When I speak to my husband on the phone, it has become habit to say “Bye, I love you,” at the end of the call. Same goes for family….. but it can be a bit awkward sometimes if you end the conversation with friends, and especially random sales people etc…. in the same affectionate manner. I know, because I have done exactly this, more than once! Haha
That said, in most of my friendships it isn’t abnormal to express love verbally in this way. It’s actually a really beautiful and comfortable thing when we can express such deep affection for one another, and know that the sentiment will be (and is) reciprocated. That said, I have noticed a tendency to avoid the “I” in the statement among friends, or make the statement slightly more casual to make it less romantic perhaps. We might say “Love you” or “I loves ya” or “Love us” or LUVU” or “we all love you” or “love you longtime!” Very rarely do we ever say “I love you.”
I think in some cases, it probably is acceptable. I thought for example, it was ok to say it at big life events where emotions are running high, like births, deaths and marriages. So I tried it at a good friend’s wedding. As the bride and groom left for the evening, and did the rounds saying their goodbye’s to all the guests, I leaned in, hugged the bride, gushed about what a wonderful wedding it was and how beautiful she was, kissed her cheek and whispered in her ear “I love you.” Yeah. Awkward. It felt like I was preparing my own creepy proposal at her wedding to someone else! Lol Thankfully I’d had enough to drink that the bride probably assumed I also loved the lamp post that night and we didn’t speak of it again!
And that was with a friend always willing and open to expressing affection with me. I don’t know exactly why saying a direct “I love you” seems to cross a line, but I do know if you accidentally slip up and say it, it feels instantly creepy and actually quite embarrassing. I wondered if this only happened to me, because my friend may question if I mean it in a more romantic than platonic way based on my more fluid sexuality. So I was secretly thrilled lately when a friend confessed she made the same faux pas in another friendship, and she didn’t know how to handle the situation.
Apparently, after a group gathering, my friend said her goodbyes to a female friend. They hugged and exclaimed it was good to see one another. They said they should catch up privately, then they each went about saying their goodbye’s to other members of the group. A while later, despite having already said goodbye, they were finally walking out of the venue together. So at the exit, they once again hugged, and kissed on the cheek. As they broke apart to go their separate ways, my friend called out to her friend “I love you.” My friend has no explanation for this sudden and unexpected outpouring of love for her friend.
She described the way her cheeks were burning as she returned to her car, and that she wondered what her friend would think! Would she think my friend had lingered around on purpose to say an extra goodbye? Would she think my friend was harbouring a secret lesbian crush on her? Would she avoid my friend in future? I was laughing (hard) at my friend’s awkward misfortune when she shared this, before I finally asked her if it was common among her female friends to say this to one another? She said she’d probably never even said that to another member of the group whom she’d known the longest!
I teased my friend considerably, because she has in the past admitted to having a “girl crush” on this particular friend. For those of you who don’t know, a girl crush is a term heterosexual girls use to describe feelings of excitement and admiration for another (usually) heterosexual female friend. Someone they want to spend lots of time around, they want her approval, wish to look and be more like her and may even get a bit giggly around her. They insist they do not want to kiss or be sexual with her! I have my doubts! Hehe)
Anyway, I eventually said her friend probably didn’t even hear her or think anything of it, and not to mention it or it would indeed seem weird. Too late! My friend had already sent her friend a super awkward text message apologizing for professing her love inappropriately and assuring her friend that she was not indeed a lesbian!! I think the lady doth protest too much, don’t you?! Haha Awkward! At the time of writing this, her friend had not read, nor replied to the message.
Essentially, she has tried to revoke the “I love you.” This is just as awkward as blurting it out in the first place. Awkwardly trying to say “I love our friendship, but not you as such” puts her friend in the position of feeling she must now respond to the awkward “I love you.” She must reassure my friend that she loves her too, and doesn’t think my friend is a secret lesbian… all the while probably thinking exactly that!! Lol Alas, if their friendship is true, I’m sure that’s exactly what my friend’s friend will do, because I’m sure she does love my friend, even if they don’t usually say so.
What I value most about my friends with whom I express love, however awkwardly, is that I trust them, and they trust me. We know exactly what is, and equally, what isn’t meant by the sentimental exchange and even though I am not heterosexual I never have to explain my feelings or myself.
Your Best Friend ForNever