I love you.
A complete sentence can’t get much simpler, or more complicated.
So what can you say in response?
“I love you, too” works fine, but it sounds like you wouldn’t have said it if the other person hadn’t said it first.
“I love you more” is cute, but once people hear it a couple of times, it starts to sound like you think their love isn’t as complete or adequate as yours.
“Thanks.” Gratitude is technically an appropriate response for anything life throws at you. But when someone reaches out for a hand shake, you don’t thank them for it, you gotta shake back.
“You Do?” This one is OK. It gives the other person a chance to tell youthe reasons why they love you. Like any other type of ego stroking, this should be used in moderation. Listing the reasons gets old, even if hearing them doesn’t.
The best response to “I love you” is “And I love you, [Name].” There should hardly be any pause at all between when the other person finishes and you begin speaking. Eye contact helps. Using the name is crucial. After saying the person’s name, you may use any word in your vocabulary–any word at all–except for “but.” “But” negates the “I love you.”
All of this only applies if you actually do love the person. Before I met Isis, a woman told me she loved me, and since I knew it could never work, all I could say was, “I know,” followed by 20 seconds of dead silence. Sounds cold, but if I had told her I loved her, too, our unhealthy relationship would have continued that much longer.
At the end of the issue, we are all brothers and sisters of the human race. We should love one another across the board and work toward the day when we can tell all our friends, co-workers, associates, and enemies that we love them and mean it. If you’re not there yet, those 3 words are probably reserved for family and romantic interests.
Best of luck in those loving relationships–you will need it.