The indescribable and often complicated emotion known as love is a central pillar of life for most humans. From the deep affection we feel for friends and the enduring romantic love between partners to the undying love parents and children usually feel for one another, love is an important aspect of most people’s day-to-day. While the majority of us know the deep sensation of love, many have trouble expressing those sentiments effectively. Finding the words to say how we feel is difficult, and sometimes, there just aren’t any words to appropriately convey it. Thankfully, words aren’t always necessary!
In this guide, we’ve gathered 34 ways to show love to friends, family, and partners beyond declaring “I love you.” Inject these little things into each day to help you express love in a quick and easy manner. By incorporating a few of these daily or by rotating through them from time to time, you can adequately show those around you that you love them in fun and varied ways. We all appreciate a little creativity and variance in our relationships, right? Let’s go!
Showing Love With Quality Time
Here at Adventures From Scratch, we believe in the value of relationships and the benefits of spontaneous adventures. That’s why we’ve created our three scratch-off adventure books! Our books contain more than 50 adventures focused on fun and intentional quality time for friends, families, and romantic partners. Just grab your copy, consult the key, scratch off your adventure for the day, and get to exploring! We’ll help out with love notes, conversation starters, and room to document your memories. With Adventures From Scratch, finding ways to show love is easy!
The Best Ways to Show Love to Your Partner
For many, the central relationship in their life is the one with their significant other. Out of this love for each other comes the love for our children, extended family, etc. It’s important to get this part right! Here are a few tips on how to show affection to your romantic partner.
1. Write a love letter.
Often, those words you can’t seem to find in conversation will come flowing right out when you put pen to paper. Every once in a while, sit down, and write your partner a love note. Write it by hand, and leave it on their dash, vanity, or work desk. It can be just a few words that recall a memory or include an inside joke. It will brighten their morning and be a pleasant surprise.
2. Cook their favorite meal.
The way to the heart is through the gut, they say, and they aren’t wrong! Branch out from the normal five meals this week, and cook one of your honey’s faves. There is no better ending to a long day than to sit down to your favorite food!
3. Send a sexy text message.
When your love crosses your mind during the day, in whatever way, let them know you’re thinking of them. A quick text only takes a few seconds, and they’ll be excited to hear from you about something other than the kid’s soccer game or a list of what you need from the store.
4. Pick up one of their chores.
For some people, acts of service are the primary way they experience love. You can ramble on about your feelings all you want, but you won’t get anywhere. If you really want to show them they are valued, stop talking, and unload the dishwasher without being asked.
5. Give a 20-second hug.
Cuddling releases the “love hormones.” A good 20-second hug sends a surge of oxytocin to the brain, increasing the feelings of trust, bonding, and connection. In short, physical touch has the ability to decrease stress, strengthen your bond, and literally make your partner hormonal for you. Give a hug. It’s good for your mental health… and maybe even your sex life.
6. Hold their hand.
Holding hands is an easy way to make your partner feel loved. Invite them to go with you when you walk the dog, and take them by the hand. Reach over the couch divide during nightly Netflix, or hold hands in the car like a couple of teens. It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to show your love.
7. Offer undivided attention.
Healthy relationships are based on communication, and that relies heavily on your listening skills. When your partner speaks, they should have your attention. That means you get off social media, make eye contact, and engage in the conversation. These tiny adjustments make a world of difference in making your partner feel valued.
8. Schedule a date night.
Date nights are important whether you are a new couple or have been married 50 years. Just because you live together and see each other every night doesn’t mean you’re devoting time to discussing your relationship, reveling in each other, or focusing on your feelings. Take some time, preferably each week, that is solely devoted to your partner.
9. Bring home a small gift.
Some people don’t care anything about gifts, but others feel immensely loved when their partner brings home something sentimental. It could be their favorite snack, some inexpensive flowers, a printed photo of the two of you, or a gift certificate to the spa. You know what they love—take a few minutes today to get it for them. Gift-giving does put you out on a limb. What if you buy something they don’t like? If that frightens you, don’t let it keep you from trying. Just don’t buy clothes or taste-oriented items. Stick to something tried and true!
10. Create some space for them.
Sometimes, the best way to show your spouse you love them is to get the children out of the house and give them some personal space. You could also send your partner away for the day to go golfing, shopping, or to the salon alone.
The Best Ways to Show Love to Friends
Best buds have a totally different relationship than romantic partners, but nurturing these relationships is no less important. American friendships have been drastically waning in recent years according to studies, especially among men. Keeping your friendships strong during adulthood takes work. Here’s how you do your part.
11. Show up with coffee.
Picking up the kids from their house? Show up with your bestie’s favorite Starbucks. Going to a soccer game? Show up with coffee. Meeting to discuss church group needs, homeschooling tasks, community volunteer tasks, or book club? Or just making a surprise house visit? Bring coffee!
12. Make a phone call.
We all get busy, and our friends are usually the ones we kick out of the loop as adults. When you have a moment, pick up the phone. Call your best friends. They need to hear your voice, and you need to hear theirs… whether you think you do or not. Society has gone the way of text messages and social media contact only, and it’s showing in our relationships and communication skills. Pick up the phone, and talk to the people you love.
13. Check in once a week.
That busy life of ours has a way of getting away from us. Before you know it, you look at your text feed, and you haven’t heard from your best friend in six months. Don’t let that happen. Set an alarm if you have to. Check on your buddies. A simple text with a few words of affirmation or to ask “What’s going on in your world this week” can go a long way.
14. Celebrate special occasions.
Be the friend that celebrates well! If your friend has a birthday, anniversary, job advancement, or any other major life moment, celebrate it! Go out for drinks. Plan a party. Send a note of congratulations. Brag on them on social media. Making others feel celebrated also makes you feel enlivened. It’s a win-win situation.
15. Lend a helping hand.
Words are great. Texts and gifts are nice, but real friends show up on moving day. They break their backs for a slice of free pizza. Friends get dirty in your flower bed. They babysit your crazy kids. They pick up your Walmart order if need be. Every once in a while, when you have a minute, take something off your loved one’s plate.
16. Invite them to join in on your life.
As adults, we often assume that our friends are busy. We don’t ask others for help or to join us for dinner because we just assume they have things to do. They probably don’t. They’re probably sitting on the couch with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, watching YouTube. Invite them to take a walk in the park instead, come over for a drink in the backyard, or join you for a trip to the store instead.
The Best Ways to Show Love to Family Members
The truth about family (for most) is that they are the ones you spend the most time with, the ones you love the most, and simultaneously, the people you most often take for granted. While there are certainly toxic family relationships out there, ones that are best kept at a distance, for most, that isn’t the case. We just get lazy and don’t put in the effort to keep in contact. Show your family members they matter with a few of these unexpected moves!
17. Set aside individual time.
Family dinners and outings are great, but one-on-one time is also necessary. It can be just a few minutes before bed or a walk in the evening, but be intentional about spending time with each family member in your household alone.
18. Eat at the table.
As a culture, we’ve gotten away from dinner at the table, and that’s a shame. Family dinner around the table with no phone and no TV is the simplest way to ensure you know what’s going on with your closest peeps. Eat together. Talk about your lives. Keep some conversation starters in a bowl on the table, and use one each night.
19. Make a lunch note.
If your kiddos carry a lunch box, hide a handwritten note in with their food telling them you’re proud of them and you love them.
20. Create a family night playlist.
If you were lucky enough to have parents who did dance parties, you likely have many cherished memories from your childhood. Make a playlist of everyone’s favorites, and dance with your kiddos. They will remember it forever.
Writer note: My father and mother both loved music, and my dad loved to dance. From silly dance parties on the bed to his invites for two-stepping at the county fair, I remember every dance I ever had with my dad, and I treasure them!
21. Create a nighttime routine.
Two minutes of tucking your kiddos into bed are all the time you need to show each one some personal attention. It’s a time for hugs, consoling fears, telling stories, and cuddling. Make it happen!
22. Don’t forget the furry family members.
Our pets are part of the family unit. Show them you care with a daily walk, an extra treat for good behavior, or a surprise outing every now and then. There’s nothing better than the freedom of a ride in the car with your head out the window!
23. Play games together.
Gather your crew every now and then, and play a fun game together. It’s so easy for every family member to disappear to their room and do their own thing each night, and sometimes, that’s necessary. However, it’s important to gather the troops for something fun, too. Be the family member who is up for a board game!
24. Take Mom on a trip.
Taking a trip with your mom is one of the best ways to nurture your relationship and show her you still have time for her. Whether you whisk her off to Italy or take her to town for some shopping on Saturday, take time to schedule outings with your mother.
25. Plan activities with Dad.
Going golfing this weekend? Invite your dad! Taking the son fishing? Invite your dad! Doing something active is generally the love language of men. When you’re going to do something active, ask your dad, brother, or cousins to come along!
26. Set up an extended family dinner.
How long has it been since you talked to your favorite cousin? We’re willing to bet it was last Christmas. Grab some hot dogs and burgers this summer, and invite the extended family over for a meal.
27. Create a family text feed.
One easy way to stay in the loop with your family is to set up a group feed. You can share funny memes, send important notifications, and reminisce over your favorite memories all in one place. It’s the most effective way to stay connected. Just use GroupMe or another app where you can turn off the notifications and not be receiving absurd texts from crazy Aunt Ethyl all day.
28. Seek advice from your elders.
One of the most detrimental aspects of growing old is the isolation. Elderly family members often feel overlooked and left out, but they don’t want to burden young, busy family members by asking to visit. Take some time each month to stop by your grandparents. Invite them to your kid’s soccer game. Take dinner over, and converse. Your grandparents are likely filled with valuable wisdom that both you and your kiddos will benefit from. This isn’t always the case, of course, but for the majority, time spent with your elder family members is exceptionally valuable.
The Best Ways to Show Love to Acquaintances
You don’t have to be in an intimate relationship with someone to feel the need to show love and appreciation to them. Coworkers, casual acquaintances, and community members play an important role in many of our lives. Here are a few ways to show you care.
29. Ask pointed questions.
When speaking to coworkers or new friends, focus on them. Just like with any other relationship, active listening makes people feel valued. Whether you’re having lunch or just passing in the hall, ask a pointed question, and listen intently to the answer. It’s an easy and efficient way to make people around your feel valued.
30. Offer to take something off their plate.
It’s pretty easy to tell when a coworker or other acquaintance is overwhelmed. Ask if there is anything you can take off their plate. It’s always best to ask, but also realize that they probably won’t have an answer, especially if they’re stressed. Don’t just ask, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Be specific. Depending on your situation, offer to make copies of the upcoming meeting agenda, deliver an order to their customer’s table, or watch their class while they take a short break. The options are endless.
31. Bring small gifts.
Bringing cookies for the teacher’s lounge, morning Starbucks for your cubicle mates, or lunch from the local Mexican joint is a great way to show colleagues you care!
32. Extend an invite.
Don’t assume your coworkers are busy after work. If you’re going out, be the person who extends an invitation to others. They might say no after a long day, but keep asking. Most people feel valued when they feel included, even if they don’t take you up on your offer.
33. Be a cheerleader.
There’s something so endearing about those people who genuinely want everyone else to succeed. Take some time to point out little achievements you’ve noticed about coworkers. Congratulate them when they reach a new milestone. Ask about their career goal, and then encourage them to go for it! Sometimes, all your acquaintance needs to feel valued is a little encouragement.
34. Show appreciation.
Thankful people are happy people, and they make others around them feel esteemed, too. If an acquaintance does something that affects you in any way, say “thank you.” Those two little words go a long way! It’s highly likely the people around you feel overlooked and undervalued. Their good deeds often go unnoticed. You’ve likely felt it yourself. Be the one who notices and appreciates the deeds of those around you.
We hope you found some value in these simple ways to show love. Nothing on this list is especially difficult, but in the same breath, it all takes pointed effort. The people around us are vital for our health and happiness, and you are vital for theirs. Even the most introverted of folks have a longing to feel deep love and affection. With these simple acts, you can become the kind of friend, romantic partner, and family member who makes others feel valued and accepted. So pick one or two tasks, and get started on improving your relationships now!
One of the primary ways to show your S.O. you love them is to be their rock during hard times. Check out our guide on “How to Support Your Partner Through Good Times and Bad.”
The longer days of summer are ideal for reaching out to loved ones and squeezing in some quality time! Take a look at our list of “13 Suntastic Summer Cookout Ideas,” and gather your peeps!