Is the Phrase "I love you" Going Out of Style?
At Mishawaka High School, all students are part of a large community where they are connected in some way or another: sports, extracurricular activities, clubs, etc. With the many ways to become connected with others comes many opportunities to form close bonds and friendships that bring everyone just that one inch closer. But, is there a line where close crosses over into too close?
The phrase “I love you” is defined by Wiktionary.org as, “An affirmation of affection or deep caring, especially to a family member.” It is a phrase that can be heard in many different conversations throughout the halls of MHS, close friends speaking with each other or saying their goodbyes, couples parting for different classes, and groups of friends sending affirmations to one another.
A recent poll sent out to Mishawaka High School students reported that 37.4% of the student body feel “I love you” is losing its sincerity with how often it is said. Conversely, 36.9% voted that no, the phrase is not losing its meaning, leaving 25.7% undecided with how they feel about the phrase.
In response to who students use the phrase the most with, the following data was collected.
Interestingly, the data exemplifies the many different terms for one's significant other. Some relationships are sticking with the traditional “boyfriend” and “girlfriend,” while others prompt for a more personal title, such as “partner,” “lover,”or “Spouse.”
There is no doubt that students use the phrase frequently, for a variety of reasons. Data shows that most students agreed that the phrase has lost some of its meaning. One stated that, “I think it might be losing its meaning as in some might not understand the difference between love and like, or the meaning of love at all.” Another said, “I feel that a lot of people, especially in high school, tend to use ‘I love you’ without really thinking about what love really is.”
Alternatively, there was also a strong response for the term still having the same significance as before. One student responded, “ I don't think it's losing its meaning or sincerity; I think its meaning fluctuates depending on the situation. We use the phrase ‘I love you’ more often than ever, seeing as humans (from my perspective, anyway) crave vulnerability with others, and love is one of the most vulnerable things we can feel for another person, be that love be romantic, platonic, or familial, and this is a generation of some of the emotionally intelligent people on the planet. Vulnerability in the form of love is a given, and should be expressed as much as possible.”
At some point, the adage, “Actions speak louder than words,” comes into play. Students are aware of that. To some, the words alone have lost their meaning, but the actions that come behind them make all the difference. As one student put it, “I have heard that saying every day of my life, so that no matter who I would hear it from, to me it would mean nothing, unless those words were backed up by actions.”
Whether or not the term has truly lost its meaning, there is no denying that the phrase will not go out of style anytime soon. As actions, words, and intention come together, three simple words can still make all the difference to a person.