How to Say "I Love You"

Creative Ways to Say I Love You, and When to Say It

Dropping the L-bomb on someone can be a scary thing.  What's the best way to say "I love you" - or is saying it even the right move for you?  Get "I love you" advice for every scenario, whether it's your first time saying it or your ten millionth time.

If No One's Said it Yet

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If you're in a relationship and you feel like you're in love - even though neither of you have used the L-word yet - then it's time to put your feelings on the line.   Plan for an intimate moment when you're alone with each other.  Look into your sweetie's eyes and softly, sweetly say the magic words.  If you hear them back, lucky you! 

If they don't say "I love you, too," it's still okay.  You're better off revealing your feelings than hiding them and getting hurt down the line.  Besides, just because someone doesn't love you right this instant doesn't mean they won't feel it later on.

If You're Too Shy to Say It

If you feel too shy to come right out and say "I love you" to your boyfriend or girlfriend's face, that's okay.  Wait till you're alone with each other, and after a soft, slow kiss, whisper it in their ear.  You can also write it in note and slip it into their backpack or locker.

But I strongly recommend saying it out loud, to their face.  Everyone gets a little nervous saying "I love you" for the first time - it comes with the territory.  And hopefully, you'll be rewarded for all those butterflies in your stomach when they say the words back to you.

If They've Already Said it to You

If they've already told you they love you and you feel the same way, let them know right away.  If you can, say it right after they do.  If that's already passed, then tell them the next time you're beside them with no one else around. 

Say, "I want you to know that I love you, too.  I'm sorry I didn't say it sooner - I just wanted to wait until ____."  Fill in the blank with whatever fits your situation:  "...the time was right;" "...I was sure I felt it too;"  "...I could finally say it out loud without peeing my pants out of nervousness."  (You get the point.)

If You've Both Already Said It a Bunch

After a while, those three magic words can begin to sound like a cliché.  Try out a couple of these creative ways to say I love you:

  • Write them a short, silly love poem.
  • Draw an "I love you" cartoon and hide it somewhere you know they'll find it.
  • Spell it out in SpaghettiO's and take a picture.
  • Give them a massage and spell it out on their back, letter by letter.
  • Dedicate a song to them on the radio and make sure they tune in to listen.
  • Give them a list of 10 specific things you love about them (or even more, if you can come up with them).

But don't underestimate the importance of just plain old saying the words.  Sometimes there's nothing better to hear than "I love you" whispered in your ear.

If You're Not in a Relationship

If you feel like you're in love with someone you're not dating - like your crush, or your best friend - then don't come out and say, "I love you."  Those are big words that might end up scaring the person away.  Instead, let them know your feelings in subtler ways by flirting with them, or take the plunge and ask them out.  Save the real lovey-dovey stuff till after you've gotten to know each other better.

If You're Not Sure if You Love Them

If you're not sure if you're really in love, then don't ever say "I love you."  Instead, say something like, "I really like spending time with you, but I'm not ready to call it love yet.  Maybe it'll turn into love one day, though."  But lying and saying "I love you" now will hurt them down the road - even more than if you tell them the truth.

Updated by Keisha Howard, Teen Advice Expert.