Languages of Love Applied to the Workplace

Communicating well means to treat others well. It goes without saying that good communication is essential in the workplace. But how can communication be improved?

The languages of love in the workplace

It sounds like a joke, but it can be helpful to think about how we communicate with our partner. Adapting ‘love language’ to the workplace could bring surprising results when it comes to building trust, eliminating toxicity in the workplace and improving loyalty.

After all, love relationships are the true litmus test for effective communication. Ultimately, it’s about listening, making sure the other person is doing well, and telling him or her with a smile and a pat on the back, “You did it!” In other words, it is about being human at work.

The book “The five languages of love” by
Gary Chapman in a new context

To begin our experiment, let’s take a closer look at an American bestseller from 1992, like Career Contessa has already done, a platform that deals with work and education.

“The Five Languages of Love” by Gary Chapman, one of the leading experts on interpersonal relationships, describes five general ways that people express love. In the book they are described as follows: words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, receiving gifts, physical contact.

To adapt these to the workplace, the American website Career Contessa converts them as follows: feedback and mentoring, support, workplace bonding, new opportunities and challenges, encouraging touch points. It also suggests a list of tips and practical examples for each category, which we will explain shortly.

Why are love languages at work important?

love communication

Just as you can learn to understand your partner’s preferred love language, you can learn to understand your colleagues’ preferred language of work and communication. By recognising each other’s language in the workplace, we can try to treat others as they wish to be treated.

We often find ourselves sending emails with the note “for future reference” or starting a conversation with the words “could you please avoid…”
These phrases usually occur after stressful situations, when deadlines are looming and general frustration abounds. An exercise could be conducted to identify the “love language” of each individual in the workplace before such exchanges occur.

How to determine a person’s love language?

For some of your colleagues it may be easy to use a kind of love language in the workplace, for others it is rather difficult. However, there are three questions that help us understand a person’s communication preferences: “How does he/she treat others?,” “What does he/she complain about?”, “What does he/she ask most often?”. We can then make small adjustments to work better with others. In most workplaces, employees do not have the time to talk in advance about how they work.

Here are practical tips on how to develop “languages of love” in the workplace:

Feedback and mentoring 

There are different expressions and situations for appreciation in the workplace. You can tell someone in a public setting, such as a meeting, that he or she is doing a good job. Or you can tell your boss that you appreciate his or her leadership qualities.

Workplace bonding

The most banal idea: invite the team to lunch at the end of a big project. And then celebrate workplace anniversaries with a small party, encourage team members to take days dedicated to their mental and physical health.

New opportunities and challenges

Think of a gift to celebrate a work anniversary or to winning new important clients. Tell someone who recently achieved great that he or she has a chance to further develop her skills in the short term.


For example, you can email a colleague who is having problems to ask if they are okay and if they need anything. Or help someone who is overworked if you have some time.

Encouraging touchpoints

Contact is checked in an empathic way: a pat on the back to celebrate a big win, eye contact and a smile to compliment someone, not forgetting to congratulate someone who has been promoted. And from time to time organise meetings outside the workplace to talk about more than just work.