Why Liking Someone Is More Important Than Loving Them
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All you need is love. Love is the answer. Love is all you need. Love makes the world go ’round. But does it, really?
Love is an incredibly important part of any relationship, whether it be family, friends, or significant others. Love is seen as the cornerstone, the very binding fiber that brings and keeps people together. But what if I told you…it doesn’t really work that way?
I used to hear people say things like “I love them even on days that I don’t like them” and had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept as I was younger. Today though, I can appreciate the love one may have for a family member, or even a pet, who may bring aggravation at times but you would still do anything for them.
I think that when it comes to relationships, we put a lot of weight on love. So much weight, that it is very difficult to tip the scale in the other direction. People seem to need tons upon tons of disappointment, arguments, or incompatibility to make the “love weight” budge. For this reason, they tend to ignore a lot of the bad things because they still have that one good thing.
Anyone who has had more than one relationship in their life understands the reality of falling in and out of love. Feelings towards someone can intensify but then also fade, over time. Some quicker than others. Is this to say that love never lasts a lifetime? No, I think it can. My parents have been together for over 35 years and my grandparents have been married for over 60 – but is love the only thing that kept them together?
Love is not all you need. You need mutual respect, compromise, sacrifice, understanding, the willingness to work at it and stand by him or her when times get rough. You need to be willing to be by their side not only during the bright days but also during the dark ones. To encourage them to become the best version of themselves, but also to love and accept them as they are today.
You can fall in love with someone who is not right for you. Who you are not compatible with. Even with someone who mistreats you. We see and hear stories all the time about abusive relationships and always ask ourselves – “Why does he/she stay with them?!” Because they are in love. But they don’t have the other pieces of the puzzle mentioned above.
You can love someone, but understand that they are not right for you. That they don’t fit into aspects of your life that you’d like them to. That your personalities are just so different that a long term commitment simply won’t work. This doesn’t make your love for them any less real, but it puts the rest of the relationship into perspective.
Love may let you look past your differences for some time, but it will not actually help you overcome them. It won’t help you work through them and it won’t help you solve your problems – only to endure them longer while they still persist.
Nietzsche once said – “Lack of love does not make for unhappy marriages, lack of friendship does.” Think for a moment how powerful that statement is. How much you truly need to be friends with someone below the surface in order to really make things work. Think about all of the good qualities your relationships with friends have, now take them away and replace them only with love. Would you still be friends? Doubtful.
If you wouldn’t accept poor treatment or inconsistency from a friend, why would you accept it from a lover?
Those other qualities are what really keep people together. Actually liking who they are as a person, the fun you can have together, the ability to talk about things, the comfort of knowing you can trust someone because there is mutual respect in your relationship. The knowledge that they have made a commitment to stand by your side because they want to. The foundation of a relationship that lies in the fact that they actually like who you are as a person, and that you like who they are, too.
Love may be the fire of a relationship, but if it is left alone, any fire will eventually burn out, no matter how strong. Friendship, actually liking someone as a person, and all of the great qualities you share is the kindling. It is the consistent stoking that will keep the fire burning.
You can have a friendship without a relationship, but you can’t have a relationship without a friendship. Build your foundation first, and only then will you be able to weather the storms together, side by side, as friends.
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