When I read the title, I immediately pictured a well-behaved, elderly gentleman, maybe a professor, or a butler, talking to a young girl in a fatherly, very friendly, but non-romantic way: my dear.
As for persons of the same age, the phrasing doesn’t add romance per se, but it might, as a function of frequency. What I’m trying to say is that it may become obvious when adjectives and nouns based on Liebe are beginning to crop up in daily interactions, where before there have been none. But if the receiver of that “minced” communication is not inclined, he or she will not “catch the drift” solely because you sprinkled in some love-based words. This is probably not specific to the German language.
Also be aware that most Germans are aware that “I love you” is more freely used in American English than in German*. Nobody says “Ich liebe Dich” to a family member or a platonic friend except in extreme situations (said friend hands you the keys to your dream car) or with sarcastic undertones (said friend set up a public prank and you starred in it), but in AE, this appears to be totally normal, and the distinction towards romantic love seems to be made more through context and non-verbal clues, both of which are hard to come by in written communication. This might lead to an initial subjective devaluement of phrases surrounding “Ich liebe Dich” when a German speaker receives such a phrase from a U.S. American.
Instead of “Ich liebe Dich”, German speakers use “Ich habe Dich lieb” for platonic friends. This phrase appears in the quote you provided from your friend. That said, the enhancement through “sehr” as well as calling you something special expresses strong feelings — impossible to tell whether that’d be platonic or a romantic hint. But that wasn’t your question anyways.
*: I’m obviously presuming that you're US American, apologies if this is not the case.