Spending a fortune or pulling a grand romantic gesture isn't necessarily the most effective way to make another person feel loved and appreciated. In fact, the best ways to make someone feel loved, according to science, are all pretty simple. Sometimes the little everyday actions matter most.
To learn more about love, a 2017 study looked at individual differences in felt love in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. For the study, 495 American adults went through 60 different scenarios and reported whether each one would make them feel loved. As it turned out, most of the respondents didn't require a surprise vacation or flashy gift in order to experience feelings of appreciation and acceptance. "So it is possible for people to feel loved in simple, everyday scenarios," said Saeideh Heshmati, a postdoctoral research scholar who worked on the 2017 study, in Science Daily. "It doesn't have to be over-the-top gestures." Honestly, the simple moments of meaningful connection with other people (or even pets) ranked the highest. At the risk of getting a bit cheesy, there's something very sweet about the fact that a hug or some words of encouragement can mean so much. So here are some of the top ways to make people in America feel loved, according to research and science.
1. Showing Compassion
Compassion is a deeply meaningful way to connect with others. As it turns out, almost all of the survey respondents said that displays of compassion, especially during a difficult time, made them feel loved, according to the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Plus, showing compassion for others tends to make individuals healthier and happier, as explained in Bustle. These acts of care seem to help both the giver and the receiver in a deep way, which is pretty rad.
This finding is especially heartwarming. Most everyone feels loved when a child snuggles up to them, according to the study. Of course, this simple fact will not come as news to any parents of snuggle bugs out there. Cuddling with your kid is one of the most endearing parts of parenthood.
3. Seeing Dog Jump For Joy
The study also included some good news for pet-obsessed folks as well. As it turns out, a high percent of people also feel loved when a pet is happy to see them, according to the study. That joy you feel when the dog greets you at the end of a long day is very real.
4. Saying "I Love You"
One specific (and not at all surprising) phrase can also bring about these positive feelings. Simply hearing someone say "I love you" does cause most people to feel loved, according to the study. If you're more about actions than talk, however, there are plenty of ways to ways to say "I love you" without speaking a word, according to Bustle. For instance, simply making your loved one a meal or smiling at them warmly can convey these feelings, too.
5. Holding Hands
The consensus is clear: simply holding hands also has a strong connection to making most people feel loved, according to the survey. Overall, the important things that make people feel loved are moments of connection.