February in known as the month of love and romance, especially on February 14th. Valentine's Day is a day specifically designated to show our compassion for our significant other. But there are also many other kinds of love that humans feel, too: the love between friends, partners, parents, and of course self-love.
According to Psychology Today, many people are too hung up on the romantic kind of love. Humans are often blind to the many other variations of it. There are actually known to be seven different kinds of love that can be expressed by humans.
The first type of love is Eros, which is the most commonly known because it is the sexual and passionate form of love. Eros is the most akin to our modern construct of romantic love. This is shared by husband and wife in the earlier stages of marriage, before their love turns into other forms of long term compassion. Eros came about with the Greek myth of Cupid, who strikes people with arrows to make them fall in love which created a madness of need for survival and reproduction.
The hallmark of friendship, or Philia, is shared goodwill, the love shared between friends. Aristotle believed a person can be a great friend to another if they have key components such as being useful, pleasant, a good person, rational, and virtuous. These friendships are not just founded on personal benefit but with companionship, trust, and dependability. Real friends will seek the best for the other person so that both may live truer, fuller lives and teach each other important lessons is life.
Jessica Benun, a junior at Lincoln High School is currently not in a relationship but says that with “the love from my parents and friends, there isn't anything more I could ask for.” She continues to say her relationship with “friends is really strong and [she] does not know where she would be without them. They are always there for [her] in tough situations that sometimes [her] parents cannot handle.” As Jess was talking about the people in her life that meant the most to her, she had a calming tone and her eyes were filled with contempt, she expressed through her eyes the way her friends and parents make her feel.
The love pertaining between a child and their parents is called Storge. This kind of love is created through a bond of familiarity and dependency, unlike Eros and Philia. Storge is not created through personal qualities. It is a special kind of love that is unbreakable. Eros, however, can be turned into Storge with enough time involved.
Tyleana Bruscini, a junior at Lincoln High School, said that “of course I have deeper bond with my parents, they know me better than I know myself, they know my tendencies, when I’m lying, and when I am upset.” On the other hand, “the relationship between my boyfriend and I is completely different. He is my best friend, my biggest supporter, someone who looks out for me, cheers me up, and will be there no matter what.” When Tyleana is talking about the people she loves, you will never see her happier. Her smile is ear-to-ear, her voice is energetic, and it is as if you can feel the love in the room.
Next is Agape, which is a whirl of love that is felt for strangers, or nature. Agape helps to build and maintain the psychological, social, and environmental fabrics that shield, sustain, and enrich us. Agape can also be defined as unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Short term effects of this type of love leave a person with a “helper’s high,” while long term effects improve mental and physical health, as well as longevity. At a social level, Agape serves as a signal of cooperative intentions and a source of availability.
Ludus is the fifth kind of love, and it is noncommittal. Activities such as dancing, flirting, and teasing all fall under this category. Ludus is more of a fun, casual, undemanding kind of love that can actually last a long time. This works best when both parties are mature and self- sufficient. Problems occur when one side of the relationship turns their Ludus love into Eros. Ludus love is better combined with Philia.
Pragma is the kind of practical love where partners seek out more long term interests. Sexual attraction takes a back seat in favour of personal qualities and compatibilities, shared goals, and ‘making it work’. This is most common in arranged marriages where the focus is long-term and making things last. Eros love can easily turn into Pragma when the relationship gets more serious about a lasting future.
Lastly, there is Philautia, which is self-love. Unhealthy self-love is akin to hubris. According to Psychology Today, hubris has come to mean an inflated sense of one’s status, abilities, or accomplishments, especially when accompanied by haughtiness or arrogance. As it disregards truth, hubris promotes injustice, conflict, and enmity. Healthy self-love affects the way a person thinks, feels, and acts, and reflects and determines our relation to ourselves, to others, and to the world. Jessica Benun left with these encouraging words, “When you take a step back for little, you will realize that you are loved by many people in different ways, and when you do that, that is the day you will realize the world is not so bad.”