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I want tell to someone "I love you", but not in that manner (indirectly but to get that idea). How can I do it in a modern way?

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"I love you" is a special string of words. If you actually want to tell someone "I love you", then you have to say those words, or else you didn't really do it. –  Kosmonaut Apr 12 '11 at 13:05
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Don't rule out non-verbal communication; a broad smile and a long hug can "say" a lot; for the purely verbal side, I'm with Kosmonaut. –  PSU Apr 12 '11 at 13:21
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@Kosmonaut: This is actually quite interesting. We do not have this performative speech act in Dutch, and hence we lack the corresponding ritual (apart from those who watch too many American television series). For starters we lack a current transitive verb to love. Among my friends, it is assumed that love grows and clichés are unromantic. I suspect that a similar ritual is somehow performed as well, but with different clues. I wonder how deeply this is rooted in cultural differences; marriage proposals do exist, of course. –  Cerberus Apr 12 '11 at 13:43
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@Kosmonaut That is not true; you can say ILY. ;-) –  kiamlaluno Apr 12 '11 at 13:53
    
@Kosmonaut, I suppose an established couple could create a proxy phrase or word that they take to mean "I love you". I'm thinking of something like "Ditto" from the movie Ghost. –  Sam Apr 12 '11 at 14:44
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9 Answers 9

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you want very serious options:

  • I enjoy spending time with you
  • I enjoy our time together
  • I cherish/treasure/love our friendship

If you want to be more indirect and focus on the couple:

  • We make a great team
  • We are good/awesome together

If you want a more informal, off-the-cuff feel:

  • I like you
  • You are cool/awesome/...

But really, if you just want to reenforce a good friendship, spending time with the other person can generally be enough. Words are appropriate for most situations but every now and again things are better said with actions.

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Who could forget Scarlett O'Hara's telling Butler: "Money does help and of course I am fond of you..." –  The Raven Apr 12 '11 at 15:21
    
I enjoy our time together is good enough thanks :) –  Gayan Ranasinghe Apr 14 '11 at 4:29
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I have a boyfriend who says: "I enjoy spending time with you" and "I enjoy staying with you" and "I'm really looking forward to seeing you"; and "actions speak louder than words" but these expressions, although gratifying, will never replace "I love you". –  Mari-Lou A Feb 21 at 10:40
    
I agree with @Mari-LouA: these suggestions all come under the heading of "other things to say that are nice" rather than "other ways of saying "I love you"". –  starsplusplus Feb 21 at 11:22
    
That's because an indirect form of "I love you" isn't as powerful as a direct form of "I love you." That's most likely the entire reason the OP wanted an indirect form. –  MrHen Feb 24 at 15:20
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In English the term care is considered to be a little weaker than love.

So you could use "I care about you" or "I care for you".

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You are the apple of my eye

This is sweet

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There's the idiom pattern of "You're the _ _ my _" Where the last blank is a favorite thing, the first is the best part of it and the middle is the corresponding preposition as in:

  • You're the cheese to my macaroni.
  • You're the sugar in my tea.
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Well, if you don't want to say it, show it by doing the little things, being courteous, helpful (there is a fine line between between this and being taken advantage of so be careful, don't be afraid to stop where you think the line is), asking about said persons day, stay interested in it... regardless of how crappy/boring the story is. Doing these things typically get noticed and if the person feels similar about you, usually leads to them saying it first.

But there is no replacement for being straight forward and honest with yourself and the other person. I do find this the best approach even if it leads no where. Most I have said this too, I'm still friends with today and have good friendships with. I have been able move on to find someone who's willing to reciprocate the feelings. No waisted time lingering over the situation.

Note: Those that I'm not friends with, this wasn't the real problem and any relationship we might have had, would have ended badly due to other differences.

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It is very normal and "modern" to say "I love you" even in current times. I guess you could also say "I'm in love with you".

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no i don't wanna say it directly. but it's just like "i like you" or something –  Gayan Ranasinghe Apr 12 '11 at 12:48
    
It depends on the situation. I guess it would be helpful if you could elaborate on the context. Are you saying it to a family member, a friend, a spouse? –  victoriah Apr 12 '11 at 12:50
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It's obviously none of those three, but a special someone... :) –  Jimi Oke Apr 12 '11 at 13:32
    
I think "I'm in love with you" is ten times as intense as "I love you". –  dplanet Apr 25 '13 at 19:25
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This may be off-topic but I would either:

  • use the phrase "You're my world"
  • let music speak for you and send this YouTube video of the same title
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Let's turn this around for perspective. How would you tell someone indirectly that they had bad breath? Maybe you would make a hint, like "This chewing gum is really good! I recommend it," and give them a pack. This approach relies on the listener reading between the lines, and it may be possible for you to use this reliance in your own situation. Perhaps suggest a trip away together, dinner with your parents, etc. Things which would connote your feelings without directly stating them.

Another approach is to bring up the subject without being specific. For example you might mention to your halitosis afflicted friend that you heard a radio broadcast this morning about oral hygiene, without relating it to him specifically, hoping that he will get the drift without being offended.

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I understand that in Thai it is not considered appropriate to bring up issues that may embarrass your listener; a convention has evolved where you would criticize some insignificant thing rather than the issue. So if someone has offended the boss, you might tell them that the boss "didn't like the shirt you're wearing today" or some such triviality. It is a common convention so people get the point. Thai speakers welcome to comment, my source is one teacher I had. –  trideceth12 Apr 12 '11 at 13:37
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"You're very important to me"

Said in the right tone of voice, and in the right context would imply that something more than friendship is meant.

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