The Best Valentine Gifts by Personality and Love Language
What is the purpose of this podcast? To help people understand their life partner better using their personality and love languages..
Live intro - Hello my lovelies. I know not everyone is thinking about Valentine’s Day quite yet, but because I have been thinking about how often we miss the mark with gift giving because we don’t know enough about the person we’re buying for, especially on holidays like Valentine’s Day and because the world tells us what the best gifts are not understanding that some personalities and love languages want anything but what is traditionally marketed as the perfect gift for the holiday, so let’s look into what people really want for this holiday of love based on personalities and love languages.
For those who are new to the podcast, when I talk about personalities, I use the DISC personality model of behavior and refer to people as D or Driven, I or Inspired, S or Supportive, and C or Cautious, and if you’re not familiar with the Five Love Languages, they are Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time and Gifts. You can find links to Personality Assessments and Love Languages in the Show Notes.
Once you start to understand personalities and love languages, you’ll see how doing just a bit of research can be the difference between a Valentine’s Day that sucks and one that your person will remember for a lifetime. We’ll be going through each of the love languages for each personality type, so get ready and here we go..
Starting with the Driven personality, anyone who has someone with this personality type in their life knows full well that they are not one for chocolates and roses, unless they love one or both of those things. I can only imagine how many people have spent time and effort to create a romantic Valentine’s Day scenario for their Driven partner only to have it go the absolute opposite way they thought it was going to go.
Depending on the relationship, the D recipient may go along with the gift, but it’s usually apparent, this is not what they wanted and they’re only humoring the gift giver, so let me suggest some things that may seem ridiculous to those who are not Driven personalities but will thrill the D personality if you know them well.
Acts of Service - There are a couple of ways to approach doing something for a Driven personality. The first is trying to figure it out yourself, but I can tell you for sure, that if you do something for the D personality, and it’s not something they have prioritized, they will not appreciate it, so before you invest your precious time into doing a task for the Driven personality, make sure you know it’s something they will appreciate, and if you don’t know what that is, ask them because if you clean out the garage when what they really want is for someone to help them clean the house, you will not get the reaction you’re going for. It’s not hard to do. Just listen to the jobs they complain about around the house and offer to do it or listen to what they say needs to be done and offer to do it, help them do it or hire someone to do it and see how that goes. You can also do something they don’t like doing while they do something they like doing.
My mom, a high D, enjoyed doing yard work. My brother and I detested it, so on the weekends that there was a lot of yard work to do, my brother and I would offer to clean, do the laundry and cook so we could avoid the yard work and take that off our mom’s plate, and she loved it.
One day my father said to my mother that it was ridiculous that they were doing all the yard work when they had two teenagers that were perfectly capable of doing it, and my mom said that we were doing things that reduced her work load so she could do things she preferred to do, and that was good enough for her.
Physical Touch - Unlike other personality types, physical touch will not mean cuddling and snuggling for the D personality. In fact, I would venture that a Driven personality who has Physical Touch as a love language is a very rare unicorn. Because they are such fast movers, a Driven personality that wants physical touch will want a quick hug, a pat on the back and maybe a supportive hand on the shoulder. Just don’t leave it there for too long. These are the people that don’t want an hour massage, however, a quick foot massage might be exactly what they need, but please ask first because if that’s not their thing, they will not hesitate to tell you and asking avoids hurt feelings later.
Words of Affirmation - Nearly every driven woman I know has a very different view of Words of Affirmation because they tend to be so to the point that they don’t want to hear fluffy, soft words about themselves. If you are friends with a group of these women, they will call each other witches or worse, and there’s more love in those terms than you can imagine, and when you see it, it’s beautiful indeed, but be sure you’re far enough in their inner circle before using that language yourself, or you may find yourself on the wrong end of a tongue lashing the likes of which you have never seen.
They would appreciate a card that makes them laugh out loud more than one that is flowery, and the same goes for the note you might write on the inside. Several couples I know that have a Driven partner take great delight in trolling one another. If you need some inspiration for that, do yourself the favor of following momchats and dadchats on your preferred social media platform. Momchats is an expert troller, and dadchats rolls with it in the best way.
Quality Time - Quality time with a Driven person is not what we traditionally think of with quality time. For several of my Driven women friends, one of their favorite ways of spending quality time is talking about business and big life goals. They hate networking at business conferences and making small talk, but engage them in a deeper conversation about goals, dreams and building something of substance, and you will see them light up.
Also, while they may not be one for icebreaker types of activities, they can be persuaded to do activities they see as valuable to build their business, get in shape or something else they appreciate. I have one Driven friend who loves Broadway and show tunes, so going to a performance for her is a great way to spend quality time because she’s entertained but doesn’t have to talk too much.
Gifts - This is tricky because the D personality is quite practical, so please do not get them flowers or candy, like I said before, unless you know for sure and for certain that’s what they want. Sentimentality is in short supply with the Driven personality, so something you may think is sweet often will elicit head shaking and eye rolling as soon as you are out of sight of the D person. The key with any gift giving success is to listen to the person when they say it would be nice to have something. This is one of the personalities you could actually buy a vacuum sweeper and have them be happy, if that’s something they want. The key is to ask them questions and get as much information as you can, but if you want it to be a surprise, you better ask about several things because the Driven person is quite perceptive and will figure out what you’re doing much faster than you might think.
For the I personality, They really just want to have fun and the more people they can bring in on the fun, the better it is for them, so let’s talk about it.
Acts of Service - I know this one so well because this is me. My husband is so thoughtful and loving, but I remember in our early years when he would go all out for something like Valentine’s Day and get me flowers and chocolates and a very sweet card, and I remember thinking that it was nice, but I would be just as happy if he did a load of laundry or mopped the kitchen floor for me, and I meant it. My oldest is very similar to me in this way, and once, when my kids were being awful and I sent them to their rooms, I heard the oldest telling his brothers, “Just clean up your room, and she’ll forgive you”, and he wasn’t wrong.
Cook dinner, do a load of laundry, vacuum and mop - any of these things would delight an I personality, and that’s what my kids did for me regularly for occasions like Valentine’s, my birthday and Mother’s Day. It was a win-win when they were young adults because it didn’t cost them anything, and it made me so very happy. Seriously, if you have an Inspired person in your life who’s love language is Acts of Service, think about the things they complain about doing and do it for them and watch them light up. Trust me, it’s pretty cool.
Physical Touch - for the I person who loves physical touch, hugs are essential. They don’t have to be long, lingering hugs, but a good solid hug can keep them going in the worst of times as does a shoulder massage or back rub given without strings attached if you get my drift. Because they tend to be more active, a long snuggle isn’t necessarily what the Inspired person is looking for, but a short hand holding session while walking or sitting at a movie can be exactly what the I personality needs to fill that love bucket. Even sitting at a restaurant with your shoes touching can make an impact for an I person who appreciates physical touch, and if you’re imaginative and make it fun, all the better.
Words of Affirmation - The I person generally loves recognition, but when their love language is Words of Affirmation, those words are like food to a starving person, and most of the time it doesn’t matter what you recognize them for, but they particularly love it when you tell them they made something fun, easy or more pleasant than expected. Do it in front of someone they love and/or respect, and you have a loyal friend for life.
They also appreciate any kind of heartfelt note, such as a text, private message or note, says the woman who has all kinds of kid art and greeting cards on her office walls. Just saying.
Quality Time - It may seem like all Inspired personalities have quality time as a love language because they enjoy spending time with people and would rather be with people than be alone most of the time, but like Words of Affirmation, Quality Time for an I person with this love language is like breathing. They live for gatherings, retreats, vacations and the like, so they can spend time with those they love, and it will be fun for everyone if they have anything to say about it. They love seeing people, and it fills their soul like nothing else.
These are the people who keep coming back to conferences when they don’t seem to be making any progress in their business or career. For them, being around others in their profession and making connections is the point of those functions. I am one of those people.
One of my mentors has hosted retreats in the past, and I rarely get much work done, but I make great friends every time I go, and when I get back from the retreat, I am more inspired to get work done than ever.
Recently I did a smaller weekend with a couple of online entrepreneur friends, and we made a pact to help each other get as much done during our daytime working hours as possible, so we could have fun in the evenings. We all came away with so much done and the evenings were so much fun too. I would do that again in a heartbeat.
Gifts - If this is an I personality’s love language, you and the entire world are going to know when you’ve done it right because they are going to praise the heck out of you and tell everyone they meet about your gift. If you take the time to give them something they’ve mentioned that they like, it will delight them like a child, and the delight will be absolutely genuine. Knowing that someone thought about the gift they received is delightful and every time the Inspired person looks at the gift, they will remember you with genuine gratitude and affection.
One year for our anniversary, my husband offered to get me a gift that might have infuriated some people, but for me, it was a delight. What was it? A Roomba vacuum that empties itself. While I don’t recommend buying this out of the blue, it was great gift for me for several reasons. First, we have two black dogs that shed a ton in the spring and early summer, and I am not a fan of vacuuming, so I can vacuum every day without getting the vacuum out. Second, this gift is an act of service in two ways by eliminating frequent vacuuming and by emptying itself into an easy to change and mess free bag. Third, because it has a specific map of the house, it encourages me to keep the house free of clutter so we can keep the floors clean, so as soon as I’m done recording this podcast, I’ll have some cleanup work to do.
Moving onto the S personality, this is usually your typical sentimental person which makes gift giving so easy in some ways because no matter what you do, they will be gracious, kind and appreciative most of the time because they love their people and want them to be happy even if the gift you give them isn’t one of their love languages. Out of balance, you may get a sarcastic or passive-aggressive remark that can sting quite a bit.
Acts of Service - This one can actually be tricky for the Supportive personality because they're so used to doing to others, they may find it difficult to receive even if they love it when people do things for them. They tend to be over-givers, and they find it easy to deflect from receiving because they don’t want anyone to go out of their way for them. Honestly, I have looked at friends and told them to stop pushing away their blessings because they didn’t realize how much people wanted to help them. Instead, they would refuse the help, not realizing how heartbreaking it was for the giver to offer help or to do something nice for the Supportive person only to have it diminished by having the receiver say that they should have done it for someone else. If you are a supportive person and especially if you’re a person of faith, I want you to listen to me. Learn to be a gracious receiver of everything from compliments to help because it’s a way you can help people get to Heaven or at least become better people. Learning to say thank you when help is offered is a skill you can most definitely develop.
Physical Touch - The S personality is the person that loves snuggles that are long and lingering. They can hold hands forever, even when their hands are sweaty, and they will hold a sleeping child for hours because it gives them such joy. My mother in law was such a person, and while she was raised in an era where she rarely showed physical affection for her grown children, nothing made her happier than pouring that affection into her grandchildren and great grandchildren for the 30 years I knew her. She loved holding babies, playing with toddlers on her lap and getting hugs from her older grandchildren, no matter how old they were, and it was a delight to see her love tank get filled from the many grandchildren and great grandchildren she had which numbered over 50 by the time she passed in her 90s.
If you know a Supportive person who has this love language and those long snuggles are not your thing, please know that frequency and playfulness can substitute for length of time, so act accordingly. For example, I know couples that pat each other on the behind nearly every time one of them walks by. I know others that scare the dickens out of each other regularly and then hug it out laughing at themselves and each other. Now, if your supportive person doesn’t like being scared, please don’t try the jump scare option because it is not going to end well for you, says the woman who launched a book across the room at a friend who scared me in my dorm room once while I was studying with my door open. It was a different time y’all and most of us left our doors open in the evening.
Words of Affirmation - Like the I Personality, the S personality in general appreciates words of affirmation. The difference between the two is that the I personality is very comfortable with public praise, but the S personality shrinks from it and is often quite uncomfortable with it. If you know a Supportive personality who’s love language is words of affirmation, find something to appreciate about them and tell them, in a card, a quick conversation or you can brag on them a bit to someone they love and/or respect which is very different for them than saying the words to them in front of that person because it makes them spotlight adjacent rather than squarely in the spotlight. In the spotlight they could very well deflect the compliments and attempt to put the spotlight on someone else, but I promise you, it will hit its mark especially if you let them know how much you appreciate them and why in a way that lets them know they’re appreciated without a bunch of fanfare.
As an example, if you’re in a lunch meeting and a Supportive person has ordered the lunch to suit all the dietary needs (and you can bet they thought of all the dietary needs) has helped the meeting go better, you can mention that whoever did that made a great choice for lunch or as you’re walking out of the meeting, say to the Supportive person that you appreciate the time and effort they put into helping the meeting run smoothly, that is a great way to acknowledge the Supportive personality. That way, you don’t embarrass them but let them know that you see and appreciate their efforts, and they’ll take pride in duplicating that success the next time too.
Quality Time - Again like the I personality, the S personality loves spending time with their people, but while the I personality has the philosophy of the more the merrier, the S person leans more toward the idea that the greatest gift you can give someone is time, so doing that one on one or in small groups is much more their jam.
As a gift, a smaller family gathering in a favorite, familiar place that everyone can stay around for a while is the best gift ever for the Supportive personality. A quiet date night can also be one of the greatest gifts you can give an S personality, but rather than a night of dinner and dancing, maybe a quiet dinner with a long walk or drive afterward is the way to go.
Gifts - A Supportive Person will always appreciate a gift, and I’ve seen S personalities make as much of a fuss over a rock given by a child as a designer handbag or something else of similar monetary value. These are the people that show gratitude for white puffy dandelions that children give them, but when you really connect with something they want, you’ll see a level of appreciation that will touch the heart of the most jaded person, and it might even come with a few tears, so be prepared in advance for that.
Look, I’m not one for wearing a lot of jewelry, but I have a few pieces I absolutely adore. One is a bracelet my oldest and his wife gave me that had the birthstones of my favorite people on it with one extra, and that’s when they announced they were expecting their second child. Even if I don’t wear it that often, every time I see it or the box it came in, it makes me so very happy. That’s how the S personality feels about gifts so a little thought goes a long way.
For the C personality, it behooves you to be a good gift giver if you’re giving a gift to the C personality. These are the people who like things right, so something that is haphazard is likely to be passed along, regifted or thrown away, not because the C personality doesn’t love or like you, but because the C personality is one of the best at surrounding themselves with things that bring them joy and getting rid of things that don’t, although they may struggle a bit if they items they no longer want are attached to someone that they love dearly.
Acts of Service - For the Cautious personality that has Acts of Service as a love language, make sure that if you are going to do something for them that it’s something they want someone else to do and that you can do it to the standards to the C Personality because those standards are high. This in no way is a criticism of the C personality, it is merely to illustrate that if you want the C person to be happy, know the level of work that they expect. It’s often why the C personality would rather do something themselves than ask for help even if Acts of Service is their love language, and if you work in tandem with them, it’s best to match their level of excellence as much as you can. Do that, and you win the day for sure.
While this is a Christmas story rather than a Valentine’s Day one, it truly illustrates what I mean. In 2022, my sister in law, who has a large amount of C in her personality, had to have surgery during the holiday season, and she was really struggling because she loves the holidays and spends a lot of time making her home beautiful, buying and wrapping gifts, and making the most exquisite Christmas cookies in addition to all the activities she does throughout the season. Because of her surgery, she couldn’t do any of these things to her standard, and I wanted to help her, but I knew the way I do things and the way she does things are very different, so I called and asked her what was stressing her the most. At that time, it was getting her tree up. She’s very particular about how she decorates, and while her husband was willing to help her, he does not have the same eye for detail that she has, so with my husband’s permission and blessing, I offered her his very detailed services to help put her tree up at a convenient time for her. She said yes because she knew his detail orientation matched hers and that he would decorate the tree exactly as she wanted. I also offered to bring dinner, something I could do well, and something I knew she was not able to do easily, so they were eating out more than usual.
I know it was hard for her to say yes, but we spent an evening setting the tree up as close as we could to her standards and with her direction. It was a fun night for my husband and me, and it gave our sister in law a tree she enjoyed looking at plus a good meal. And if you question how much that matters to a C personality, my sister in law mentioned it a year later because she got to put up her tree, and she was still grateful for our help the year before even though I had pretty much forgotten it because while it was a nice time, it’s something I would do again and again, so it wasn’t the stand out Act of Service to me that it was to her.
Physical Touch - I know it may sound like I’m being rude when I keep mentioning doing things “right” with the C personality, but honestly, I’m not, and that applies to physical touch with the Cautious personality too. Find out what kind of touch they like. For my husband, nearly any type of physical touch is ok. We often hold hands or I hold his arm while we walk. If we’re sleeping, we might be back to back or I might have my leg lying over his body. All of those work, but for some C personalities, they may not like one of those things, and when they tell you what they don’t like, it might seem like they’re rejecting you, but what they’re actually rejecting is the type of touch you’re offering, so ask them what they want. They might actually be pleasantly surprised that you asked and you may end up with an even better relationship because of it.
Words of Affirmation - When a C personality has words of affirmation as a love language, specifics matter. For example, if they create a report and you want to let them know they did a great job, find something specific to compliment them about, such as, “the way you structured this report made it so easy to follow and understand the data.” Those types of details matter to the C personality.
On a more personal note, if you compliment someone for what they do around the house, phrases like the house or the yard look great fall short. You’re much better to say, “ Wow, I love the look of the grass after you cut it. It’s so precise” or “Coming home to a clean and organized home is one of the highlights of my day. Thank you so much for taking such great care of our home.” To some personality types that sounds like the same thing, but to the C personality they are completely different and paying attention can make all the difference to them.
So if you’re giving a card to a C personality, know that those words matter to them, and the more specifically they can apply those words to themselves, the better you hit the mark as a gift giver.
Quality Time - Quality time and free time are not always the same thing to a Cautious personality. C personalities often struggle with free time because there’s always something to do, and even their free time is best spent doing something. These are people who, if they love sports, know the rules and often more statistics than you can imagine. If they love movies, they are bound to know about most if not all of the actors in the film, and they enjoy telling you about those things in proper timing, and if you’re willing to listen, no matter what activity you do with a C personality, you are bound to learn something, so pay attention.
So if you want to give a gift to a Cautious person with this love language, do something they like to do, and if you can help them learn something in the process, even better. An example of this would be that if the person loves animals, giving them a small group or personal behind the scenes encounter with an animal they love is a gem of a gift. Taking them to a concert if they’re a music lover is a great gift as is going to a special exhibit where they can learn about history or some other subject they’re interested in will always be a hit for them as is a book or audiobook, if that’s their thing, about a subject that lets them deep dive into an area of interest. Trust me, what looks like school to some people is a joy for the C personality with subjects they love.
Gifts - Gifts for a C personality is like everything else, what it is matters. I know I mention my sister in law a lot, but we have decades of material to talk about, and this is no exception. We have had several conversations about gift giving, and her philosophy is that she prefers to make sure that the outside of the gift looks as good as what’s inside. I always say that while my gift is usually in a bag that I’ve often reused, I make sure the quality of the gift outshines the wrapping. We both love to give gifts that delight the recipient, but our wrapping ideas are different, and we’re both ok with it, so if you get a gift from a C personality, pay attention to the wrapping because they did, and if you’re giving a gift to a Cautious person a gift, make it as appealing as you can, even if you put it in a reused bag.
So there you have it. While I haven’t covered everything because honestly, I could talk about this for hours, and I would love to do that with different personality types at some point, so maybe that’s a show or series for another day, but if you want to give yourself or someone else a great Valentine’s Day gift, consider the book the Self-Love Journal for Women. It’s a book filled with Prompts and Practices to grow your Self-Worth, Self-Care and Self-Acceptance, and starting February, I am running a simple, free challenge to walk women through the prompts and exercises and have the most loving 2024 possible. I’ve included the link to purchase the book in several places. You can find the link in the show notes, pinned to the top of the feed on the Moving Toward Better Facebook Page or on the Moving Toward Better Website. It’s going to be a fun challenge that will hopefully help all of us learn to care for ourselves and others better.
If you haven’t yet, go to the Moving Toward Better website, hit that take your assessment button and after you do, schedule your Personalized Personality Strategy Session. While you’re there make sure to join our email community for all the good things to come. Love you all and see you next time!
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner friends, so
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