I'm trying to remember the last time someone who wasn't related to me said, "I love you".
There are some friends who will occasionally throw it into an electronic, non-spoken form. It means a lot to me, but there is something to be said about physically saying and hearing it.
Actions can speak louder than words in some situations, but words can be pretty darn loud.
If you love someone, even as a friend, try telling them. The world seems too uncomfortable with human emotions and needs sometimes, and that's unfortunate.