Sunday, December 8, 2013

Five ways of receiving affection

There's a theory about people and how we receive (and give) affection. I read it some years back and it struck a chord. The five ways helped me understand people (and myself) better. For example when it comes to writing, I can't really "believe" people's praise unless they act interested; no amount of compliments make me feel as if they think I'm any good. What do you think about this? (see them below) I'm mainly an "Acts of Service" person - how about you?

The five main ways people can give/receive affection are: (copied from here but I saw them a long time ago and just needed to find all the definitions)

Quality Time – where you give each other 'undivided attention’ to talk, listen, eat together or enjoy a shared activity. With a young family you may have to grab small amounts of time together while you can, or you may prefer to schedule uninterrupted time when the kids are asleep.

Words of Affirmation – these are kind, affectionate, appreciative statements that recognize what your loved one means to you. Phrases that respect and encourage each other are also important. As is actively listening to what your partner has to say. You could do this verbally, and/or via email, text, letter, Facebook, or through sharing music, poems or phrases that reflect your feelings.

Acts of Service – this sounds very formal but simply means doing kind things for each other. Like taking on tasks a partner may not want to do or sharing household chores. It also involves showing you care - for example through preparing meals, paying the bills, and doing the laundry. This category is often the easiest one to miss as it is already part of our daily routine. Highlighting it is as a means of showing affection – and having that recognized and appreciated by a partner can make a big difference to you both feeling cared for.

Gifts – this might be an expensive present or something you have made. The idea here is to show someone you were thinking of them, you recognise what they do for you and you’ve paid attention to their likes and chosen something appropriate for them.

Physical Touch – could be shown in the form of hugs and cuddles; sitting close on the sofa or lying together in bed. Other touch people enjoy includes hair brushing, holding hands, massage (a hand, foot or head massage can work if you’re time-poor). This may or may not be sexual. You might find that time for pleasure has disappeared and finding opportunities to kiss, touch and reconnect physically may lead to you feeling more like sexual intimacy, or just enjoy nurturing touch without it leading to sex.


  1. Can't argue with any of these, Malin. They're essentially the secret of most long term marriages. What's interesting is that such sound advice is sometimes harder to put into practise than it appears

  2. Strange! My reply to your comment never posted, I see now. Anyway, the point with these aren't that you should use them all, but that different people have different "strategies" to give and get affection.