‘Love You’ Not As Meaningful Without the Leading ‘I’

Why don’t people say “I love you” anymore? It’s been truncated to “love you,” and I don’t know why. Is including that one-letter subject really that exhausting?

All communication is abbreviated these days. From lol to brb to idk, you can never keep up with all this shorthand without a glossary. Sometimes I just want to shake my head (smh, naturally) and scream the unabbreviated “wtf.”

But I love you is one phrase that can’t be shortened without losing its power. These days, there is no love for – or without – the first-person pronoun.

“Love you” just does not deliver nearly the same wallop as “I love you.” Yes, it’s only one letter, but this expression of feelings cannot be abbreviated and still carry the same meaning. That one-letter pronoun is what separates love and something less than love.

And how ironic is it that the generation raised on social media, which is responsible for producing legions of narcissists and a look-at-me culture, has trouble saying “I”? You’d think that word — along with “me,” “my,” “mine,” or any other word that points to themselves – would be the easiest for them to use. And judging by their online posts, they have no compunction with using them, and using them often.

When someone texts (or speaks) “love you,” it means something is missing there. Like hesitation marks on a cutter’s wrists, they can’t quite bring themselves to go through with it. They may have feelings for you, but it’s not the big L.

When it comes to matters of the heart, there should be no shortcuts. Here, short is not sweet. Besides, when it’s the real thing, you want to make sure there is no room for misinterpretation, no matter how long it takes. When it’s really love, the I’s have it. There’s no abridgement, and it’s either hesitated for effect (I. Love. You) or punctuated with a series of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When “love you” is said to me, I’m not offended, but I know it’s not the best they’ve got. They may care for me, or even be fond of me, but they don’t love me, at least I’m not sure they do. And the only reason I’m not convinced is because they don’t begin their sentence with a capital I. Want to know if their professed love is the real deal? If it’s a complete sentence (subject + predicate), it’s all good. If it’s a fragment (no subject), they’re not all in.

It could be worse, though. They could use “love ya,” which is meaningless and a throwaway line if there ever was one. And don’t even get me started with the vacuous “luv ya.”

So, if you want to know for certain how that certain someone really feels about you, all you have to do is count to three. Sure, it’s only one letter. But it speaks volumes.