What’s ‘Love’ Got to Do With it?

Amour. Laska. Agape. Elska. Gra. Milosc. All these words have the same meaning, and according to Merriam-Webster, that meaning is having a warm attachment, enthusiasm, devotion, or admiration for an object or another person.

It has been said throughout the ages that “love” is the most powerful word a person could utter in their lifetime. While this may be true, it seems as if some people are beginning to overuse the word to describe nearly everything and anything under the sky.

I have always equated the word “love” with something or someone you could not see yourself living without. Whether you believe this to be a person, an object, or even a pet, the word “love” has become far too common in our generation.

“I feel people over-emphasize their feelings by using the word ‘love’ because it’s an easy go-to, but it’s not usually the most appropriate word,” said Nicole Rubino, a senior health and physical education major. “I think that ‘love’ is a very powerful word that conveys powerful emotions, just like how ‘hate’ is a very strong word.” 

Rubino also said people must be willing to expand their vocabulary so this word is not overused. She suggested replacing “love” with “adore” or another less extreme word. 

A sad truth I have found is that instead of replacing “love” with something less extreme, people have replaced a less extreme word with “love.” This word is as common to you as seeing a squirrel on the University’s campus. The word is like the word “like.”

“Like,” according to Merriam-Webster, is to enjoy, get pleasure from, or regard in a favorable way. Synonyms for this word are “care,” “want,” and “feel.” I failed to find the word “love” in any synonym list I researched for the word “like.”

“Like” and “love” are often intertwined when talking about objects, so let us start with analyzing some objects people allegedly “love.” It is almost unbearable to hear how many people “love” a certain song or celebrity figure. For example, my friend told me he loved a new song on the radio, but once the radio began to overplay that song, he could no longer tolerate it. 

In situations such as these, the word “love” has been mistaken for the word “like.” There are so many instances of misusing “love” for “like,” but if I were to write down every case, this article would easily become as lengthy as the dictionary itself.

Let us move on to the second most common offense when it comes to using “love” instead of a less extreme, yet more accurate, word: people.

As a senior, graphic design major Steve Haskell has seen many people go through relationships, however, he believes that not all of these could be deemed as two people in love. 

“People who have been dating for two months throw the word ‘love’ around casually and then they say come crap like ‘forever babe’ with a heart emoji. Don’t make me laugh,” he said.

According to an article published by Daily Mail, 39 percent of men and 23 percent of women say “I love you” within the first month of their relationship.

While it may be true that you can love someone after three days, just like Jack and Rose in Titanic, this is not always the case.

A senior communication major, Rebecca Zidik, agrees with Haskell’s view of love taking time. “People say ‘I love you’ way too soon. It takes three to four years to truly get to know someone. The person you think you love could be the best person ever but a year later, they could show their true emotions and either become the best ever or an abusive, crazy person,” Zidik continued. “Don’t say the phrase ‘I love you’ unless you’re sure you know the person inside and out, especially during arguments.”

Along with that word of advice, always keep in mind that “love” is not a word to replace “like” or a word to act as a space filler.

“‘Love’ is a very special word. It is one of our greatest fundamental needs as humans, and it helps people to understand stages of emotion,” said Mary Harris, a Specialist Professor of Communication.

“As of recent years, the word ‘love’ is perhaps used too often and without conscience thought. However, I don’t see the harm in sharing the word or using it as a way of expressing happiness and excitement. I think as long as when the word is used to express a genuine happiness or enthusiasm, then that word will always be special and always encourage positivity,” she continued.

While Harris is correct in the sense that the word “love” expresses an unimaginable amount of happiness, most millennials use it only as a common verb.

“I think our generation has become desensitized to what the word ‘love’ really means. We use it so carelessly and apply it to meaningless objects so when we attach the word to people, I question the feelings behind it,” Erica Bonavitacola, a senior communication major, said.

Very few people experience love in this world and it is mainly because very few people can recognize it anymore. If you say you love everything, how do you know when love is actually love?