Yes, I actually count on that, so that I can get away with expressing feelings by saying "I care" or drawing hearts, without the person getting freaked out by me saying I love them.
People are really scared of that word.
Well exactly. It's just saddening when you are on the receiving end of those hearts and "I care"s. It can be rather depressing when another person seems afraid of saying love. They aren't the same, and that much is obvious.