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"Like" vs. "Love"
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The World of Social Psychology: Attachment and Relationships

"I Love You as a Friend" 

We all love so many things, don't we? A favorite sport, great pair of shoes, chocolate ice cream, and, of course, our pets. The same way we love a fiance? The same way we love a boyfriend we break up with? "I love you, just not in that way."
 
Sound familiar?
 
The study performed by Rubin in 1973 looked closely at the distinctions people make between the labels of like and love. His scale to measure the differences between the two titles was determined through "fill in the blank" style questions, in which participants answered with the names of people they knew.
 
  • I think that _____ is one of those people who quickly wins respect
  • I think that _____ and I are quite similar to each other.
  • I have great confidence in _____ good judgment.
  • If I could never be with _____ I would be miserable.
  • I feel very possessive toward _____.
  • I would do almost anything for _____.

Some of the above were used to determine feelings of "like", while others noted feelings of "love". Rubin further went on to survey 158 dating couples, both with their partners and very close, same-sex friends in mind. His discovery? While liking and loving often go hand in hand, they are not two forms of the same sentiment.

 

So like and love are different, right? What's the big deal, we already knew that. But did we really? The spectrum of human emotion is so vast, that we often make incorrect associations. How would you, based simply on your own personal experience, label the following:

 

excitement; quickened heart rate; clinginess; deep

emotional response; intense sensory perception

 

Is that love? Excitement for your partner; a quickened heart rate as they come near or enter your thoughts; a clinging to that person closest to you; a feeling so deep that you feel the quivering in your gut; every sense -- vision, touch, smell, taste, sound -- is up, taking that person in.....

 

Or is this the response of fear? As overwhelming as love, distinctly different result but oddly similar in the way it feels. Perhaps a further look will reveal more...

 

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kiss.jpg

 
 
 
 
 
"Love is an irrisistable desire to be irrisistably desired." -- Robert Frost