What Is Love? (No, Really) - OZY | A Modern Media Company

What Is Love? (No, Really)

What Is Love? (No, Really)

By Maggie Moe


Because there’s no way both your spouse and the checkout lady at Whole Foods deserve the same romantic sentiment.

By Maggie Moe

Caucasian woman and African American man embracing each other

True Love’s Kiss

Source Gallery Stock

A phrase once reserved to express a romantic feeling for a single special someone has become tainted with repetition and misuse. And even between two lovebirds, the word’s essential meaning can be up for debate. In my last relationship, my boyfriend told me that he loved me. I returned his affection, only to realize that we had completely different definitions of the word love — a realization quickly followed by the untimely demise of our relationship. It left me wondering if it’s possible to get to the bottom of what “I love you” really means. When did 21st-century Americans become so prone to dropping a casual “I love you” in the most mundane of circumstances? Is it appropriate to tell the barista who aptly prepared a perfect nonfat chai “I love you” when a simple “thank you” would do? If we can just blurt out our “love” to strangers, what do those three magic words even mean anymore?

Do we all have different definitions of love? I decided to take it to the streets to discover what “I love you” means to various strangers.

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