"One cannot not communicate," the Austrian psychotherapist and communication scientist Paul Watzlawick once said. We notice how much truth there is in these words at the latest when misunderstandings occur in interpersonal relationships. We feel rejected by the girlfriend who forgot our birthday, unloved by the father who doesn't have enough time for us because of work, or doubt our partnership because we don't get enough compliments.
We draw all sorts of conclusions from the way other people behave towards us. However, especially when interacting with other people, we must not forget that we look at the world through our individual filters. And especially when it comes to affection, we don't always speak the same language as the other person. While one person may need to hear how much they mean to someone particularly often, the other expresses their appreciation more through gifts or touch.
The American psychologist and relationship expert Gary Chapman took a close look at our communication styles in interpersonal connections back in the 1990s. The result is the five love languages. Everyone has at least one of them, but most of us live out two or three of them in contact with our loved ones:
So the language of love is our way of showing our affection and appreciation to other people. And even if our "mother tongue of love" has been with us since childhood, it is still possible to learn at least some of the other languages. Because: If our fellow human beings speak a different "love language", misunderstandings can quickly arise in the interpersonal network of relationships.
The concept of non-violent communication, for example, offers an opportunity for an open and appreciative dialogue to communicate one's own needs. The US psychologist Marshall B. Rosenberg has thus established four elementary rules for value-free and constructive communication.
Accordingly, it is important to first communicate one's own perception, without judgment and interpretation. The next step is to communicate the feelings that the situation triggered in you. This is then followed by the need that arises from or underlies the feeling. Finally, you can formulate a clear request to the interlocutor.
Such a conversation gives both parties the opportunity to communicate without reproach - and to respond to the needs of the other. In the end, that's what it comes down to for a healthy interpersonal bond. This can also work if both parties speak different languages of love.
Source: Book: The Five Love Languages