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What’s the difference between liking somebody because they’re interesting and liking somebody because they’re… something else?

I don’t think I’ve ever had this distinction. Looking back – looking at the fairly short list of boys I liked through my teen years that I wrote on the back page of my purple diary – I feel like every guy I’ve ever liked has been interesting – and that’s why I liked them.

Think, the great skateboarder in fourth grade. The talented singer in sixth. The funny guy in tenth. The fantastically smart scientist guy throughout all of those years.

Ok, so? I liked them. I like liked them, or at least I thought that I did. Unlike my friends, I never liked someone (like liked them) because of what they looked like, or what they wore, or who they were in the social setting of high school. Yes, I might have found those people attractive – but I wasn’t attracted to them.

To this day, it feels like I have no distinction between respect and love in some instances. Or maybe I’m looking for something that’s like respect but a little closer to love? Is it admiration? Sure. Is it love? I don’t think so.

I realized this fact about myself a long while ago – back when I was writing that list of boys in my diary.

Hmm, I thought. All of these people are, like, interesting people.

And I still don’t understand it.

Or, maybe I’m just thinking too much into myself. Maybe I’m too caught up in my own thoughts and feelings.

Maybe I’m unsure if it’s OK to respect a guy who’s my own age. Maybe I feel like I have to like like him, especially if he’s good looking. Maybe I just love too many people. Maybe there’s no problem with this at all, maybe it’s what everyone does and I just never thought to ask anyone else.

Maybe there is no difference between respecting people and loving them. There are many different sorts of love, right?

So, that’s fine. I respect/love smart, interesting people.

I suppose I just haven’t found somebody yet that I will respect, and love, and also love in a different way.

What do you think? What’s the difference between love and respect?