I was having this debate with my friends, we three speak spanish as our native language (they don't speak english that well yet) and they were saying english speakers don't have an expression between "I like you" and "I love you" and they were defending the expression "Te quiero mucho" which would be like "I really like you" or "I like you very much"/"I like you a lot" but in the sense of 'wanting' like "I'd like an ice cream" (In spanish it'd be something akin to telling someone you appreciate them being in your lives, you care about them, you're thankful and loving to them... Maybe like saying 'I want you in my life' if it helps to get the meaning)
But they say it's not the same cause "I really like you" and "I like you" is "Me gustas" as in "I like you" but as if it only could be used when confessing to someone or as a synonym for "I have a crush on you"
I'm telling them it depends on context but one of them told me her canadian friends, when she was in Canada, told her they didn't have a word for "te quiero mucho" and I told her they were right in the sense of not having a literal translation but that it didn't mean that "I like you" was forcibly used for "I have a crush on you"
They even said english speakers are dying of frustration cause they don't have a word following the I like you and before saying I love you XD
I told her it could be said "You are fond of someone" as something before "I love you" but one of them were like "I never heard anyone say that the time I was in Canada (1 year)" and they say they never heard the "I like you" in series, movies or daily life XD and I told her, yeah, just like it's not usual to go down street or be at school and hear people say "Te quiero" as a common thing lol
But "Te quiero mucho" can be said to your friends, your parents, your siblings, your pets... So, that's why I was insisting it depends on the context. It's not an expression reserved for your special someone, thus, to me, they're only speaking from their limited perception and the obvious (being the fact of spanish having more intensity cause they speak spanish lol)
Soo, I'd like to ask (sorry for the rant lol) What are your thoughts on the use of "I like you"? Is it like she says that no one says it to mean something other than "I have a crush on you"? or in what circumstances do you use it?
Is it common to use "being fond of"? Is it not common?
How would you express something more than like and before love? Is there a word for it or would it be like a specific expression?
"Te quiero mucho" is basically expressing endearment and affection to your loved ones (be a family member, close friend, spouse, girlfriend, etc) it just changes depending on context and how you say it) It can be literally translated to "I want you a lot" but it doesn't mean need/want when you say this to someone else, it's just the "I like you a lot" without meaning "I have a crush on you" and more than just saying you "Like someone", basically "te quiero mucho" is for people you really care for, not just expressing you like someone's personality or that you find the person likeable, but yeah, I wanted to know the opinion of actual english speakers on the matter.
Hope this made sense somehow xD you can also include examples of how your characters would express this if you want! But yeah, I'm curious on how a native would think about this.
I told them to be aware that they were speaking from their own perception but yeah, she replied with the thing of her english speaker friends telling her there was no translation for the word and she took it as if there was no way for english speakers to express this!