What’s Your Love Language?

I-House has been the set behind many romances over the decades. In fact, more than a thousand alumni have found love ‘under the dome’, often coming from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and countries. Just read some of the stories shared at ihouse.berkeley.edu/love, and you’ll see that the prevailing focus of I-House is acceptance and respect of each other’s differences.

We just celebrated Valentine’s Day at I-House and the Program Office had Love Grams (messages and chocolate roses) for residents to send to anyone at I-House, resident or staff, that they care about.

The Program Office sold these Love Gramsfor $4 and delivered them on Valentine’s Day!  All proceeds went towards the Children’s Heart Foundation. How sweet is that?!?

The Program Office sold these Love Grams for $4 and delivered them on Valentine’s Day!
All proceeds benefited the Children’s Heart Foundation. How sweet is that?!? (photo by resident Adriana Huang)‎


Larnie Macasieb holding a love gram!

Even the I-House chefs got into the spirit by making heart-shaped pizzas!

Heart Pizza made by Miguel Alvarez Mena

Needless to say, we residents feel the love at I-House!

Whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, Valentine’s Day is a fun celebration in the US that usually involves gift exchanges, romantic cards, and lots of chocolate. I hope you consider all the different ways you can show someone you care about them.

One of my personal favourite things about living at I-House is learning different languages. I’ve managed to pick up a bit of Chinese, German, French, and even American Sign Language! During this time of year, however, I enjoy focusing on love languages.

‘Love Languages’ was a concept first introduced to modern society by Gary Chapman in 1995. It’s the idea that everyone gives, receives, and interprets love in a different way, and by knowing a person’s love language, you’ll be able to deeper your relationship. Of course, love languages aren’t exclusive to romance – they also apply to friendships, families, and even self-care.

Below are the five love languages, as well as some ideas on how to express them. Most people will respond to all languages, but there tends to be a hierarchy that depends on the individual. 

Words of Affirmation

tell me you love and appreciate me!

“I’m so proud of you!” “You’re incredible!” When you use words to acknowledge someone, to thank them for their actions, or to simply show your love, you’re engaging in words of affirmation. At I-House, I like to say thank you to the lovely humans who work in the dining commons and the cafe, because their work ethic makes my day better and happier.

Acts of Service

doing chores around the house can show you care

Taking out the trash, picking up the mail, etc., are acts of service. With my roommate, this is one of the main ways I show her that I care about her. Actions speak louder than words, and when you do something for someone that you know they’d appreciate, then you are speaking their love language.

Receiving Gifts

the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania spit on items they intend to give as gifts, as a way of blessing the receiver

Buying someone boba tea, sending a peer your notes, etc., are all part of giving and receiving gifts. With my friends, I love spoiling them with physical objects that show that I was thinking about them, and that I care. Because I live at I-House, my gifts are often little snacks or beverages from the cafe, which I buy using my cafe points.

Quality Time

let’s grab a hot cocoa and chat all night

Ah, my primary love language! Quality time isn’t just being around someone – it’s giving that person your undivided attention. I’m always eager to spend more time around everyone I love, and even just sitting in front of the fireplace in the Great Hall and catching up is a great way to bond with loved ones.

Physical Touch

big hugs are so therapeutic

Hugging and high-fiving can often be immediate signs that someone cares about you. As long as the physical touch is consensual, something as simple as a pat on the back can be a very effective reassurance that you are loved. A lot of times, when my friends or relatives are stressed, I’ll wrap them in a bear hug, and that contact is enough to defuse tense emotions.

What’s your primary love language? How are you showing your loved ones that you care and appreciate them on Valentine’s Day and beyond? Let us know in the comments below!

About Loyalty Traster-Lee

Loyalty Traster-Lee was a senior at UC Berkeley majoring in anthropology. She was born and raised in Long Beach, California, but has traveled extensively, including attending kindergarten in Singapore, volunteering with the Lions Club in Germany, and studying abroad in England. Loyalty's favourite Berkeley sights include the Botanical Gardens and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, which, for the record, are both within walking distance of each other and free with student identification. Loyalty graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2019, but considers living at I-House to be one of the highlights of her undergraduate experience.
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