The word between like and love

Yesterday night I was watching Sex and The City with my flat mates whilst finishing dinner. The story was about the difficulty of saying love or like to someone close to them. This thing made me think about the word love and like and how they intertwined one another and what’s the difference and what made it difficult to say it.

As an Indonesian, I feel a bit confused about the whole love and like statements in the western society just because we express it different ways in our culture.

For me, when a person says that he/she likes someone, it ‘sound’ awkward because ‘like’ is for something more tangible or ‘light’ activities such as hobbies or the way one passing time. But saying the word love seems to deep and creates commitments as well as something really enormous. In my opinion, the word love can only be justify for two things. The first thing is the love of God to human beings and vice versa. The second thing is the love of parents to their children. Love outside those things are still ‘questionable’.

So, the question is what is the right word to say something in between? I mean if the feeling is not too light as a hobby but not too deep as God’s love to human being. How do we say it in English? I don’t know the answer to this question because it’s so grey so it makes things more complicated. Will by adding the word ‘so much’ after the word ‘like’ would be enough? But then, one can also say ‘I like chocolates so much’ so again it becomes a bit less meaningful.

In Indonesian we have this in between love and like word, which is ‘sayang’ (care). So, a couple can say ‘aku sayang kamu’ which means ‘I care about you’ that weight more than ‘I like you’ but not as deep as ‘I love you’. In English, saying ‘I care about you’ sound a bit unusual.

Well.. the word ‘sayang’ is still debatable though because I heard a friend who define it as more deeper than ‘love’ (cinta). People is quite free to define the word as they wish but whether it reach the other people with the same level of understanding, we’ll never know.

Hence, there were times where words are not necessary to be spoken out loud as well. Even though my ex never said that words in almost 8 years of our marriage life, there were times when I felt that he loved me. And, vice versa, even though I kept whispering those words in his ears, he felt that I don’t love him enough. Well… what a difficult word indeed.

11 thoughts on “The word between like and love

  1. In Singapore, Chinese parents (and possibly the Malays) say “sayang” when they’re
    comforting their kids who have had a slight injury and need support.

  2. This was really helpful and enlightening to me. Thank you.

    Also that “guy” who posted the english class comment is an ignorant prick who no one will ever love, fortunatly

  3. “Guy”, you are ignorant. This writing is lovely. While, yes, the author may seem a tad lofty in their writing, your comment is inapproptiate. They are just voicing what is on their mind. Please, do grow up and keep your nasty comments to yourself.

  4. Isn’t it ironic that “L” judges the writer’s “advanced English”…and yet uses “your” inappropriately? To the author of this page, thank you for sharing the nuances of like-love in Indonesian.

  5. Well.. the word ‘sayang’ is still debatable though because I heard a friend who define it as more deeper than ‘love’ (cinta). People is quite free to define the word as they wish but whether it reach the other people with the same level of understanding, we’ll never know.

    nice…………………..

  6. I found this so helpful bc I’ve been trying to find just that, the imbetween love and like or care for a lot and I am very appreciative to the author of this article so no English class needed. We don’t have a word in our language that describes just that and “guy” look it up you won’t find one. So maybe you should go back to English class man:)

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