Chat lines


By Dr. Gary Chapman

The significance – particularly men’s fascination and search for the killer chat-up line – is underpinned by some serious behavioural reasons.

Many studies have highlighted the significance of first impressions. And chat-up lines are in many situations first impressions – especially in a crowded, noisy, dynamic environment, where casual visual impressions have far less impact.

Typically people form a view about someone they meet for the first time extremely quickly.

Some theories suggest this happens in a matter of just a few seconds.

It is easy to demonstrate this by simply considering your own reactions to others. Whether we want to or not, we find it very difficult not to form an instant impression when we meet someone for the first time.

It is easy to demonstrate this by simply considering your own reactions to others. Whether we want to or not, we find it very difficult not to form an instant impression when we meet someone for the first time.

These judgements are partly instinctive.

This is arguably a capability that has become fine-tuned in each of us through thousands of generations of human evolution.

Our senses and capabilities in this respect have evolved for reasons of survival (detecting threats quickly), and from successful mating (where the offspring of compatible genetic types thrives better than less compatible couplings).

We exist today because somewhere in our ancestry, our great-great-great etc etc grandmothers (mainly) managed to avoid men who would rape, kill and possibly eat them, and instead managed to select men to mate with who would enable the resultant issue to grow strong enough in body and mind to continue the genetic line until it reached you.

In prehistoric times, life was a bit tougher than it was today. There were no laws, no human rights, no police and no CCTV. So vulnerable womenfolk had to live by their wits and any other senses which would inform their reactions, or their misjudgement could literally be the end of the line.

The chat-up line is therefore a modern equivalent of the prehistoric life or death, and genetic matching mental handshake.

The consequences of getting it wrong today are less serious, but in terms of first impressions, the moment of truth comes just as early in the meeting.

This is a simple theory for understanding the different romantic loving relationship needs of people, developed by the noted American counsellor and author Dr Gary Chapman. He calls these needs The Five Languages of Love:

  1. Affirmation – being appreciated and told so.
  2. Attention – spending time together alone.
  3. Gifts – tangible expressions of love – not necessarily expensive.
  4. Help – willing ‘acts of service’ – doing things for the other person.
  5. Touch – physical contact – stroking, hugging, etc.

Gary Chapman developed his concept ostensibly for married couples but the core principles arguably apply to most romantic and sexual relationships.

A helpful lesson within the Chapman Five Love Languages theory is to remind us that relationships work when both people’s needs are met, and that knowing each other’s needs is a very important step towards this aim. The model is a simple and effective structure for such understanding.

Chapman asserts that while there are many different needs which represent the love sought by people in romantic relationships, these needs can be categorised into five main areas. Chapman calls these ‘the five languages of love’.

People need these things in different degrees. Chapman refers to the mixture of needs as a ‘love strategy’.

You can read more at <a href=”

Logically we form and maintain better relationships when we satisfy the needs of the other person in the mixture or balance they require.

Human nature tends instead to focus our mind on our own needs, and in many cases to assume that our partner has similar needs, which is usually quite wrong.

It is common in relationships for partners to have less than full understanding of each other’s love needs.

For example a husband or boyfriend might give plenty of task-related support and gifts, and wonder why the relationship fails to respond, when perhaps his partner actually needs time alone and some hugging and stroking.

A wife or girlfriend might imagine that time together and sex will strengthen the relationship with her man, when maybe what he needs is affirmation – to believe that his woman loves him and thinks he’s great.

Knowing each other’s needs (especially the primary one or two needs), and then responding to them, is crucial for sustaining a successful mutually loving relationship.

Given five main needs, the potential combinations and misunderstandings are limitless, although Chapman simplifies this by suggesting that each person tends to have a primary need, augmented by a mixture of less vital needs. Identifying one primary need and then meeting it is obviously an easier way to start than trying to prioritise and then address appropriately all five.

Chapman’s model certainly helps emphasise the importance of seeing relationships from the viewpoint of the other person, not oneself, which is a common human failing.

The validity of a simple theory like this will always be open to debate, however Chapman’s concept is very widely referenced and seems to make good sense. Certainly, the model provides an excellent framework for discussing and understanding mutual needs – even one’s own needs, which are not always well understood by oneself.

The Five Languages of Love model first appeared in Gary Chapman’s best-selling book ‘The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate’, which was first published in 1992, and has sold several million copies.

Dr Gary Chapman is an anthropologist by academic training (anthropology is the study of humankind and human behaviour). He is also a pastor and deeply religious man. He has written many other books around the ‘Five Languages’ theme and is a popular speaker.

You can also read further on love and relationships at the link below:

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Published by Samuel Ng'ang'a Mwangi

One day I had too much to tell but there was no one to tell the story. I had to write articles, print them and then give them out to anyone who cared to read. Author of "So You Want To Get Into Courtship?" A Guide To Purposeful Christian Courtship. I write and rewrite on my blog

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