Derek Sivers

Entrepreneur, programmer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

What's the difference between like, love, and in-love?

What's the difference between like, love, and in-love?

How do you know when you love someone instead of just liking them a lot?

How do you know when you're “in-love” with someone instead of just loving them as a person?

I asked a bunch of friends these questions, and got a huge variety of answers:

“If I like anything about someone, I like them. If I like everything about someone, I love them. If I like everything about someone and we have great sex, I'm in love.”
“Like is liking someone, but conditionally. Love is liking someone unconditionally. In-love is just glorification of a temporary infatuation. Eventually it becomes love.”
“This sounds morbid, but I think of it in terms of how I'd react if they died. If I like someone and they died, I'd be sad and cry once or twice. If I love someone and they died, I'd be devastated and cry for days or weeks. If I'm in love with someone and they died, I'd want to die too.”

How do you know?

Do other languages have different terms for “love” versus “in love” that make it more poetically distinct?

C'mon songwriters, I know you've thought about this. smile

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