Understanding How to Love Others


Alexa Gibbons

Junior Luke Niehaus and sophomore Lily Droke hug at lunchtime in the Ross High School cafeteria.

We as people are designed to crave love in some form. However, without realizing it you may be loving others in a multitude of indirect ways. Based upon a book series written by Gary Chapman, there are 5 specific languages in which we are able to show affection unto others. 

With Valentine’s day in full swing, it may be of interest to understand how the languages of love operate for the different people in your life.

1. Physical Touch

Physical touch truly is a simple thing. Whether it be as small as a fistbump to congratulate your younger sibling on their test grade, or a hug to comfort your best friend in their time of need, physical interaction is a large part of everyday life. 

Senior Olivia Mueller stated, “I like to receive love in many ways, the main ones being quality time and physical touch. In return, I like the same, but I also like to give words of affirmation to make my partner feel loved. It is important to recognize the way your partner loves, so you are not expecting the form of love that they do not typically give.”

Physically interacting with others can have both positive and negative side effects on the mental psyche. Whether your partner reciprocates those feelings of affection can change the mood of the situation. It is also possible that while someone may enjoy being embraced, they do not feel comfortable embracing others. 

2. Words of Affirmation

Sometimes a few words of encouragement can go a long way. It is the difference between a student struggling to continue because he doesn’t believe in himself vs. the same student graduating with honors four years later due to the impact of one teacher. 

An example of this love language was when choir director Mr. Sterling Finkbine was nominated teacher of the month. It took effort on the students part to choose who had best led them in the time they are currently in. 

Finkbine later sent out a group message to his students explaining how loved he felt at the sight of this honor. 

“To the students who nominated me as Staff Member of the Month, THANK YOU! I appreciate you and your kind words.”

While it may not look the same for all, some people would go as far as to say that they enjoy being complimented on the occasion. It’s important to notice the people in your life and what they do for you. Small choices also have large impacts. Not only on Valentine’s Day should we be reminding those around us we love them but the other 364 days out of the year as well. 

3. Gift Giving

The act of giving or receiving gifts usually comes with holiday territory. This is also the love language in which you will see individuals attempt to make up for what they have not been given or what they do not give to others. 

In the occasional movie, you will see a parent or guardian attempting to make up with gifts for the attention they do not give to their child in everyday life. This type of movie always ends in some form of communication where the two people connect in a way that brings them closer together. Whether everyday individuals agree with this lovey-dovey ending or not is up for debate. 

4. Acts of Service

People whose love language falls in the category of acts of service experience adoration through what one can do for them. Their sense of appreciation comes not from how someone embraces them or what someone says to them, rather it stems from a place of servitude. 

This love language can be aided through intentional gestures. For example, senior Ray Reynolds stated that while at work, someone helped with his closing jobs at the end of the shift. He explained that this made his workload much easier and he was very thankful.

5. Quality Time 

Quality time is often found as a first runner up in the game of love. We see it not as a special entity, but an assumed aspect of the relationship as a whole. After time, it may come as something nonchalant. However, choosing to make time for the ones you love not just on the heart filled holidays, but the gloomier days where it may need to be heard most.

RHS Psychology teacher Mr. Scott Canfield stated, “For instance, when you start dating and you dress up to go out, that important thing makes that person feel special. Makes you feel special. And that’s why I’m a big believer for people that have been in relationships for a long period of time to have date night.”

As a family, you will spend continuous time together growing and learning what makes you as people. In your high school friendships, you will go shopping or sit on endless facetime calls listening to the stories of what had happened that day. With your partner, you will crave to be next to them even when they’re not around. 

Love is a silly thing that drives others to not only be better personally, but the people they have chosen to surround themselves with. 

On Feb. 14, do not forget to love those nearest to you. On Feb. 15 it is important to wake up and once again, choose love.