Five Languages in Five Weeks – Ooohh, For Me?

We are now at Week 4 of Learning Five Languages in Five Weeks. Let’s review:

These are the Five Languages:

• Words of Affirmation
• Quality Time
• Acts of Service
• Gifts
• Touch

Week one talked about the Words of Affirmation lovers. These language speakers want you to tell them they rock and why. Week two covered Quality Time which is focused attention on, or with, the other person. Last week we discussed Acts of Service which is all about action and doing something the recipient would greatly appreciate. If you would like a brief overview of each language, revisit Week One’s post – “Five Languages in Five Weeks – Starting with Words”. Again, your primary and secondary languages may differ between your personal and business life, so view all the languages from those two perspectives. If the idea of a little something special topped with a bow just for you sounds perfect-o, read on.

Gift lovers are all about the tangible. Price isn’t (always) important. Often, it’s just getting a thoughtful “thing”.
Personally, this could be the newest BMW or a six month cruise around the world. But often, this is simply a bunch of handpicked wildflowers, a box of chocolates or the latest suspense novel. Those child drawings and driveway stones that have a little sparkle? Yeah, those too! These language speakers love to look at and touch these expressions of love. Like all the other languages, pay attention to clues that would help you determine just the right gift.

Professionally, while the BMW or cruise would be great, these aren’t likely. Gift lovers get excited over the certificates, awards, pins and prizes. A bottle of their favorite wine for a special assignment that had the added bonus of making you look good too, is sure to score! A mall gift certificate, Cabela’s gift card or even a $1 instant scratch ticket…any of these are likely to elicit pure joy. Remember though, thoughtful counts here too. Don’t assume Dave would automatically like tickets to the Patriot’s game any more than Carol would like tickets to the ballet. You should know enough about these people that if you’re going to give a personalized gift, you have a good idea what interests them.

Being thoughtful and sincere in your gift giving is sure to be a success to the gift-loving recipient. It’s especially enjoyable if they know why you’re giving it, even if it’s “just because”. Gifts make them feel special, so tell them why they are. Now is the time to get creative and get giving for these language speakers. They’re sure to repay you in your language…if they read this string of posts anyway. If not, give them the gift of this site! Otherwise, give all the wonderful readers here some ideas by commenting on creative ways to ‘gift’ those we love and work with, so they feel loved and appreciated. Watch for the dramatic conclusion to this series in next week’s coverage on Touch!

(The Five Languages are based on “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White))

Five Languages in Five Weeks – Service Please

We are now at Week 3 of Learning Five Languages in Five Weeks.  Let’s review:

These are the Five Languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service
  • Gifts
  • Touch

Week One talked about the Words of Affirmation lovers.  These language speakers want you to tell them they rock and why.  Last week we covered Quality Time which is based on focused attention on, or with, the other person.  If you would like a brief overview of each language, revisit Week One’s post – “Five Languages in Five Weeks – Starting with Words”.  Just a reminder, your primary and secondary languages may differ between your personal and business life, so view all the languages from those two sets of perspectives.  If you’re looking for a little less conversation and a little more action, let’s roll…

The core of Acts of Service lies less in word and more in deed.  It requires action – doing something for this language speaker.

Personally, this could include a backrub or a home cooked meal, a car wash or a BJ (just keepin it real).  It might be supporting a charity event important to a friend or planting flowers for an elderly parent. Like the other languages, the preferred act is determined by the recipient.  Any old act of service just won’t do, it has to be this language speaker’s preference.  The key to speaking this language, especially if it’s not your primary one, is to provide these acts of service out of love.  If you provide it out of obligation you have completely wasted your time and likely caused more damage.  So just like Words of Affirmation, your enthusiasm and gift of giving must be authentic and given out of love.

The professional examples look VERY different from the personal one (at least I hope they do!)  In the workplace, you could offer to help out a co-worker struggling to meet a deadline or complete an overwhelming task.  Also, volunteering to stay late and assist someone in another department that you know is currently very short-handed.  What a great opportunity to extend the olive branch to the ornery supervisor too stubborn to ask for help, but would appreciate the offer.  This could be mentoring that newbie employee and offering some tips you learned on your climb up the ranks.  Remember, even in this environment, it’s the recipient that determines the appreciated service, so while you may offer, that may not be what they need.  Perhaps they can’t share the responsibilities of a particular task, but you could offer to take phone messages for them instead or some other menial task that could free up time for them to work on their priority.  Sometimes the offer to assist will be all they need to push through their assignment.

The toughest part of Acts of Service is knowing which act would be most appreciated.  If you don’t know, ask.  “What could I do to help you right now?” or “What could I do that would make your day today?”  If they sense your sincerity, you’ll likely get an honest answer.  So while you may wonder why they didn’t just ask in the first place, remember, sometimes that just takes all the fun out of it.  So get going and speak the language of service to those who need it and watch how good you’ll feel having made someone’s day with your selfless act.  If you or someone you know possesses this as a primary or secondary language, won’t you do us all a service and share some stories in the comments section?  Watch for next week’s coverage on Gifts!

(The Five Languages are based on “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White))

Five Languages in Five Weeks – How ‘Bout a Little QT

Ok, so we are into Week 2 of Learning Five Languages in Five Weeks.  Let’s review:

These are the Five Languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service
  • Gifts
  • Touch

We all have a primary “language” we speak and need to have communicated to us in order to feel loved in our personal relationships and appreciated in our workplace.  The key is finding out your own language, as well as those you have relationships with in your personal and professional life.  These discoveries will help you communicate and dramatically improve the relationships in your life.  Last week’s post talked about the Words of Affirmation lovers.  These language speakers want you to tell them they rock and why.  This week we will discuss Quality Time.  If you would like a brief overview of each language, revisit last week’s post.  Remember, your primary and secondary languages may differ between your personal life and business life so view all the languages from two sets of perspectives.  If you’re pumped and ready to move on, let’s spend some QT together dissecting this language.

The quality aspect of Quality Time is founded on focused attention.  That means without distractions or other tasks being completed simultaneously.  (Are you listening smart phone owners?)

Let’s start from a personal perspective.  The whole point to these language speakers is quality.  Just spending time together may not be enough.  A spouse may wonder, “we just spent six hours at the picnic with our friends and family and you say we haven’t spent quality time together”.  Ah Marone!  The definition of quality time lies in the hands of the one desiring it.  Your first clue is to listen to their complaints:  “you never watch TV with me”, “we never go out to dinner alone anymore”, “why don’t we take day trips together anymore”, “why are you always on that damn phone?”  You get the picture.  Take these not-so-subtle hints as a sign that this person needs a little QT with you.

From a professional perspective, it can be more difficult to determine when a co-worker speaks this language.  Supervisors should regularly set aside scheduled QT time with each direct report.  If you can trickle it down to other levels, great.  Some may be able to pull this off monthly, others only quarterly.  If possible, allow about 30 minutes with each individual.  You’ll start to see which ones need the full amount, and which ones don’t.  Adjust accordingly.  You should be actively listening while the other person is talking.  Remember, this is about Focused Attention.  Paying attention like this will also help you determine each person’s “language”. Even if you’re not a supervisor, a complaining co-worker saying “nobody cares around here”, or “if I could catch Beth’s ear for 2 seconds I could fix this whole problem”, or “nobody communicates anymore”, is likely to speak this language and can be helped following the same steps in casual conversation.  Ask how they’re doing, if they have any ideas or concerns on their mind.  If nothing comes up, just shoot the breeze with them.  Ask about their life outside of work, upcoming vacations, whatever, just make sure they feel they were listened to and valued for their contributions.

Quality Time can be a tough language to speak as we are all so pressed for time, but for those who really need it, providing it can prevent bigger issues down the line that you also wouldn’t have time for.  So get it in your calendar and stop putting it off.  There’s an awesome likelihood that you too will benefit from that quality time! Is QT a language you’re fluent in?  Share some stories about how to successfully communicate in this language.  Stay tuned for next week’s post on Acts of Service.

(The Five Languages are based on “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White))

Five Languages in Five Weeks – Starting with Words

Think you can’t learn five languages in five weeks?  C’mon, give yourself (and me) more credit! Of course you can.  After reading “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White)… I felt that this was an awesome topic to share with my readers. These were both easy reads, but more importantly for me, they were need-to-read’s.  They were practical, with quick, applicable stories.  I suggest reading the books, however, if your time is limited or you’d prefer a more condensed version, I aim to please:

These are the Five Languages:

Words of Affirmation

Quality Time

Acts of Service

Gifts

Touch

Each of us has a primary and secondary preference and these may differ between your personal and business lives. (For the free personal assessment, go to www.5lovelanguages.com/profile . For the professional version, there is a $15 charge, but can be found at www.mbainventory.com . Here is a brief description of each language:

Words of Affirmation:  Those that count this as their primary language require words to feel loved and appreciated.  These can be spoken or written.  We’ll learn more about this in a bit.

Quality Time:  For these types, one-on-one time together is important.  Acitve listening is key here! We’ll dive into details of this one next week.

Acts of Service:  These acts typically involve anything that could be counted as “thoughtful”.  While the specific act will vary, the gesture is what counts the most to these peeps.

Gifts:  As if this isn’t obvious.  This person prefers physical, tangible evidence of being loved and appreciated.  While expensive and materialistic items may qualify, these gift lovers often enjoy handmade gifts, flowers or other thoughtful expressions of love and appreciation.

Touch:  You know that “touchy-feely” person that always seems to hug, touch and show PDA virtually anywhere?  Yeah, this is probably their preferred form of loving communication.  While less likely (and some would caution, less appropriate) at work, these people can be identified as the high-fiving, fist bumping ones.

Figuring out another’s language can be tough, but once you do, there are an endless number of options to satisfy their need.  Each week for the next five I will highlight a particular “language” and some suggestions on ways to meet that need for yourself and others.  This information is very beneficial in every relationship you have and it would behoove you to understand your own language and those you spend a lot of time with.  This week, let’s focus on Words of Affirmation.

For those who need Words of Affirmation, it’s obvious they need words, but it is equally important that they get sincerity!  They don’t want empty or generic compliments.  “Nice job today” will feed the need for about 5 seconds.  They want to know specifically what they did to please you.  If she cooked a rockin’ dinner, tell her what was so awesome about it and why it was appreciated by you.  If he spent the entire day tiling the bathroom floor, take the time to point out how awesome it looks.  If Suzie dealt with the “customer from hell” so the rest of you wouldn’t have to, tell her what this meant to you.  Also, those who feel loved and appreciated by this language want to be recognized for the personal characteristic that got it done or made it so worthy of mention.  Tell her how much her dedication to providing quality food to the family is admired.  Tell him how his sense of responsibility, like keeping the home in good condition, is one of his sexiest traits.  Let Suzie know that her patience in dealing with higher-maintenance people makes the rest of you envious and you’d like to know how on earth she does it without going ape-shiz crazy afterwards.

Keys to remember:  Be specific, be detailed, and be sincere.  This is not a “fake it til you make it” opportunity.  If you can’t be sincere, then be silent.

Now what:  If you can identify with this language, and believe it to be your primary or secondary language in either setting (personal or business), there are a few things you can do with that knowledge.  Let others know this is how you prefer to be loved and recognized.  Also, understand that those times when you feel neglected or slighted by someone may not be because they don’t love or appreciate you, but because they are speaking a different language.  If you suspect a loved one or co-worker prefers this language, get creative in ways to recognize them.  This can be spoken face to face or publicly acknowledged, or written in a thoughtful letter, card or email.  This is one of the quickest and easiest needs to meet once you’re aware.  So pay attention and share with words why you think someone is a ROCKSTAR!!  Stay tuned…next week’s post will focus on a little Quality Time.

Un-Friended

I’m a very open-minded, inclusive individual.  However, today I “Un-Friended” a Facebook friend because of how they continued to communicate their views.  Please re-read that sentence…it was not BECAUSE of their views, rather, HOW they continued to communicate them.  I’d like to say it pained me to remove them, but it didn’t.  It felt damn good to cut their antagonistic, self-righteous rants out of my life! So here’s the story.  This individual is a highly educated, well-versed and, as far as I know, loving person.  A “practicing” atheist based on the sheer number of daily/weekly posts made that I was guaranteed to see ANYTIME I logged on.  I couldn’t care less if someone is an atheist.  Truly.  All posts, with the exception of one, were based on making derogatory statements about the Pope, Christians, faith, etc.  I’m not Catholic, so I don’t care about the Pope any more, or less, than any other human being.  But seriously, it was getting hateful.  I tolerated these as individual expression, despite the implication that those of us who didn’t agree would not only die without any hope of Heaven, God or angels, but seemingly worse…we would die as idiots.  So back to today: I’m happily scrolling through Facebook, quickly viewing posts and photos of kids and dogs and…wait, what the hell IS that? I see ‘said person’ has posted “something” that is not connecting in my brain yet, although it appears to be a dummy or the set of a horror movie. I don’t know, what possessed me to continue trying to figure “it” out, but instead of heeding the warning of my psyche, saying, “STOP, NO, GO BAAAACCCKKKKKKKKK!!!” I continued on to the article attached and then it was clear.  The picture was of a mutilated corpse of a woman who had clearly been tortured prior to her death.  I will not get into the gory details, suffice it to say this image is emblazoned in my mind.  Once my neurons made the connection, I was pissed! I don’t watch the news, I don’t watch CSI or any of its derivatives and I deplore movies based on violence.  I read the news and am very aware of the travesties and unjust actions that occur, but I don’t need the images.  I have a very active imagination, thank you very much.  All I know is that I feel violated now.  I have friends who are Jehovah Witnesses, Muslim, Democrats, Republicans, Gay, Single, Unemployed, Alcoholics…the list could go on and on about my friends and family that are, or believe, things that differ from me, my preferences, views or lifestyle.  I love every single one of them and NONE of them have ever forced their views on me.  (Yes, including the Witnesses!) I go on Facebook to see the joys, successes and struggles of my friends.  I want to see the sarcastic e-cards and motivational words they enjoy.  I don’t even mind their “conspiracy theories” or “save these dogs” posts so much.  But if your ultimate purpose is to propagate change and improve the world, then motivate through positivity, not gory realism.  I would have been much more open to a post stating: “Women are being brutally murdered, here’s how you can help…”  Instead, this person got the same treatment Sarah McLaughlin gets with her “starving children” commercials…BOUNCED!  And I “LIKE” Sarah McLaughlin and her cause, I just don’t want images forced on me.  You can’t change the world if everyone runs from the message you’re trying to make and in the case of my former Facebook friend, I don’t even know what the message was. What a wasted opportunity to enlighten an open mind. Thanks for tolerating my rant. In Peace!

Man Up

Ladies, you may have read my “Fifty Shades of 40” post. This version is more for the men out there who haven’t been paying attention. Men, start reading here: While the following doesn’t apply to ALL women, it does for many ladies I’ve spoken to, so    pay attention. When we (the ladies) first met you (the men), you were likely decisive, confident, chivalrous…wait, I forgot, I’m talking to men right now…you were badass. You took what you wanted, you jacked us up against the wall, you owned your masculinity and you were willing to kick the ass of any other male who even thought about moving in on your woman. Fast forward through commitment, marriage, perhaps children, what-have-you and…well…now look at you. When did you become a chick? Ok, that may have been a little harsh, but think about it. At some point we took some power, then some more, then, before you know it, it’s a total role-reversal. I am not blaming the men here (entirely). We did this to you. Think back to the very first time you made sex an option. “So…waddaya think? Wanna fool around?” Who are you? Urkel? What happened to the badass machine who knew exactly which  move would elicit complete passion? Because that moment…when we just get into bed after cleaning up the kitchen, doing dishes, catching up on laundry, helping with homework or maybe just washing our face, is not the most opportune time to give us an option. Sleep…sex…hmmm. I can have sex anytime, but sleep, that’s now or I have to wait another 24 hours. On the other hand, when your woman comes to bed, maybe offering a (sincere) back rub would pave the way. Sorry to disappoint, but sporadically letting your hand fall on our back while watching CSI is not exactly foreplay. Don’t ASK us…just GET us there. You know what we like, just do it. If we have a book on our nightstand, read the title. If it even remotely sounds like a romance, I highly suggest you read it. Chick-flicks? If you appear even slightly intrigued you’re almost guaranteed to get some after. Pay attention! What does the guy do in the movie that makes the girl get all gushy? Do this, SCORE! You know when your woman is most open to a little nookie. For some, this is morning, or in the shower, maybe afternoon delights are more her thing and some may just need a little help unwinding at the end of a long day. Pay Attention! Another clue, roughly 10 days after the start of her period she is having lascivious thoughts that can almost guarantee a happy ending for you. A little wine…score. Every woman is different, so don’t go jack her up unexpectedly if that is not your “couple style”. Think about what’s worked in the past. Also, don’t translate this into “no” means “yes”. Sometimes “no” means “no” and sometimes it means “maybe” and sometimes it means “yes” but let’s just start with the easier steps, ok? The key here is paying attention to her signals. We don’t want to tell you what we’re thinking, that takes all the fun out of it. Read our mind by reading our signals. Man-up and remind us why we picked you in the first place. And if some Rockstar Lady happened to send you this post…well then your work is half done, isn’t it?

Fifty Shades of 40

If you are between the ages of 35-45, this may be a good read for you.  No, I don’t mean the “Fifty Shades” phenomena, I mean this article.  While I don’t believe the author of the Fifty Shades series had any malintent to those of us in the aforementioned age bracket, I do believe damage has been done.  I remember reading romance novels back in the day and while my husband reaped the rewards of my passionate replays, he was just as likely to miss his lines as the “assertive pursuer of my unlit passions”.  This may, in part, be because I didn’t TELL him his role, or his lines for that matter! But that’s neither here nor there.  I did give him another opportunity to take on this role by instigating an argument with him so that he could “take me passionately and no longer allow my half-hearted façade of indifference stop him from claiming what was his to take”.  However, this wasn’t exactly how our arguments played out.  A: I’m not known for my submissiveness B: He was just so confused that less than 24 hours ago I was all over him like it was my job and now I’m just being a bitch.

These books paint a picture of never-ending passion, however passion was never meant to be never-ending.  We’d all be exhausted if we were passionate like that all the time.  Please don’t misinterpret my meaning for “passion”.  I’m not referring to good sex and variety in the relationship, which should be expected throughout, taking into consideration natural ebbs and flows.  I’m referring to the “butterflies in the stomach, tingling all over, I wonder what will happen next, insecurities-be-damned” emotions that are often found at the beginning of an intimate relationship.  The reason these passions exist at the beginning is because we tend to ‘fill in the blanks’ of any aspects we haven’t seen first-hand yet.  For example, you are incredibly attracted to ‘Blaze’ because he is handsome and assertive and is successful in his job.  Those are the facts as you know them.  All the other unknowns you fill in with whatever sounds good, like because he’s assertive, he must have had a wonderful relationship with his father who taught his son how to be a man and this quality will make him a great husband and father someday.  Since he’s great at his job, he will ‘obviously’ be able to provide wonderful things for me (his future wife) like vacations and jewelry and a house that will be the envy of all my friends.  So while you’re giving him the best sex he’s ever had while planning your future wedding, keep in mind, you made all that up.  It’s just as likely his assertiveness is hiding a controlling and domineering personality.  Or, that he’s successful because he puts nothing before his job, including girlfriends, future wives and future children.  Over time, this Knight in Shining Armor will prove to be as flawed of a man as you are as a woman.   You will both do things to drive each other crazy and slowly extinguish the flame of passion.  While this may sound depressing, it’s just reality.  That crazy, unpredictable flame can be replaced with an eternally lit glow that still has the power to heat you both up, but is more frequently keeping you both warm.

The changes we experience as women between the ages of 35-45 are enormous.  Our bodies are changing, our children, if we have them, are likely gaining more independence.  We are starting to pay attention to the life clock we didn’t even consider 15-20 years ago.  We are tired of sacrificing, tired of providing for others while forgoing our own needs and tired of no longer being seen as the complex, sensual women we are.  While true and reasonable, some of us see this as an opportunity to quit our spouses and find our own “Christian Grey”.  In some cases this may be the right path, but I don’t believe that’s true in most.  If the guy you married was a good guy then and is still overall a good guy, don’t be too quick to throw in the towel.  We’d like for them to read our minds, just like they seem to do in those books, but that’s not fair.  Most men don’t have any idea what we are thinking or feeling.  We need to help them out a bit.  Share a few secrets you’ve been keeping, give a few clues or, even better, you can be upfront and honest and openly share your needs with them.  There’s a good chance they will listen and try to please you, just like they did so well when you were first together.  Help them understand what your needs are and work on understanding theirs too.  When I was first dating my husband, I wouldn’t blow my nose or eat in front of him.  Now I do both with gusto.  Hot?  Not even a little, but that’s OK.  I stopped trying to prove I was perfect long ago.  So read those books if you must, but at the very least, let him read it with you so he can see what role he has and what his lines are and maybe he’ll even surprise you with a few moves of his own!