Three Little Words

In abstract, I don’t have any problem saying “I Love You” to the people I love. In practice, I often find I feel conflicted when I feel the urge to say those words. I’m not ashamed of revealing my feelings. What silences me is worry about what they will think of me. I love easily (and permanently, when I do), and I know that others may not feel as strongly about me, and might be embarrassed. Or I fear they will think I don’t mean it, or will just be weirded out by a phrase that culture has deemed uniquely loaded. Or, more commonly when I’m talking to a woman, I’m afraid they will percieve the statement as carrying a connotation of romance and attachment which I don’t necessarily intend. Whatever the reason, I often end conversations, either in person or online, with the sense of something important left unsaid. I hate that feeling.

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  1. For the longest time after my ex-girlfriend Quel went back to Michigan, she couldn’t say “I Love You” to me. It really hurt,
    Some people belt those words out at the drop of a hat.
    I’ve always been somewhat… conservative with them. Probably for the same reason as you.
    She’s recently started to end our phone conversations with “I Love You” again. It means the world to me to hear those three little words. (Sorry my response is almost as long as your entry!)

  2. Avdi,

    I love you!



    1. I love you too, dear!

      Great show tonight. I mean it. Sorry we couldn’t stick around afterwards.

  3. Thank you for speaking my heart. I love you, angel!

    1. I love you too!

  4. i know that feeling well.

  5. Conflicted…

    I understand what you are saying, but it also seems that throwing those words around freely cheapens the meaning when you really *need* deeper meaning.

    I can love a bunch of people on a certain level, but I am far more particular about who I will see as a life partner, someone with whom I really am “in love” with. What do you say then to display a deeper commitment level?

    In a practical situation, we have been dating someone with whom we are very fond, but as time goes on and more aspects of her personality become clear, it is increasingly obvious that she is not the fit we have been seeking for a long term serious relationship. I have been careful to avoid the use of the term “love” so far, because we really aren’t ready for that kind of commitment. But this doesn’t mean i don’t “love” her…..

    see what I mean Vern?

    1. Re: Conflicted…

      >>> someone with whom I really am “in love” with. What do you say then to display a deeper commitment level?<<<

      How about I am “in love” with you?…it’s easy for some people to say, “Hey love ya” when leaving someone after a dinner & movie, or ending a phone conversation but “I am so in love with you” is a deeper commitment.

    2. Re: Conflicted…

      What do you say then to display a deeper commitment level?

      “You are the love of my life. I adore you. You are the heart of my heart. You complete me. I want to grow old with you. You are the light of my eyes. My darling. My angel.”

      I understand what you are saying. It is easy to cheapen the words “I love you” by saying them without meaning them, or even by saying them too often. But while “I love you” may have a deeper connotation to many people than would normally be used toward even a close friend, there is no other phrase out there which is just a single notch lower, so to speak, on the commitment scale. “I’m awfully fond of you” just doesn’t cut it for how I feel towards certain friends, nor does “I like you” or anything else I can think of. “I love you” is all I’m left with, and since there is a plethora of phrases which express deeper sentiment, it remains the best three words I know to express how I feel about a friend whom I care about, worry about, miss when they are gone, sympathize with, and trust.

      1. Re: Conflicted…

        “I’m awfully fond of you”

        I used this phrase recently and felt very old fashioned using it. I felt like it was the only thing I had, though, because of exactly what you’re talking about. I wanted to say very simply and concisely, “I love you,” but … without proper understanding … I mean, most people generally think of that phrase the way Scott was talking about. As something you’d say to a “life partner.”

        But for us, you and me, when we say it to friends it “remains the best three words [we] know to express how [we] feel about a friend whom [we] care about, worry about, miss when they are gone, sympathize with, and trust.

  6. When I think of you, I feel a deep electrochemical response that resembles eating large quantities of chocolate.

    There, I said it!

  7. I love you too Avdi! *grin*
    I say those words to friends I really care about. Sometimes, I don’t even really like them a whole lot at said moment in time, but I still care about them.
    If it’s deeper than that, I tend to say things like “I’m so in love with you” or “I adore you” and I don’t tend to say it flippantly. However, I am conflicted when it’s someone who might be in love with me and wants me to be in love with them. I tend to be more careful so as not to lead them on. I don’t know if I need to be, and it has a chance of making them feel lower than my other friends that I do say it to. But I’m afraid they’ll take it the wrong way.

  8. I think part of the difficulty is that in English, there is one word for every kind of love, whereas in other languages there are different ones. Some of the best words can of course mean romantic love too, but it’s not assumed, whereas there are specific words for romantic love.

    I’ve had difficulties with boundaries in earlier parts of my life (part of what tends to afflict those of us with unpopular sexualities, not being able to give a name to what we feel; and yes, it’s as hard if you are gay from birth as if you are bi or “turn gay,” whatever that means). So I am careful with “I love you” and resigned to there being one word in English, which may for all I know keep us honest. But I do know what you mean. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt…and one tough thing if you are out is that people of your gender naturally jump to conclusions if you say “I love you.” So you’re barred from it with your straight and gay friends of the same sex, based on this stupid linguistic-cultural confusion.

    In many ways, this is just not a very loving culture. Poopie. One reason why goth is so appealing is that it is a subculture in which one can be loving and passionate, on whatever level in whichever way one chooses, and express the hurt that so often comes from that, with a culture to fall back on that gives you some of the right words.

    1. Wow. Thank you for elaborating far better than I could. I’m in complete agreement regarding your points on language, the culture, and the value to be fuond in the subculture.

      I can also see where it would be particularly hard being gay and wanting to say those three words. Very interesting point.

  9. words are powerful

    So here’s my take on the I love you phrase. Some people get weirded out by it but as for the romance connotation “I love you” is different than “I’m IN love with you”. I love all of my friends but definately not IN love with my friends. But I guess what I’m saying is that if you love someone say it. Perhaps if enough people like you say how they feel but make others understand that it’s not necessarily a romantic phrase but something that means endearment, enough people will get used to it and we’ll lose that whole relation of love to romance or that there are different levels of love. Love on brother 🙂

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