We love those words! It really doesn’t matter whether we feel we deserve them, have earned them, or even if the sentiment has consequences or potential!
Why would anyone say them?
Could it possibly be because this is not the normal response to someone’s presence or actions? We don’t feel like saying it to everyone, for sure. So what is it that provokes us to utter them?
Well, we wouldn’t say them to someone we didn’t trust or where there was a clear lack of confidence. That may suggest that there is Openness between us.
We are unlikely to say them to those who we believe to be mean spirited, self-centred or egotistical. Might that mean that we’d reserve them for those who, in our opinion, give freely and are Generous?
Finally, we are most unlikely to say, “I like you!” to anyone who didn’t relate to us, who failed to acknowledge us in return or who clearly recognized us as worthy. This probably indicates that they have Empathy, sufficient, at least, to be able to recognize our feelings and needs.
These three traits, Openness, Generosity and Empathy, are the foundation of any relationship. When they aren’t present in any interaction, we have little incentive to continue to invest in it. When they are evident, we are ready to invest time and effort to mutual benefit.
What’s perhaps more important, if we deny ourselves access to others in whom we recognize and reciprocate such characteristics, we are missing valuable learning opportunities.
The questions now are:
If we’d like MORE in our life, could this be a great place to start?