What's Your Work Love Language?

List of work love languages

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
June 21, 2024 at 4:0AM UTC

What’s your work love language?

If the concept is new to you, you’re not alone. Recently, a Fairygodboss community member brought it up on the community feed, saying her manager, who is new to the company, asked them about their love language. 

“She wants to make sure I feel valued in a way that's meaningful to me,” they wrote. “I'll be honest, I froze a bit. No one has ever asked me this nor have I considered it for myself. In the 5 love languages, I lean toward acts of service.  Interested to hear others' thoughts here. Do you have a work love language?”

On Career Contessa, Caileen Kehayas Holden translates Gary Chapman’s love languages for an office environment. Here’s what they came up with:

Words of Affirmation = Feedback + Mentorship  

Quality Time =  Workplace Bonding 

Receiving Gifts = New Opportunities + Challenges 

Acts of Service = Support 

Physical Touch = Encouraging Touchpoints

How can understanding and communicating your work love languages improve your professional life? Let’s break them down.

The 5 work love languages

1. Feedback + mentorship 

Unlike words of affirmation, this isn’t synonymous with straight praise. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

You want feedback to be meaningful and impactful. Praise should not be empty — it should be specific and deserved. It is also often accompanied by constructive criticism, which will help you grow and improve.

Mentorship is a form of coaching. It’s a relationship, one that will help you move forward professionally. This, too, is affirming, although it also comes with meaningful ways to grow, if it’s a quality mentoring experience.

2. Workplace bonding

This is a love language that translates well from the original framework. Spending time together helps you bond with your team members and develop a strong professional rapport. Even if you’re working remotely, you can (and should) still make time and space for chatting during virtual happy hour or coffee meetings. Remember to celebrate achievement and focus on collaboration, too.

3. New opportunities

True, gifts are generally acceptable in the workplace — on birthdays and holidays, for instance, it’s a nice gesture to get a colleague a small gift. Or, a token of appreciation to celebrate an achievement is always welcome.

Opportunities are different from gifts. They could be the chance to take the lead on a project or assume a new position.

In order to demonstrate that this is your love language, you’ll need to be vocal about your desire to take on new opportunities and challenges.

4. Support

Work support is similar to acts of service in that it shows that someone else is there for you to lean on and give you the help you need. In the workplace, this might mean a coworker lending a hand on a time-consuming project, or a manager noticing you’re struggling and taking some of the load off of your shoulders. Even just checking in is a form of support — and something a colleague will certainly appreciate.

5. Encouraging touchpoints

Even the most confident professionals need encouragement from time to time. It shows that you care about your colleagues. 

How does this manifest in the workplace? It’s a welcoming note when a new team member starts work or an invitation to lunch. Or, it’s a “way to go” when you’ve done exceptional work. It’s even a warm smile or a quick check-in. These small acts will not go unnoticed.

What’s your work love language?

So, let’s return to the original question: what’s your work love language? Here’s how some Fairygodboss members responded to the OG poster:

“Affirmation for sure!  I thrive on praise (albeit not always a good thing) at home and at work.  I think praise can also be support, offering help, etc. I translate it to care and concern.” —Jackie Daniels

“People who will "nerd it out" with me. Engagement.” —Rt Wl

“Love this! We actually took the work quiz in an all-hands meeting and it was optional if you wanted to share. Mine was tangible gifts and quality time with leadership. It is really nice to know how my coworkers like to be recognized!!!” —Anonymous

“I am "gifts" and I love to leave people little surprises/notes on their desks.  What an intriguing question to be asked!” —Megan Leasher

“My ‘love language; would be someone leaving candy and a note on my desk saying, ‘Wow, you did amazing on blah blah.’ Or, offering to grab a coffee for me.” —Joanne Rosen

“I've never thought of this before but it's a great idea! I'm an acts of service kinda girl in my personal life and words of praise in my work life because it helps me know that I'm on the right track.” —Sabrina Cortes

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

What’s your workplace love language? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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