The title of this post is shared by at least one (Marx Brothers) song and at least one (Woody Allen) movie. Yet in my estimation, the sentiment is anything but true. Everyone doesn’t say I love you. In fact, very few people do. Everyone may love Raymond, but do they tell him?
It seems to be heard more often in anonymous relationships than intimate ones. You know, called out from a crowd to a professional athlete or some other celebrity. (“I love you, Tebow!”)
It’s possible that Chico Marx expressed our feelings when he sang the aforementioned ditty:
Everyone says, “I love you”,
But just what they say it for I never knew
It’s just inviting trouble for the poor sucker who
Says, “I love you”.
That’s cynical even by my standards.
Here’s a fun thing to try. Ask random people the following simple question:
“When is the last time you told someone outside of your immediate family that you love them?”
No point embarrassing anyone by including spouses, children, parents, or siblings. I don’t even want to know how rare that is. Anyway, the point is that even if we do tell those closest to us that we love them, we almost never do it to anyone else.
There are only two possible explanations for this deficiency on my part.
- I don’t love anyone else. (I certainly hope that isn’t the case.)
- I resist telling those I love that I love them.
I can’t think of any reason that justifies #2. Nothing. Yet it is the case. I’m pretty good with family (could be better there, too) but beyond that, I leave you guessing. And I do love a lot of people. They have a right to know how much I appreciate them.
I actually do remember the last time I told someone (a guy, no less) that I loved him. While saying it is daunting, his response demonstrated that hearing it is just as disquieting. Maybe it’s that old fear we have about not having our feelings requited. You blurt it out and there’s no response. Your sincere expression of affection hangs in the air like a loogie on your middle school classroom ceiling waiting to drop on your teacher, provoking a trip to the principal’s office.
Yeah, it’s like that.
So here is your assignment. (The previous unspoken assignment was to buy something from the SFH gift catalog.) Approach someone outside your family and tell him/her that you love him/her. If you do it, report back here and let me know how it turns out.
If it works for you, maybe I’ll try it, too.