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8 Ideas for people who have a hard time saying “I love you”

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Don't wait until it's too late. Here are some ways to start expressing your feelings to family and friends.

“Tell my mother that I love her? Why? She already knows I love her, and that I’m not very expressive.”

“My wife has known since the first day we met that I’m not very verbally affectionate, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love her.”

“I feel awkward and embarrassed every time I try to tell my parents that I love them more than anyone else in the world. And when it comes to my sisters, it’s even worse.”

It can be very difficult for some people to talk about their feelings. Some cultures teach boys and men in particular that expressing certain feelings isn’t “manly.”

For these people—men or women—when the time comes to congratulate their mother for Mother’s Day, or when it’s their parents’ wedding anniversary, or there’s a wedding ceremony, they get a knot in their throat every time they think they might have to say something out loud to express how much they love someone.

Social networks make it worse, because you know that someone might be recording you, and your other friends or work colleagues might end up seeing the video on line. You don’t want to take the risk of feeling embarrassed.

But, how long has it been since you told your mother or father how much you love them? how about your spouse or best friend? Don’t they deserve to hear it?

Some people let months and years pass without telling someone they love them. Then, the day comes when they realize they no longer have the opportunity to tell those people how much they love them, either because some illness has made them unable to understand, or because death has taken them away. Don’t let that happen.

Fill each page of your life with expressions of love towards your family and friends. For those who have a hard time saying “I love you,” here are a few ideas to help you show your affection for the people you love.

1
Remember, people aren't made out of stone.

We all need to know that we’re loved, that other people know we exist, and that we mean more to them then a piece of furniture. We need people to tell us that, although it doesn’t always have to be with words. We are body and spirit, and our body has hearing, touch, sight, etc. Use whichever form of expression works best for you (a hug, a written note, or spoken words); but be sure it’s understood.

2
Emphasize the good things about the people you love.

If you don’t tell people how much you love them, you can end up only telling them what you think is wrong about them, by complaining or criticizing them. We have to keep balance in our communication, and make sure that they hear the gratitude and affection that’s truly in our heart.

3
If you haven't used your “affection muscles” recently, today is a good day to start flexing them again.

How do we do that? Maybe the first step is just to recognize out loud that we don’t express our affection enough. We can say something like, “You know it’s hard for me to express affection, and that I don’t usually talk about these things, but you do know that I love you, right?”

4
Don't wait for an important event before you express your love.

There are a thousand simple ways to do it! For example, you can leave a Post-It on the refrigerator saying, “I love you!” Or, if you have trouble finding the right words, use the lyrics of a song you love, or the words of a famous poet.

5
Get some help.

If there’s a wedding or anniversary coming up and you’re going to be expected to say some words in public, but you don’t feel like you’re going to be able to say something coherent, ask for help. Talk to a friend or family member who’s good with words, or even a professional, and tell them what you feel, giving them concrete information about your history with the person or people in question. They can help you write something that expresses your feelings.

6
Remember that people who are in our lives today can disappear when we least expect it.

Are there things you need to say to someone in your life? Don’t wait for tomorrow to say what you can say today. God forbid something tragic occurs and you end up sorry you didn’t speak earlier.

7
Saying “I love you” or “I care about you” can be the beginning of a new stage in your relationship with someone.

It’s a way of saying to other people, “I’m glad you exist,” and “I want good things for you now and always.” These words will stay with them and help keep your relationship intact in times of difficulty.

8
Take the easiest route.

If your favorite way to communicate is by text message or chat, express your love that way. With time, it will get easier for you, and you’ll be able to do it in a more romantic or affectionate way, in person. If your favorite form of communication is a phone call or face-to-face conversation, do it that way. Use whatever form of communication is most comfortable for you. The most important thing is to do it!

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