How to Say 'I Love You' and Mostly Mean It
By Cindy, age 14, New York"Cause when you're fifteen and someone tells you they love you, you're gonna believe them." - Taylor Swift
People agonize and panic over a simple three word phrase. When you're established in a relationship, it rolls off the tongue so fast and automatically that it can appendix almost anything. "Call the sewage company to fix the septic tank, will you? I love you." "I love you; now, will you clean up the dog hair?" But the first time these words are spoken it's as anticipated and awkward as asking him or her out in the first place.
There are numerous web articles dictating the proper way of approaching it. From Seventeen magazine to CNN. Even in this day and age, a quite reasonable argument can be made that a girl should never say "I love you" first (see the CNN article link). Apparently a guy who isn't ready to say these words might not have fully processed his feelings about it yet, so while he might love you, you'll scare him off by declaring your love for him.*
*The author of the CNN article's view, not mine.
Of course, being me, I did things entirely wrong. I said "I love you" about a week into the relationship. In my defense, I habitually say "I love you". It comes from reading too many British-y books. My poor friends are often subjugated to "Be a dear and close the window for me, will you? Love ya!"
I must have asked for a pen or something, or perhaps he gave me something. I responded, "Oh my gosh, thank you, I love you," all in one breath. And he said, "Sure, you're welcome. Me too." There. That was all. Pure, sweet, and anticlimactic. Sometimes things just turn out not to be the biggest deal in the world after all.
Okay, so yeah, there is a major problem in that story - I said I love you without evaluating whether I actually felt that way or not. It slipped out in a way that didn't turn out to be embarrassing, but it was still a mistake. I don't even remember whether what I said was true at that point. I could have been lying to him. But as a rather great opera singer once told me, "It's over, so don't overanalyze it."
So that's one way to do it ...