A Guide to Millennial Love Languages
Gary Chapman wrote his New York Times-bestselling book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate in 1995. It’s sold over 10 million copies since its publication. The “love languages” -- which he defined as the means by which human beings express and experience love -- include receiving gifts, physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, and acts of service. Chapman’s hypothesis is that you can better love a loved one through analyzing and discerning a loved one’s love language. I buy it.
However, when Gary Chapman first published his book, we didn’t have Wikipedia, Nintendo Wiis, or Tinder. While I’m sure his theories still hold up, a lot’s changed since the mid-90s. Millennials, as you’ve undoubtedly read in a thousand think pieces and listicles about their narcissism mixed with pragmatic idealism, are a different breed of human. It’s only fitting and proper that the love languages get modernized for our new generation. We need them.
Here are four love languages updated for millennials. Take them, love them, live them.
Waits to Binge-Watch Shows with You
It’s the golden age of television, and TV streaming services like Netflix and Amazon like to periodically drop new series into your Apple TV or Roku as an expression of entertainment grace. And let’s face it: there’s nothing more therapeutic than cracking open a Topo Chico and settling down on the couch for a long Saturday afternoon of Automatically play next episode. So many of these TV shows are savory -- Stranger Things, Making a Murder, The OA -- which can make it hard to put the series on pause until you and your significant other are in the same room. When I was in middle school I learned that True Love Waits -- and I think that also applies to the binge watching. Nothing says, “Hey, I truly care about you,” like abstaining from the next episode of Mr. Robot until your loved one can watch it with you.
P.S. An even more intimate expression of love within this realm: they gather and share any and all streaming logins (HBOGO, FXNow, etc.) they compile from friends and family and shares them with you.
Likes Your Pics (And Snaps You Back)
“Likes” on Instagram are dumb. TBH, though, sometimes “Likes” on Instagram can also feel like the most important things in the world. It’s real unhealthy to base your self-esteem on the affirmation you get from social media, but tapping that heart or snapping sometime back is like the modern day fist bump (because please, God, let the “fist bump” be a thing of the past): it’s a simple but meaningful way of saying “Hey, I notice you” and “I care.” The like is solidarity.
Even if nobody else shows digital appreciation for the staged photo of the stack of books you can’t wait to read or RTs the fire joke about The Bachelor you made, if your loved one does, you’re good.
Supports Your Side Hustle
A recent CareerBuilder survey reported 44% of people 25-34 and 39% of people 18-24 have a job on the side. Plainly put? Millennials have side hustles. Yeah, yeah...part of it is due to a competitive job market and economy, but it’s also because millennials like to pursue their interests and passions, whether they’re creative pursuits or just connect them to other people (thanks be to the Internet). Of course, the extra cash helps. Whether it’s driving an Uber, DJing weddings, meeting out of town guests through Airbnb, hosting a podcast, or opening up an Etsy shop of dope crafty things, a loved one doing what they can to support and promote your side hustle makes your heart feel good.
Encourages You with the “Essentials”
I’ll be honest: I was an early skeptic of the essential oil zeitgeist. The phenomenon of diffusing machines and tiny vials of natural liquids with names like “Cheer” and “Thieves” and in scents such as “Roman Chamomile” had me shaking my head thinking “These people are purchasing literal snake oil.” But then a loved one urged me to try using essential oils to cure common things like a headache here or a bout of seasonal allergies there. I started sleeping with a light mist of peppermint next to my bed, and I’ve been healthier for it. A recent CNBC study showed that millennials are the largest growing segment of people to use homeopathic remedies - but some are still hesitant to jump on the alternative remedy bandwagon. Buying a loved one a doTERRA sampler pack instead of a bottle of bourbon or dope infinity scarf might seem like “tough love” at first - but it’s love well worth it.
The kernel of love -- showing affection and providing support to another human because you want what’s best for them -- is unlikely to change. Gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, and quality time are tried and true ways to show somebody you care. But, if you’re really looking to show a Snapchat and La Croix addicted adult some love, don’t hesitate to display your devotion using a method that’s a little more millennial-specific.