Replacements For The Phrase "I Love You"

As we all know, few things have grown more worn down and shoddy with overuse than the words “I love you.” When strung together, you could elicit everything from what a couple says before they slip a ring onto each other’s finger, all the way to a sorority girl’s proclamation to the roommate she’s “married” to on Facebook. The term has lost some meaning. So, though they may be a bit cumbersome, I propose a few new terms that more succinctly get to the heart of the matter. This, my friends, is true love.

“I would pick you up at the airport at 7 AM, not even the airport that’s closest to me — the one you have to take 1-95 to get to. I’d go there even if there wasn’t a McDonald’s on the way to get some hash browns and McMuffins. I would settle for gas station breakfast on the way because that’s how much you mean to me.”

“If you are 99 percent sure you’ve discovered the coworker who isn’t flushing on the second floor bathroom, and have further deduced that it’s the same one who has been bad-mouthing you to your boss, I will let you talk about this. I will listen to your corporate Sherlocking for at least 20 minutes, despite the fact that literally none of this story is engaging to an outsider. I will help you plan ways to catch him not flushing, and simultaneously use this information against him with the boss. We will be a team.”

“No matter how incredibly lackluster your mother’s cooking is — and despite the fact that you’ll never fully understand this, as you’ve grown up eating Shake-N-Bake and lettuce with literally just oil and white vinegar on it — I will always be game to go eat at your parents’ house. I will always help her prepare the potatoes (which she will proceed to simply boil and put on a plate), and be kind and respectful to her wishes. I will compliment, but not so much it seems fake. (Though I may secretly eat a burger later that night — I am only human.)”

“I will spend weeks — maybe months — before Christmas trying to think of something really special to get you. I will get extremely excited wrapping the gift, and learn to deeply hate myself, as, once again, I didn’t cut enough paper for one side and the corner looks like it got into a fight with a pair of scissors and has to be stitched up with Scotch tape so its innards don’t fall out all over the operating table. I’ll still get all pumped when I’m handing it to you, I’ll just tell you not to look at the left side.”

“Because I know doing dishes fills you with some kind of inhuman rage, and though it’s not my favorite thing in the world, it doesn’t drive me to suicide — I’ll do the dishes. I’ll put some music on and do the entire sink. I’ll even even go back to finish the pans after I let them soak, universally recognized as the truest sign of dishwashing dedication.”

“For no one else, but for you alone, I will allow my music to be touched. You can change it and put on something that makes me question the entirety of human history — how could it have possibly led to a man on the moon, a vaccine for polio, and this horrendous song? — but I’ll listen to the whole thing and even maybe bop my head a little to the left and right. A little.”

“I will suddenly look at all the things in life that seemed incredibly lame — going to bed early, making complex plans for the future, and driving out the country just to be in an empty house — and think they seem kind of, well, tempting. I’ll want to start constructing things that will last for a long time, and coming back to work on them more later. My horizons will extend beyond brunch this weekend, and I’ll start actually using that horrendous panda calendar my aunt bought me.”

“I’ll realize that I’m not the only person in the world. Little by little.” TC mark

image – Jannes Pockele

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • Denden

    “I love youtube”

  • kitefeet


  • Jordana Bevan

    three and four are okay, but the rest aren’t any different from sorority girl & fb wifey’s “i love you.” selfish, self centered, immature 20-something yr old love. which maybe is the point, i don’t know, but man, if these are the heart of what our “i love you”s ‘really’ mean……. fuckity fuckfuck

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know man, we enjoy doing these things suddenly because we’re in love. Thought that came across, but, you know. Win some, lose some.

      • Jordana Bevan

        maybe I’m having reading comprehension issues. Just the way things were phrased made me really sad, like I basically read this like it’s a chore to do all these things even though you’re WILLING to do them because you love someone.

      • Sarah

        You’re having reading comprehension issues.

      • Jordana Bevan

        oh thank god you clarified i was so confused lol!!!!!

      • Jordana Bevan

        but also maybe I’m thinking about this in  life-partner-romantic-love-we-need-to-be-satisfied-or-we-won’t-get-through-the-next-72-days way. Mostly spot on for friend love though. This made me think a lot and that’s what’s important on TC right? ;] ;] ;] ;] ;] ;]

      • Pretzel

        you’re the best writer on this site

  • Maxwell Chance

    If I had a super power it would be that whenever you are in pain I would be able to lessen it by taking some onto me.

    • Natasha Reeves

      That’s gotta be the purest type right there…romantic love or otherwise. Well said.

    • Shaeandraa

      And if I also had a super power, I will create a defense from your power so that you aren’t hurt because of me.

  • timbrepanic

    To my future ex-wife/girlfriend/partner/bestfriend, I still love you and I will use these terms to prove them. 

  • Weslee Janisen

    Ah, I loved this article so much I would TOTALLY pick it up from the airport!!

    • Anonymous

      Your comments always make me smile. :)

  • Frank

    This article sucks ass 

    • guest

      and so do you

  • Shawn

    Beautiful piece. Truly, actions ALWAYS speak louder than words.

    “I’ll go that thing that I think is really really boring/dumb/irrelevant to me… but I know it’s your passion, and that it means the world that you’re there for them. I’ll go.”

  • Katie

    ah, hope.

  • Olivia Moore

    I think I am the queen of weird work stories that don’t make sense my boyfriend, but he will listen until I’m finished ranting and completely agree with everything I say. He must love me.

  • Guest

    i thought i was THE ONLY one who thought that going back to clean the pans left soaking was a big sign of dedication….this makes me think i never loved my mom…..i do, i just….ugh PANS take TWICE the effort.

  • Jinanda

    And this deserves an ‘I love you’

  • Graham M Steffen

    Thank you.  This is nice.

  • beatrice

    Guess he doesn’t love me then

  • Britney

    Isn’t there something about the words “I love you” that has meaning, though? Isn’t there something in the traditional sweetness that softens everything else? Why should the ‘facebook brides’ and ‘twenty-somethings’ ruin something so sacred for the rest of us?

    As well-written, heartfelt, and true as this was, I can’t agree. “I love you” is what it is– the simplest, purest form of a pure, simple, universal sentiment.

  • Doug

    If I ever walked up to my wife with a list of sacrifices or minor inconveniences I’ve experienced as a result of being with her rather than just saying “I love you,” it would start a big fight, and I’d deserve to sleep on the couch. I have to agree with what Jordan was saying earlier, you don’t feel like they’re sacrifices because you’re doing them out of love for the person, not so you can throw them in their face later.

    A couple of these examples were ok, many were petty, but some went beyond bitter into flat out hurtful to the other person. “…despite the fact that you’ll never fully understand this, as you’ve
    grown up eating Shake-N-Bake and lettuce with literally just oil and
    white vinegar on it…” You might as well just say, “You pathetic little monkey, where would you be had I not scooped you up out of the mud and showed you how to behave like a human being.” That’s not any kind of love I want to be a part of.

    The phrase “I love you” may be heard often or misused, but that doesn’t make it less meaningful. When I tell my wife I love her, there’s meaning behind it that’s different from me saying I love a certain TV show or whatever. There’s emotion and feelings I convey in that moment when we’re sitting together that there just aren’t a lot of other words to describe, but it still works. And it doesn’t matter that other people throw it around to describe stupid little things, anything that someone other than you and your significant other says or does should not be able to in any way cheapen or weaken your love. If it does, maybe you should re-evaluate your relationship.

    • ADAM

      it was meant to be cute. Jeez, lighten up already!

  • x x


  • Dave Carmocan

    This is really good.  Sometimes I feel that we overuse the word love so much that it lessens its meaning. 

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