Voices: Here’s how understanding your ‘texting love language’ can help you master the dating scene

A new form of the five love languages is emerging
A new form of the five love languages is emerging

Are you a “quality texter”? How about a “light-touch”? Or perhaps you’re more of a “texts of service” kind of person?

If you’re familiar with love languages, or you’ve recently spent time on TikTok, chances are the aforementioned terms will already be firmly established into your daily lexicon. If not, allow me to explain. Because once you identify with a label, it has the potential to transform your love life.

Put simply, your love language is your way of expressing and receiving love. As first outlined in 1992 by marriage counselor Gary Chapman, there are five: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. Search “love languages” on TikTok and you’ll find endless explanations of each alongside monologues from young whipper-snapper twentysomethings explaining at length which ones they identify with, and why it matters.

Now, though, a new form of the five love languages is emerging. One that, I think, more accurately reflects the quirks and complexities of the modern dating landscape. New research from the dating app Badoo has identified five texting love languages that, inspired by Chapman, help distinguish how someone prefers to communicate with the person they love.

A “quality texter”, for example, wants detailed, thorough text messages, whereas a “texts of affirmation” person wants to message their beloved all day, every day. A “texts of service” person uses messaging purely to make plans, while a “light-touch” prefers to communicate in real-life as opposed to over the phone. Then there’s the “receiving GIFS” person, who will often communicate with GIFs or emojis instead of actual sentences.

To the uninitiated (and the coupled-up), all this might seem tedious and irrelevant. Well, you’re wrong. Because Badoo’s research found that more than a third (36 per cent) of people overthink the content of their text messages, while another third (31 per cent) worry that a delayed response means the person doesn’t like them. Meanwhile, one quarter (29 per cent) worry that they’re messaging too much or replying too quickly, and another quarter (26 per cent) feel anxious just waiting for a message.

All this is incredibly relatable, particularly to someone like me, who identifies as a combination of “texts of affirmation” and “quality texter”. In other words, I need a lot of communication from someone I’m dating. It’s just how I’m wired: when I’m attracted to someone, I love nothing more than analysing and digesting the minutiae of the day with them. I want to receive and send constant streams of consciousness, going over sporadic thoughts, delicious and disappointing meals, work highs and lows, and everything in between.

But of course, not everyone is like that. And when I’ve dated people who fall into the other love language categories, like a “light-touch”, it elicits some serious anxiety. Why aren’t they texting me back? Why have they read and not replied to my last message? What does all of this mean?

The truth is it might not mean anything at all, because people simply text differently; they have different text love languages. The sooner you understand, identify, and accept that, the quicker and better you’ll be able to navigate your way through the labyrinthine modern dating world.

As soon as you start texting someone, you should look for clues as to how they communicate. If their language matches yours, please proceed. If it doesn’t, you’re better off quitting while you’re ahead and saving yourself months of agony and torture while you try to pretend you’re someone you’re not.

One message every few days? Or a few short, purpose-driven conversations to make plans, while saving the real talk for real-life? No thanks. It’s not you or me, it’s just our texting love language incompatibility.