Families are complex. Many of us feel like our parents or siblings don’t necessarily show up in the ways we need them to.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t love us.
It’s just that they show their care and affection in different ways.
So, if you’re in doubt about how your family feels about you, here are 10 subtle signs they love you, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.
1) They check in on you
Your family might not be the closest people to you. You may only see them on occasion or at special events.
But if they regularly check up on you, even by text or phone call, it’s a sign that they love you.
You’re on their mind, on a random Saturday afternoon. Or when they get home from work. Just the fact that they care to ask how you are shows they’re interested in your well-being.
My dad and I have never had the closest relationship. But I know he loves me because he texts from time to time, just asking how I am.
If I’m ill, he’ll message me more frequently or call me (we live in different countries).
So, it’s important to remember that while your lives might not be very intertwined, it’s these small acts that show how your family feels.
2) They remember small details
Does your family remember your favorite type of cake?
Do they know the name of your childhood best friend?
What about your favorite band? Artist? Food?
Little details are pretty significant. They make up who we are.
So when people remember them, it’s usually a sign that they’re paying attention to you. Even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
Put it like this:
If your family couldn’t care less about you, they wouldn’t make an effort to remember those little things that make you happy.
They probably wouldn’t even notice them.
But the fact that they do, shows they value you as a person.
3) They make time for you
I always say that one of the best things we can do for others is make time for them.
Especially those we love.
So, if your family goes out of their way to spend time with you, even though they’re leading busy lives themselves, it’s a good sign they love you.
Remember how I said my dad and I aren’t particularly close?
Well, in the summer I flew home to the UK for a few days, but not to the city where my parents live. I was about a 5-hour drive from them.
But my dad was adamant that they’d come and see me. He even took a day off work so they could spend more time with me.
Even though my mom is the one to say, “I love you” regularly (have never heard my dad say it in my life), his actions prove that he does love me too.
4) They offer help
You’re moving house. You’ve got a crapload of things to do in a short space of time.
You, understandably, feel stressed and overwhelmed.
Until your family messages, asking if they can lend a hand. Perhaps they offer to help clean up your old place, or move boxes. Maybe they come over to help decorate your new place.
All these little acts of service show that they love you. They’re there for you in your times of need.
They might not call you every day or show love in the way you expect, but if they’re reliable and helpful, that says a lot.
5) They share with you
Another subtle way in which your family shows they love you, even if it doesn’t always feel like it, is if they make you feel included.
By that, I mean they:
- Share food or possessions with you
- Share stories or old anecdotes
- Share their emotions and vulnerabilities
Generally speaking, people aren’t so generous with those they don’t care about.
But taking the time to sit with you, share family stories, or send you home with a casserole every time you visit is a good indicator that they value your presence in the family.
6) They listen to you
I know people whose families genuinely don’t care about them. It’s heartbreaking to watch.
One friend in particular comes to mind. He’s been trying to reconnect with his sister for a while now, even sending heartfelt letters.
She never responds. When he asks if they can have a chat, she avoids it.
Put simply, she never allows him to speak, because she just doesn’t want to hear it.
Meanwhile, he’s left wondering what he could have done so badly to make her behave this way.
But it’s clear to the rest of us; he didn’t do anything wrong. She just doesn’t love him enough to want to be a part of his life.
So, if your family allows you to express yourself and they do their best to hear you out, count yourself lucky.
They’re not perfect, they surely make mistakes, but by listening to you, they’re showing they care. And that’s pretty powerful.
7) They support your interests
One thing I’ll say about my dad is that, even when he disagreed with my interests, he never stopped me.
In fact, he’d help me.
I remember the first time I solo traveled as a young 20-something. He really wasn’t keen on it. But he got on board, and even offered me some spending money.
If your family does the same, take it as a sign that they truly love you.
Because ultimately, we’re allowed to have different opinions and interests. But unconditional love means not letting those differences stop you from supporting one another.
The next time you tell your family about a new venture you’re setting up or a club you’re joining, take note of their reactions.
That’ll tell you a lot.
8) They show physical affection
Some people aren’t comfortable verbalizing their love.
But they may make up for it with physical touch.
Another sign your family loves you is if they always give you a big hug and lots of kisses whenever you walk in the front door.
Or perhaps your mom rests her hand on you when you talk. Your dad puts his arm around your shoulder when you’re walking.
Your siblings lovingly ruffle your hair. Which you probably pretend to hate. But deep down, love.
Sometimes, it’s not the words, but the actions that speak the loudest.
9) They apologize and forgive
You may not feel like your family shows up for you all the time, but bear in mind, they probably feel the same.
Because we all show love and support in different ways.
As I mentioned above, there’s no doubt your family has probably made mistakes in the past.
Just as you will have done, too.
But the key thing to focus on here is whether they’re able to apologize when they mess up. Do they take accountability for their actions?
Do they genuinely consider how they made you feel?
If so, that’s a sign that they not only love you, but they respect you too.
And if we flip the roles, think back to when you’ve messed up and apologized to them…
Did they forgive you or punish you? Move on or make it worse?
If the answer is the former two options, then it’s clear that while things may be rocky from time to time, they do care about you and want you in their lives.
10) They celebrate your achievements
And finally, do your family cheer for you when you succeed at something?
Are they always up for celebrating you and your accomplishments?
Trust me, if they didn’t love you, they wouldn’t do this.
I’ve got family members who are so jealous they’d actually be annoyed if I told them of all the good things I’ve worked for in life.
So the fact that your family wants nothing but good for you shows that they have your best interests at heart.
As I’ve mentioned throughout this article, family may not always show love in the way we want it.
And of course, you should communicate this to them if you’re feeling put out. They may surprise you and work on those issues.
But if you related to most of the points in this article, it sounds like your family does truly love you, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.