It’s Never too Soon to Say ‘I Love You.’

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Recently I’ve become one of those fun-loving, optimistic types who believes that we really can love the whole wide world and all of its inhabitants.

I find that most people can get behind this mentality—except when it comes to dating. You see, when I form a romantic connection with someone, I tell them I love them right away—even if I’m not planning to date them exclusively.

And why shouldn’t I?

If I really love everyone, what does it matter what form our relationship takes?

Some people have said to me, “The L word is serious, you shouldn’t say it so soon,” or “You’re taking the fun out of falling in love by doing that.” But let’s put that in context of how we use the word love with other stuff.

If you have me over for dinner and serve me some delightfully delicious pad thai, and I find it to taste absolutely divine, isn’t it acceptable for me to tell you that I absolutely love it? Do I need to have it a few times before I know that I love it? Does it make you uncomfortable if I use such strong language about the food you just served me?

Probably not, so it’s okay for me to love food that I just met, but not a living, breathing, beautiful person who has my heart all a flutter on a first date?

Got it.

I was a foster parent a few years back and I remember when I took in my first child. The first night I tucked him in, I wondered if I should say “I love you.” I decided against it because part of me felt like I wouldn’t be telling him the truth. How could I love him when I didn’t even know him? He’d see right through it or think I was trying to replace his mother.

After a few nights I came to my senses and realized he’s a six year old boy and he needs to hear “I love you” from the person who tucks him in at night. So I said it and without hesitation he said it right back. At first I thought I shouldn’t say it because after all, love takes time and I’d need to build up to saying that word. But the truth is, the reason I signed up to be a foster parent is because I love kids, which means I loved him before he even arrived.

So many people say “I love people!”

We say we love football, and massages and chocolate cake, but then need to wait to tell someone special that we love them…why?

To me, saying “I love you” means that I want the best for you and that I value all parts of you, not just the favorable parts. I can feel that for someone right away. That feeling can also grow, just like a sequoia tree. When a sequoia tree is young and small, it’s not anything lesser than a sequoia tree. Same with my love—I love you on the first day and my love continues to grow big and strong the more I get to know you. I get to fall in love with you every day, from the start, instead of waiting for some perfect moment.

So what if we tell someone we love them too soon and they don’t say it back? The dread!

Well, does chocolate cake love us back? No.

Does a newborn baby return our verbal sentiments? No.

That’s not what love is about.

If we think love is about what we get in return, then we don’t know what love is—the truth is that we are pure love and giving it out feels just as good as when it reflects back.

It is why we are here, and we need to stop holding back.

I can see only good coming from telling someone, everyone, that you love them.

Why not just start saying it more often and see what happens?


Relephant read:

Why I Never say,”I love you” First.


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Author: Lealyn Poponi

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: the dimka at Flickr 

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Lealyn Papaya

Lealyn Papaya is a curious lover of life who lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. Recently she “consciously uncoupled” with her husband of 9 years and now enjoys pondering and studying the art and meaning of love by diving into the teachings of OSHO, Rumi and Thich Nhat Hanh. She is challenging herself and others to drop limiting beliefs about love that have been passed on for generations. In addition to writing, she enjoys practicing circus arts, eating vegan food, starting cuddle puddles and causing a scene. To find out more about Lealyn, please visit her website.

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anonymous Dec 27, 2015 10:28am

so with you on this, I say it so often and it tickles me every time!

anonymous Nov 7, 2015 3:38am

I loved this

anonymous Aug 25, 2015 4:28am

Thank you soooooo much for writing this. I loved it. 🙂

anonymous Aug 24, 2015 8:45am

Oh.. I have such an “I Love You” phobia! I tell my kids constantly but no one else.. These issues run deeeep.. But this article really made me think about love from a different perspective and I love it! Thank You and I think I love you.. Haha! (now I’m going to go throw up.. jk)

anonymous Apr 2, 2015 11:06pm

I love you 🙂

anonymous Apr 2, 2015 5:28pm

Well. Isn’t this timely? I was thinking this exact thing the other day. I was ‘holding back’ on the L word. I think it’s all the stuff that is attached to the word that is the issue. But I wish i could just say it in the moment and not worry about the rest. It may not be forever. But for now its love 🙂

anonymous Apr 2, 2015 1:03pm

Wish I wrote this forever ago and never stopped sharing it. Thanks Lealyn. I love you..more than chocolate cake!

anonymous Apr 2, 2015 12:52pm


anonymous Mar 4, 2015 3:40pm

I love everybody, but liking them is what is hard. I reserve the word "like" for folks I can relate to, which is a higher compliment in my own set of warped sensibilities. However, when I tell someone I like them, it is met with lukewarm response. I might be too friendly, so everyone just assumes that I like them. No, I just love them and want them to feel liked.

I always tell people I love them when the feeling is genuine. If they can't handle it, I suppose we can't be friends, which is a bummer. I'll be your friend, if you'd have me. Wait for me to say those three words sooner or later.

anonymous Mar 4, 2015 12:59pm

Finally! Someone put the meaning of love into words that I believe everyone in the world should read! Thank you Lealyn! I’ve always felt this way, it’s been so hard trying to explain it. This is perfectly said. I love you!

anonymous Feb 18, 2015 5:01am

I love you!

anonymous Feb 17, 2015 5:05pm

I love this! Absolutely agree

anonymous Feb 17, 2015 11:17am

Absolutley agree:) wonderful stuff 🙂

anonymous Feb 16, 2015 10:43pm

The World can always use more Love! <3

anonymous Feb 16, 2015 5:38pm

I love this article! And I completely and thoroughly agree! So so ssoo true! Beautifully written/stated …

anonymous Dec 26, 2014 1:12pm

oh Lealyn… I love you!

    anonymous Feb 19, 2015 1:05pm

    Oh Shannon! I love you too!

Tommy Cheswick Jul 22, 2017 12:02pm

I do not agree at all. There are some seriousy flaws in this reasoning. When you say "I love football", you are actually attaching a wrong signified to the signifier "love". In other words, you are using the wrong word. Instead you should for example say "I like football very much". First search for the definition of "love" f(rom humanities thinkers) and then see that you can not love a sandwich. Your second flaw is if you "love" your boyfirned the way you "love" a sandwich, is it really love or it is like?

Maddie Howe May 14, 2017 4:11pm

This article is just what I needed.. thank you