I wonder if there is a question more asked on Google than this: How do you know when you love someone? It’s part of a great tradition of young people on the interwebs asking other people how they themselves feel. That said, it’s universal, and it’s often very hard to distinguish the two very similar emotions. Here are a few hints and tips to help identify whether you love someone or you’re in love with them.
- You can’t spend a day without them. This might sound dramatic, but even when you’re with your friends, you need your space or they can start to annoy you. But, if you’re in love with a person, even though you might still get to that stage, the love is different. You love all of them and their flaws are a part of them. For friends, however, you very much love them in spite of their flaws.
- You want to know all about them. This isn’t just a long weekend away with your friend when you talk on the drive home about your hopes and dreams. This is up late talking until midnight on a weekday smiling at the ceiling talking about what you dressed up as in the school nativity 20 years ago. All the conversations crop up in both types of relationships, but it’s the value of the normal, everyday stuff that defines being in love. You just simply can’t get enough of them. You never run out of things to say, but you can also sit in silence together. The moment isn’t fragile and you don’t doubt yourself. You’re the best version of yourself with them.
- You want to meet all their friends. Not in a creepy way, but you want to see every part of them. It’s so interesting to meet the people that really influenced the people we love. They were formative in influencing who they are today. This is the classic big hitter of relationship stages: the group hangs. However, if you really love them, there’s nothing to fear because you will have so much to talk about over your mutual love for your crush.
- You want their mother to love you. We all like to pretend that everyone who meets us loves us, but sometimes you have to make the charm count. When you meet the parents, it’s a loaded affair. However, if you love someone like a friend, meeting their family won’t feel too dramatic. In fact, you’ll probably have met them already. You’re not worried about it. As a general rule, no matter how you love someone, if you aren’t worried about what they think about you, you probably aren’t in love with them. In my experience, anyway.
- They’re the first person you send a meme to. Maybe it’s because they’re always in your ‘recent’ messages, but if you are in love with a person you will never deny yourself an opportunity to reach out to them. For some, when you love someone, that affection and relationship comes in waves, with lots of ups and downs. However, when you’re in love with someone, you’re more focused on the progression, the journey. It might not always go up perfectly, but there’s a trajectory. It’s exciting.
- You share a sense of humor. Maybe this is because of the aforementioned meme-sending, but it’s like you are the perfect foils of each other. You can finish each other’s sentences and always want to anticipate their needs to make them feel comfortable. That’s another difference. When you love someone, you want to fix things for them, erase their suffering. However, when you’re in love, you want to get to the bottom of it. Talk them through it, be there for them to rant and share. You know them and you can meet their needs even in ways they don’t see themselves.
- You talk about the future together. Your feelings for this person are more than love – you’re focused on the future. Not just the present or a short-term situation. You want to know about their past and be present in their future. This is clear in the way that you cherish all your time together.
- They excite you. Even running errands with the person you’re in love with can feel like a day at Disneyland. If you don’t understand what I mean just by reading that sentence, you haven’t experienced it.
That’s how you know the difference between love and being in love. But most of all, trust your gut. It’ll tell you all you need to know.