Emojis, texts and WhatsApp are among the most popular ways to say ‘I love you’, according to a study.
Researchers who polled 2,000 UK adults found millions are turning to their mobile phones to express these sentiments to friends and family rather than in person.
Other common ways of saying ‘I love you’ include using Skype, Facebook and Instagram.
Further to this, just three in 10 ALWAYS say ‘I love you’ face-to-face – with a fifth unable to do so because their loved ones live in another city or country.
The research was commissioned by Thorntons to mark the launch of its ‘Continental Journeys’ competition where they will reunite families who can’t be together over the festive period.
Spokesman Ian Tweedale said: “It’s not about what’s under the Christmas tree, but about who’s around it.
“Our Continental Journeys competition is helping families to ‘Pass The Love On’ this Christmas, by bringing together loved ones who, for whatever reason, can’t be together during the holiday season.
“We’re also proud to be passing the love on to the charity SSAFA, which supports our servicemen and women, veterans and their families.”
The research also identified the ‘true’ meaning of love – including accepting someone’s imperfections (47 per cent) and being comfortable when sat in silence together (36 per cent).
Travelling long distances to see one another (13 per cent) is another indicator of genuine love, as is saving the last chocolate (7 per cent) and warming up the bed (six per cent).
Being quiet in the morning as you leave the house (five per cent) is also sign of true affection.
It also emerged 44 per cent of Brits say ‘I love you’ to their partners every day.
And four in 10 also tell their pets they love them on a daily basis.
In contrast, just 12 per cent say those special words to their mum each and every day.
Instead, 30 per cent say the ‘L word’ to their parents once a week and 27 per cent say it to their friends at least once a month.
The research, carried out through OnePoll, also found saying ‘I love you’ too much devalues its meaning – according to four in 10 adults.
TOP 10 – TRUE MEANING OF LOVE:
1. Accepting a person’s imperfections
2. Being comfortable sat in silence with each other
3. Travelling long distances to see each other
4. Calling/messaging when you say you will
5. Saving your loved one the last chocolate from the box
6. Taking your partner out for a meal
7. Surprising your partner with a holiday / trip away
8. Warming up the bed for you
9. Buying gifts
10. Being quiet in the morning as you leave