What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

By The Beacon | December 1, 2015 9:57am

by Adele Kennedy |


A question I’m always interested in asking people is what they think love feels like. I’m not asking about the literal thoughts in your head, or the constant thinking of them day and night. I always want to know what it feels like physically, and even just by a quick poll of my roommates it seems like almost every sensation is downright unpleasant.

There’s the churning stomach, or the slight dizzy shaking feeling, or even the classic “weak in the knees” which threatens to topple you right over when you’re trying your hardest to seem sexy and in command. Why do we actively go after this lovesick, scary feeling? What makes it all worth it? I think, and psychologist Arthur Aron agrees, that that shared sense of vulnerability, characterized by physical weakness and nervousness leads to a deep sense of intimacy between two people.

In fact, according to a study Aron conducted earlier this year, two strangers can form a profound bond by asking each other a series of increasingly vulnerable questions about such topics as the afterlife, money and yes, love. The participants reported that these questions simulated a sense of deep intimacy between the two, and made them feel as if “they were really being seen and understood” by the other person.

When helping to put together our production of Diana Son’s “Stop Kiss,” I kept asking myself what love is exactly and how we define and delineate it from friendship. The play centers around two women in New York who fall in love with each other, almost despite themselves, and manage to see each other for who they really are. I wanted to ask the UP community a few questions about what love means to them. All submissions will be anonymously used unless otherwise noted. The questions I’d like to ask include:

What does love feel like in your body?

When did you know you loved someone?

What’s the difference between friendship and love?

What does the absence of the person you love feel like?

How long until you fell in love?

What are three things that make you love your partner?

Can love overcome all?

What does it mean to be brave in love?


Please try to keep responses concise and honest. All answers can be sent to Adele Kennedy at kennedad17@up.edu. The submission date for responses is Nov. 26. Adele Kennedy is a sophomore theater major.