Here’s A Fast Way To Improve Your Relationships

Fast way to improve your relationships

Love it in the air. Or is it?

Wether you think Valentine’s Day’s a load of commerical clap trap, designed purely to get you to spend your hard earned money on love tokens, or a romatic way to tell your loved ones you care, it does serve as a useful reminder to think about love.

The annual love fest on February 14th is eagerly anticipated by many young lovers, while other people hate it, and some of us barely give it a passing thought.

My husband falls into the latter category and I’m not much better ~ I usually scrawl him a quick love poem at the last minute and present it on a dog-eared bit of paper torn from one of the kid’s exercise books. Sadly, this routine leaves us both unimpressed but read on to discover how to bridge the gulf between loving someone and actually making them feel loved.

It’s quick, easy and surprisingly effective because improving your personal relationships can be as simple as finding out the best way to make someone feel loved. Best of all, with a little creativity and forward thinking, you can use these ideas to improve your relationships with friends, colleagues, kids and family, not just with your partner in romance.

Often expressing your love is hard

In the States, I know that some parents send Valentine’s Day cards to their kids and vice versa where as in the UK, New Zealand and Australia the concept is confined purely to romantic love. I spent a lot of time with North Americans in Costa Rica and noticed that on Valentine’s Day some of them even posted messages of love to their platonic friends on Facebook. One good friend held a Valentine’s Day family party where all the kids made crafty stuff with hearts.

I embrace this free flow of love but sadly it doesn’t come as easily for most Brits. (Please remember that although I live in Australia and have a New Zealand passport, I was born and raised in the UK.)

My lovely north American girl friends in Costa Rica often told me they loved me or my family enthusing:

“We love you guys!”

This was awkward for my husband and me at first. Being British, we don’t even tell our closest family that we love them, let alone friends. Still, I soon got into the flow of it and became quite adept at telling people I love them, even if they weren’t related by blood or marriage. Telling someone you love them and hearing that someone loves you is pretty special and it’s not something we can hear too often, but there are other great ways to show people you care.

What’s the best way to make someone feel loved?

There’s no simple answer to that but by the end of this article you’ll have a few guidelines.

Have you heard of the five languages of love?

They were noted by Dr. Gary Chapman, in his book, The Five Love Languages, published in 1992 and on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years, you can buy it on Amazon.

But if you don’t have time to read it or can’t get hold of it immediately, here’s a cheat sheet. I read The Five Love Languages of Children by Chapman and Ross Campbell years ago and it made a lasting impression. I think the basic principles and the love languages are the same for adults and children.

How understanding the love languages can improve your personal relationships

  • You’ll be able to show people you care about them in the way that means the most for them.
  • You won’t waste time trying to tell them you love them in a way that leaves them cold.

It makes sense to me that some of us have different ways of showing their love. Some husbands buy gifts for their wives. Some kids pick flowers for their mums. Some adult children take their dad to see the big game. Some friends give each other a massage. They’re all valid ways to show you care but there is one problem.

If you don’t actually say “I love you,” then will the loved one know you care?

The book explains that everyone has different ways of knowing that they’re loved. Obviously we all need to feel loved, but if everyone experiences that in different ways how can we know what the best way to show them we love them is?

The Five Languages of Love

The answer is to know and understand the five languages of love and tailor how you show love to suit different people.

For example, my oldest child’s love language is gifts. So I can tell him I love him and hug him daily. I can hang out with him at the skate park and help him with his homework but he won’t really feel loved until I give him a gift.

The five languages of love are:

  1. Words – Actually telling someone you love them.
  2. Touch – For example, a hug, kiss or a foot rub.
  3. Gifts – Giving them something they desire.
  4. Time – Spending quality time with someone
  5. Favors – Performing an act of service them.

How do you work out what someone’s love language is?

There are two main choices:

1. Just ask them.

2. Watch how they show other people they love them as that proably holds clues to their love language.

What’s Your Love Language?

In case you’re wondering, my love language is favors. When someone does an act of service for me I know they really care about me and I’ll definitely return the favor. So if you want to let me know you love me this Valentine’s Day, the best way to do it is Stumble, Tweet or Digg this post using the buttons below:)

As for my husband, hopefully he’ll make me lunch. And I’ll be giving him a big hug.

What’s your love language and what’s the best way for someone to show they care about you?

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A warm welcome to all my new subscribers and welcome back to the old faithfuls – it’s great to connect with you. Many thanks also to Le vent le cri for use of the photo.

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  1. Walter February 10, 2010 at 10:40 am - Reply

    For me, the most powerful expression of love is understanding. In any form of relationship, understanding is the hardest to achieve. But once gained, love will be strengthen. :-)

  2. J.D. Meier February 10, 2010 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Beautiful distillation.

    I think it’s important to know what it takes for somebody to *feel* loved. Everybody has rules or expectations, even if they don’t know it … it’s a pattern.

    For me, I think it’s longing looks, or puppy dog eyes.

  3. Annabel Candy February 10, 2010 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Walter – I agree – if you don’t feel as if someone understands you it creates a huge barrier to bonding of any form. I’m not sure which love language this would fall under though… maybe being told “I agree, I get what you’re saying.”?

    J.D. – Interesting that you say some people may not even know what makes them feel loved. I was aiming at showing people how to make others feel loved but even more important is knowing what makes you feel loved. Hmmm, being carressed visually – can that be slotted into touch?!

  4. Connie February 11, 2010 at 1:43 am - Reply

    I love you Annabel! :-) (couldn’t resist). I just learned about the love languages in counseling – such an eyeopener. It made me admit that I indeed love GIFTS. And also made me realize that my husband could care less about them.

  5. CoralM February 12, 2010 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Interesting…i didn’t know the love languages. I adore receiving flowers from my husband, and he likes lots of affection which he gets if he buys me flowers!

    Love from Coral :-)

  6. Annabel Candy February 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Connie – I’m blushing:) Well, I hope it cleared up that misunderstanding! What kind of gifts?

    CoralM – Ahhhh, nothing is more romantic than flowers.

  7. Ryan February 13, 2010 at 3:54 am - Reply

    My love language is in acts. I’ll tell family members or close ones that I love them but when I express it I feel so much better. Love becomes a verb for me.

    Ditto on the expression of love thing. Even though I grew up in the States, I had a tough time expressing love or accepting love from anyone outside of my family. Mentioning it to my guy friends would be seen as “being gay”, friends who were girls would have taken it romantically, so I refrained from using it.

    Great post Anabel.

  8. cheryl from thatgirlisfunny February 13, 2010 at 7:44 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel,
    I haven’t been round for a visit for awhile. I’m very glad I chose today to pop in. How interesting! I’ve read that book about the 5 love languages. What struck me as I read the list is that being with someone who can only feel loved through gifts is difficult for me. It feels like a mismatch in style for me. That’s something to remember when I’m choosing a special man to be in relationship with – and to some level – who to have as best or close friends. I’ve had friends and family who’ve exhausted me with my inability to gift them (love them) properly. The other four: words, touch, time and favors fill my soul with love. I read somewhere about a woman who planned to video – an “I love you” valentine’s message. I was surprised at how touched I was by the thought of someone doing that. How marvelous to have a snippet of video for a keepsake of how much someone loves and cares about you. So yummy! Thank you! I will stumble and tweet – and, if you don’t mind – I’d like to use this entire post as the special guest article for my blog carnival on Valentine’s Day. It will be like a “guest post” and you will receive a backlink from me. Is that ok with you?

    • Annabel Candy February 13, 2010 at 7:52 am - Reply

      Ryan – Thanks for mentioning that. I’m sure lots of north Americans have just a hard time expressing their love as British people do and some men find it especially hard. Once you’ve said I love you a few times it gets easier until it just pops out naturally. Like any fear it’s only scary when you’ve never done it. As soon as you try it you realise it’s not that bad and with practice it becomes second nature. Go on, I dare you:)

      Cheryl – Loved your comment and definitely agree – the gifts one is quite alien to me too so it’s hard for me to understand my loved ones who really get into that and need it. Still, I understand I have to try as it’s important to them.

      Please do use the post for your carnival. You’re welcome to use my posts any time, I’d love it. Thanks for doing me the favour with tweets and stumbles too. I’m definitely feeling the love and sending it your way too.

  9. cheryl from thatgirlisfunny February 13, 2010 at 7:54 am - Reply

    One more thing, I noticed that paragraph that asks people to subscribe…um, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I’ hope you’ll feel flattered because I’ll be copying and pasting that and changing the links and making the same request of my readers. Funny I never thought to ask before. That probably falls into allowing myself to feel loved through gifts. Something to think about…

  10. Annabel Candy February 13, 2010 at 8:08 am - Reply

    Cheryl – My pleasure. Go for it:)

  11. Lauren March 11, 2010 at 6:35 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel,

    I read this and it helped. I realized I like all 5 – am I just greedy? ;- )

    Seriously, I think it is a great way to get in touch with what we desire in relationship – and what our partner might appreciate!

    We do have preferences and sometimes assume what we like is what the other person likes too. Not always the case. My love and I had a talk about it, compliments this book, and it was great!


  12. Brenda March 20, 2010 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Over the last year or more I was drifting apart from a friend. We used to e-mail each other with zest but it faded and we were mostly facebook friends and I was willing to accept this since it is hard to maintain a friendship long distance. Only I was confused because occationally she would say I love you, or I miss you at the bottom of whatever short e-mail I did get. I found this confusing because I didn’t make sense with the direction that our friendship was going. (It was strained in many ways.) I found out recently that that is what she and her circle of other friends do. They say such things to each other such as those comments very freely on facebook. They love each other, miss each other and tell each other how special they are constantly. When I saw her facebook I didn’t understand the level of warm and fuzzy feelings going on there but I didn’t realize it was the same sort of thing that she had been writing on the bottom of my e-mails. So here I thought she meant those special comments when really it was just friends being nice to each other. I came from a family that never said I love you. In my own self created family with my husband we say I love you and I miss you with deep meaning behind it. I think I prefer it being said in that way because it is to confusing to know what people really mean in the way that some are to easily saying such things on facebook as though it is a Hollywood air kiss. Maybe I am old fashioned but I think it takes away from the meaning when it is said in a casual way.

    I also liked what was said above about love being that someone took the time and cared enough to understand you. That is so true………..I had never thought of it that way before. I see the lack of that in so many of my relationships past or recent and the problems that it causes/caused. I also know I am the closest to those who are interested in understanding me and me of them.

    • Taty February 14, 2011 at 9:55 am - Reply

      To Brenda, I just read your post and couldn’t help it but reply… hope you don’t mind.

      I don’t know the circumstances of your friendship. But I can relate to how your friend expresses herself. I have been faced with life and death situations that made me changed my communication methods.. I had one recently, -not a deadly one, but a sadly profound one. I then made a pact with myself, that I will tell people I love and care for them with my heart, if I really feel it.

      I do tell people I love them A LOT! Some find it confronting, some others might not understand, but I do.. as what I feel is really big, that it bursts out of my heart in words too much… So there you go.. just a different perspective that might help you I hope. You might not know it, but your friend most probably really loves you without expecting anything in return, not even constant communication! Specially if time has passed by.. time puts everything into perspective. Love grows and we learn to see people for who they really are.
      Your friend might now be seeing the plenitude of you joyous soul!!!

      : )

  13. Alex April 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    Thanks Annabel, I agree with you : Words, Touch ,Gifts,Time,Favors is the most useful language of love.

  14. […] 10 weeks since I only post once a week: How To Sleep, The Real Secret To Success in 4 Words and Here’s a Fast Way To Improve Your Relationships. See what I mean? I need to cut […]

  15. Taty February 14, 2011 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Oh, I sooo love this post.

    I think my way of showing love is being honest.. honest with myself!.

    Specially expressing how I really feel about a situation or a person when things are not going well

    Because If I do it right and with kindness, the experience will allow both the receiver and myself the opportunity to grow and develop a meaningful relationship.

    So I guess my vote will be for communication. With no fears!! Knowing that truth and honesty keep us in the blissful state of LOVE…

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