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when an INFP says i love you?

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i've been friends with this infp since i was a senior in hs and she was a Sophomore who was my best friend's girl friend. our friendship has gotten closer in the past 7 years even tho we've been thousands of miles apart now and again. i've now moved to texas and she had happened to be in the town im in to attend her grandparents anniversary. we hung out for 2 days after not seeing each other for a year eventho we talk every week and she brought up the idea of marriage after she finishes nursing school next year and she wanted to settle down with me..but the thing is.. i've always cared about her..flaws and all.. i love her and tell her that but shes never said it back eventho i know she..enjoys it and cares, she gives great hugs.. anyway..
shes been going thru some stuff lately health wise, relationship wise..( shes single, but people are spreading rumors about her) i guess average stress of someone in their mid 20's. we had a conversation.. i tried to help, she snapped at me and told me i didnt understand and to just leave her alone for today but said she loves me.. that's the first time i've ever heard her say that to me... i know she cares but when i try to tell her that she, her life and well being are important to me... she "clams up"
how long does it take an infp to realize that or acknowledge it. does it come easy to you? what do tho's words mean to you? i know every human is different.. i guess im just trying to look at things from different perspectives.
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Look at my signature and you'll understand how I feel about love. There are so many different ways we love other people and ourselves, each one having its own power over our hearts. As a matter of fact, I believe Latin had several different words for love beyond romantic love. I'll have to look that up again, but I'm pretty sure it was something like eight different words.

I tell my friends all the time that I love them. It's not in a romantic sort of way at all, but it's meant just as much. I care for them, I want them to be happy, and I will be there for them whenever they need or want anything that I can give. I love my parents and my brother just as unconditionally, but again, it's a different kind of love from just about everyone first imagines when they hear the word love. I care deeply for each of my patients, and yes, I love them, too, but again, in a very different way from my family or friends. Nor can I say it, sadly, but I hope I am able to convey daily just how much I care for them and truly want to help them in every way I can. Sometimes it's hard to not be able to express that love because of keeping professional boundaries and what not, but I think some of them get it. At least they trust me more than many of the other people they have worked with.

The one area in my life that I have trouble saying "I love you" is if I know the other party is uncomfortable with that or their intentions are for it to not stop at friendship or whatnot, or if I feel that there is something more to our relationship than being friends/family. I want to say the words, but I don't want them to be misinterpreted. Or perhaps I do mean them in that, "I can't really imagine life without you always by my side," sort of way, in which case it will take me forever to say them. It almost always has to be something where I have said it so many times in my head that my brain will connect with my mouth and I'll just say them. It's scary, intense, and I have felt like I was standing on a precipice waiting to fall and that lasted forever until I heard *something* from the other person. When I did, I'm not sure that I still didn't fall, it was just in a very different way.

After getting over the initial giddy rush of saying those words though, I want to find something else, something more to convey what it is that I am feeling. Three mere words are unable to express what is in my heart, my head, my soul. I'm still searching for what I could possibly ever gift to the person who is my heart that would let them know what they mean to me. I hope to one day have the opportunity to do so, whatever it will be.

Um, yeah, I'll shut it now.
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