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Valentine Gift Guide #1: When Words Matter

If you're looking for the perfect gift for the "words of affirmation" person, remember that words matter.

If you've read the last column, you'll know that I'm a big advocate of Dr. Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages. To recap, in his book, The 5 Love Languages, Dr. Chapman discusses the five "languages" most people use to interpret expressions of love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. When you understand the love languages spoken by your loved ones, you increase your opportunities to express love to them in ways that they will understand and appreciate the most. 

The love languages are the perfect tool for ensuring you buy the perfect Valentine's Day gift. That's why I'll be providing love language gift guides for the next four columns, starting with today's column providing gift options for the person whose love language is "words of affirmation."

According to Dr. Chapman, a person whose love language is words of affirmation thrives on the words they hear from you. Some of the traits that might help you recognize this person: 

  • Compliments make this person glow and he may often give others compliments
  • She probably says "I love you" and other affectionate terms often
  • He often expresses appreciation to others for their actions.
  • Is easily hurt by expressions of criticism


Finding the right gift for the "words of affirmation" person can seem difficult because they may rarely indicate they want anything or, conversely, may never seem to show much excitement about receiving gifts. That's because what they crave most is to hear words of affection and appreciation from you. The perfect gift for a "words of affirmation" person doesn't have to cost a lot, but should have deep meaning ... preferably conveyed with words.

A Love or Appreciation Letter

Love letters may seem like a Valentine's Day cliche, but for a words of affirmation person, a heartfelt love letter will completely make their day. To write a meaningful love letter, take a few minutes to list three to five things that you really like and appreciate about this person.  Then list three to five memorable occasions that you've shared with this person, noting what made those occasions memorable to you. 

Take these two lists and use them as the basis of your love letter.  For example, you might say "Dearest Adam, today I found myself thinking about our last trip together and how much fun I had with you wandering around that town.  I love spending time with you because you are so funny and interesting; you have a knack for making even chores fun and that's one of the things I love about you."

By including both compliments and specific examples, you'll create a personal and warm letter that your words of affirmation person will be able to read and reread over the years.

A Memorable Card

If writing a love letter seems too hard for you, your next best option is finding a memorable card. Because words matter so much to the words of affirmation person, if you buy a card, you need to spend time making sure the card says something truly memorable and sweet.  No matter how tempting it is, bypass the humor section, when buying for this person.  They may laugh if you purchase them a funny card, but deep down, it will hurt their feelings or they will think that they aren't that important to you.

A Mix CD

Remember back in the day when you'd spend two weeks finding the right songs to record on a mix tape for the person you liked?  (Did I just date myself with that?!?) A words of affirmation person is the person who will LOVE a special, personalized gift like this.  Since words are so important to them, most words of affirmation people really enjoy music that has great lyrics and they will really appreciate you for taking time to create a cd of mp3s that have special meaning. Remember, however, that they will definitely listen to the lyrics on each of the songs you include, so make sure you take the time to google the lyrics to ensure that the songs don't include anything that could be negatively misinterpreted.

Gifts to Avoid

The words of affirmation person is one of the few who would be pretty satisfied with a simple, meaningful card or letter, but if you don't feel comfortable showing up without a pretty wrapped package, consider buying something that you can have engraved with a special meaning. By all means, whatever you do, avoid buying anything that appears generic or impersonal.  While some women may be happy with a bouquet of roses, a box of chocolates, and a "Happy Valentine's Day" balloon, the words of affirmation woman will be disappointed.

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