Sometimes we forget how important the people we love are. Friends, family, spouses, children all need to be reminded of our love. Just saying “I love you” is great, for sure, but is there something more we can do? Something we can DO for them, beyond just saying the words? Here are some ideas that will make those you love feel that love in real ways:
- Listen to Them – Listening is an important trait. As they say “we have two ears and only one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we speak.” But listening goes beyond nodding and smiling. Really listening to the ones you love means picking up on the small things: tone of voice, facial expressions, and overall outlook. Many people can hide their feelings with words, but hiding their feelings physically is much harder. Listening to the ones you love means picking up on what’s under the words. Listening to the words themselves is important too though. By listing you can understand their problems and help them out. You can give good input instead of “uh huh” and “oh really”. You don’t have to FIX them, but you should be listening to them instead of thinking about what you will say or what your problems are.
- Talk to Them – Not only should you listen but you should talk as well. Relationships should be a two way street. If you are not sharing then how can they show you love? You are actually showing them love and trust by sharing your problems or needs as well. But beyond that, just talking about what is important to you, what your day was like, or what you find funny or interesting is a way of strengthening the bonds between you. Relationships require communication to stay alive, so offer up your half without holding back.
- Be Happy – Let’s face it, no one wants to be around a Gloomy Gus all the time. Yes, we all have bad days or bad times in our lives but we don’t have to let that determine everything about us. Make an effort to be upbeat and happy around those you love. You don’t have to be fake, but why do you want to make them feel bad if they can’t do anything to help you? Try to avoid repeating the same sad stories over and over again and share new things about your life that are positive. The less you dwell on the negative the better you and they will feel.
- Give Hugs – Hugs, kisses, a pat on the back, whatever physical affection you feel comfortable showing really makes others feel loved. There is just something about touch that triggers that warm fuzzy feeling and small touches can do it as well as long cuddles. Hold hands in the car, squeeze their arm while you listen to them talk, give a side hug hello or goodbye. Even a brush of a shoulder can make you feel closer and bring a smile to their face.
- Do Something New – Sometimes we get into a rut. We do the same things with the same people over and over again. Boredom creeps in and even good things no longer seem like fun. Doing something new is a great way to wake up a relationship and show the other person how you feel about them. Maybe you can learn something new together. Or you can look at something new on a long drive. Try a new sport or go to a new restaurant. Doing something that is new to both of you brings you closer as you learn and experience together. Even if it ends up in disaster, you can laugh about it later. Sometimes the best memories in life are the unexpected ones.
- Do Something They Like – Without them pressuring you or asking, think about what they like to do and do it with them! If you don’t know what they like to do then be worried. If you love someone you find out what their likes and dislikes are. Maybe they love the outdoors but are stuck inside all the time. Plan a picnic and have some outdoor time, even if it is just in a local park. Go for a walk, stop to smell the flowers, and really think about what they would enjoy.
- Do Something They Hate – Do they hate doing dishes? Cleaning the car? Scrubbing the toilet? Whatever it is they hate to do, do it for them. It doesn’t have to be big. If you have a friend at work that hates making coffee every morning, then do it for them. Or a child that hates making the bed; make it a treat to once in a while do it before they can. Being mindful of what others hate is almost as important of being mindful of what they love.
- Do Something You Hate – Sometimes what the other person loves you hate. Let’s say they love to dance but you can’t stand it. No, you shouldn’t make yourself miserable, but once in a while you can stand doing it if it will make them happy. Don’t make faces and look long-suffering either. Try to enjoy yourself and give them they love they need by doing something for them that is out of your comfort zone.
- Write Them a Note – Words mean a lot, and written words stand the test of time. While hearing you say “I love you” is great, seeing it written down is even better. They can look at a note from you all day or all week long. Instead of sending a text, why not leave a note in their lunch or on the table? Even writing a letter is just a few minutes out of your day that can make them feel loved no matter how far away from you they are.
- Do Something Small – Small things add up. Taking over their plate after dinner. Stopping what you’re doing to talk to them or play with them. Making their favorite meal or bringing them a snack when they are feeling down. Little nice things that might go unnoticed usually don’t. A lot of people think love is the big things: wedding rings and flowers, extravagant meals and trips, or expensive gifts. But really, the small things matter more. The everyday love that you show is what is felt over the long term, so make it count even in the small things.
- Keep Your Word – Last but certainly not least, keep your word. There is nothing that will destroy any relationship faster than lying. Yes, I know, it is not always a deliberate lie. You meant to but you forgot. You were just joking. You lost track of time. You were busy. Excuses aside, being untrustworthy hurts. It hurts the ones you love and it hurts your relationship with them. Every time you mess up, they trust you a little less which makes it that much harder for them to be loved. If they can’t trust your word then how can they trust your “I love you”? By keeping your word, even in the small things, you build trust. Be careful about what you say and make sure you can back it up with your actions. Love is an action, after all.
Making someone feel loved really isn’t hard. It is about the little things, the little touches that make life memorable and unique. Just keep your word, be attentive and keep your eyes open for small opportunities to show others how much you love them.