Musing on the meaningless meaning of “love“

“I love you.”


Oh how our society has destroyed this phrase.

I have no problem with people saying they love each other, but please save it for the right time and the right person.

So often today I see people texting their “significant” other “I love you” after roughly two weeks of dating. To me, I just don’t see how you can reason that you love someone if you have only been together for such a short amount of time. What you’re feeling is not love, but excitement and joy that you have found someone who you enjoy spending time with and whom you seem harmonious with, but love – I don’t think so.

That being said, love is a term that no one can define for others; it matters how you interpret it yourself. As teenagers, we all have different notions of the meaning of love, and our definitions of the word evolve as we mature and learn more about ourselves. My own ideas of love will transform from what I believe now, but I believe that at the root of love is the constant concept of selflessness, which is not present in many of the contexts in which the word is used in today’s culture.

People say, “I love chocolate” and “I love you”, and to me it’s odd that we use the same word to show our affection for food or a person. People don’t love chocolate, they just enjoy it.

As a society, constantly saying we love material possessions just makes us more insensitive to people whom we love; the overuse of the word “love” has caused the word to lose its meaning. However, I still think when you tell someone you love them it should be a genuine, face to face moment, not just texting those three words as if it’s a trivial matter.

That being said, we all fall victim to the commonality of the word, including myself. We ask people for help with homework questions and then respond, “Thanks! You’re a lifesaver, love ya!”. No, I am sorry, but you are in my AP Statistics class and I don’t talk to you much outside of this class, so as an acquaintance there is no way I love you. Yet, I say it anyway and am now just a part of society that is constantly increasing the ambiguity of a word that can mean the most or mean nothing at all. But obviously in the context of homework I do not mean “love” the same way as when I say “I love you” to my boyfriend.

High school is a time when many people begin dating, testing the waters for the kind of person who makes them the happiest and who seems compatible with them. These relationships can take many forms: the “hookups”, the “flings”, the brief relationships and then those that are more long-term.


When I first entered high school, I figured I would probably have a couple non-serious relationships, yet now with graduation less than two months away, I have had one boyfriend. For some, this is the ideal possibility, while others prefer to explore multiple relationships.

While I myself am not a huge advocate for the hookup culture of today’s society, I do not know what other people are looking for in their lives in regards to a relationship and many people in high school are just looking to have fun and do not want a serious commitment.

But if there is no judgement towards those who are just having fun, then there should equally be no judgement for those who are in serious, long-term relationships in high school. Although on both ends of the spectrum, both groups tend to receive criticism from those who can’t understand or don’t agree with their frames of mind.

I have been in my relationship for a year and a half now, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t see that changing anytime in the near or even distant future. For some, that sounds absolutely horrible and just plain crazy, but I don’t think if people believe they’ve found the right person for them that is anything to be ashamed of. Whenever I tell adults I’m in love many just smile and laugh, thinking my young age makes me naive to believe I could comprehend the obscure notion of love, and maybe one day I will learn what it truly means to be in love in the far distant future. Considering roughly half of marriages these days end in divorce, it seems like even adults aren’t quite sure what being in love entails.

Although rare, high school sweethearts do exist, so try and lay off the judgement that high schoolers in serious relationships don’t know what “true love” is. A few years ago one of my teachers told our class how she had met her husband in middle school and they have been together ever since, and all I could think to myself at the time was “that’s ridiculous, how does she know she really loves him if she’s only been with one person?,” but now, I understand.

Despite my experience, by no means am I criticizing those who have gone through many relationships, as I believe you need to keep looking until you find the right person for yourself, and very rarely does that ever happen in high school, or in the subsequent years after.

Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or just hooking up, keep an open mind as to what others are searching for in high school as far as a relationship, as many students feel love is too serious a feeling and choice to have during such a mercurial time of our lives. We should realize we’re all just teenagers trying to figure out the enigmatic idea of what it means to be in love, and whether you’re searching for that now or later, or whether you think that love can be found in the realm of the hook up culture or long term relationships or anywhere in the spectrum in between, that is up to you.

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