Spanimerican: Getting To The “I Like You”

Admitting that you actually have feelings, and have feelings about someone is a big step. Being able to express these feelings in a different language, is a completely different step! When Mario and I finally admitted that we liked each other, it actually ended up being a big miscommunication. We were even more confused of our feelings and each others’ afterwards!

Before we get into the “I Like You” story, I’m going to have to do a quick lesson on Spanish grammar and on English grammar. In English grammar, I would say it’s pretty simple! You tell someone you like them by saying: “I like you” and that’s it! End of story, crystal clear, high five to you for being so honest! It’s pretty direct and straight forward. The sentence is in present tense and there aren’t any difficult verb conjugations.

Me Gustas, Te Gusto?

In Spanish, however, the sentence structure and grammar is completely different. This is something that I still can’t grasp! The verb gustar means “to like”. We use this verb with people, things, ideas, basically all nouns, and other verbs. For example, to say “I like shoes”, I would say: “Me gustan los zapatos”. The structure is different. The verb gustar is conjugated to match the noun, shoes [zapatos], and is later applied to the subject Me [I]. Directly translated into English, it doesn’t mean “I like shoes”, the direct translation would be: “The shoes are liked by me”. The verb gustar, in Spanish, is a passive verb!!!! Now, imagine trying to tell someone that you like them with a passive verb in a different language. WHUT.

In the very beginning, I was in a bit of denial that I had any feelings for Mario. I didn’t know how to express what I wanted to say in Spanish, and I kept going back and forth about what language to use. I opted for English, because I was more comfortable, and knew that I would be understood. The boyfriend also expressed his feelings in English, but by translating the Spanish phrase. To tell someone you like them in Spanish, you would say “me gustas“, translated meaning: “You are liked by me”.

Algarve, Portugla: Spanimerican Series -- The Quirky Pineapple
Algarve, Portugal
I like you, You like me…

You can imagine the confusion I had when Mario kept telling me “you like me, you like me a lot”, and I was so taken aback! I kept thinking: “Wow, what an arrogant guy… thinking that I like him a lot, and then having the guts to call me out on it!”. It actually made me rethink if I wanted to really invest my feelings with someone so conceited! But, after talking to one of my friends who is bilingual, she (THANKFULLY) explained to me that “me gustas” means that he was trying to tell me he likes me! HAHAHA!! Oops…

After telling me that he liked me, in backwards English, I had to correct him because we both were getting so confused! Telling him in English about my feelings was a lot easier. Him telling me his feelings in English was a bit more confusing. Even in Spanish, I wasn’t able to fully understand what he wanted to tell me!

Nerja, Málaga, Spain -- The Quirky Pineapple
Nerja, Spain

Now, we don’t have much miscommunication about who likes who. After being together a year and a little more, I think we both know we like each other! So, ladies and gents, if you’re investing or spending time with someone who speaks Spanish and not too much English, make sure you’re both clear. If they tell you “me gustas”, they’re telling you that they like you! And, if they wanted to tell you that they know you like them, it would be “te gusto”. I know, SO CONFUSING. This is why I stick to English when it comes to expressing my feelings!

Any other couples dealt with a similar situation like this? Any miscommunication between expressing your feelings? Share your stories below!

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2 thoughts on “Spanimerican: Getting To The “I Like You””

  1. Hahaha I didn’t even know the parts of the sentence or much grammar until I started teaching English in Spain!

    Hahaha, that happened to me and my boyfriend as well! When we first started dating, my Spanish level was really low and his English level was also low. When we had arguments, it was actually so difficult! In the end it fizzled out, just like you and your boyfriend, but in the beginning we were both so frustrated!

  2. Love this post! Well, the first part kind of started to give me a headache — grammar, or rather, understanding grammar, isn’t one of my strong suits. I mean, technically, I am a native English speaker but I don’t know the parts of the sentence, etc. Haha, see that doesn’t make sense. 😛

    I can relate a bit to the language barrier thing, as I’m Filipino and my boyfriend is Czech and there’s so much misunderstanding between us due to our different languages and accents, even when we’re speaking English! So far it’s mostly funny though, and usually involves him laughing at my pronunciation of Czech words, even though when he tries to correct me, to me it sounds exactly the way I said it. The good thing is, we never get into heated arguments because we both take a while to translate from our native languages to English so the strong negative emotions just sort of fizzles and we end up laughing at each other’s pronunciations. So all is well. 🙂

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