and true to yourself.