When A Westernized Women Says “I love you”

In the Asian culture it oftentimes is a rarity to hear anyone say the words “I love you”.  Whether it is from one friend to another, or from a parent to a child, in traditional Asian culture the phrase his rarely ever expressed. It can be so rare in fact, that oftentimes even in romantic situations this verbal exchange of appreciation never occurs. So I had to ask myself why this was the case? Growing up in a westernized culture, this expression is used quite often to include many forms of love including friendship, romantic, or a strong liking for something.  This seemed the exact opposite of the traditional ways of self-expression found in Asia.

In my attempts to further understand the lack of this expressions use, often time from an AM to a WF, I came upon some interesting cultural differences that account for it. Firstly, I realized that the use of the phrase “I love you” in its traditional sense only implies a romantic status. It is not used to show appreciation or any other sentiment other than a romantic love. When such a phrase is chosen to be used, it is given with the utmost sincerity and with intent for commitment. Secondly, Asian cultures lean toward a preference to show their love through actions rather than words. Therefore it is not necessary to say how they feel when they clearly show it via actions. Thirdly, the expression of love, and many other feeling, in the past has been something that men were not encouraged to do. So a male’s comfort level in expressing ones feeling may inhibit this ability to reveal his true feelings. So If your Asian man has trouble saying it, this does not mean he does not love you, it could simply mean that it’s just a bit uncomfortable for him.

But when a westernized woman says “I love you”, as an AM you need to look a bit deeper into the situation to find out its correct meaning. Context is everything!  If she casually states it, she is just expressing her pleasure with the situation or her liking of what’s happened. If she looks into you eyes, says it and kisses you, then you know it’s a romantic sentiment. Any which way you hear it, there is always a positive connotation associated with it, but you will need to pay attention to its use. Once you understand its intent you can respond accordingly, and avoid any uncomfortable moments that may come from misunderstanding.

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