Valentine’s season is upon us! I won’t listen when anyone tries to tell me that Valentine’s Day is a holiday made up by greeting card companies to sell more cards. I absolutely love Valentine’s Day and everything that comes with it—chocolate, flowers, the color pink, winter, heart-shaped things, and love. 

If you’re celebrating a new relationship this season and aren’t ready to say “I love you,” you’ll find more than a few alternatives in the list below to help you bridge that gap and show your significant other that you care deeply. 

But if you’ve been with your partner for a million years, you’ll find just as many tips here. Maybe you already say “I love you” every day, but that shouldn’t be nearly the only way you communicate your affection in a healthy, thriving relationship. Read on for 99 things to say or do to show your someone special that you love them. 

How To Say “I Love You”

  1. “I’m so happy you’re in my life.”
  2. “I saw this picture (or article, meme, etc.) and thought of you.”
  3. “I heard this song and thought of you.”
  4. “I never get tired of spending time with you.”
  5. Give a compliment on their looks—the classic “you’re cute/hot” works well here, but try to find something specific to compliment for deeper meaning.
  6. Give a compliment on their personality/skills—maybe they’re a great cook, an excellent video game player, a good listener, or the life of the party.
  7. “I’m so glad we met.”
  8. “I’m crazy for you.”
  9. “Call me if you need anything.”
  10. “I’ve never felt this way about anyone before.”
  11. “I feel like myself when I’m with you.”
  12. “I’m always here for you.”
  13. “I feel safe when I’m with you.”
  14. “You’re the most important person in my life.”
  15. “I feel so lucky to be with you.” 🍀
  16. “Be safe.”
  17. “Have fun!”
  18. “Text me when you get home.”

Attitudes That Say “I Love You”

  1. Give them a long, deep hug.
  2. Show physical touch a few times a day, unprompted—a kiss on the cheek or a hug from behind.
  3. Cuddle with them in their favorite cuddling position.
  4. Show affection in public (just don’t go overboard!).
  5. Listen to them when they’re speaking, and ask questions.
  6. When they’re discussing a problem, ask if they’re looking for advice or just want to vent.
  7. Forgive them when they apologize.
  8. Say you’re sorry when you’ve hurt them (it doesn’t matter who was in the right).
  9. Ask for their opinion when making a tough decision.
  10. Show interest in their hobbies, and try to learn more.
  11. Give them space regularly.
  12. Stay true to your word, and try not to flake on plans.
  13. Remember important things going on in their life, and ask about them.
  14. Try not to check your phone when you’re chatting with them or spending time together—be present.
  15. Be supportive of their goals and passions.
  16. Thank them for the things they do for you, no matter how small.
  17. Offer to drive.
  18. Help them fix something of theirs that’s broken.
  19. Offer them your seat.
  20. Offer them your jacket if they’re cold.
  21. Offer them the other half of something you’re having.
  22. Ask them to dance.
  23. Take care of them when they’re sick.
  24. Drive them to or from the airport, no matter what time it is.
  25. Be patient with them.
  26. Let them choose the movie.🍿
  27. Invite them to go with you somewhere, whether to formal functions or just out to see family or friends.
  28. Ask them to wear their seatbelt.
  29. Save them a seat.
  30. Notice when they get a haircut, and compliment them on it.
  31. Let them know that they can tell you anything, and stand by that. Make them feel comfortable when they open up, no matter what it’s about.
  32. Share the umbrella if there’s only one.
  33. Text them throughout the day when you’re not together to let them know you’re thinking of them.
  34. Call them just because.
  35. Listen to the music they like listening to.
  36. Learn what makes them laugh, and make them laugh every day.

Actions That Say “I Love You”

  1. Cook a meal for the two of you.
  2. Leave them a thoughtful note. Bonus points if you put it somewhere silly, like in the freezer or behind the toothpaste.
  3. Give them a relaxing massage.
  4. Run an errand for them.
  5. Grab them a snack when you’re at the store, even if they said they didn’t want anything.
  6. Plan a date night or a special outing.
  7. Spend quality time with their family or friends.
  8. Offer to help them with a chore or task they’re doing.
  9. Do a chore for them (take out the trash, clean the toilet, etc.) unprompted.
  10. Spend quality time together regularly—if not daily, then weekly.
  11. Regularly ask them how they’re doing, and mean it. Ask them what they need more of or less of right now to thrive.
  12. Plan a romantic weekend getaway for the two of you.
  13. Make them coffee in the morning. ☕️
  14. Make them breakfast in bed.
  15. Learn something together—maybe you take a cooking class or a dance class together.
  16. Write them a sweet poem.
  17. Make them a personalized gift, like a photo album of your favorite memories.
  18. Kick it up a notch with a scrapbook full of photos and mementos like ticket stubs about some of your relationship’s milestones.
  19. Write “I Love You” in the foggy bathroom mirror.
  20. Make them a playlist of songs that reminds you of them.
  21. Post pictures of the two of you on social media.
  22. Invent a secret handshake.
  23. Let them know that when you’re holding hands, squeezing their hand three times is a nonverbal “I love you.”
  24. Help them move.
  25. Make them your emergency contact.
  26. When they have a problem to solve or something to look into, help them research it.
  27. Pick them a bouquet of wildflowers.
  28. Take them on a scenic drive or hike.
  29. Bake them a favorite dessert.
  30. If you don’t live together, give them a key to your place.
  31. Stay in with them if they want to stay in.
  32. Write them a love letter. 💌
  33. Light candles and put rose petals on the bed—it’s not tacky, it’s camp!

Gifts That Say “I Love You”

  1. Buy them something to inspire self-care.
  2. Pick up the tab, even if they’re not expecting you to.
  3. Buy them flowers. 🌹
  4. For a little PDA, send flowers to their work.
  5. Or buy them something that’ll last much longer, like a houseplant.
  6. Buy their friends a round of drinks at the bar, or pay for the pizzas, etc. Taking care of their friends is a thoughtful way to show you care.
  7. Learn their coffee order, and grab them a coffee if you’re out in the morning.
  8. Buy them jewelry. You don’t necessarily have to spend an arm and a leg to buy your partner something nice that indicates you see them in your life long term (although you can if you want to).
  9. Send them to a massage or a spa day.
  10. Surprise them with tickets to a show.
  11. Buy a gift for their pet.
  12. Order them an Uber home if you can’t drive them.

Natalie Gale is a Boston-based freelance journalist. When she’s not writing about art, food, or sustainability, you can find her biking to the farmers’ market, baking, sewing, or planning her next Halloween costume. Say hi on Instagram!