By Angel Lea J. Regalado | February 16, 2021
The three words “I love you” have been passed around from person to person so often and so easily to the point that its meaning has been diluted. Love is a complex feeling. The Greeks recognized that there are different kinds of love and assigned each one is as unique as the other.
Knowing the different kinds of love and their specific contexts can help you draw the line when it comes to distinguishing your feelings for a certain someone, before uttering the three big words. Whether that be romantic, platonic, or familial love, there’s a concept that fits every feeling.
Eros – romantic and passionate love
Eros represents the idea of passion, lust, and desire. This word was named after Eros, the Greek god of fertility, and it is usually driven by physical attraction. It’s the closest representation of the physical love between partners.
Don’t be fooled, as eros can be dangerous. It is an irrational and dangerous form of love that can consume you. You can easily lose control of yourself in this type of love especially when you’re at the courting stage when you can’t seem to get enough of each other.
Philia – intimate and deep friendship
Philia is the love that is described by loyalty and empathy. You may feel this love with your closest friends, especially if that friendship has been tested by trials such as time, distance, and misunderstandings. This type of love is also described by sacrifice—an action that is hard to come by nowadays.
This type of love is not something that can be passed around casually among acquaintances as this is reserved for your special lifelong friends.
Storge – unconditional familial love
If storge was limited to one word to define it, it would be protective. This love is characterized by the familiarity and need you have when you are surrounded by family. It is most seen in the love a parent may have for their child—protective and unconditional.
Even if you don’t get along with your family members all the time, you will always find yourself defending and protecting them if they get themselves hurt or in trouble. Storge is not a loud type of love, and it takes a strong sense of familiarity to feel it.
Agápe – selfless universal love
Agápe can be characterized by the love for strangers and the less fortunate. This type of love is also altruistic in nature, as to give this type of love you don’t expect anything in return. This love is perhaps the hardest one to come by as it is difficult for people to spread love to people they barely know.
A perfect example of Agápe would be the sacrificial love of the frontliners of the COVID-19 pandemic. They sacrifice their safety and their time with family in order to keep citizens safe, despite not knowing them personally, and help the world get back on its feet.
Philautia – self-love
Self-love is not just a trend of self-care portrayed by “me-time” with face masks and fancy products, rather it is characterized by love that reinforces your self-esteem. Be wary, however, as philautia can be the beginning of narcissism if done in a way that tears other people down.
Perhaps you have experienced all of these types of love at different stages of your life. No matter the feeling or concept, however, they are all forms of love.
With how advanced humanity is getting that there’s a new word for every trend and a new gadget that solves every modern problem, why should we resort to using one word for love when there’s plenty to go around?