Katelynn Singleton, Campus Carrier deputy news editor
In a time when physical interactions such as handshakes and hugs have been replaced with elbow bumps and waves, I find that it’s so much more important to verbalize how you feel. The pandemic has changed every aspect of our lives. We’ve been forced to stare at screens for hours on end, and the line between work and personal time has been blurred. People are so much more stressed than before. This is why I make sure to take the time to tell my friends how much I love and appreciate them.
I’ve always been a very affectionate person. As a kid, I made sure all of my stuffed animals felt loved, and as a slightly more grown-up kid, I make sure that all of my friends feel loved. I hug them before they leave, tell them to text me when they get home and send them random paragraphs with enough exclamation marks to give any professor a headache.
You don’t have to explicitly say “I love you” to let someone know you care. Words of affirmation may not be your love language. Maybe you’re always available to give someone a ride or help someone with a difficult assignment. That means your love language may be acts of service. Maybe you like to bake and share your food with your friends . That’s gifts. Or maybe you just like to be near a person, even if you aren’t talking, which is quality time. There are so many different ways to show your love for someone that don’t include words.
If someone has been by your side for a long time, it’s easy to forget to tell them how much you care about them. It’s easy to think that by saying it so often, it loses meaning, but I couldn’t disagree more. If you tell someone you love them with just as much honesty and emotion as you did the first time, it has the same impact, if not more.
A concern that society has put on us is also the idea that if you say “I love you” to someone of the opposite sex, that means that you think of them in a romantic way. It’s important to remember that romantic love isn’t the only type of love. Platonic love can be even stronger than romantic love. Your friends have probably seen you at your worst, and at your best. Showing them how much you care about them is an important way to say thank you.
There are a million different reasons that you can love someone and we need to normalize expressing that love, even if it’s unconventional. Maybe you love how your friend will always go on a Cookout run with you, even if it’s 11 p.m. and they have a test the next day. Or how your roommate will make you laugh when she’s ranting about a class. Or how your friends are always coming up with a new saying that will be repeated nonstop for the next two weeks.
Showing your love is such an important part of being human. It can build a relationship, and make it 20 times stronger than it was. You also have no idea what a person has been through. Telling someone that you care could be what was needed to transform their day. And, chances are you can start a pretty nice domino effect.