Some of the best romantic relationships begin as friendships. If you and your partner were friends first, you already know before entering the relationship that you enjoy each other’s company, get each other’s humor, and respect each other.
All of these factors are very helpful for keeping a relationship happy in the long term, once the initial infatuation has died out.
And really, don’t we all just want to marry our best friend?
So, what do you do if your friend says, “I love you”? Well, that depends on whether you feel the same, aren’t sure what you feel, or know you don’t have romantic feelings for them.
And then of course, there are a whole heap of funny ways to respond to a platonic “I love you” from a friend.
Here is a comprehensive guide to responding to “I love you” from a friend, whatever the circumstances or your feelings are.
How to Respond to “I love you” from a friend
- I love you too.
- I can’t believe we’re saying this to each other, but I love you too.
- Wow, I feel exactly the same.
- I love you more.
- I love you too. Who knew that best-friendship would turn into love?
- Really? I’ve been wanting to say that to you for ages.
- I love you too. And you know what they say, right? Friendship makes the best foundation for a good relationship.
- Who would ever have thought that we would fall in love?
- I wasn’t expecting you to say that, but I feel exactly the same.
- I love you more than you know.
- To be honest, I’ve wanted to tell you that since the day we first met.
- I love you 3000.
- Oh wow, I had no idea. I’m so sorry, I just don’t feel the same.
- I love you too, as a friend.
- Oh, I’m sorry, I just don’t see you that way. I hope we can continue being friends and that this doesn’t change anything between us.
- Romantically? I’m sorry, I just don’t feel the same way.
- That’s really flattering. I think it would ruin our friendship though if we tried things out romantically though.
- Oh, I love you so much too, but not in the same way.
- I’m really moved that you feel that way and that you told me. I don’t see you that way, but I care about you so much as a friend.
- Thank you for being honest. You’re one of my favorite people in the world, I just don’t see you romantically.
- That’s really touching. I’m so sorry that I don’t feel the same way, but just know that I value our friendship as the most important relationship in my life.
- I can’t pretend I’ve never thought about it, but I’m not sure how I feel.
- I love you too, but I don’t know whether I love you as a friend or as more.
- I care about you so much, but I’m not sure whether my feelings are romantic of not.
- Wow, that’s a big statement. Can I take some time to think about how I feel?
- Are you sure it’s a good idea for us to risk out friendship like this?
- Aw, you know I love you too!
- A love like ours is the kind that only exists between best friends.
- Love you, my ride-or-die!
- You and me against the world, bestie!
- Gosh, I’m so glad you’re my best friend. I love you more than you know.
How to respond to “I love you” from a friend when you feel the same
So many of walk through life crushing on our close friends. Most of us are too worried about ruining the friendship to dare to pursue anything romantic, or even to tell our friend we like them.
So, when a friend you’re in love with bares their feelings to you, make sure you let them know that you feel exactly the same way!
1. I love you too.
Sometimes the simplest response is the most meaningful one.
In almost any situation where someone tells you they love you and you feel the same, there is no more appropriate response than “I love you too.”
Less is often more when it comes to expressing deep emotion. If a friend tells you they love you, they really don’t need to hear anything more than that you feel the same way.
Who says I love you first can be so important, but the other person’s response can carry just as much weight.
2. I can’t believe we’re saying this to each other, but I love you too.
One of the great things about friendships that turn into romantic relationships is that you already know the person you love so well by the time you get together.
This means that intimacy and vulnerability of all kinds, whether physical or emotional, will come more easily.
Feeling comfortable with someone is the key good communication. Sometimes, because you didn’t go into the friendship expecting to end up in love, it can feel strange to say the words “I love you” to your friend, no matter how true they might be.
For this reason, and to avoid any awkwardness, you can acknowledge to your friend that you can’t believe you’re saying “I love you” to each other.
If you do love them, it is always a good idea to make sure you actually reciprocate their “I love you,” so that they aren’t left wondering whether your surprised face is a good sign or a bad one.
3. Wow, I feel exactly the same.
If the words “I love you too” feel difficult to say, you can let your friend know you love them in a more roundabout way.
Why not just tell them that you feel exactly the same as they do? They will be reassured and happy and won’t mind that you haven’t actually said the L-word yourself.
That said, if you tell your friend that you feel the same after they’ve told you they love you, you better be sure you mean it and aren’t just using this roundabout expression of affection to get out of an awkward situation.
4. I love you more.
If you feel overcome with emotion after your friend tells you they love you, you can tell them you love them more.
Maybe the person you’re speaking to is a childhood friend that you’ve had a crush on since preschool, or else is that person you met in your dorm on your first day of college who has stuck by you through thick and thin.
In any case, if you’ve loved them for as long as you can remember, don’t be afraid to express the full extent of your feelings.
After all, having to decide how to respond to “I love you more” is a pretty good problem to have, so your friend surely won’t mind your exuberance.
5. I love you too. Who knew that best-friendship would turn into love?
If your friend tells you they love you and your first thought is that you can’t believe the trajectory your relationship has taken, why not raise this with your friend?
They will surely be happy to discuss the path your relationship has followed and maybe even to reminisce on the moment they knew they were in love with you.
Make sure you don’t forget to tell them you love them too though! The more clarity there is about both of your feelings, the better.
6. Really? I’ve been wanting to say that to you for ages.
If you have a long-standing crush on your friend but weren’t sure they felt the same way, you can tell them that you have been wanting to tell them you love them for ages.
This will leave them in no doubt that the feeling of love is mutual and the two of you can discuss how long you’ve both known that you wanted more than a friendship.
7. I love you too. And you know what they say, right? Friendship makes the best foundation for a good relationship.
If you not only love your friend but want to a real partnership with them, you can point out that friendship is the basis of a good relationship.
By saying this, you’re telling your partner that not only are their feelings reciprocated but that you also would like to explore the opportunity for a relationship that those feelings open up.
8. Who would ever have thought that we would fall in love?
One common question couples get asked is how they met. Nowadays, the honest answer is most likely to be that one of you responded to a pick-up line on tinder, but meeting as friends first is a common exception to this rule!
What makes for an even better story, and is actually not all that rare, is when couples met in person but initially did not like one another at all.
Imagine, for example, that when you first met, you thought the person you are now in love with was stuck up and boring. You then discovered over time that you quite enjoyed their company and became friends, only to realize that you were actually in love with them.
If your story is anything like this, you could respond to them telling you they love you by pointing out how unlikely it seemed at one point that you two would fall in love.
This will surely make your friend smile and the two of you can think back on how your relationship has developed.
9. I wasn’t expecting you to say that, but I feel exactly the same.
Many people who fall in love with their friends tell themselves that they will keep their feelings a secret for as long as they live.
This might be because they don’t want to ruin the friendship or because they think there is absolutely no chance the feelings are mutual.
If you have been walking around secretly in love while telling yourself that you will not be confessing your true feelings to your friend, you may be shocked to hear them tell you they love you.
At this point, there is no reason to keep your love quiet anymore. Tell your friend you weren’t expecting them to say those words, but that you are on exactly the same page.
10. I love you more than you know.
If you want to not only match your friend’s words but to surpass their expressions of affection, respond to their “I love you” by saying, “I love you more than you know.”
Telling your friend that you love them in no uncertain terms will surely be received well. After all, they were probably incredibly nervous to tell you how they truly feel about you.
11. To be honest, I’ve wanted to tell you that since the day we first met.
Sometimes romantic feelings develop over the course of a relationship. Other times, however, one person knows that they want more than friendship very early on.
You may have initially decided to settle for friendship or at least for getting to know your friend better without the pressure of dates and romantic trappings.
However, once they’ve said they love you, all friendship bets are off. You can confess how you’ve always felt about them, and they will surely be glad to hear it. After all, what’s to say they haven’t felt the same?
12. I love you 3000.
Now, this one only works if you and your friend are big Marvel fans and have watched the Avengers together. This is a great little inside joke and there are lots of ways to respond to I love you 3000.
However, the principle of this response can be applied to any number of situations. If you and your friend don’t really get into superhero films but instead spend all your time hiking, you could reference a shared experience you’ve had. For example, you could say, “I love you too, even though you got us lost in the forest last weekend.”
If there is any other series of movies or TV show quotes that you often quote together, you could cleverly incorporate one of these into a response that lets your friend know you love them too and reminds them why your relationship is so great.
How to respond to “I love you” from a friend when you don’t feel the same
While hearing “I love you” from a friend when you feel the same is a wonderful experience, hearing “I love you” from a friend when you don’t love them back can be an awkward experience.
If you find yourself in this situation, you might almost feel a kind of grief. You could worry that your friendship as it once was is now over, since you don’t think you’ll be able to go back to the way things were.
However, if your priority is to keep your friendship intact and to move past the disparity in your feelings for one another, make sure you are clear. Tell your friend that you don’t feel the same while also stressing how much you care about them.
Hopefully, they’ll know you only mean well and the two of you can keep the friendship that is obviously very special to both of you.
13. Oh wow, I had no idea. I’m so sorry, I just don’t feel the same.
If you feel completely blindsided by a friend’s confession of love for you, tell them you had no idea.
One of the most hurtful things is the feeling of having been led on. The best way to avoid any resentment on your friend’s behalf is to assure them that you were not aware of their feelings.
If they know that you did not know how they felt, they will be less likely to think that any of your behavior was intentionally misleading or disingenuous.
14. I love you too, as a friend.
This response to “I love you” from a friend is short and sweet. You may well love your friend––as a friend.
Unfortunately, when two people care deeply about each other, it is easy for them to get their wires crossed about what exactly they feel for each other.
Telling someone that you love them too but that your love for them is platonic is a great way to clear up how you feel about them.
15. Oh, I’m sorry, I just don’t see you that way. I hope we can continue being friends and that this doesn’t change anything between us.
While you may be shocked when a friend you basically see as a sibling tells you that they have romantic feelings for you, try to keep your wits about you.
The most important thing to communicate is that you don’t see them that way but that you want to make sure not to lose your friendship.
16. Romantically? I’m sorry, I just don’t feel the same way.
You may be so taken aback by the fact that your friend is telling you they love you, that you have to clarify whether they mean it romantically or platonically.
If you feel like you need to ask, go ahead and do so. If your friend seems to suggest that they do mean “I love you” in a romantic way, you can quickly follow up your question by clarifying that you don’t feel the same way.
17. That’s really flattering. I think it would ruin our friendship though if we tried things out romantically though.
If your primary reason for not wanting to transition from a friendship into a romance is that you value your friendship too highly, you can use this excuse as a way to let your friend down lightly.
Don’t forget to tell your friend that you find it flattering that they have developed feelings for you. After all, a friend telling you they love you is a much more significant compliment than having some stranger feed you a pickup line. Your friend knows you like the back of their hand and they still like every part of you. That’s pretty high praise.
18. Oh, I love you so much too, but not in the same way.
There are many ways to respond to “I love you” when you don’t feel the same way. But, as with most things in life, the simplest answer is usually the best.
If you love your friend but only in a friendship sense, just tell them exactly how you feel. They will appreciate your honesty and your straightforward approach.
19. I’m really moved that you feel that way and that you told me. I don’t see you that way, but I care about you so much as a friend.
The good thing about having a friend tell you they love you as opposed to being told this by someone you aren’t as close to, is that you are already comfortable communicating with each other.
This means that you will feel more at ease just spelling things out instead of worrying about standing on ceremony and being formal.
Communicating to your friend that you’re moved by the fact that they’ve told you they love you is an honest expression of your emotions. Telling them you don’t see them the same way leaves them with no doubt as to where the two of you stand.
20. Thank you for being honest. You’re one of my favorite people in the world, I just don’t see you romantically.
We often love and care about our friends just as much as we do about a romantic partner.
That said, the love we feel for friends is often a very different kind of love than the infatuation of a crush. This means that we can genuinely feel that someone is our favorite person in the world without having any desire to be intimate with them.
While this response may not immediately console the friend you are turning down, over time they may come to see the importance of your platonic love and find a way to value it just as much as they would a romantic relationship.
21. That’s really touching. I’m so sorry that I don’t feel the same way, but just know that I value our friendship as the most important relationship in my life.
How you respond to “I love you” from a friend will of course also depend on how close of a friend they are.
You will be more worried about the consequences of your response if you are speaking to your very best friend than if you are speaking to a casual friend.
The fact that a friend that you don’t love back is in love with you will also have a bigger impact on your life if they are your best friend.
If your friendship with the person who is in love you is the central relationship in your life, make sure you express how much you value your relationship. This will let them know that while you are rejecting them romantically, you are hardly rejecting them as a person.
How to respond to “I love you” from a friend when you don’t know how you feel
Now, while responding to “I love you” from a friend is more or less straightforward if you know how feel about them, it is a whole lot harder when you aren’t sure what you want.
In situations where a friend tells you they love you and you find yourself on the fence about your feelings, the most important thing is not to give a hasty response.
If you need some time to think about your feelings, make sure you take it.
Here are a few ways you might respond to “I love you” from a friend when you are conflicted about your feelings.
22. I can’t pretend I’ve never thought about it, but I’m not sure how I feel.
This response tells your friend exactly what’s on your mind.
Informing them that you have also thought about them in a romantic sense lets them know that they are not imagining things. This will surely make them feel validated.
However, if you aren’t sure what you want, qualify your initial statement of interest by telling them that you aren’t sure how you feel.
You could follow this up by asking for a bit of time to think things through.
23. I love you too, but I don’t know whether I love you as a friend or as more.
If you feel very close to your friend and want to lay all your cards on the table and avoid any emotional game playing, just be as honest as you can.
You might know that you feel intense feelings for your friend but not be able to clearly identify the nature of those feelings. Maybe you know that you would miss them terribly if they weren’t in your life but don’t know whether this feeling is motivated by platonic or romantic feelings.
The more honest you are about what’s going through your head, the less you have to work on communication for healthy relationships if you do eventually decide to give things a go.
24. I care about you so much, but I’m not sure whether my feelings are romantic of not.
This response is similar to the previous one, in that it expresses care for your friend while also saying clearly that you aren’t sure what the feelings you have really are.
The good thing about opening up like this is that you can actually discuss your feelings with your friend.
They may be able to help you work through what it is that you want! And if that kind of communication isn’t the basis of a good romantic relationship it is at least the sign of a rock-solid friendship.
25. Wow, that’s a big statement. Can I take some time to think about how I feel?
It may be that reading the previous two responses made you freak out a little.
You may have been thinking, “Wow, I don’t know if I would feel comfortable being quite that open with a friend who told me they love me. I might need some time to figure out my feelings on my own before having a conversation with them.”
If that’s how you felt, that is completely fair! All you need to do is point out that your friend’s expression of love for you is a big deal and let them know that you will need some time to process it.
They will surely respect this decision, especially if you spell it out this clearly for them.
26. Are you sure it’s a good idea for us to risk our friendship like this?
You may actually be very happy to hear your friend tell you they love you. If your only hesitation to tell you friend you love them too is the implication that trying things out romantically would have for your friendship, raise this concern with them.
They will surely have thought about this too before telling you they love you and may be able to help you work through this worry.
How to respond to a platonic “I love you” from a friend
Of course, “I love you” from a friend can also be meant entirely platonically. How often do we yell “I love you!” down the phone to our best friends?
If you aren’t someone who is especially comfortable expressing emotion, even in a friendship context, don’t worry! All it takes to get used to telling your friends how important they are to you is a bit of practice.
Here are a few ways you can respond when a friend tells you they love you as a friend.
27. Aw, you know I love you too!
This is a cute and simple response that reciprocates the emotion your friend is expressing.
You hardly ever have to say more than this when a friend tells you they love you in a platonic way.
28. A love like ours is the kind that only exists between best friends.
If you feel like you want to let the friend telling you they love you know that you consider them your absolute best friend, you could respond with this cute sentiment.
They will surely be happy to hear that you value their friendship so highly.
29. Love you, my ride-or-die!
This is a cute response to “I love you” from a friend that you could say in person, on the phone, or even post as a response to a social media caption or comment.
Your friends may often tell you they love you on public internet forums. This may feel uncomfortable if you aren’t sure what to say back.
If a platonic friend sends you a kissy face emoji or posts a few under a recent picture you’ve posted, you can check out these 21 ways to respond to a kissy face emoji.
The best thing to do with this kind of public display of friendship affection is to be enthusiastic and respond by telling your friend you love them too. And hey, why not include a few emojis too!
30. You and me against the world, bestie!
This is another response that will serve you well in person, over text, or on social media!
It is cute, funny and to the point. Your friend will love your enthusiasm!
31. Gosh, I’m so glad you’re my best friend. I love you more than you know.
If your friend tells you they love you to cheer you up or just to let you know that you have their undying support, you can tell them how glad you are to have them in your life.
Telling them you love them more than they know is sure to make them feel that their investment in your relationship is worth it.
After all, we all like to that we’re appreciated by the people we care about.
Hey, it’s me, Steven. Dating and relationships have always fascinated me. On Dategosu, you will find my best tips to make sure your next date is a great success!