Perhaps one of the most meaningful phrases we can say to others is “I love you.”
We begin life saying those three simple words to our parents. Then they’re spoken to a partner. The cycle completes itself when we tell them to our children. Those three words convey deep care for the person receiving them, and yet rarely are they’re said out loud to friends who support us throughout our life.
When it comes to friendships, we’re often reluctant to openly state how much someone really means to us.
Language may act as a barrier.
Unlike the ancient Greek language that has levels of love such as agape (the unconditional love God has for man), philia (the love experienced from friendship), and eros (the love that is often associated with romance), English allows its speakers to say “I love this show” using the same word as one would use to say “I love my spouse.”
It can be hard to differentiate between the types of love that one expresses. This alone can cause some hesitation for some from saying “I love you” for fear that that their words could be misinterpreted.
Sophomore elementary education major, Joslyn Lewis, speculates we tell our friends we love them because, “We think saying ‘I love you’ is only for family and romantic relationships.”
Another reason we may not say “I love you” to friends could be that our love is shown in other ways the majority of the time. Lewis believes it’s still important to tell our friends we love them, but we also need to make sure that our actions reflect our words.
Junior computer and math major, Michael Cabrera echoes this belief as well. “Telling people [that you love them] is one thing. Actions speak louder than words,” he says.
It’s necessary for both our actions and our words to be aligned with one another. Our words can confirm our actions, and our actions can confirm our words. Both are key for people to have a healthy relationship.
Verbally expressing non-romantic love is something we shouldn’t shy away from. While we don’t want to use words so casually they are no longer genuine and have no meaning, we also don’t want love to go unsaid at all.
Don’t just go through the actions, take time to tell your friends just how much they mean to you.
Amanda McCarter is a sophomore studying biomedical science