It was American author, counselor, and talk show host Gary Chapman who first introduced the concept of the 5 love languages in his 1992 book The Five Love Languages. A lot of articles, podcasts, and talk shows have addressed this concept since then, and the amount of curiosity it has generated is simply fascinating!
However, in the modern age of transient love, people are increasingly talking about a 6th love language: feeling known! So, what exactly is this new sixth language and how have people reacted to its revelation? Another burning question is, what was the need for a 6th language of love if Chapman had already specified that there were only five? Why the need for anything else, if one can have a smooth relationship only by matching one of those five ways of showing love that appealed to their partner the most?
A February 2023 The Guardian article states that Chapman’s concept has never been inconclusively proven. In fact, it is largely believed that people who match their partners’ love languages are no happier than those who don’t, contrary to what Chapman stated.
Moreover, only a couple of studies have stated that knowing or having a clear understanding of one’s partner’s love language or way of showing love can bring relationship satisfaction in the long run. So, it seems instead of compartmentalizing love languages or believing in text-book definitions of ‘love languages’, one should focus on knowing their partner better. So, does it all boil down to making your partner feeling known? Is this why the sixth language of love came into being? Through this article, we’ll help you decipher what it means, whether it exists, and how it affects our connections.
Is There A 6th Love Language?
To find out if there’s a new valid love language at all, we must first take a look at the 5 love languages mentioned in Gary Chapman’s book.
So, Chapman’s five languages of love are:
- Words of affirmation: Communicating love through compliments or verbal appreciation, such as “I adore you!”
- Quality time: Spending time with your significant other
- Acts of Service: Participating in household work or taking care of the children
- Physical Touch: Caressing, cuddling, holding hands, or making love
- Gifts: A well-thought-out gift, or even love notes
Related Reading: What Is Your Love Language Quiz
These are nothing but ways of making someone feel loved, and each individual apparently has a different language of showing their adoration or even receiving love.
While Chapman stated people need to understand their significant others’ love languages to make their relationships smoother, of late, there has been talk about a legitimate new love language too.
A 2023 The Guardian article tells us how a TikTok user named Yuna believes in a 6th love language: “feeling known by a partner.” Yuna, who has a popular TikTok account, @wethelees, with her spouse, Nathan, spoke about how she once overheard him telling an acquaintance that Yuna suffers from anxiety when she watches shows like Stranger Things. Yuna claims she had never spoken about this to Nathan. So, he knew her exactly the way she is, without her having to tell him anything at all! This, my friends, is the sixth love language that is making people think.
Related Reading: Gift Giving Love Language: What It Means And How To Show It
However, it seems there are many variations to this new language of showing affection that have been explored globally, apart from feeling known. People are largely divided when it comes to identifying a new 6th love language. While a Reddit user said this new love language is definitely a significant other’s urge to learn the culture, ways, and traditions of their partner, MeetVirginia1312, another Reddit user, commented that it’s all about “feeding people” or “cooking”. Relationship and transformational coach Dr. Jessica Higgins, however, believes it lies in giving one’s loved one enough “space”.
Chapman himself, according to a 2022 New York Times article, believes “the sixth love language does not exist”. However, discussions, both online and offline, have suggested that people all over the world believe the sixth love language, feeling known, exists and is a combination of several factors, such as distance, valuing a loved one’s origins, and validation on social media. After all, only if someone knows you well will they know that you love Chinese food and not Mexican, that you hate socializing, or that you love posing for that mushy Instagram picture!
What Is The 6th Love Language?
So, now that we know that the 6th language of love, feeling known, is a valid concept, let’s explore this in detail. Feeling known could mean different things to different people. But what it inherently means is the feeling of being accepted for who you are. If your partner gets you and is comfortable with where you are in life, congratulations! You’re with someone who knows you!
For greater clarity, here are some examples of what the new 6th love language, feeling known, entails:
1. Accepting a partner for who they are
If you feel that you share a deep bond with someone that goes beyond minor differences, you’ve already accepted your partner for who they are. And acceptance in love can go a long way in strengthening your bond. So, your husband isn’t a hustler. He would rather earn less than their peers than be buried in work 24/7? And you’ve accepted him for who he is! Trust me, he is ‘feeling known’. Likewise, you hate cooking, unlike most of your friends, who believe the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And your husband respects you for your choice. That makes you ‘feel known’.
2. Appreciating a partner for being themselves
You appreciate their efforts if you see them working hard to make you happy. You don’t force them to look a certain way or adopt a certain lifestyle to please you and vice versa! That’s how you’re making them feel known.
Related Reading: 10 Ways To Shower Appreciation On Your Husband
3. Not criticizing a partner for their quirks
So, your girlfriend likes pineapple pizza? Or has she never watched Game of Thrones? Would you rather read on weekends than go out partying? And you still love each other for being genuine, instead of tearing each other apart for being ‘different’ or for not following the norm. Well, you’re truly making each other ‘feel known’.
4. Offering a safe space
Would your significant other rather sit by the sea, watching the waves, than make an Instagram travel reel? Do they believe in feminism? Are they bisexual? And they feel at peace sharing this with you, knowing that you’re their safe space to speak out and confide in? Wow! You truly ‘know’ your partner! Likewise, if your partner offers a safe space for you to confide in without being judged, you ‘feel known’ too.
Related Reading: What Does ‘Holding Space For Someone’ Mean And How To Do It?
5. Making the partner feel heard and seen
Your boyfriend posts a poem on Facebook, sharing his emotions, but knowing he will get far less likes than his peers! And yet, you share it on your profile, making him feel loved, heard, and seen! Congrats! You’re making him ‘feel known’.
Likewise, he introduces you as “an inspiration” behind his success to everyone at his book launch event. You feel heard and seen, and that’s what ‘feeling known’ is all about.
Feeling Known – The 6th Love Language In Dating and Relationships
So, how does this 6th language of love work in modern relationships and dating? And how can you improve your life with this language of expressing love? Of course, you can’t be a mind reader! So, here are some tips to make them feel known:
1. Notice them
If you’ve just started dating someone, and want to make sure you know them thoroughly, notice them minutely. Do they like tea or coffee? Do they believe in work–life balance? Make a mental note of all that you see. This not only helps you know your date better but also makes you well-prepared to understand why something you say or do may be putting them off.
Related Reading: How Do You Give Someone Attention In A Relationship?
2. Understand them
Understanding why they are the way they are is important. For example, if they are scared of traveling at night, they must’ve faced some untoward personal incident while doing so in the past. Blaming and shaming them for their peculiar behavior will only create rifts between you two. So, understanding where they’re coming from and why they’re behaving in a certain manner may help you reduce unnecessary friction in the long run.
Try to understand why communication is important in a relationship. Talk, ask questions, and listen to them. Tell them you value their thoughts and that you’re trying your best to understand them. A heart-to-heart talk doesn’t just help you ‘know’ them better but also gives you cues for asking them about their life experiences. You can show your concern and tell them you care about them and relate to their thoughts. This will help you two connect on a deeper level.
Related Reading: 11 Ways To Improve Communication In Relationships
4. Make notes and follow up
Yes, it’s difficult to know someone’s likes and dislikes, especially if you’ve just started dating. So, be familiar with their schedule! Maintain lists and reminders. They told you about skipping work for their dog’s illness a couple of days back? Ask them how their pet is! This way, they will know you value their choices, schedules, and priorities. This also helps them realize you aren’t a selfish boyfriend or girlfriend and that they matter.
5. Don’t judge, argue, or jump to conclusions
Never judge them for opening up or sharing the truth. For example, if they say they have cheated in the past, don’t make a judgmental remark such as “Oh! Scary! Old habits die hard!” Be empathetic and open-minded. Hear them out, as the more you show them you’re interested in ‘knowing’ them and their points of view, the closer you’ll come to creating a strong bond. Remember, there’s more to people than the glossy Instagram photos they post. Only if you know and acknowledge their entire being will you succeed in building a long-term relationship.
- People have started to recognize a new love language, ‘feeling known,’ apart from the 5 already mentioned in Chapman’s celebrated book The Five Love Languages
- People have debated on what it is and whether it’s a combination of various factors
- The best ways to make someone feel ‘known’ is to notice them, understand their nature and peculiarities, and give them a safe space to be themselves
So, now you know that a new language of love exists and it’s not rocket science! It’s something as simple as knowing your partner/spouse well and not judging them. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and make the most of the six love languages!
There’s been a heated debate on social media and elsewhere about the probable existence of a sixth love language, over and above the 5 love languages that Chapman enlisted. People have suggested everything from ‘food’ to ‘giving space,’ but it seems all such aspects can be collectively named what some experts have termed ‘knowing you.’
There’s no consensus on this. While some sources claim acts including any service are the rarest form of love language, a study in the US proved receiving presents was the least common love language. However, they have not taken into account all the six love languages.