If you haven’t heard about The Five Love Languages yet, you need to take this quiz immediately. Based on a mid-90’s book by Gary Chapman, your “love language” reveals what you interpret as love (aka how other people can most effectively make you happy, which seems like very valuable information). Once you’re done
berating your SO for not having intuited your love language earlier texting your SO with detailed commands regarding your happiness, your next step is to make them take it. Knowing what your boyfriend finds valuable in a relationship is like having the password to the tiny boy-brain cavern that stores emotion, and it’s a lot less painful to have him answer 20-ish very generic questions than sitting him down and asking “what makes you happy” like you’re a therapist who’s terrible at their job. Insight into what makes your boyfriend happy is particularly useful when it comes to gift shopping—don’t know what your boyfriend wants for Valentine’s Day? That’s incorrect, he literally just took a quiz that tells you what he wants. Match his primary love language to the ideal V-Day gift for him below.
Words of Affirmation
This love language is all about verbal affirmation—unsolicited compliments “mean the world,” as does “hearing the reasons behind that love.” Sidenote: “insults are not easily forgotten” with this love language, so beware because your BF is scientifically proven to be petty. Unfortunately, this means you can’t really phone it in gift-wise. Your best bets for a guy with this love language are one of those “I love you because” jars all over Pinterest (take a fancy jar, fill it with notes about why you love him), or if the sight of a mason jar is a little too gag-worthy for you, hide these notes around his room. If you truly can’t bring yourself to write this shit down, plan a Valentine’s date around a hobby he introduced you to, then spend the entire evening saying “I love you because I never knew how much I loved skee-ball until you showed it to me, and also because of how amazing you are at skee-ball.” Basically, turn the focus on his assets/the tangible ways he’s improved your life, and he’ll be glowing like a prom queen by the end of the night.
If you’re dating a guy with this love language, it’s probably pretty obvious. This love language isn’t exclusively a euphemism for wanting sex all the time (though it’s not NOT that); it means he values touching in general, so he’s probably hugely into cuddling, hand-holding, and putting his arm around your waist while walking even though it makes you look like you have a limp and increases your chances of falling over by 200%. Regardless, good gift options for this boyfriend include a nice set of sheets, since you probably spend most of your time in bed and he’s definitely still using ones his mom gave him (these are Egyptian cotton and super soft), booking a couple’s massage (bonus points if you can hold hands during), and blocking out a solid six hours for Valentine’s night sex. Wear something pretty.
If this is your boyfriend’s love language, he thrives on your “full, undivided attention” (so TBH, your gift could just be not ‘gramming your Valentine’s Day dinner. But if that seems like too much commitment, read on). Your boyfriend will highly value any gift that’s based around the two of you spending time together free of distractions, so he’ll love any gift that involves the two of you going somewhere far away from roommates, co-workers, and the same three friends you see in rotation. Your first pick should be a weekend trip if possible, but other fun quality-time evenings can be a wine-tasting or taking a cooking class together (this momofuku option is particularly intriguing and not quite as cheesy). Just skip the movie/concert dates where you don’t exchange more than 10 words all night.
Acts Of Service
Regardless of your actual quiz results, I recommend telling your boyfriend that this is your primary love language. For people in this category, you express your love by doing shit for them that technically they were meant to do themselves, like vacuuming (literally the first example given). While this person is probably annoying as shit to date 99% of the time, buying gifts for them is actually remarkably simple: opt for one of the five million delivery services designed to make the modern adult’s life easier, and it’s like you’re doing a chore for them every time the package arrives. To decide which one, pick whatever daily/weekly/monthly activity seems to stress them out the most and shop accordingly—good food delivery services include Munchery or Blue Apron, or try a cleaning service like Tidy (West Coast) or Maid Sailors (NYC), or even a monthly shaving kit. Anything that saves him a trip outside his apartment will be a win.
LOL, did I say that knowing your boyfriend’s love language will make this easier? I guess four out of five times it does. A guy with this love language feels most loved when he receives thoughtful, unrequested gifts or surprises from you (aka you’re not allowed to ask him what he wants, and he will be pissed if you get it wrong), and his profile warns that the “absence of everyday gestures” would be “disastrous.” So yeah, good luck with that—you’re going to need to do the regular slog of trying to inhabit your boyfriend’s brain and figure out the perfect gift. You’ll want to find something particularly rare/unique and specific to his interests (trawl eBay for anything 60 years old or “limited edition” and no longer on the market), or start recording all your conversations and listen to them like a podcast in case he’s said the words “I’ve always wanted this” in the past six months. I refuse to link you to anything here, because I’m pretty sure the worst thing you could do for this boyfriend is buy him something you found in an online gift guide. Sorry!
Unless your boyfriend is a
high-maintenance psycho “receiving gifts” person, this list should help you find the perfect “how did you know??” gift for Valentine’s Day. So click “order” and prepare to feel smug when it’s gift-exchange time—then swiftly return the attention to where it should be, on you.