What Is the Difference Between Love & Like?

The difference between like and love is not universal.The difference between like and love is not universal.

"Like" and "love" are different terms that people usually use to describe romantic feelings. Distinguishing between liking someone and loving someone is a task common to adults in relationships and young adults who have just begun dating. The defining line between liking and loving can be blurry, and is drawn differently for everyone who crosses it.


A person may say that she loves her best friend, her husband and her son, but though the verb in each instance is the same, the meaning is not. The same goes for the word "like": you can like your science class and like your lab partner, but you don't like them in the same way. Ancient Greek culture had four words for the various types of love you feel. "Agape" refers to religious and spiritual love. "Philia" is the kind of love you feel for your friends. "Storge" is familial love. And "eros" refers to romantic love.

Liking Someone

People typically use the word "like" as a weaker version of the word "love," regardless of context. Most people use the term to refer to the people, places and things they enjoy, but feel lukewarm about. People often use the term "like" to describe romantic emotions that are not fully developed or of which the individual is unsure. Liking someone is often synonymous with having a crush on the person.

Loving Someone

Robert Sternberg, a psychologist at Yale University, developed a triangular theory of love, which has become standard within the field of psychology. His theory states that romantic consummate love, or what is called true love, is achieved when the relationship between two people is composed of passion, intimacy and commitment. Love is usually the result of time and mutual affection between two people, through which these three components of a relationship develop.

From Like to Love

The transition from like to love is a source of confusion and soul-searching for individuals who are dating or have recently entered a relationship. Because everyone experiences these emotions differently, it is difficult to identify a universal moment or alteration of emotion that signifies the change from liking to loving. Distinguishing between like and love is a task each individual must tackle for himself to find his own answer.

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