what makes us love?

"Try to avoid being sentimental when describing the attributes that make someone lovable.  Really think… what makes you love the people you do?"  Is it their attributes or more?  Is it about childhood wounds and IMAGO therapy?  About being with someone who pushes your buttons and helps you grow?  What makes us love those we do? 

I surround myself with friends who have the strength to tell me things I don’t necessarily want to hear.  So I guess, I choose my friends because of how they make me be a better person.  I’m closest to those who stimulate me intellectually.  Usually that means introspective people who are emotionally expressive, people who help me grow by challenging my beliefs.  What makes us love people?  An ache and miss when they’re not around.  I believe there’s a subconscious fabric that draws us to certain people because they help us work out our issues in a safe environment.  They’re usually the best people to help us grow.  I think we love those who help us grow into better people, even if it’s hard.  A bond is created when we admit our weaknesses and ask for help.  I only do that with people I love.  What makes someone lovable?  Their quirks.  The fact that they’re always cold when you’re hot, that they can’t be in the same room with you when you apply your anti-perspirant because it reminds them of Mrs. Lerman, their fourth grade teacher.  The way they are most themselves around you.  The way she unbottons her pants at your apartment when she’s full.  He likes tomatoes but only when they’re cooked, claims he doesn’t like pasta but will eat yours off your plate "for the sauce."  Eats paper when she’s nervous; ate part of the bill when we were out to a group dinner.  Wishes they gave medals for having no cavities.  Thinks part of what makes her special is her physical flexibility, or hair, or midwestern accent.  Thiks it’s cool that she actually had the mumps.  Taught her cat to fetch.  Is still afraid of ducks, loves the rain but only from inside, hates the beach unless he’s there with her, changes the subject when he’s uncomfortable.  Calls you when she needs a pep talk.  Goes with you to the doctor when you’re scared.  Tells you bedtime stories.

I think we love in the details, in the rhythm of breath, and the curve of a suffix.  I love in the details and quiet moments between the next laugh or sigh.  In the hands. I love in the hands we inherit, in the history we hold.  I love in what we confide and miss and ache for, someone who understands, and who gives.  I love those who speak or think as I do, or who make fun of me, playfully, for the way I speak or think.  Mostly, I love those who I look to for advice.  My daily mentors.  The ones I rely on for wisdom.  I love in that, and in time.

Dogs and children are in a category all their own because they needn’t do anything but exist and need us.



  1. This was beautifully written…I think we love first for the major reasons, and once those have been established, then we notice and love the crumbs and slivers…It has not ever worked the other way around for me…Can you imagine loving an ignorant, stoic bore b/c they teach their cat to fetch or are afraid of ducks?

  2. Although i couldn't comment on your last post, that is what this relates to..last year I worked for a professor at the school of architecture that i went to and he got really into scanning nature. Eventually he purchased a super powered scanner that could scan at incredible resolutions and he scanned everything from crystals and ammonites to flowers and pea pods. The results were beautiful esp. when zoomed in upon and printed out, making something ambiguosly lovely. He has since published a book on it and now prints onto fabrics, rugs, canvas etc. It is the most simply idea but with the best results.

    If you are interested I can find out the name of his book.

  3. Very nice! Love the scanned roses, are they David Austin's? Did you just slightly close the lid on your scanner? Will have to try that.

  4. Also re: "scans", back on the 80's, the art director at an agency I worked at liked to photocopy her boobs or her butt and fax them to men in her life. I wonder if now she scans, emails and posts her body parts? Tho' those body parts are no longer in the first flush of youth. . .

  5. Beautiful post. Just what I needed this Monday morning with my cup of green tea. Oh, and the flowers you scanned are exquisite. Thanks for the bright spot on this cold, wintery day.

  6. You've really got me thinking Stephanie!
    I love…the sparkle in his eyes, the sound of his laugh, the way he winks at me while I'm telling a story (especially if I can't seem to get the details right), that he loves that I talk to our cat in a weird voice, when he talks to the cat in the same voice, when he finishes my sentences and my pasta, when he brings me a cherry icee for no reason, when he calls me at work to say he's sorry after we've had even the smallest fight, when he scratches my head right before I go to sleep, when I wake up and he's curled up around me, and everything else. I'm going to print this out and share it with him. Thank you Stephanie!

  7. I love the way I feel when I am with those I love. I love the way they reach down to pet a passing dog…or open the door for someone who has their hands full, or pull out the chair. I love the way I laugh and make those I love laugh. I love the way they laugh at me.

    I love this post for reminding me of what I love. The simple details of life. Live, laugh, love.

  8. Spot on. My close friends and MID who are now friends as well totally get it when I say, "but I need someone in my life who knows how I like my tea!" :)

  9. Gawd, this post is so great. I feel like it's what I need to hear now. I just can't believe that someone can express it so wonderfully. I'm in that midst between infatuation, like, and really really like with someone. It's hard. He seems confused when I tell him how much i do care for him, especially with all he's been dealing with right now that might scare off even the least flakiest person on earth. I don't think he believes in the qualities I see in him (and in no way am i projecting qualities on him!), but I'll be with him until he does, no matter what. I hope this makes sense.

  10. mmm. Amen to this. What I love most at small moments are…the way he meaders with his extended hands stuck down into his pockets like popsicle sticks. The way he walks–side to side instead of just plain forward. The way he stops to think and his face changes in the flash of a moment. The fact that he always asks about my day. That he talks like he just woke up–honest and raw. The fact that he's not just all stars–but dark, black holes, too. I like all of it.

  11. I think love is inherent in details, but I think it's more than that. In part, anyway, I think how you feel in another's presence — whether that person is next to you in bed, standing in a movie line, or whispering in your ear — is almost more important than the details. Little things people do attract us to them, true — their laugh, the way they twirl their hair with a finger when they're nervous, or how they fit against you in a crowded space. But little things also detract from how we feel about others — if something they do or say, or how they smell, or a particular word they overuse — hits you in a bad way, it works in the opposite.

    As for me, personally, I know I love someone when I find myself yearning to be around her as much as possible, and when the good things — her laugh, the way she burrows her head into my shoulder, and how her hand and mine fit together oh-so-perfectly — are so memorable and the little, negative details are barely there, if at all. And mostly, I know how she makes me feel — consistently — and it always feels so right.

  12. Just wanted to point out the inherent dangers of placing ones body or body parts on a scanner. The gamma rays emitted from tthe light source are so high, the likelihood of getting skin cancer cannot be overstated.

    In fact breast and testicle cancer is also a great concern should these areas of the body be "scanned" .

    Remember: always read your owners manual thoroughly before operating office equipment beyond its intended use.

  13. what i love about this post is that it reminds all of us why we love the people we do. it breaks it down in it's most simplistic form. sometimes we all forget why we surround ourselves with the people we do, and it suddenly is 'just because we always have'. i'm now going to call my best friend and remind her why she loves me. :-)

  14. This is a complex, yet simply beautiful post. Reflecting on what we love is a sign of being at peace with ourselves and looking outward to others. Well done!

  15. So beautiful…….Also, FYI, someone told me that Joan Didion was speaking at a forum this weekend and someone asked her what was the color of her grief when she was mourning the loss of her husband and daughter. She said she always thought of the color of water and that's reflected in the color on the cover of her book about it.

  16. ditto to kristen, I was thinking about all the people I'm so fond of also, and it made me smile. Very nice post, Stephanie.

  17. I had the mumps this year at age 21. I really do think it's cool. I can also lick my elbow, go ahead, try for yourself. Bet you cant. I am the only one I've ever known to be able to do it. Things like that, that make me smile, that are unique to me, are what I cherish in myself, and look for in friends. Thanks for reminding me of the simplicities that make us all love one another.

  18. I think we love those that makes us feel happy, or worthy. I have certain friends with whom I feel as if I'm on a happy holiday away from life just by talking on IM. When I feel empty and worthless I talk to a friend who makes me feel like the sun…needed, loved, surrounded, bright, warm

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