Tuesday, May 1, 2007

When Does Like Become Love?

I was speaking to a friend at work about some girl he likes. I say loves. He says like. He's trying to move on, but he's having a tough time of it.

Not that it makes it any easier, but I point out that he already loves the girl. He says "no," that he could love her if _______. It doesn't even matter what you fill the blank in with, does it? How is it this not love already? He's kidding himself.

Part of the kidding of one's self might be some misguided concept about the purity of love. That love is some rational feeling that we come to after weighing the pros and cons and knowing what we are getting into.

But, I really think it's more of a defense mechanism. If he's not "in love" then he's not going to be "as hurt." Won't work. I've been not in love plenty of times. Hurt every time.

Either way, history and literature are full of examples of unfortunate encounters with love. Most fairy tales would not even exist without our hearts guiding us, rather than our minds.

I threw some slightly twisted fairy tale examples at him.
  • The peasant girl would love The Prince, if only he wasn't The Prince.
  • If only she wasn't a mermaid, Eric would love her.
  • If only he wasn't The Beast...
  • Looks like she's cursed to sleep forever, so I'll be moving on...
Come on, where's the romance? You don't choose who you love or set the rules for when you will.

One's own personality dictates who and when we love. Would we be better off if we could logically go up and down a list, or plug the numbers into a spreadsheet and get a solid answer? Who knows? On the surface, you'd think so. But, let's look at the process for a sec.

I think back to the girls that I've loved. I'll start with 2nd grade.

2nd grade girl was obviously more of a crush, but that crush was based on something. My class had a dozen girls, but I singled one out. I can't tell you why, but looking back at the class pic, she wasn't necessarily the cutest one, so it's looking like I started off less-than-shallow, at least.

However, in the middle of 2nd grade, I moved. I was pretty sad. For a day. New 2nd grade class, new love. Shallowness did prevail. She was the cutest and I have zero recollection that she even had a personality.

Jump to 3rd grade and I remember going for the brain, once again. But, she was also the cutest little sandbox companion. She not only brought her own magnet to school, but she also knew that it was iron ore that we were collecting from the sandbox with those magnets. Smart and pretty...

Fast forward to whenever and you realize that we are constantly leapfrogging from relationship to relationship, no matter how short, long, full, or one-sided they may be. Each hop leaves a footprint. Each hop, both consciously and subconsciously leaves us with an updated set of wants, wishes, and desires for the next Love Of Our Life.

When you meet him or her, the next potential Love, you can only hope that your head prevails earlier than your heart. It's the ones that hit so close to home that are the most troublesome and the most devastating.

I'm not sure that the spreadsheet would help. By the time you started plugging the numbers in, it's likely too late. And, if you had a spreadsheet to pick your True Love, it would have to be some sort of magical one. There's simply no way to break down all these variables into simple math formulas and values.

So, we're back to fairy tales. Using the fairy tale concept again, you'd need a spreadsheet of fairy tale magic. But, fairy tales are an old theme and spreadsheets are a modern one. And, unlike two lovers, the two concepts don't go hand in hand. Ever see a movie billed as a "modern day fairy tale?" Sucked, huh?

Anyhow, this blog just ends, with little in the way of resolution. My buddy needs to move on. The _______ may be insurmountable. Only he really knows. But moving on is what the spreadsheet says to do. But, we covered that, right? It's likely going to be the unfortunate fairy tale approach, instead. Unfortunately for him, not all fairy tales end with "happily ever after." Especially the modern day ones. They always suck.


  1. "Like", in my opinion, is much more powerful than "love". It's easy to love someone. But love + like = "in love", and that's much harder.

    And yes, they all hurt.

  2. Love means many different things to many different people, it’s just what they where taught. To some the word is much stronger than other.

    “like” or “liking” is most comment connection in relationships. I see it as what you descried for your version of the word “love”.
    -Love is some rational feeling that we come to after weighing the pros and cons and knowing what we are getting into.

    My version of “Love” is a much deeper connection, a caring friendship, that does not require “likeing” because it can be given to family members and close friends but in most cases it is from a relationship. This emotion is something that goes past logic where you would do things to make that person happy with no gains to yourself whatsoever, not just weighing the pros and cons.

    I believe a large percent of the population will never actually feel this kind of love because it is extremely rare these days. I reckon roughly 99.9%(1 in 1000) or even less of the times you hear the word love, it is not meant.

    But then again all this is just my opinion.


  3. I'm not sure about lumping the love for family in with being "in love." They don't feel the same to me, although both are very powerful.

    As to the rational and logical comment, are you saying that many people figure they are in love after weigh the pros and cons and make the decision TO BE in love? Again, I'd have to disagree with that, at least as far as my own experiences go... I've fallen in love with two women that I should not have, despite the cons.

    In one case, despite still having strong feelings, I wish I'd stopped myself. And, in the other case, despite still having strong feelings, I'd do it again.


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