Although many people use this powerful phrase loosely, there are times when you want to say “I love you” in a meaningful way. Whether you’re professing your love to a romantic partner or expressing it to a relative or friend, it can be difficult to convey how much they really mean to you. But by keeping the following suggestions in mind, hopefully your love will not only be understood, but it will also be welcomed and returned.
- Define love The sincerity of the phrase is strengthened by knowing what love is, and what loving someone means to you. Determine the difference between love, infatuation and lust, and make sure it’s genuine love that you feel for this person. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
- Make it special. For many people, dropping the “I” allows the sentiment to be expressed casually, such as before separating (e.g. “Time to go. Bye! Love you!”). Using the full phrase, however, can be reserved for more intimate moments, especially during a special event, such as when a child is just born, or even to reassure someone when bad news has been received or during moments of cherished silence, like after a kiss.
Make eye contact. If you love this person, hopefully you feel comfortable enough to gaze into their eyes when you express your feelings. Making eye contact shows sincerity and communicates trust.
- Say it at an appropriate tone. If you’re at home and there’s not much background noise, keep your volume low; don’t whisper unless you bring your lips to their ear, which can also be a very intimate way to express your love. If you want to tell them how you feel in public, it’s up to you whether you want to pull the person aside, or say it in front of friends or even strangers. It depends on your loved one’s personality, and your own personality. Some will find it terribly romantic to be told they’re loved across a room full of people; others may find it mortifying.
- Smile. It can be nerve-wracking to tell someone that you love him or her, only to wait anxiously for their response–especially if it’s the first time either of you have verbally expressed love. The best way to overcome this fear is to not expect the phrase in return. Your intention can be to tell the person how you feel, with the hope of making them happy and showing them that they are valued. Remember that unconditional love means not demanding anything in return. So smile, and perhaps give your loved one a hug. If they love you, too, they’ll say it in their own way and in their own time.
Be creative. Say it in different languages. Write it into a poem or even a haiku. If you want to be romantic, spell it out with rose petals on his or her bedroom floor. Write it in code, like 1337 or using a Vigènere cipher. Say it in little ways, like post-it notes in unexpected places, and express it in every way you can.
- Love. Don’t just say it, do it. Love is not just a feeling; it’s an action. Saying it without showing it is, in a way, a lie. Express your love in action as well as in words. Children can show love for their parents by cleaning up their room without being asked. A person can send flowers to their partner in the middle of the week for no particular reason other than to show love. Acts of kindness for the one you love, without being asked, speak louder than words. Do things for your loved ones that they are not willing, likely or able to do for themselves.
- Holding someone’s hand as you tell them you love them can also communicate sincerity and trust, but it can also convey a sense of subterfuge, which at a glance may suffice but will quickly be sniffed out by someone with a careful eye for lies; ergo, do not hold hands if you don’t mean it.
- Love does not keep score. When you love someone, do not expect anything in return. There’s a difference between love and bartering… “I will do this for you if you will do that for me.” But always remember if you are asking something of your partner be willing to do it yourself. Don’t always expect that he/she understands what you need, be open and willing to express yourself.
- Love is expressed differently by everyone. Be understanding and look for your partner’s ways of expressing it to you; they may not be the same as you do or what you want them to do, but in turn you may not be doing the things they want and they should look for your way.
- The way men express their love for their girlfriends/wives is often overlooked. But this can include: opening jars, helping their wife remodel a room, making them furniture, doing outside chores (men generally hate inside chores if it doesn’t include power tools), lifting heavy things, going to a sappy movie with them, going to the woman’s favorite restaurant, showing affection in public, installing picture frames, killing spiders/mice/snakes, etc.
- If love is unrequited, you need to be understanding and be caring towards the feelings of the object of your desire. At least they now know how you feel. It is not good to bottle up your feelings.
- Saying “I love you” in the heat of passion for the first time might not be a good idea, as the person may question the sincerity of your pledge. Follow them up with actions of kindness.
- The words “I love you” can lose their meaning in a relationship if used excessively and loosely, and if not paired with action.
- If you truly love that person then don’t hurt her or him in any way whatsoever as it gives a negative impression that you are forcing them to love you.
- It is important to pay attention to the things on this list that enhance the phrase. Our language today is peppered with “love,” “hate,” etc, when describing things that aren’t really deserving. This leads to the word “love” itself meaning less than it should. Remember, you are using simple, over-used words to communicate a very powerful emotion. It is important that other techniques are used to enhance this phrase, or else it merely comes across as trite.
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