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52 Ways to Tell Someone You Love and Appreciate Them

I Love You

“The most important thing in this world is to learn to give out love and let it come in.” ~Morrie Schwartz

As a child, I never heard the phrase “I love you.” Now, I hear people say it all the time—at the end of phone calls and whenever parting ways.

When I moved away from my hometown of Adelaide, South Australia, twenty years ago, I noticed how much less I felt loved interstate in Melbourne, Victoria. Even though I didn’t hear “I love you” when I was in Adelaide, somehow I knew people cared.

Soon after I arrived here, I had two wonderful children who’ve taught me all about love. They regularly tell me they love me, and I often overhear them telling their friends.

This got me thinking: how can we let people know we care, beyond simply saying “I love you?”

I decided to make a list of some expressions that we can all say more often to family, friends, partners, and even colleagues. Perhaps you could use one of these each week for the next year.

1. You are special to me.

2. I feel amazing when I spend time with you.

3. You give me goosebumps.

4. I feel safe sharing my secrets with you.

5. I accept you as you are.

6. I understand how you feel.

7. Is there anything I can do to help?

8. I always have fun when I am with you.

9. Please tell me how it is for you so I can understand.

10. Can I hold your hand?

11. Can I give you a hug?

12. You inspire me.

13. I really appreciate it when you…

14. You are one of the most amazing gifts I have ever received.

15. I value everything you've taught me.

16. The insights you have shared mean the world to me.

17. Your thoughtfulness is a delight to receive.

18. I will never forget how you…

19. I feel so relaxed and happy when you…

20. Seeing you when … happened made it all okay.

21. I can feel it when your heart sings because it makes my heart sing too.

22. I could sit next to you and not say anything and be at peace.

23. The way you handled … showed me that you are truly…

24. Your comments about … helped me enormously.

25. I’m thankful to have you in my life.

26. I could go anywhere with you.

27. I believe your intentions for me are always good, even when I cannot understand what you do.

28. I trust you.

29. I can go outside of my comfort zone with you.

30. Knowing you gives me courage.

31. The world is less scary when I am with you.

32. I appreciate that your suggestions help me make difficult choices.

33. I lose all concept of time when I am with you.

34. If something serious happened to me, you’re the first person I would call.

35. You are so generous in spirit.

36. Surprise me more often because I like your surprises.

37. I love how you … whenever I need to …

38. I hear your voice even when we are not in the same place.

39. I feel connected to you even when I cannot see you.

40. Your wisdom has saved me.

41. I feel refreshed and renewed around you.

42. I enjoy your sense of humor.

43. Whenever I see a photo of us together, I smile.

44. I appreciate that you think about my feelings before you do and say things.

45. Your smile makes me smile.

46. I love that you know me so well.

47. When I think about you, I often remember when you…

48. I want to keep you in my past, present, and future.

49. I can be me when I am with you—I hope you feel the same way.

50. Circumstance brought us together; choice keeps us together.

You are so lovable.

I love you.

I know that the positive feedback I've received in the past has kept me going during the darkest moments of my life.

I hope that by saying “I love you” in many different ways, the special people in your life will have good memories that can sustain them during the more difficult moments in their lives.

How do you let people know you love them?

I love you image via Shutterstock

About Sue Ellson

Sue Ellson BBus AIMM MAHRI is the Founder and Director of Newcomers Network, a socially responsible business providing information, events and advocacy for newcomers and networkers in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. Sue started this enterprise in 1999 as a result of her own difficult transition from Adelaide to Melbourne. Connect with Sue via LinkedIn or learn more at SueEllson.com.

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  • kat

    i love this! bookmarked!

  • Guest

    amazing read- I kept thinking about how these apply to people in my life who I haven’t really told that I love them but still do!

  • Brando

    Thank you, I enjoyed reading this.

  • Ruth

    A friend said the nicest thing to me recently and it stuck: “You’re a really good friend to me.”

  • Thanks Kat, a great honour!

  • A wonderful comment Ruth and no doubt, well earned!

  • Thank you Brando – anything else you can add?

  • Thanks for commenting and becoming more aware of the people you do love! 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing this. Very enjoyable to read. Empathy truly is a beautiful thing.

  • lil.puzzle

    “knowing you gives me courage” — wow, never realized this could be an expression of love. I know someone who could be very negative and toxic to the soul. Yet that knowledge makes me strive to be a better person. Thanks for the enlightenment!

  • You are most welcome lil.puzzle – I am sure you can think of many other expressions of love – and sometimes those negative people teach us more than the positive ones do! I remember working with a woman who frustrated me enormously – but she made me better! 🙂

  • Thank you Ventain – yes, empathy is very useful and sometimes, a bit of humble yet empowering sympathy can help too…

  • Scott

    I like, “you are a source of peace or calm in my life”.

  • A good reminder! THANK YOU!! <3

  • Peter

    I am bookmarking this. Thank you!

  • Reading this article reminds me that there is truly no excuse for withholding that emotion with all those different ways to express it!

  • Yes Alex, there are many ways to express love – do you also know about the five love languages as well? Apart from words of affirmation, you can also provide acts of service, spend quality time with someone or give physical touch or gifts…so you can probably multiply these ideas by another 52 each!

  • Thanks Peter and would love to hear some reactions you receive!

  • Thanks Syaf! Keep smiling! 🙂

  • Thanks Scott – yes, when someone brings that into your life, it is truly special!

  • interesting

  • Thanks Dbakeca Italia – which part was most interesting to you?

  • beautiful

  • Thanks Paulette… 🙂

  • Chris Harrison

    Great article. It’s nice to think of all the different ways.
    I wrote I love you in different languages on 50 thankyou cards using an old dip pen andink and send one by post (even when we are together) to my partner Every fortnight or so with a little explanation of the country and a reason for saying it each time.
    Your list will certainly help 🙂

  • Oh Chris, that sounds so lovely! How thoughtful of you! 🙂

  • I’m still here

    Matthew 16:19

  • Anon

    So many ways to say “I love you”. I wish I had seen this before she left me; I probably wouldn’t be crying right now…

  • I am sorry to hear that you are hurting right now. Tears and grief can be very painful. Remember to say some of these to yourself…

  • Guest M

    W,
    The majority of this list is what I want to express… when I feel “bothered” or appear to be acting “strange.”
    I hold back, because I don’t know how you will react.
    I know, you sense how I feel about you (sincerely), I’m easy to read.
    11, 14, 22, 26, 28, 38, 39, 46 Stand out the most on a daily basis.
    25, 48 mean the most!
    I think about you and your family (yes, everyone), when I think about you. I remember everything you say, share, or do.
    I hurt, when you are hurt or are injured.
    Most importantly…I don’t flirt with you, (you know the many, many reasons why)
    My bond with you will always be…
    Today, tomorrow, forever….strong!

  • Lovely comments and thanks for sharing a detailed response Guest M!

  • all of these

  • Kelly Richards

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful list , worth using .After truly taking the time and reading out loud to myself this list , it actually touched my heart , therefore I’m positive it will touch others whom I will now share with . The expressions I’ve always used were : 1. I love you 2. You mean the world to me 3. You’re special to me 4. You’re my pumpkin 5. You’re a shining star 6. I appreciate you 7. You’re the best 8. You’re an inspiration to me 9. You’re my hero
    Ways I’ve been truly touched on the receiving end by a very special friend who I look up to admire and love are 1. You Light up my life 2. You’re adored unconditionally 3. I appreciate you 4. Thanks my supportive loving friend 5. You will always be my dear friend 6. I admire and love strong women they’re my superheroes 7. You’re the most thoughtful person I’ve ever met 8. You’re a beautiful soul 9. You’re very generous

  • Thank you Kelly for sharing your insights, what you have found so positive in the past and for sharing the list with people you know.

    Tiny Buddha is a lovely forum for sharing information! 🙂

  • jewelz

    This amazing man that I have. Been with for the past 2_1/2 almost 3 years, has really opened up my heart and fulfilled my heart with so much love, and companionship, that I never had growing up. He tell me each and every day how much he loves and care for me.

  • jewelz

    I agree with you as well

  • jewelz

    Thank you for your inspiration.Love is everything especially when you never got told you was loved even by your own family, but I’m at peace now with muse, reading everyone’s post., thank you

  • Bob

    Sue, this is a great post 🙂

    (btw, are you single? hehe 😉

  • Glad you like it Bob – sorry, not single…happy searching!

  • Many of pride forget to say any more “I love you” to your beloved new

  • Jane

    This was beautiful, Sue. It was obvious you put time, effort, and your heart into it. It made me very emotional. I’ll be putting this up in my house.

  • Jane

    I’m glad you finally found what you deserved your whole life. Not everyone is that lucky. Cherish him.

  • Thanks Jane for sharing them with the ones you love. I am honoured. 🙂

  • Yes, it can be difficult for some people to say – however, I don’t think it automatically means that they don’t have love for you. Keep loving people anyway.

  • Thanks Bob, glad you liked it!

  • Yes, cherish him indeed! Remember also that there is always love within each of us – finding it and appreciating it can be wonderful too.

  • Great to hear you are finding your own type of peace jewelz

  • Jena Martin

    i only came on here because i needed to do this for someone i really like at my school

  • Hi Jena, thanks for your feedback and I do hope you found a way to share your feelings with your school friend. One of the best things I remember doing at school with my friends was spending time together during breaks in the library and exploring something of mutual interest. Perhaps you could make a comment about how much you appreciate this person spending time with you when everyone is so busy these days?

  • Mandy

    I wanted to get some great ideas to show and tell people they are loved, and I want to tell you that you are golden, Sue. 🙂 Many great and wonderful blessings to you and yours! Thanks for posting this great article. 🙂

  • Thanks Mandy – good on you for doing the research and sharing your golden attitude! 🙂

  • Pierre Mushongi

    Simply amazing.. I just can’t stop admiring this splendid thoughts… It inspired me abruptly

  • Thank you Pierre Mushongi 🙂

  • AMC

    Great Lines … For Appreciate Someone

  • I am so excited that you have found some new ways to share you feel! 🙂

  • Thanks AMC – yes, there are many people that we can appreciate! 🙂

  • Lilly

    I been needing to tell my crush how much I loved him and I needed inspiration and this helped so much. Thank you

  • You are most welcome Lilly – start with something you find easy and comfortable first – something that you know he will feel comfortable with – and best wishes! 🙂

  • Gina Andrade

    Can you please do an ideas list with the five love languages? It would be forever treasured. Currently reading the book and I love it.

  • Pierre Mushongi

    Your a natural in expressing feelings…amazing

  • Thank you Pierre

  • Thanks Gina, a great idea, I will put this on my list of things to do and report back. Cheers, Sue

  • Pat

    Sounds idiotic

  • brady

    I have known this girl for 6 years and I am head over hills in love with her how and what do I say to her I mean we are dating but I can’t show or explain how much I love her what do I do

  • Chantel Crandall

    First, take her to a fancy restaurant or some place she really connects with. Then start to tell her some funny jokes. Compliment her smile/ laugh and say something like “You know y/n, I love your _____, which leads me to tell you I am in love with you. I hope you feel the same about me.” Before you do, make sure you ARE in love with her. LOVE: WHEN YOU WOULD GIVE THEM YOUR LAST DYING BREATH. I learned that lesson the hard way.

  • Hi Brady, I am no expert on this, but I would suggest you need to open up a little more in general conversations until the point where you feel comfortable discussing any topic. Then, you will see how your intimacy grows with your girlfriend and you will see her relax and you will know when it is right to explain how you feel. You can plant little seeds here and there – ‘I love the way you remember things’ etc. Then when it comes time to say the big one, ‘I love you, and everything that means,’ you will not be nervous. If you have spent six years together, I am sure that she knows, she just hasn’t heard you say the official words…let us know how you go! 🙂

  • mike

    ty

  • Thank you Mike – and season’s greetings to you! 🙂

  • Olivia

    Something i surely loved to read out

  • Rebecca

    Thanks! This was a really beautiful artice reminding me I should always say what I feel. I’ve never had a boyfriend, but I have a lot of other friends that I love more then anything. I really enjoyed reading this. ;-P

    May God Bless and Keep You!- Rebecca

  • Thank you Rebecca – it is so refreshing to hear that you have so many friends that are such an important part of your life! It takes a little bit of courage to venture out into the dating world, so I encourage you to take some new steps in that direction soon! All the best! Sue

  • i truly believe as long as people understand and practice unconditional love there should be no reason not to love or know how. thank you for your post, you put much effort into it.

  • Understanding and practising unconditional love can be challenging for someone who has not experienced this form of love before. Starting with some of these simple suggestions can hopefully help! Thank you for acknowledging the effort in writing this piece! 🙂

  • That’s great Olivia, glad you loved it! 🙂

  • Ashleigh

    Thanks so much for this article, I loved it!….. I’m in a kinda sticky situation. I know this guy named David. About six months ago he told me he liked me in a romantic way. I told him that I didn’t really feel the same way because at the time I didn’t. Since then, I’m pretty sure he moved on and doesn’t like me in that way anymore. I should also add in that I’m 15 and my parents don’t want me to date until I’m 18.

    Well anyways, we’ve remained friends. Really good friends actually. He’s always there for me when I need him. Lately, he’s not been in a super great position; David has depression. I’ve really tried to make him feel better, but I just can’t no matter what I say or do.

    I love David so much. And I’ve told him that I love him, and he’s told me he loves me. But I think we both kinda know it’s not really a romantic love.

    We’re such great friends, and I don’t want that to ever change.

    I really love him, but I’m just not in the position to date him at the moment. And I’ve only known this guy for one year….. (but we’ve been pretty close for the better part of that year)

    I’m not sure if I have a crush on him or not……. I think about him a lot…… But whenever I see him in person, I only see him as a friend. We don’t have much physical contact either…. sometimes he’ll touch my shoulder or vise versa, but that’s it. (not that I would mind too much. I’m very religous, so I probably won’t have my first kiss until I’m engaged. And I would under no circumstances have sex until after I’m married.)

    I don’t think he still has a crush on me (or even can with his depression). As I’ve said before, I can’t really date him right now…. and it’s kinda unfair to ask him to wait three years. But I’m not sure I would want him dating anyone else. (although if he started dating anyone else I would probably just pretend to be happy for him)

    I have no idea what to do.
    Should I just be friends with him?
    Should I tell him “hey! I might have a crush on you, but I don’t know yet”?
    Should I just write the whole thing off as teenage drama and focus on my other activities?
    Should I focus on becoming better friends with him?

    Sorry my comment is so long…. I’m just really confuzzled :/ Any kind of guidance would be great!- Thx, Ash

  • good

  • Thanks xDonne 🙂

  • Hello Ash, I can see here that you have a lot of thoughts and ideas running through your mind and at the same time, very strong feelings and emotions. At the age of 15, so much is going on in our lives and in our body and sometimes everything can feel extremely intense. Unlike the books, soap operas and movies we enjoy, you do not have to find an answer within minutes, you have the rest of your life to enjoy a huge range of experiences with all of your friends and family members.

    The first thing I would suggest that you do is try and find happiness and contentment within yourself through a variety of activities (not just time with David). Sure, being with someone special feels wonderful, but there are so many other things in our world that are fantastic and can make us feel good.

    Secondly, as I understand it, someone with depression needs additional support and as a close friend, it is only natural that you want to be there and be helpful too. Try not to put any pressure on yourself or him at this point. I believe that the best form of assistance is understanding (perhaps just time spent talking) and also action (like going for walks, doing things together etc). These moments can be intimate (close and caring) without being sexual.

    Thirdly, when you have such strong emotions and a rule not to have sex before marriage, it can heighten your desire to come up with some sort of solution to overcome how you are feeling. For now, it may just be difficult to love David and at the same time, be true to your values. That doesn’t mean that you need to cut him off or do something against your values, it just means that you need to spread the load around several friends, not just him. See if you can go out as a group with other friends, not just as a couple. Learn to enjoy the company of other people without any reference to sex.

    I was married at 20 and I can tell you that it was definitely too young (even though I was quite mature). To make a compatible choice for a long term relationship or marriage, you need to spend at least two years really getting to know someone and understanding each others’ key values and idiosyncrasies.

    So perhaps for now, give yourself a time frame of at least one more year before you make any decisions about David and enjoy being 15 years old and your school work, your friends and your hobbies. Life should be fun…not just serious!

    This will also help David as he won’t feel pressured and he can also work on his own recovery. Please note, that I am not a psychologist or professional adviser in this field…these are just my thoughts based on my experience and what I would personally say to any person I chatted to given this information. All the best Ash and keep smiling! 🙂 🙂

  • Emma Storan

    Aww this is lovely. So helpful. Sometimes it’s hard to tell people how much they mean to you, so they never truly realize their worth and how much they affect you. This list gave me some great ideas.

  • Thanks Emma, so glad the list has given you some ideas! Have fun sharing them around! 🙂

  • its dat

    I agree!

  • Thanks! 🙂

  • Juanita

    Im dating this guy that dont express emotions or feelings very well. How do i tell him i love him without pushing him away?

  • Hello Juanita, I would try and understand what he feels comfortable with first. Does he like you holding his hand, smiling, being playful? Whatever you notice that he likes, try and do that more often – or simply ask him what he likes! Try asking him open ended questions – like, when were you blissfully happy? Collecting clues about his preferences may take time, but try and be patient. He may not have had any experience with expressing his emotions or feelings before. What are the rest of his family and friends like? That may also give you some clues. When he starts talking, listen carefully and let him continue without stopping and sometimes ask him, is there anything else he would like to tell you…I hope that helps! 🙂

  • Lovely article.

  • Thank you 🙂

  • david

    i see nothing good there.

  • Hello David – were you looking for something specific? How can I help?

  • Thanks Pierre 🙂

  • Reanna

    This has really helped me gain my confidence about telling the person that I like how I feel about them!

  • So pleased that I have been able to increase your confidence Reanna! I trust that it all goes well for you and that you can be more authentic with all of your friendships in the future! 🙂

  • Lainey

    Hey Sue, I was reading a couple of comments and it seems like you give some pretty good feedback…
    my case is a bit different. I want to tell someone I know that I look up to them and they mean a lot to me. I’m affraid to because I don’t know what to say. She’s my dance teacher and is the most amazing person. How do I tell her that she’s who I look up to in life 🙂
    Also amazing article!! Thanks

  • Hi Lainey, thanks for your feedback and thank you very much for reaching out to me. I believe that the best feedback is specific. Perhaps you may like to write down some of the aspects that you really appreciate – how she includes people, how she encourages people to try new moves, how she recognises improvements, how she creates specific techniques for improving performance etc etc – then, you can do one of two things – either give her the hand written letter and say, this is everything I would like to be able to say to you because you mean so much to me. Or, you can ask her to sit with you for a few minutes and you can ask if it is okay to read them to her and then give her the paper. I guarantee that she will appreciate the effort you have gone to and she will particularly value the specific information you have provided. You will also be able to identify some of your own qualities – because in her, you have seen a little of yourself! 🙂