Do You Like Me? Do You Love Me?

 There are people you like, but you don’t love; there are people you love but you may not like. There are people that you love and you like, and then there are people, well, that you don’t love and you don’t like either.

 You love your parents. You love your brothers. You love your sisters. You love your children. But you don’t necessarily always like them… Sometimes you love your husband, or your wife, but you have a hard time liking him or her.

 Conversely, you like your business partner, but you may not love him.

 What is the difference between “liking” and “loving”?

 Love comes for our sameness; liking comes from our differences. Loving someone underscores your shared identity, while liking another person emphasizes your distinctiveness from each other.

 I love you because you and I, in a very deep place, are one. You and your parents, you and your siblings, are connected in a very real way. There is love there, even if it is repressed and complicated.  (Even the hate, when it exists, is usually a result of the profound love. The depth of the hate is always commensurate with the depth of the love.)

 When I like you it means that I appreciate your unique personality and character traits which make you unique and set you apart from me. I like you not because we are one, but because we are different, and your individuality enriches and enhances my life.

 My brother is one with me. I have no choice about that. We came from the same womb, we share genes, dispositions, looks, characteristics, and we saw each other running around in diapers. I love him. But that does not mean I like him. I may feel (rightly or wrongly) that his personality needs refinement, that he is pugnacious, obnoxious or selfish. It may be hard for me to appreciate him and respect him as an individual independent person. But I still love him—he is my brother.

 Love we take for granted. It comes with the territory. Just as I take myself for granted, I take you for granted. We are just connected. Liking, on the other hand, represents the fact that I do not take you for granted; I appreciate your contribution to me which is not part of my own birthright or chemistry.