Love and the English Language

Our language is too limiting. We like co-workers and acquaintances (sometimes!). We love our family (most of the time!). And, some Christians believe that agape is highest form of love a human can have, a love of God. What’s in between? How do we describe the emotional bond between good friends?

Once upon a time, I had another word for all this: snow (taken from the idea that the Eskimo language has so very many words for snow, yet English only has “like” words and “love” words.). But the person I snowed no longer snows me back, so using that word just makes me sad.

Without a better word, we, in our circle of friends, have been using the word love. And, we do love our friends. It’s not in the same way we love our partners or our family, but still, it’s a kind of love. As an only child, I’ll argue that we love our siblings in a similar manner, and, depending on the relationship, may occasionally love our friends more. I’ve certainly witnessed strong bonds as well as extreme dislike between siblings.

Then, yesterday was a hard day for a friend of ours. (One of her friends had a stroke. Another had to have an amputation. And, all this was on top of a rough week.) She called just to say, “I love you. I care about you. I’m glad you’re my friend.”

Here is a make-shift spectrum on these types of emotions.

extreme dislike
_in different_
“small doses”
love for things/stuff/foods
love for friends & family
love for partner

So, while we search for the perfect word, we love you all.

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