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It’s unfortunately very easy to get so caught up in life and routine that you forget to show affection to those most important to you. This trend starts honestly enough but quickly you realize that years have gone by.

If your relationship has become stale or if you tend to take your friends for granted, here are some ways to show your love for those around you. As you consider these, some of you may find that the time is not the issue; it’s the technique and act of verbalizing your feelings.

1. Leave Notes (in Unusual Places) – Perhaps life has become so busy that you feel like your schedule rarely coincides with that of your partner or kids. How about leaving them a note somewhere unexpected? You’ve probably all heard of kids having little notes from their mom’s in their lunch bags – that’s one place to start, but how about a note on the TV?

2. Hug – Physical gestures mean a huge amount, and a hug can be just what a loved one needs to put a big smile on his/her face. Whether it’s snuggling up on the sofa with your partner or giving your kids a goodnight hug, being held and warmed by another person is a perfect way to feel loved.

3. Give An Unexpected Gift – I’m sure you give your loved ones gifts on their birthday, at Christmas and on special occasions like Valentine’s Day. But how about bringing a gift completely at random? An unexpected present is a moment of pure joy for the recipient and the giver, and it doesn’t have to be anything expensive.

4. Do The Chores (Without Being Asked) – For many people, another extremely welcomed gift is someone else doing the chores! If it’s your partner who usually cleans the kitchen, why not do it and surprise him/her? If you normally have to be nagged to vacuum, get it done without being asked. Finding little ways to make someone else’s day smoother lets them know how much they mean to you.

5. Hold Hand – Like hugging, holding hands is something that we often neglect to do when a relationship becomes cozy and familiar. Try taking your partner’s hand when walking down the street or hold their hands across a table in a restaurant. Being in contact physically helps you feel closer emotionally.

6. Make A Special Meal – If Friday nights usually mean ordering takeout, why not offer to cook for a change? Make a special meal for your partner. Include their favorite foods, take a few minutes to set the table, to light candles and put music on and your usual forgettable evening slumped on the sofa can become a night to remember..

7. Give a Foot/Shoulder Rub – Modern life is stressful and many of us have aches and pains caused by tense muscles. A shoulder rub, back rub or foot rub is a wonderful way to tell your partner “I love you.” It demonstrates that his/her physical well being and comfort is important to you, and it’s also a great way to reinforce physical and emotional closeness.

8. Listen – It’s easy to talk over people or to tune out most of what they’re saying. Listen actively to your partner – when they want to talk, put down what you’re doing and focus all your attention on them. Listen for what they don’t say; unvoiced concerns or worries or hints at what they’d really like. Nod and make eye-contact to show that you’re paying attention.

After all, most of us know, actions can speak louder than words…

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