I love you, man.
I love you, girl.
I love you, pal.
After college graduation -- accompanying the typical Midwestern pressures to start a career, buy a house, get a dog, and marry somebody -- was a pressure against intimacy.
Bizarrely, my entire life before graduating college, I'd been fixated on forming intimate relationships. Then suddenly one day, like a light switch, new intimate relationships felt eschewed. Felt like a thing of the past -- something people my age just didn't do.
I was a weak person so I went with the flow, began not pursuing or actively fostering intimate relationships. But still, some spontaneously sprouted.
When this happened, I was unprepared. I don't think you ever can be when it comes to intimate relationships. It's the more surface-level or transactional relationships that you're able to prep for. But an inherent attribute of intimacy is that it floors you -- makes you feel some type of way.
One thing I've noticed used as a buffer from this uncomfortable flooring is the suffixing of endearing phrases. Like a friend adding 'man' to the phrase 'I love you'. I've done it too. My friend once told me that he loved me, and added man at the end. And I said it back, also adding 'man' at the end.
But in honesty the suffix subtracts in this case.
In literature I can think of one example in the popular novel 1984.
In it, Julia's first note doesn't say: 'I love you comrade', because that would take away from the note. It makes it sound as though Julia appreciates Winston as a comrade... rather than just Winston as a person.
I think a modern struggle with growing commodity and available to products and services is the commodification of the people in our relationships. So don't do that. Or I mean, you can do whatever you'd like, but I will try not doing so.
From now on I won't say things like "I love you, man." but instead.
I love you.