Words for Love

We use the word love! What do we mean by it? This is one of the areas where the great language of English isn’t quite as helpful as it could be in describing our feelings and emotions.

“I love you” said Laura to Stef, “I love you” said Laura to Bob, “I love you” said Laura to Dave. What does it mean in each sentence? Do I love each person the same way? Without much context we’re stuck to understand the meaning. Even them it’s not easy to say I love you.

Here I will let the Greek language help me out. They have many words for love. Below I have described 7 of them.

Eros is sexual, romantic or passionate love,

Philia ,is the word for love of friendship, shared goodwill.

Storge is the word used familial love, between parents and their children, between siblings.

Agape is universal love, the love given to strangers, nature, Gods. Often linked to the religious love described by Christians or Buddhists.

Ludus is fun, uncommitted, playful love (teasing, flirting, dancing, seducing) – maybe linked to the word lustful.

Pragma is practical love based on reason, duty, one’s longer-term interests, personal qualities and compatibilities, shared goals, aged, matured. We use the word pragmatism. Could be a base for a longer term marriage, working relationship, friendship.

Philautia or Narcissism is self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy.

So now I can re-arrange the above sentences Laura said to Stef “I feel philia towards you”. Laura said to Bob “I care you for you with great agape”. Laura said to Dave “I feel we have a strong pragma bond.”

It can sometimes be easier to have more than one word to express a feeling. In counselling your counsellor will show you agape, they will care for you unconditionally, but you’d probably feel odd if they said they loved you.

If you would like to talk to a counsellor and explore your different types of emotions and ways to understand and express them please do contact Wright Minds.