How I express love varies a lot. The ways that come easiest for me are ways that feel good to me, such as:
- showing curiosity about the person by urging them to share, asking questions, and taking in what they say.
- responding to their sharing with openness of my own (this is easier in writing, but I'm working on getting better in-person).
- giving unprompted, loving, present touch (with consent) that asks for nothing in return.
- initiating making plans to spend time with them.
- actually spending time with them.
- watching, noticing and expressing appreciation of their idiosyncrasies/uniqueness, such as their turn of phrase, or how they dress, or how they yawn, or how they laugh, their skills and talents, etc.
- taking photos of them: I often try to capture the aspects that I love so that I can show them and they can see a side of themselves they might not have seen otherwise. It's also just a way that says "I don't want to lose the memory of you" because without photos or writing I lose most memories.
- writing about them: the same "I want to remember you" sentiment, with some "I am proud to know you" also.
- creating/finding gifts that express "I know you and I care for you and I connect with you."
- acts of service: things that are difficult or unpleasant for me that will matter to the person, such as doing their dishes/laundry/etc, driving to see them, talking to them real-time without a planned conversation, making them food or coffee, or anything that doesn't come naturally to me but makes them feel loved. This one depends on how much energy I have to spare.
Does that influence how you receive love?
No, it's more that how I prefer to receive love is how I know to give love: if it's not something I would want, I have to work hard to understand it and get skill at giving it. I definitely want people to show me love in the ways that I show love, but I am willing (though not always able) to show love in ways that are not natural for me (see 'acts of service'). I can intellectually appreciate it when someone shows me love in a way that doesn't make me feel loved, but I can only feel meta-loved by it, like if you hear second-hand that someone said they love you; it is diluted.