Three words. Eight letters. I Love You.
I find the phrase “I Love You” so fascinating! Have you ever actually thought about what this phrase means? Or better yet, what it means to you? Have you ever wondered about the expectations it carries around? Do you toy with the idea of saying it to someone? Do you think about saying it at all?
Before this year, I said “I Love You” to family members and various close friends, but now that I started thinking about it, I realized there were stipulations on those who heard these words from me. I said “I Love You” to my parents as a no-brainer, but I don’t regularly tell my brother that I love him even though I do. Why? I don’t know, but it could be that we do not have a mushy-gushy type of relationship. When it comes to my friends, select few get a “Love You” as I give them a hug goodbye when I know I won’t see them for awhile. I realized that since I cycle through friends so frequently, I don’t say “I Love You” very regularly to those friends I consider close; they have to earn it. Yet I tell my puppy I love her multiple times a day.
It seems as if some love is earned while some is automatic.
But saying “I Love You” comes with a tremendous amount of expectations when used in the romantic world. It is this idea that saying it is a big deal and it has to be the right moment with the right person. Some people think through all this while others just do or don’t, but never consciously think about it. Last year, I talked with Mitten (a boy-interest) every day all the time for about four months. I felt so connected to him, because he listened and talked to me. Yet I never said that I loved him. I dated Carrot for about three weeks or so back in January. I thought we really connected for about a week or two. Yet I never said that I loved him. I never thought about whether I loved them. I never thought about saying that I loved them to draw us closer or fix our relationship. I never thought about whether I should or was supposed to love them. It never crossed my mind. Was it because I knew they weren’t the ones for me? Was it because I didn’t really feel for them? Well I can tell you that I didn’t love either one of those boys and I think it was a good decision that I never made the mistake of using the phrase “I Love You” for any purpose or reason other than to express a feeling.
The first time I ever said “I Love You” to someone who was more than a friend or family was to Penguin. He is my best friend, has been since about December, and we started dating around March. He makes me smile and laugh and drives me absolutely crazy, but I have loved him since the beginning. I loved him because he did more than just try and get my attention; he really listened and understood me! He never made me feel inadequate or insecure. He challenged me and encouraged me. I could go on and on about why I love Penguin, but the thing is that I did not tell him I loved him right off the bat. Did I hold it in because I didn’t want to scare him off? Did I hold it in because I wanted to make sure he felt the same way? Truth is- I never thought about it, shockingly, I never over-analyzed it. One day, I just told him. Ya, I said “it” first and I wasn’t ashamed and it wasn’t weird.
The thing about Penguin and I is that although we have said that we love each other and we both know that love is in the air, we do not say we love each other every time we see each other. We don’t say it every time we say goodbye to each other. We don’t say it every time we call each other. I think what makes that phrase special to us, is that we don’t overuse it. “I Love You” is not a greeting or goodbye for us, it is a sincere feeling that we only say when we are truly feeling it. Yes, we say it when we are being serious and silly, but we never say it just because we know we should or are supposed to.
I think that is important. I don’t think there is anything wrong with people who think about when to say it and who to say it to, but I think you won’t have to when the time and the person is right!