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What Does It Mean When a Girl Calls You Love?

Matilda Alvarez
December 13, 2023

Picture this: You’re sitting next to a girl, and she says, ‘How are you, love?’. You blush. Your mind whirls, and the ‘L’ word rings in your ears. Does she like me as more than a friend? Does she call everyone that? For those who aren’t used to receiving terms of endearment, possibilities and theories can quickly become confusing. 

When a girl calls you ‘love,’ it may have numerous meanings depending on the context, the tone of her delivery, and your relationship with her. Collecting clues about when she uses this phrase will be valuable when discerning her intention, and rushing to conclusions without evidence can lead to confusion.

Because the possibilities range from endearment to condescension, we’ve made things easier for you. Here is a list of possible reasons why a girl might call you ‘love’ and when to consider if there is more behind her words.  

1. She uses it as a term of endearment and admires you as a friend

Some girls have playful personalities and, as a result, might have a habit of using names such as ‘sweet-pea,’ ‘dear,’ ‘hon,’ and, you guessed it, ‘love’ when addressing friends or even strangers. In this instance, ‘love’ is a term of endearment that shows affection and amicability, but not necessarily attraction.

If the girl who calls you ‘love’ calls plenty of other people by these pet names or similar, she may be using it as an alternative pronoun to help you feel at ease or to let you know that she is enjoying your company. In this situation, don’t assume she means anything by it, but remain open to signs that she might be attracted to you through other means.  

2. She has romantic feelings for you

If the girl in question doesn’t usually call others ‘love,’ or if you feel like she is attracted to you, it could hint that she likes you a little more than just a friend. While this is a possibility, it’s important not to jump to any rash conclusions.

Try to collect more clues, such as whether her body language towards you suggests feelings of intimacy, whether she often follows your gaze, if there is a flirtatious tone to her delivery, or if she seeks out your company.

See if she responds when you make small advances or romantic gestures. If you are still in doubt – just ask her! That will save you a lot of brain space and potentially assuage awkwardness that could result if you assume her feelings toward you. 

3. It is a force of habit for her

Some girls get into the habit of using pet names for everyone in their lives, regardless of their relationship with them or whether they even enjoy a person’s company. This means that there may be no intention at all behind her calling you ‘love’, and it is the equivalent of her simply using your name or calling you ‘he’ or ‘she’.

It may simply be a part of her personality and way of being in the world. Again, you should be able to discern this through watching how she interacts with others and whether this is a common trait of hers. 

4. She is patronizing you

In some cultures, ‘love’ can also be used to patronize others, often accompanying a sarcastic statement. This should be an easy one to spot, as a sarcastic tone is quite distinct, and you should be able to tell when a girl isn’t so happy with you.

In this instance, you can let go of any notion of romance and look at whether you may have deserved to be put in your place slightly! 

5. She is from a country where ‘love’ is more commonly used as an affectionate term

In most English-speaking countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, ‘love’ is quite a common way for women to address others in public. However, it is less common in the United States.

A girl might be more likely to use the term ‘love’ in a neutral way if she is from a region where this is common practice. In this instance, it is likely she’s just being friendly! 

5 Things to remember

1. Just because she calls you ‘love’, doesn’t mean you should return the favor

Studies have shown that, for some women, using pet names comes off as sexist and degrading. Make sure to read the room before throwing in these terms and unintentionally degrading a friend, family member, or colleague. 

2. It’s best not to assume affection

To assume makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’. Communication is key! If you are curious about a girl’s feelings towards you, it is best to ask her directly once you have given some thought to her behavior. This will limit the discomfort or tension you might otherwise feel in her presence and allow you to have greater clarity about the nature of your relationship. 

3. Calling someone ‘love’ is VERY different from someone saying ‘I love you’

Your brain can spiral very quickly when hearing the ‘L’ word, but it’s important to note that, while ‘I love you’ is obviously intended romantically, using the word ‘love’ alone could mean nothing at all! 

4. Being called ‘love’ over text could mean more than in-person

When messaging online or via text, individuals have longer to consider their choice of words and won’t necessarily speak with the same mannerisms as they would in person when they likely feel more self-conscious. ‘Love’ combined with a flirty emoji might mean they’re interested in you romantically! 

5. Love yourself first

This may sound sappy, but remember that before you go pining after anyone, you should cultivate a loving relationship with yourself! Once you’ve done this, you won’t feel like you need to chase love or read so much into how people talk to you. You’ll naturally attract the love that is meant for you when you are meant to. 

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Matilda Alvarez

I am a professional writer and editor based in Melbourne, Australia. I am a researcher in the environmental sciences and have a passion for the natural world, wellness, and the written word. Through my studies and freelancing career, I have become well-practiced in creating engaging, concise, and digestible prose for readers to enjoy. In my spare time, I enjoy practicing yoga, and meditation, exploring beautiful Australian landscapes, and reading a good book.

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