A good friend and colleague of mine recently introduced me to a wonderful and inspiring book that seeks to help couples enhance their relationships by examining the various "love languages" that people often use to express their love and gratitude for one another. After reading "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, I had what Oprah would call an "Ah-ha" moment and quickly realized that these principles also apply to gift giving...as giving tangible gifts is identified as a love language in and of itself! What are the 5 languages and how do they apply? Lets look at the languages, first:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
What love language do you speak? How do you show appreciation to people around you? Because we as humans tend to project our needs and desires onto others, the way we choose to give (and what gifts we tend to give) are usually reflective of the needs or affirmations we seek for ourselves...What we tend to "give" is a clear indicator or what we "desire". Ok...therapist hat off...
How does this relate to gift giving? It actually impacts successful gift giving in a major way. I believe it's safe to say that if you are reading this blog, you are very interested in giving "the perfect gift" to someone you love, which requires creativity, inspiration, and often times a lot of thought. By paying attention to the RECIPIENTS love language, you can pretty much ensure that your gift will be wanted, appreciated and a big hit. Never assume that because you prefer to receive tangible gifts that the recipient does so as well...they may have a completely different love language! Can you see how this relates to couples but also relates to showing our love to the world around us?
The moral of the story is...be open, observant, and sensitive to other's needs around you. Please don't buy an extravagant gift for someone who would much prefer a experiential gift with you, or a well thought out note of appreciation. By finding out the love language of another, we can take gift giving to the next level...and hit a home run every time!
Jennifer Melnick Carota is the owner and Director of the Counseling House in Belle Vernon, PA where she and her team of therapists counsel children, families, and individuals throughout the Pittsburgh region. Ms. Carota is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Pennsylvania and founder of the Black Pants Project, a volunteer initiative that helps women and girls transition into the workplace looking and feeling their best, all of the time.