Signs they love you vs. like you (vs. only love themselves)

Signs they’re just a decent human being

i.e., the shit people do — and should do — even with strangers

  • When they learn your great aunt died, they say something like “I’m sorry to hear that”
  • They listen and don’t interrupt when you talk
  • They hold the door instead of letting it hit you in the face
  • They offer to help carry something when your arms are full
  • They don’t do things to deliberately bring you down

Signs they like *themselves*

In a way that’s harmful to you, not genuine self-care.

i.e., shit people do “for others” that are really for them.

  • They are preoccupied with whether or not you love them
  • When asked why they like you, they say things like “you make me happy.”
  • When they compliment you, it’s on things they benefit from; i.e., your beauty
  • They do nice things — but then get grabby with “appreciation,” i.e., not ever being appreciated “enough.”
  • They approach love with an overarching desire for security, comfort in sameness. There is minimal room for growth or change, which scares them.
  • They need continuous reassurance and proof of love
  • They discourage change, or encourage change in a way that suits their own image, expectations, or idea of what’s “right”
  • Their affection for you is deficit-based (i.e., “you complete me”)

Signs they self-love — in a healthy way

i.e., a prerequisite to being able to love someone else.

  • They don’t require constant reassurance or displays of love
  • They take care of their own emotional needs rather than relying on you for them
  • They understand that they are responsible for their own responses, feelings, and experiences
  • They build their own self-esteem intrinsically, rather than clawing at others for it
  • They are emotionally stable and mature
  • Their energy is not “needy,” “pawing” or “draining,” but rather expansive and overflowing.
  • They don’t love others as a cover-up (or negotiation tactic) for their lack of self-love.
  • They love others because their own love-cup overfloweth.

Signs they like *you* — but just, like, as a human being

Congrats, they socialize well and don’t disdain you.

  • They ask if you want anything when they run next door for coffee.
  • They may or may not even accept your money when you offer.
  • They return your phone calls in a timely manner.
  • They ask “how was your weekend?”
  • They ask if you want to hang out
  • They don’t blow you off
  • They make you laugh, or vice versa

Signs they *care* about you

They do nice things for you, and its for your benefit more than theirs. Nothing’s gaged on whether — or when — it comes back to them. They care in a vacuum.

  • They notice your food still hasn’t come and ask the server about it on your behalf.
  • They tell you that poor dead kitty that got hit by a car is a raccoon. Or a opossum. Because they know you’re a cat lover and the truth would ruin your day.
  • When they learn your great aunt died, they know if you need a hug, and then give you one if you do. Then they go with you to her funeral, or follow up afterwards to ask, sincerely: “how are you doing?”
  • They care enough to self-care, and their emotional state is never dependent on yours
  • They love enough to self-love, and never rely on you to fulfill self-esteem needs
  • They are invested in their own growth and development, and allow room for yours as well, free of inhibitions, resentments, or expectations.
  • They truly value you as your own person, regardless of the permanence of their role in your life, or vice versa
  • They respect you
  • They don’t dump their emotional needs on you, esp. by way of ambiguous request, resentment, contempt, passive aggressiveness, etc.
  • There are no strings attached

Signs they *love* you

they care about you and your wellbeing even when it contradicts their own. Not in an unhealthy, martyr sense (because even martyrdom is self-serving for some other objective) and not in any way codependence (ditto.)

  • After developing and investing in their own emotional self-sufficiency and wellbeing, they choose to actively invest in your emotional wellbeing, too.
  • They leave room in their lives to extend emotional energy towards you, and they do so in a way that serves you, and not them.
  • They do it with no self-harm (i.e., martyrdom or resentment) and no expectations — especially “love in return.”

But it must begin with self-love. Nobody can love without self-love.

People without self-love will be seemingly “generous” and “self-less” but are actually using generosity to mask their deep-seated insecurity and need to build their self esteem around others emotional dependence on them.

People with self love will choose to do this only with people who take care with their love.

They love you if they love themselves first.

They love you if they never check in on you loving them back.

They love you if their love energy is calm and ever-soothing, if their behavior is independent of your response, and their emotional state is independent of yours.

They love you if they actively invest in your well-being while never sacrificing their own.

They love you if the energy is truly give, not give and “now-where’s-my-love-or-appreciation-back” take.

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