Senior Goodbye: Why you should fall in love


Caroline Dolberry

“The ancient Greeks defining each type of love gives us a better understanding of emotion. It teaches us that love can be defined in a great many ways and is not subject to what society may deem the true definition.”

The ancient Greeks had eight words for love: eros, philia, agape, storge, mania, ludus, pragma and ​​philautia. Each word has a very specific meaning and connotation, all of which help us to understand love a little more.

Eros is the romantic love, one that can easily lead someone to lose control. As we grow older, we begin to experience more opportunities to encounter this type of love. Especially in high school, it seems to become quite a prevalent topic of conversation. We may see our peers become consumed with this type of love, or we may find ourselves falling down the rabbit hole of these all-consuming feelings.

Philia is love shown through friendship. Humans rely on connection with others. We spend our entire lives building friendships—both good and bad ones. This type of love is tricky to navigate, and many of life’s greatest challenges, especially through high school, can stem from the attempts to perfect this love.

Agape is unconditional and universal love, a sort of compassion for something greater than you. In the purest form, this type of love extends to everyone and everything. It takes a great deal to accomplish this, as life tends to sway us away from understanding how to always love everything. As teenagers, it can seem hard to recognize this form of love, especially when life sometimes looks a little gray.

Storge is familial love. Every single person has a unique story regarding this form of love. At every moment, this love is at a different stage in its growth. Throughout high school, this form of love can drastically change us. It may tear us down or raise us up. Family is particularly hard to navigate, especially at such a young age when odds may already seem far too against us.

Mania is obsessive love, leading often to jealousy. In every sort of relationship with an individual, this love is more than likely to occur. Often, its negative connotation pushes the other person away, and as they drift further, the obsession becomes stronger. Codependency on a friend or significant other is unhealthy, but sometimes it is inevitable.

Ludus is playful love, oftentimes taking the form of a ‘crush.’ Most especially in high school, crushes are a large part of our lives. They give us something to look forward to in the day, and they give us a lot of excitement and hope for an idealized future. They may end in a plethora of events, relationships or heartbreak, but they succeed in teaching us lessons and driving us towards the next goal.

Pragma is a mature love that has built commitment. This may involve arguments and disagreements that eventually lead to compromise and understanding. As high schoolers, we often are just beginning to learn this type of love; we may not yet have the maturity to understand it, but we are getting there.

Philautia is self-love. In order to experience any other type of love, it is arguable we must perfect this one first and foremost. Finding ourselves in youth is a journey in its own, and it may not be completed for many more years. Self-love does not have to be perfected, though. Instead, it may be a slow process, but through each stage, we are content with where we are at.

The ancient Greeks defining each type of love gives us a better understanding of emotion. It teaches us that love can be defined in a great many ways and is not subject to what society may deem the true definition.

If there is anything I have learned in my life so far, it is to expand upon these types of love. High school is a perfect time to develop understanding and build a foundation on love. It is also important to understand love can come in different forms—perhaps an infinite amount.

Personally, I have experienced each type of love, and I bet the majority of others have as well. Therefore, my advice is this: fall in love any way you can. 

This can be with nature, a hobby, a sport, a friendship, a familial bond, a relationship and especially with yourself. Of course, love can be rocky and may lead to negative consequences, but those are ways in which we learn and strengthen our capabilities for love. Learning to embrace love in our lives helps lay a path through both light and dark times.

As high school students, we may be told we are “too young” to understand love. I argue against that. Every age can understand love, as there is more than one type of love to define. In fact, we should be motivated to find love in all parts of our lives.

If there is any time to live alongside love, it is now.