10 Ways to Say “I Love You” (Without Speaking A Word)

By Ali Luke

February 4, 2009   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

It’s unfortunately very easy to get so caught up in life and routine that you forget to show affection to those most important to you. This trend starts honestly enough but quickly you realize that years have gone by.

If your relationship has become stale or if you tend to take your friends for granted, here are some ways to show your love for those around you. As you consider these, some of you may find that the time is not the issue; it’s the technique and act of verbalizing your feelings.
Therefore, go in knowing that you can accomplish these without saying a word. As most of us know, actions can speak louder than words…

    1. Leave Notes (in Unusual Places)
      Perhaps life has become so busy that you feel like your schedule rarely coincides with that of your partner or kids. How about leaving them a note somewhere unexpected? You’ve probably all heard of kids having little notes from their mom’s in their lunch bags – that’s one place to start, but how about a note by the kettle, in the fridge, on the pillow, on the computer screen…? This can become a bit of a game as you compete to leave a note in the most unusual places! 
  • Hug Someone
    Physical gestures mean a huge amount, and a hug can be just what a loved one needs to put a big smile on their face. Whether it’s snuggling up on the sofa with your partner or giving your kids a goodnight hug, being held and warmed by another person is a perfect way to feel loved. 
  • Write A Poem
    A time-honored way to say “I love you” is to write a poem. You don’t have to be Shakespeare – look for sincere, original ways to tell someone that you love them. Try not to fall back on hackneyed phrases about their beautiful blue eyes or their rosy red lips; write about something that’s meaningful to you, perhaps that dimple on their chin, or the way they laugh at your jokes. 
  • Give An Unexpected Gift
    I’m sure you give your loved ones gifts on their birthday, at Christmas, and on special occasions like Valentine’s day. But how about bringing a gift completely at random? An unexpected present is a moment of pure joy for the recipient and the giver, and it needn’t be anything expensive. A few of their favorite chocolates, a small bunch of flowers, a book which you know they’ll enjoy … for a few dollars, you have the perfect way to say “I love you”. 
  • Do The Chores (Without Being Asked)
    For many people, another extremely welcomed gift is someone else doing the chores! If it’s your partner who usually cleans the kitchen, why not do it and surprise him/her? If you normally have to be nagged to vacuum, get it done without being asked. Finding little ways to make someone else’s day smoother lets them know how much they mean to you. 
  • Hold Hands
    Like hugging, holding hands is something that we often neglect to do when a relationship becomes cozy and familiar. Try taking your partner’s hand when walking down the street, or hold their hands across a table in a restaurant. Being in contact physically helps you feel closer emotionally. This is especially important if you need to talk through a difficult issue or problem. Holding hands can also be a visible demonstration of support if your partner is upset or feeling down. 
  • Make A Special Meal
    If Friday nights usually mean ordering takeout, why not offer to cook for a change? Make a special meal for your partner (you don’t need an excuse for this – it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s day or an anniversary!) Include their favorite foods, take a few minutes to set the table, to light candles and put music on, and your usual forgettable evening slumped on the sofa can become a night to remember… 
  • Dress Up
    In the early stages of a relationship, you probably made the effort to look your best. Of course it’s nice to get to the point where you can lounge around in your jammies or your over sized, hole-ridden t-shirt… but occasionally getting dressed up can rekindle that early excitement in the relationship. Why not go out to a “swankier” restaurant than usual (it doesn’t have to be much more expensive), or just get dressed up in your party clothes for a special meal for two at home? 
  • Give a Foot/Shoulder Rub
    Modern life is stressful and many of us have aches and pains caused by tense muscles. A shoulder rub, back rub or foot rub is a wonderful way to tell your partner “I love you”. It demonstrates that their physical well being and comfort is important to you, and it’s also a great way to reinforce physical and emotional closeness. 
  • Listen to Them
    It’s easy to talk over people or to tune out most of what they’re saying whilst reading the newspaper or chatting online with friends. Listen actively to your partner – when they want to talk, put down what you’re doing, and focus all your attention on them. Listen for what they don’t say; unvoiced concerns or worries, or hints at what they’d really like. Nod and make eye-contact to show that you’re paying attention.

I’m sure there are far more than ten ways to say “I love you” without speaking a word – what tips do you have? What has a loved one done for you that showed their love in a powerful way?

Written on 2/4/2008 by Ali Hale. Ali runs Alpha Student, a blog packed with academic, financial and practical tips to help students get the most out of their time at university. Photo Credit: Éamonn
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