Monday, March 30, 2009

this advice has never worked for me

I just read a blog post about how you should tell your family and friends that you love them. I see this advice all the time. "Don't wait! Tell your loved ones how you feel about them! What if they died in a freak accident tomorrow? Let them know you care!"

This has never worked for me. I tell people, and then they get uncomfortable and don't know how to respond.

The worst was in 2007 when I was so overcome with joy over life that I emailed three close friends to say how much I love them and appreciate their quirks and friendship and support over all the years. There was no response for days. I think they felt awkward. This made me feel awkward in turn.

Maybe I am doing it wrong. Or I already am too prone to being verbally effusive, so this just pushes it over the line. But it is annoying to see this advice everywhere, when following it tends to lead to awkward results.


ArC said...

Perhaps if you do it frequently enough, your loved ones grow to expect it.

And then become blase to it.

Samantha said...

Yes, I have encountered the same problem recently. I realized that I am not used to express my feelings to my friends. I should learn to say "I love you", and "you are very important to me". I don't care about their response, only let them know my feelings, that's enough.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it doesn't work well. Often, such a form of verbal expression is too intimate for most people to handle and react naturally to, and can come off clingy, especially for people outside of family and relationships. Stick to sincere gratitude.

Sven said...

I always wanted to tell you how much I love your blog posts but I never felt I could do it without overly embarrassing myself. ;-)

Anonymous said...

The reason for lack of response is that they had already set your emails to go straight to the SPAM folder. Send a text message next's *much* more personal.

David said...

I've never understood exactly what people mean when they say "I love you" to friends or family. To me it only makes sense to say to a partner.

Niniane said...

re: the first Anonymous. It was sincere gratitude!

Niniane said...

Thanks Sven. :)

Anonymous said...

Re: Niniane - what I meant was stick to thank you's.

omar said...

niniane -- that message you sent me in 2007 didn't seem to get thru my spam filters, otherwise i would've loved back.


i love you man

Wes Bigelow said...

Where'd you read that shit? :D

I gave a birthday card to a good friend (male) recently, and I wanted to say something that meant a little more than just "Happy Birthday man". I think it went well (I was still restrained with it because we're guys). As we grow older, I think heartfelt, meaningful things like these will matter more.

The art of saying enough but not too much...

Anonymous said...

I think it works, only if done in a subtle way. Like, saying I love you, at the end of the email to your mom, or encouraging and praising your friends for smth, etc. It shouldn't be one long letter , with only love expressions, and nothing else:) The first thing I'd think is, wow, that person is totally overjoyed.
I personally always do it in small bits, but every day. I fix my husbands shirt, or tell my mom I missed her very much, or write a real birthday card to my aunt, adding a description of pleasant memory with her at the end. It works like magic - people feel loved, without being pushed to the wall with it.

Niniane said...

The last Anonymous makes a lot of sense.

Niniane said...

Omar, I love you too.

writer said...

I love and appreciate you in the way that one blogger loves another. I'm telling you this in case your blog is one day suddenly destroyed in a freak datacenter accident(s).

Moreover, if we ever become relatives (like via the marriage of siblings), I shall be prepared for such verbal or written effusives and react appropriately.

hmf said...

I too agree w/ the last anonymous & comments are seriously one of the best parts of this blog.

Niniane said...

re: writer. LOL! That was awesome, thank you. I love you to, as one blogger to another.

hmf284 said...

You know what? I would be remiss not to take this occasion to say thank you very much for Google Desktop Search. It's a great help & I use it all the time.

Niniane said...

Awwww, thank you hmf284. That makes me happy. :)

pk@nl said...

Now if You dared, go through the post of adam on free hugs. Its not the answer that matters, If they want to answer and they dont know how, tell them that it doesnt require them to answer, its a mere fact that You wanted to get transported to them. If You think those are trolling ask adam of who gave him a hint on free hugs. Thats the thing of quality of life. to mea, dear.

NikiWonoto said...

Hi I'm new here. I'm from a faraway country called Indonesia.
this is such an interesting blog!

regarding this topic, I totally agree with the Last Anonymous' comments. it's right on spot.
I think many people are usually not too comfortable with how a person express his feelings so overwhelmingly .
I think there are several reasons for this that I can think of:

One is that they're still not too close enough to you, that when you react suddenly so overwhelming like that, it'd usually just freak them out , since it's all too sudden, and they're just not prepared or even know what's really going on with you (or even your mind hehe).
I think the close your relationship with a person, then it's much more easier to express your true feelings in more free manner.

Second, is of habit.
Some, or many people, are probably just not accustomed to express their feelings with such overwhelming responses like that.
People are different.
There are shy people, there are extroverted kind of people, and many many more.
This is why I also often disagree with a lot of self-help advices that seems to view all human beings as being the SAME personality or behavior. It's not.
I believe there would certainly be people, or even your group of friends, who can understand and also got excited too with your overwhelming response, but not all your friends are like that. again, people are different.

Third, and lastly, I think it's kinda ironic of how as we advanced & progressed in technology & science & all of that, yet there're so many 'cold' , shattered , broken relationships.
I even dare to say that Internet is one of the main major cause that inhibits genuine social-interactions between human beings.
Nowadays things are so instant, that I believe it's also what causing people to rarely stop, take a deep breath, and just expressing their feelings in grace & beautiful manner.
Nowadays it's all facebook, twitter, and many other things (although i'm not saying they all have bad impacts. but generally they do have some bad effects also on social relationship).

This is just my view on this interesting topic.

Oh btw, Niniane, I do really have a question for you, but it's a private question.
If you don't mind, perhaps you can start email me at:
and I'll then ask you the question.
Thanks a lot!