3 New Ways to Say I Love You

Sometimes we take our friends for granted.

When you’ve been friends with someone for so long, you don’t always need to speak when you’re together and you don’t always need to speak when you’re apart. In some of my friendships that have lasted over 14 years, we can go days and weeks without speaking to each other, but when we see each other again, it’s as if nothing has changed.

In those days that you’re not speaking with your friend – not necessarily because you’re mad at them, but just because schoolwork begins to overwhelm your social life – it’s easy to forget your friend is overwhelmed too. That they’re also going through the same exam preparation stress, the same social struggles and what not.

In our society, we throw those three little words around a lot. One friend of mine says it every time she ends a phone call, “Okay, love you, bye!” Another friend of mine said it without even thinking about it as I handed her a special gift during class. We say it without really meaning it when someone agrees with us on something or when someone compliments us, “Ugh, I love you.” We throw those three little words around so much that they’ve begun to lose their importance.

Here are three new ways to reclaim the special spark of encouragement “I love you” used to have.

 

1. "I'm proud of you." 

There’s very little that makes my skin tingle more than hearing someone who means a lot to me saying that. Especially someone I admire. It’s that little sense of validation I crave when I work really hard on a story or step outside of my comfort zone – like becoming a writer for BU’s chapter at Her Campus.

I don’t believe you can actually get tired of hearing someone say that. There’s always a small vulnerable part of us that wants to be reminded that we’re valued by the people whom we value the most. And even if we’re more confident than we’ve ever been, I don’t think there’s a limit to the number of times you can hear someone say, “I’m proud of you,” before ever getting tired of it.

 

2. "I'm here for you." 

This is the most important thing you can say when someone’s just going through a hard time. If a friend – or you – is going through a lot of stress, a really rough time, or an existential crisis, it never hurts to know that someone cares. I don’t always like talking about my problems (read: I never like talking about my problems) but when a certain friend of mine simply says, “I’m here for you,” the weight of the world becomes a little bit less heavy on my shoulders.

However, this phrase is a bit tricky.

Because I’m typically an extraordinarily private person, “I’m here for you,” is more often than not sufficient enough to make me feel better. But if I’ve told you my problem – in extraneous detail, in more detail than I usually feel comfortable admitting – and all you say in return, “Ugh. That sucks. Sorry. I’m here for you,” are you really here for me? Or are you just saying this so I’ll stop talking and we can go back to being our happy, go-lucky selves?

In the context of the situation, “I’m here for you,” doesn’t always mean it’s enough. Follow up the phrase with the rest of the 5W’s: why you’re here, when you’re here, where you’re here, what you’re here for.

“I’m here for you because you matter to me.”

“I’m here for you when you need someone to talk to.”

“I’m here for you wherever you can reach me.”

“I’m here for you to make you feel better.”

It’s just a few extra syllables that can turn someone’s mood around and remind them that they’re not alone in this big, big world.

 

3. "This reminded me of you." 

This is my favorite thing to hear in the universe (besides Dylan O’Brien one day asking me to marry him, but that’s for another blog post).

It makes me feel all warm and tingly inside when someone knows me well enough to think about me even though we’re not in direct contact. Recently, I found out about a really cool opportunity that I thought a friend of mine would be super interested in as well, and to see her face light up when I said, “Oh, this reminded me of you,” was absolutely priceless.

It made me start to think of the last time I’d heard that and how nice it is to know that when you’re not feeling your best – or even when you’re not really feeling anything at all – someone is out there thinking about you. When you’re feeling down in the dumps or completely run over by life, there’s a comforting feeling in knowing that someone you care about has you on their mind.

 

When we take our friends for granted, we forget that just like us, they could use a few words of encouragement from time to time that are more than three words we hear so often. Next time you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, think of a friend who you haven’t spoken to in a while and reach out with a simple, “Hey. Just letting you know that I’m proud of you and I’m here for you whenever you need me. Saw this and thought of you.”

You never know how much you might make someone’s day, or how much they might make yours.

 

 

(Also BU, when's our Fall Break?)