You don’t love them, and you’re not best friends

I don’t want to lead you to believe that the topic I chose to rant about today is the most important thing on my mind. It’s not at all, but I don’t want this to be typical either. Sure, I have thoughts about all the big controversies. I could go on a rant about gay marriage or abortion or animal rights. Blah blah blah. But you don’t want to read another post like that, and I don’t want to write one. Instead, I feel like talking about people (mostly girls) who tell people that they just met (like, two hours ago) that they love them. If this doesn’t irritate you, consider yourself lucky or crazy. Let me explain myself.

I’m awkward. You’re probably starting to pick up on that. I tend to be guarded with most new people. Once in a while, there are exceptions, but those people are usually the ones that I could really fall in love with. Gotta be especially careful then. So in my awkwardness and with my guard up, I do what I can to keep any conversation with a new acquaintance at a fairly safe level. I usually don’t talk about anything considered particularly controversial. I try to keep my humor cleaned up a bit until I know it’s safe not to. I usually let on that I’m somewhat optimistic and much more social than is true of me. Things like that.

I don’t want to scare anyone off when I’m just meeting them. And maybe it’s just me, but I think hearing “I love you” after one or two conversations is scary as hell. Who started that? Why do so many people think it’s okay? I’ve asked this so many times, but no one has an answer for me.

The words “I love you” should be really meaningful.  Meaningful things don’t have to be used sparingly, but they should be distributed carefully. You say it to your family and closest friends. This comes naturally to many, but not all.  You say it to a significant other, often after some degree of worrying about if it’s too soon. And you probably say it to these people often. That’s good. Totally acceptable. But it seems like that’s the only time it’s taken seriously. Any other time, the word “love” is thrown around as much as anything else.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t spread the love. I think we could all benefit from that. What I’m saying is that we need to stop saying we love things that we only like. Have you ever been heartbroken and wondered if he or she really loved you? Of course, you both said the words and you really meant them, but were you the only one?  And then when there’s drama with your new friends. Last weekend when you were out together at that house party, you all squealed “I love you” to each other, but now none of you are speaking. Now there are hateful subtweets and other ridiculous methods of tossing anything but love at one another.

I have a small handful of friends who hear the words “I love you” from me. And then I have a few others who I do love, but I can’t tell them because I know that it could potentially cause problems. Love is a big word, and people on the outside of a bond may overreact to such a word when they don’t know the intensity of what’s on the inside. It’s kind of sad, really. But I show them that I love them and do what I can to make sure they know that I do without ever using the L word. I make it work.

What I can’t make work is pretending to be okay with this. I met a group of girls in the last year who were the “instant friends” type. They spent a few hours together and decided they were best friends and that they loved each other. The next day, I would hear all sorts of things about who was mad at who and how they should go out without her next time. Ugh. If you’re grown up enough and close enough to say “I love you,” you’re more than capable of being direct.

This was more of a rant than a blog post, and I apologize if it seems to jump around a lot. I also apologize on behalf of girls my age. We’re the ones guilty of generating the bulk of this issue. However, I can assure you that we’re not all in on this madness.

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