Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Sick of the L-Word

DEAR NATALIE: What do you think of people constantly saying, "Love you?" They end phone conversations with it, they say it to random people when they first meet them, they say it to everyone. I think it sounds mechanical and ridiculous. We don't hold anything sacred anymore. Do you agree that we should use that phrase less and only for the people we truly mean it for? I think by devaluing the words, it creates a hollowness, and our world is hollow enough. What do you think? -- OVER LOVE

DEAR OVER LOVE: You're right. How dare people say "Love you" to each other. (Insert side eye here). Our world is far too mushy and gushy for people to just throw around such a phrase. While I agree that the words are sacred, I personally have no problem with people saying those magical words to friends, neighbors, new friendly faces, partners, family and pets. With all the chaos in this world, with all the hate and anger and divisiveness, you want people to refrain from saying "Love you"? I suggest you start saying it more often. Maybe it will soften your heart a bit and help you recognize that love is not limited. Only our ideas around it are.

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Set goals on social media. Have 50 connections on LinkedIn for example? Set a goal to increase your connections to 100 in two months, and then take active steps to achieve that goal. Remember, it's not enough to be on social media. One must be present and engaged for it to benefit you, so take some time to up your game!

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)