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  1. Blog
  2. Career Development
  3. Last updated February 21, 2024

What Is Your Workplace Love Language? Answer These 8 Questions to Find Out

Plus, doing high-fives and hugs the right way at work

Furry coworker high-fiving a remote worker
Photo courtesy of Viktor Nikolaienko

Curious about your workplace love language? We love your instinct for self-reflection!

In the realm of workplace dynamics, understanding and embracing the concept of love languages can be a powerful tool to foster positive relationships, enhance teamwork, and improve overall job satisfaction. Just as these love languages play a pivotal role in personal relationships, they can also significantly impact professional interactions. By identifying and responding to your coworkers’ preferred love languages, you can create a more harmonious and fulfilling work environment for everyone involved. 

What are love languages? A quick history and background on the five love languages

The concept of the five love languages was developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, a marriage counselor and author of The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, which was first published in 1992. Chapman's work was inspired by his extensive experience in counseling couples and families, during which he observed common patterns in the ways individuals expressed and received love.

The core idea behind the five love languages is that people have unique preferences and styles when it comes to giving and receiving love and affection. According to Chapman, understanding and speaking each other's love languages is essential for building and maintaining healthy, thriving relationships.

Here is a brief overview of each love language:

1. Words of Affirmation

For individuals whose primary love language is words of affirmation, verbal communication plays a pivotal role in feeling loved and appreciated. Simple compliments, expressions of gratitude, and supportive words hold immense significance for them.

2. Acts of Service

People with acts of service as their love language find love and connection through helpful actions and gestures. Actions speak louder than words for them, and when others offer assistance or support, it makes them feel cared for and cherished.

3. Receiving Gifts

This love language centers around the thoughtful and meaningful exchange of gifts. The value lies not in the material aspect but in the thought and effort put into selecting or creating the gift.

4. Quality Time

Individuals who prioritize quality time feel most loved when they receive undivided attention and genuine presence from their loved ones. Engaging in meaningful conversations and shared experiences are vital in making them feel valued.

5. Physical Touch

Physical touch as a love language is about physical contact, such as hugs, pats on the back, or holding hands. For those who identify with this love language, physical touch conveys warmth, comfort, and a sense of connection.

Chapman's insights were initially focused on romantic relationships, but as his work gained popularity, it became evident that these love languages were not limited to personal connections alone. People started recognizing the relevance and applicability of these love languages in other areas of life, including friendships, family relationships, and even the workplace—with some alterations, which we’ll get into. 

But before we do, a brief pause…

While Chapman's work on the five love languages has been influential and helpful for many people in understanding and improving their relationships, it's not without its detractors or areas of contention. Here are a few points from critics of the five love languages to consider: 

  • Some critics argue that the concept of love languages lacks rigorous scientific evidence.

  • Some critics argue that reducing the complexities of human relationships to five distinct love languages may oversimplify the intricacies of love and emotional connections.

  • Some have criticized Chapman's love languages for reinforcing traditional gender stereotypes. For instance, the idea that women are more inclined toward receiving gifts or acts of service.

  • Chapman's work has predominantly been studied within Western cultural contexts and may not fully encompass the diversity of expressions and preferences for love and affection in different cultures around the world.

  • Some critics argue that the strong connection between Gary Chapman's work and Christian beliefs may limit its appeal and applicability to those who do not share the same religious views. 

With that in mind, consider the five love languages to be an interesting framework, but not necessarily a directive. Love languages are widely recognized and utilized in various counseling and relationship-building contexts, and many people find value in the concept of love languages, regardless of their background or beliefs, as a tool for enhancing communication and understanding in their relationships. 

Adapting the five love languages for the workplace

The adaptation of the five love languages to the workplace context can provide valuable insights into enhancing employee satisfaction, fostering a positive work culture, and improving team dynamics. Understanding the diverse preferences of colleagues in expressing and receiving appreciation can lead to more effective communication and greater camaraderie among team members. 

Here are ways each love language can be used for positive impact the workplace:

1. Words of Affirmation

Words of affirmation can boost morale, build trust, and improve communication. A simple "thank you" or a genuine compliment on a colleague's achievements can go a long way.


Imagine your coworker has been working tirelessly on a project that has now successfully concluded. Acknowledge their efforts in front of the team, highlighting their dedication and how their work positively impacted the project's outcome. Your recognition will make them feel valued and motivated to continue performing at their best.

2. Acts of Service

In a professional setting, offering acts of service can demonstrate a willingness to collaborate and alleviate burdens, fostering a spirit of teamwork and camaraderie.


A colleague is overwhelmed with their workload, and you notice they are struggling to meet a deadline. Offer to help by taking on some of their tasks, collaborating effectively to ensure the project's success. Your willingness to go the extra mile will show them that you genuinely care about their well-being and the overall success of the team.

3. Receiving Gifts

Small tokens of appreciation can create a positive and inclusive atmosphere, strengthening bonds between team members.


It's your colleague's birthday, and you know they are passionate about a particular book or hobby. Gifting them a thoughtful item related to their interests not only shows that you pay attention to their preferences but also highlights your desire to celebrate their special day. This act of kindness will help to build a more connected and cohesive team.

4. Quality Time

In the workplace, spending quality time with colleagues can lead to better collaboration, improved communication, and a deeper understanding of each other's strengths and weaknesses.


Instead of sending an email or instant message, take the time to have a face-to-face conversation with a coworker about a project or issue they are facing. By actively listening and providing your full attention, you demonstrate that you value their thoughts and perspectives. This will strengthen your professional bond and make them feel supported and respected.

5. Physical Touch:

While physical touch should be approached with caution in a professional setting, there are still ways to adapt this love language to the workplace context.


After a successful team presentation or a significant achievement, consider giving a high-five or a fist bump to your colleagues to celebrate the accomplishment. This positive and uplifting gesture can foster a sense of camaraderie and shared success among team members.

What is your workplace love language? Take this quiz!

Curious to know which love language is yours in the workplace? Read each question carefully and select the answer that best reflects your preferences and feelings in a professional setting. Be honest with yourself to get the most accurate result. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers, only insights into your unique experience!

1. When a coworker completes a challenging project successfully, how do you prefer to show appreciation?

a) Send them a heartfelt email or message, praising their efforts and congratulating them.

b) Offer to assist them with any other pending tasks or responsibilities.

c) Surprise them with a small gift or token of appreciation to celebrate their achievement.

d) Plan a team outing or meeting to discuss the project and acknowledge their contributions.

e) Give them a pat on the back or a high-five to acknowledge their hard work.

2. You notice a teammate is feeling overwhelmed and stressed. How do you naturally respond?

a) Offer encouraging and supportive words to boost their confidence and let them know you're there for them.

b) Step in and take on some of their tasks to help lighten their workload.

c) Surprise them with their favorite snack or treat to lift their spirits.

d) Suggest taking a break together to chat or share a coffee.

e) Give them a comforting shoulder squeeze or handshake to show solidarity.

3. It's your coworker's birthday! How do you prefer to celebrate this special day?

a) Write them a heartfelt birthday card with a thoughtful message.

b) Take some of their responsibilities for the day, allowing them to enjoy their birthday without added stress.

c) Buy them a meaningful gift that reflects their interests or hobbies.

d) Plan a team lunch or gathering to celebrate together.

e) Offer a warm hug or a friendly embrace to wish them a happy birthday.

4. What activity makes you feel most connected and valued in a team environment?

a) Meaningful conversations where your ideas and opinions are acknowledged and appreciated.

b) Working together with colleagues to achieve a common goal or complete a project.

c) Receiving surprise tokens of appreciation or recognition for your contributions.

d) Spending quality time with your team, even if it's just a casual get-together.

e) Expressing camaraderie and support through appropriate physical gestures.

5. How do you typically show support and encouragement to a colleague going through a tough time?

a) Offer them words of encouragement and actively listen to their feelings and concerns.

b) Help them with their workload or tasks so they can focus on resolving personal issues.

c) Surprise them with a thoughtful gift or gesture to lift their spirits.

d) Spend time with them outside of work to provide emotional support.

e) Offer a comforting hug to let them know you're there for them.

6. During team meetings or discussions, what do you find most meaningful?

a) Hearing positive feedback and compliments from your colleagues on your contributions.

b) Being acknowledged and appreciated for your efforts and hard work.

c) Receiving small tokens of appreciation, even if it's just a thank-you note.

d) Engaging in productive discussions and brainstorming sessions with your team.

e) Feeling a sense of camaraderie and connection through appropriate physical contact.

7. A new team member has just joined your department. How do you prefer to welcome them?

a) Introduce yourself with a warm and friendly greeting, making them feel at ease.

b) Offer to guide and support them during their initial days, ensuring a smooth transition.

c) Surprise them with a small welcoming gift or a personalized desk decoration.

d) Make time to sit down with them and share insights about the team and its dynamics.

e) Offer a friendly handshake or a welcoming pat on the back to show your support.

8. In a team-oriented environment, what motivates you to perform at your best?

a) Feeling valued and appreciated for your unique skills and contributions.

b) Knowing that your efforts positively impact the team's overall success.

c) The occasional surprise recognition or token of appreciation for your hard work.

d) A collaborative and supportive team environment that fosters growth and bonding.

e) Experiencing a sense of connection and belonging through celebratory high-fives or pats on the back. 

Now, let's tally up your answers to find your workplace love language.

  • Mostly A's: Words of Affirmation
  • Mostly B's: Acts of Service
  • Mostly C's: Receiving Gifts
  • Mostly D's: Quality Time
  • Mostly E's: Physical Touch

Congratulations! You've discovered your primary workplace love language. Embrace it and use this knowledge to foster stronger, more meaningful connections with your colleagues in the workplace. Remember, understanding each other's love languages can lead to a more positive and collaborative work environment for everyone involved!

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