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How to tell someone you love them (without being awkward)

Do you love someone?

Is the person you love aware of your feelings toward them?

Because if they do, then great! And if they don’t, that’s fine.

But remember this:

In love, you have to be brave.

Eventually, you have to be honest with yourself and that special person.

You cannot always get “the one” just because you want them — it simply doesn’t work like that. And even if you do end up with this person, you won’t know for sure if they’ll stay.

Thus, it’s important to know how to tell someone you love them.

This is how you get that special person.

Similarly, it’s what you need to keep the fire burning in a serious, long-term relationship.

So how exactly do you do this?

After all:

You don’t always have to say the words “I love you” to let someone know how you feel.

There are many, many ways to say it.

With that in mind, here are the 5 things I believe you need to keep in mind when telling someone you love them.

1) Be Sure of Your Feelings

Here’s the thing:

You shouldn’t express your love if you don’t love them in the first place.

It might sound odd, but it does happen. Whether it’s out of boredom or a desire to get laid, there are people who toy with other people’s feelings.

According to Fredric Neuman M.D. in Psychology Today, some “men say “I love you” when they mean, “I think you’re wonderful.” Or, “right this minute I am so happy being next to you and being with you.””

Yet, after they’ve said it, “they may not feel that way a few hours later”.

Do not be that kind of person.

It’s unfair on your partner if you tell them that you love them if it’s not true or you don’t have good intentions.

In fact, Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a psychologist, told Bustle that it’s important to slow down to get to know what you’re truly feeling, especially early on in a relationship. After all, it’s quite easy to confuse love with infatuation or joy.

Professor of psychology Norman Li from Singapore Management University had some great advice if you’re considering saying I love you:

“First and foremost, don’t think too much about it… Follow your feelings. Say “I love you” when you feel it is right. Otherwise, just be mindful that saying it first (if you are female) indicates to your partner that you may be ready for sex, and saying it after sexual relations have commenced (if you are male) indicates an intention for a long-term relationship.”

So to make sure that your feelings are genuine and true, ask yourself these questions:

— Are you sure it’s genuine love and not a case infatuation or non-romantic admiration?
— Are you ready for how they will respond?
— If your feelings are not reciprocated, how will this affect your current relationship with them?
— If you get a positive reaction, are you prepared to take things to the next level?
— Have you felt like this before? How did you feel about them a couple of months later?

Once you’re sure, it becomes so much easier to let someone know how much you love them.

2) Don’t Wait Too Long — Just Do It

It’s not just a matter of how but also of when.

Even if you’re so sure of your feelings toward someone, you can’t just take your time. This is what many people get wrong.

Stop waiting for the right moment. It’s up to you to make it so, otherwise, you’re only going to ruin your chances.

Why?

Because you’ll only stress yourself out if you keep delaying it. You’ll turn it into a big, overwhelming issue when you had all the confidence before.

It’s important to stop worrying about what their reaction will be. Instead, relationship coach Susan Golicic advises taking the view that “love is a gift, so consider that telling someone you love them is just that.”

So if you’re absolutely positive your feelings are true, go ahead and tell them. They’re not going to wait around forever.

If weeks, months, or even years go by without you showing how you really feel, they may feel tired of the relationship.

Worse, they may even feel used — especially if they’ve already made their feelings known first.

Remember:

It’s all up to you to make the move and make things happen.

Stop overthinking and don’t be afraid to express your love for them.

3) Find a Private Space

Online dating coach Erika Ettin suggests you be very clear with what you’re going to say: “You don’t want to muster up all of your courage and then be confusing.”

That’s why we suggest doing it in a private space where you can think clearly and there won’t be any distractions.

Now if you’re thinking about doing it before or after some bedroom passion, you might want to think again.

According to a paper titled, Let’s Get Serious: Communicating Commitment In Romantic Relationships”, they had something to say about saying I love you before or after sex:

“This would mean that women should feel more positive about receiving a post-sex than a pre-sex confession of love while men are likely to respond better to pre-sex confessions as they may perceive them as “signals of sexual opportunity.”

A private space isn’t necessarily a bedroom.

However, I believe that it may prove advantageous if you say the words

Why?

Because words are more potent when two people are in an act of passion. It’s a mixture of emotional and physical pleasure.

For example:

There is a certain intensity when lovers look into each other’s eyes in the heat of the moment.

Likewise, the cuddle after the act is very, very comforting.

So if you time it just right, your “I love you” may become one of their most unforgettable moments.

Of course, you have other options.

If going for the physically intimate route isn’t your thing, you can say it somewhere the two of you can be alone.

You see:

Learning how to tell someone you love them involves respect and freedom.

You do not force someone to love you back just because you confessed your feelings.

They’re free to say whatever they want.

So what does this have to do with location?

Well, it’s because you want them to give you an honest answer.

Think about it:

If you say where she’s with a group of friends or relatives, they too will hear all about your feelings when there should only be one recipient.

This is bad for many reasons:

— Other people may give their own reactions and ruin the moment.
— Your special someone might feel embarrassed — or think you’re joking around.
— You might not get an honest response; they’ll be pressured to act nice in public.
— They’ll get upset and not want to talk with you.

Whatever happens, don’t do it in public.

And also:

Consider whether they’re busy or not.

You don’t want to become an additional source of stress for them.

Wait for them to be free and ask them if the two of you could go somewhere private.

4) Say It Directly if It’s the First Time

I think we can all agree that it’s always going to be more romantic if it’s face to face.

Yes, we have digital technology.

But let’s be honest:

Who wants to receive a confession of love on Snapchat, Messenger, or Twitter?

It simply doesn’t match the allure of hearing someone say it to you directly.

It’s more authentic. Greg Vovos, In-House Senior Writer at American Greetings told Bustle. “More than anything, your romantic partner wants to know how you truly feel about them. So the more authentic your message, the better. No pressure, right?”

And to be honest, there’s something charming about an old school confession:

— You can sense how nervous they are, so much so they stutter
— You see the honesty in their eyes
— You notice the effort in their outfit and overall appearance

And more importantly:

It’s a better memory than merely reading an email — it has a sense of place and time. Of you being there with that special someone at that specific point in your life.

Moreover, you get to see how they react as it happens. This also allows you to adapt to the situation.

If you see them smiling and looking teary-eyed, you know you’re doing a great job.

But if they’re starting to look irritated? Perhaps you need to change your wording or try a different approach.

However, It’s a different scenario if you’re in a long-distance relationship.

But even then, try to make it a voice or video call; sending a text just makes you look like you’re not willing to put in the effort at all.

5) Get Creative Whenever Possible

Here’s the thing with love:

It’s simple yet it’s also complex.

The same thing goes for when you’re learning how to tell someone you love them.

Saying “I love you” in a sincere manner is more than enough to make your partner love you, even more, each day.

However:

Just because love doesn’t require you to try new things all the time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

If you love your SO, spice things up a bit.

As we’ve said before, there are many, many ways to say it:

— “You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met.”
— “You make my heart flutter.”
— “I want to spend all my remaining years with you.”

In fact, we’ve come up with a whole of different ways to say I love you. Check them out here.

See?

It still captures the feeling of love without mentioning it all. So try to mix it up every now and then.

I believe you should still say “I love you” but you should also think of new phrases every once in a while.

But it doesn’t end there:

Why not express love in non-verbal means?

We’re not only referring to hugs, kisses, and sex.

Here are a few suggestions:

— Cook their favorite breakfast and serve it on the bed.
— Give them a cute gift on a seemingly random day.
— Take them to a park to have a picnic.
— Write them a poem.

Use whatever skills and resources you have to make your partner feel loved.

How to Tell Someone You Love Them and Prepare for the Outcome

Yes, it’s true:

Rejection is part of life, especially in one’s love life. But here’s what some people miss: It’s not always the end if you don’t get an “I love you” back from that special someone.

If they don’t have anything to say after you confessed, then take that as it is.

A non-response, which is not a rejection.

So what is it?

Well, it just means that they need more time before they give you a concrete answer.

You may eventually get rejected — but you may also get a sweet yes.

And if you do get rejected, don’t take it as a complete waste of time.

Licensed psychotherapist, Victoria Elf Raymond, PhD, told Bustle that just because you didn’t get a response, it doesn’t make it wrong for expressing yourself.

“You’re a human and you expressed a human emotion of love…but just because you didn’t get the response you wanted, it doesn’t mean you were wrong for expressing yourself.”

Instead, be proud that you were able to be honest with how you feel.

Learning how to tell someone you love them is about getting your feelings across, that you want them to know that someone cherishes them a whole lot.

If you do get a yes, cultivate the new relationship.

If you get a no “your world isn’t going to collapse and the sky isn’t going to fall,” according to Dr. Bashan in Refinery.

Just because you’ve already told someone you love them doesn’t mean you can stop expressing your feelings altogether.

On the contrary:

Love always has room to grow.

So whether you express it through words or through actions, you can always keep sharing the love.

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Lachlan Brown

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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