It's the stuff Michael Buble sings about, what many of us seek for years: love.
The L word these days means absolutely everything and absolutely nothing. When it's a term that can be used to describe the opinion of your new trainers or your partner, it's hard to gauge what is really meant by 'love'. When you say you want to feel love, what do you want to find? Someone to sweep you off your feet? A best friend you can tell everything to? A new Mulberry?
When I first started seeing my boyfriend, funnily enough, we got on great. But not until he pointed it out did I realise that almost every object or person I spoke of fondly to him in the early days, I told him I loved. Be it chocolate, the new girl at work, or Phil Mitchell in Eastenders. I loved them. I'd use the word as much as I would say "hungry", and I really like food. Yet all three of these I could easily never see again and be over it after a few days, hardly worthy of my so called 'love.' So when I uttered those famous three words to him, how could he have been sure that I actually wanted to spend my future with him, and didn't just have the same feelings towards him as I did to a takeaway? That's not to say I ever want to part with pizza...
Has the term been overused to the point that it has a detrimental effect, therefore watering the word down? Say, you tell the new girl in the office on her third day that you love her because she made you laugh twice. This could mean the world to her, that she's already got a great friend at work, when really, you just enjoyed her company and splurged the word out like it was nothing. By next Friday you're forgetting to reply to her texts; the word 'love' meant a lot to her and your generalisation of the word has raised her hopes for a new friend.
The next time you're discussing something you really like, consider using different terms, such as 'enjoy', 'admire', or just simply 'like.' Saying 'I love you' has become the new throw-away goodbye, the new 'have a nice day', and it's not always accurate. I don't mean never ever say you love anything again for the fear of confusing someone. Just be sure you feel strongly enough about them/it to warrant such a deep admiration. And show it.
Sarah Abell, relationship expert and former agony aunt for Daily Telegraph argues: "Those three words only get you so far in a relationship. It is the actions and the behaviour behind the words that matter. Do you cherish this person? Do you turn to them even during conflict? Do you allow them to be who they are and not who you want them to be? Only when words and actions match up - will someone truly feel loved."
Try not to utter the L word if you 100% don't feel that way. Words mean nothing without actions. Are you willing to devote quality time to a person the way you would your PlayStation? If you're a victim of expressing your love too often - why don't you do little things to remind them how special they are to you? Sometimes it's not needed to be said, it's just understood. Cook your boyfriend his favourite meal, check in with a friend if you know they're going through a tough time. If you'd do the same things for your Playstation... well, that's a whole other problem.
Sarah Abell is the former Agony Aunt of the Daily Telegraph and is the founder of Nakedhedgehogs.com
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