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How To Tell Someone You Love Them Subtly Yet Sweetly (100 Ways Provided)

How To Tell Someone You Love Them Subtly Yet Sweetly (100 Ways Provided)

For all of their love, strength, and beauty, relationships can be fragile things and, much like a delicate plant, must be watered and fed if you want them to survive.

The biggest reason couples fall out of love is simple: they don’t feel loved by their partner. Why? Because even though they may say “I love you” at the end of phone calls and before heading off to work, those words have no magic if not backed by thousands of other simple gestures.

100 small things to make someone feel loved

  1. Don’t forget to hug before you say goodbye. Physical gestures often go undervalued after a relationship has been going on for a while.
  2. Tell them how special they are to you. This goes beyond just saying, “I love you”.
  3. Express understanding when it’s needed by saying, “I understand how you feel.” If you don’t understand, express your desire to by saying something like, “Tell me how you feel so that I can understand.”
  4. Tell them frequently how much you appreciate it when they do things for you. We often get used to how much our spouses or partners do for us and tend to forget how much easier they make our lives.
  5. Tell them how much you enjoy certain aspects of their personality. For example, “I love your sense of humor.” You need to be praised for who you are and so do they.
  6. Go an entire day with your partner without saying anything but positive praise. You can make this as frequent a practice as you like.
  7. Fix your partner their favorite food without them asking.
  8. Offer to help cook.
  9. If you have kids, offer to take them out so your partner can spend some relaxing time alone. Alone time is important!
  10. Send an intimate text message to your partner for no reason.
  11. Email your partner while they’re at work just to see how they’re doing.
  12. Call your partner when they’re on break just to say hi.
  13. Reach across the car, the table, or the couch to touch their hand, if only for a moment.
  14. Pull out their chair, or open the door for them- chivalry, guys!
  15. Remember to give them a smile. I don’t mean smile at them or fake it. I mean giving them their own personal smile- the one you save for them.
  16. Instead of taking your frustrations out on them after a hard day, say, “I really needed to see you today because … “, or, “I had a hard day and I need a hug.” They probably aren’t the cause of your bad mood, so let them help you out.
  17. Joke and laugh, and laugh with them.
  18. Go to bed at the same time for a week. Talk or read together, or just sit quietly.
  19. If you have children, compliment your partner or spouse in front of them. This will make your kids happy, too!
  20. Brag about your partner in public. Yes, they may turn beet red if they’re shy, but they’ll appreciate it.
  21. Try to avoid their pet peeves (e.g. sponge left in the sink or toilet seat left up). You may think they’re silly but it’s important to them.
  22. Light a candle or two when you have dinner together to make the atmosphere more romantic, just because.
  23. Find creative ways to tell each other “I love you” in code.
  24. Have date nights. Go out or stay in, but make the night about one another.
  25. Pick her some flowers.
  26. Offer to watch a movie with them that they like.
  27. Give them a massage after a long day, or for no reason at all.
  28. Tell them they’re your best friend.
  29. Don’t be shy about sharing your feelings. Let them know if you’re happy or unhappy at the moment, and why.
  30. Listen when they tell you how they’re feeling.
  31. Buy small “just because” presents outside of a holiday or birthday.
  32. Write intimate messages on a piece of paper and slip it into their bag for them to find.
  33. Hold hands in public.
  34. Take lessons together. It doesn’t matter what kind.
  35. Apologize when you make a mistake.
  36. Let them be right sometimes.
  37. Play games from your childhood together.
  38. Give your partner space when they need it. But let them know you’re there when they need you.
  39. Run a hot bath for your partner when they seem stressed.
  40. Wash your partner’s car for them.
  41. Put a cute little toy that reminds them of you in their glove compartment.
  42. Try to do one random act of kindness every day for your partner.
  43. Try new activities together. Challenging ones are the best.
  44. Take a day off work every once in a while to spend doing nothing together.
  45. Let your partner sleep in. Turn off their alarm.
  46. And bring them breakfast in bed.
  47. Remind your partner that they’re hot or sexy.
  48. Take bike rides or go for walks together.
  49. Wear matching outfits every so often.
  50. Keep your partner’s favorite snacks on hand at all times.
  51. Volunteer together.
  52. Do each other’s hair.
  53. Create goals as a couple. They can be about fitness, finance, personal-growth, etc.
  54. Take an unplanned vacation together.
  55. Plan a special day for your partner.
  56. Use a photo of them as the wallpaper on your phone, and show them that.
  57. Do a chore that he/she usually does.
  58. Keep a shared journal between the two of you.
  59. Accompany him to game night/football night and be “one of the guys”.
  60. Take time to get to know your partner’s friends.
  61. Let your partner have a guys/girls night out sometimes.
  62. Put on your partner’s favorite song or music and invite them to dance.
  63. Be silly sometimes. Make fun of yourselves. Don’t be too serious.
  64. Sing for your partner or play them something if you’re instrumentally inclined.
  65. Tell them, “I’m more in love with you than I was yesterday.”
  66. When you’re having a bad day, lighten the mood by saying, “I hate everything today– but you’re pretty cool, as always.”
  67. Tell them that you think they’re even more attractive than when you met them.
  68. Tell them you were thinking about them.
  69. Tell them you support them.
  70. Tell them you love their body and mind.
  71. Tell them what made you happy today, and how it reminded you of them.
  72. Ask them how their day was.
  73. Say good morning every day.
  74. Say goodnight every night.
  75. Make sure they know you’re their “number one”.
  76. Show your partner you respect them by listening to their opinions on important decisions, and actually act on them.
  77. Tell them you appreciate what’s good about their opinions, even when you disagree with them.
  78. Lovingly tease them. Call them names too sickeningly sweet for anyone else.
  79. Flirt! Everyone enjoys flirting.
  80. Ask them to choose your outfit for work.
  81. Go to the gym together.
  82. Write a poem or song for your partner, even if it’s goofy.
  83. Make your partner a sweet card for no reason at all.
  84. Recreate your first date, run-in, kiss, etc.
  85. If you’re crafty, make them something. It doesn’t have to be useful, but make sure it’s adorable and reminds them of you.
  86. Tell them you’re lucky to have them. Tell them how you’ve changed since you met them.
  87. Be truthful. Let them know about the naughty mistakes you’ve made.
  88. Be gentle about pointing out your partner’s flaws. They may need to hear it, but always softly.
  89. Show your partner how you trust them. Don’t feel the need to know their whereabouts if they don’t open up first.
  90. Buy your partner a gift certificate for their favorite store.
  91. Never blame your bad mood on your partner.
  92. Write them a story about your love.
  93. Make a picture collage of the two of you.
  94. Do something silly together.
  95. Invite their family to dinner (if they’re on good terms, that is).
  96. Make a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple and play it on a road trip.
  97. Rent some cheesy romance movies.
  98. Ask your partner to share their dreams with you.
  99. Laugh when they joke, even if the joke isn’t funny.
  100. Make it easy for them to love you. You’ll find that they’ll act in kind.

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Marina Richter

Freelance Writer

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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