11 Things To Say When You Can't Say 'I Love You' Back... Yet

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saying i love you
Love, Self

So they broke out the L word, huh?

You might not be ready to say the L word, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or don’t appreciate the fact that they said it. And when it comes to how to say I love you, it's all in the delivery and meaning behind your words.

I think we all know that saying “thank you” is a huge slap in the face when someone is saying I love you, especially for the first time. But you do appreciate it. So here are a few things to say when you're not ready to say "I love you" back. 

RELATED: 25 Adorable Ways To Say ‘I Love You’ With Actions Instead Of Words

1. "I know I’m not ready to say that yet but I know you’re important to me."

Honesty is important in any (growing) relationship. If you're not ready, it's as simple as that. You shouldn't feel obligated to say it, and they know that.

It might sting a little, but as long as you can at least make them understand that they are important to you, patience will be a little easier to come by. They'll appreciate that you don't take this lightly, and it'll make the moment you do say it amazing.

2. "I’m so happy to have you in my life."

Say it, mean it, repeat it. If you're happy with the person, isn't that a big part of what love is anyway?

3. "I’ve never felt like this before, so I’m trying to understand it."

Don't say it unless you mean it. Feelings can be confusing. And scary. And fast. We all have our own pace. Take time to understand it yourself, and you'll know if and when you're ready to say it to them.

4. "You make me so happy, and I appreciate you so much."

So this is kind of a combo of a couple things. But at the very least, it's important to make them feel safe and secure. Saying I love you takes a lot of courage. Make sure they understand that you don't think they're weird for saying it when they did.

If them saying it did make you uncomfortable ... well, that's another story.

RELATED: 8 Phrases You'll Only Hear From Someone Who's Deeply In Love With You

5. Try a kiss.

You might not be able to say the words they want to hear right away, but hey, sometimes actions speak louder than words! But don't just kiss them to avoid responding. That'd be kind of awkward.

6. "I think I probably feel the same way."

If you say it like that, you kinda, sorta, maybe said it back too, right? Like, you're pretty sure that you're sure... maybe?

7. "That actually really means a lot to me."

And it does! Keep an honest smile with it. You can add whatever spice of life to this one. That means a lot to me, and I wish I could say it back, but something's stopping me. That means a lot to me, and I think I'm on the same road. You've got this.

8. "I really care about you."

"I care about you so much, and it makes me happy to hear you say that." Even if you can't say the L word, you can help them to understand how you feel in the moment.

9. Hug it out.

This is a very vulnerable moment. Some physical contact can help he or she feel safe again.

10. "Why?"

If the statement took you aback, or if you're not sure if they really mean it, ask. Let them tell you what drove them to say it. Their answer might just be what inspires you to say it too — or realize that you've been giving off the wrong signals.

11. Maybe you’re not ready to say it, but...

Are you ready to write it? Show it? Maybe just forming the words is hard for you because you've never said it before, or you're scared. Say it in a different way. Write them a little letter, take them out, whatever. The words will come when it feels right.

I don't know what's holding you back, and maybe you don't even know what's holding you back. But it's okay. Don't feel pressured. When it feels right, you'll know. Until them, keep doing what you've been doing to make them fall in love with you in the first place, you lovable beast!

RELATED: 50 Of The Sweetest 'I Love You' Quotes And Memes That Perfectly Describe True Love