Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve been wondering how to respond to an “I love you”? It can be perplexing in a good way, a bad way and a confusing way. When the pressure is on, here are some tips on how to handle it.
“Love” is a funny word. It can mean a lot of things, from your opinion of a TV show to a lifelong commitment. If one of your best friends says “I love you” after you’ve done something nice for them, you usually don’t have much trouble saying “And I love you!” because there’s not much implication there.
However, it is not always so clear what a person means when they say that. Sometimes it means everything that romance novels and movie love stories portray: this person likes you, is in love, and wants to give you his or her heart. At that point, figuring out how to respond to “I love you” is going to be key.
“Love” can mean a lot of things, from your opinion of a TV show to a lifelong commitment
The happiest outcome when you hear these words is to be able to genuinely say “I love you too”. If this is how you genuinely feel, don’t worry if it sounds trite. The person is going out on a limb for you, and you should also support them and let them know you feel the same way. This leads to new conversations about what that love looks like in your lives, and the beginning of what is, thankfully, a beautiful new phase in your relationship.
Some people have trouble saying these three words because they have said it before and were disappointed. It is important to realise that the past is the past, and this person is not the one you said it to before. Treat the new relationship with the respect and attention it deserves, even if you have to work a little harder to let go of the past.
It would be nice if love were a black and white situation. The fact is that our feelings are not always so clear, and when someone says “I love you”, you can suddenly feel confused. Love can be scary, but it can also be exciting. So what do you do when you’re not sure?
The first part is easy: it’s just a matter of saying “Thank you for telling me how you feel.” The second part is easy to know, but not so easy to do: it involves being honest. Express your uncertainty and let them know that you need more time to think about that change in the relationship. They may be anxious for a quick decision, but remind yourself that it’s very important. You deserve whatever time is needed for you to clarify your thoughts one way or the other. It may not be an easy process, but in the long run you will be glad you took the time to work through the confusing emotions.
Love can be scary, but it can also be exciting
The common thread in all three scenarios is honesty. Make sure you tell the other person how you really feel. Telling the truth is the foundation of friendship and love, and sticking to that will help you navigate safely through the sea of emotions no matter where it takes you.