Like and Liking

March 22, 2011
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Like and Liking – A Lyric Essay
Imogen 8I
We chose those we like; with those we love, we have no say in the matter.
Migon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

I like you. I don’t like you. What does like mean? The definition of like in the dictionary is, “to regard with favor; have a kindly or friendly feeling for (a person, group, etc.)” But does everybody who says I like you, really mean this? The word is used to convey varying emotions such as love, a crush, or amity. I believe that it is too shallow a word to be used as much as it is in the important and emotionally deep dialogue of relationships. Love and hate are real emotions that express real human feelings, opinions and sentiments. When someone says I like you it could mean anything from “I’ve had a huge crush on you for five years and I’m completely in love with you” to “I mildly enjoy your presence”. But it is completely possible that a person saying, “I like you” could be simultaneously thinking, “I want to kill you right here and right now.”

Just the other day I was at the grocery store picking up a few last minute snacks for my mom’s work party. As you can imagine, I was instructed to purchase an unnecessary amount of stinky blue cheese, some bread and crackers and an assortment of fruits. While wandering down the cheese aisle my ears strayed to the conversation of the two girls beside me. “So what do you think of my new boyfriend?” One asked the other while picking up some cheddar and placing it in her shopping cart.

“Um… I like him” she replied, in a tone that to my ears sounded most unconvincing but, the girl looked so relieved she didn’t even notice.

“Oh good, I was worried you two might not get along, but what was I thinking? You’re my sister of course you’ll like him!”

“Yup, of course I do” she said, again in a suspicious tone while turning away from her sister. And from the look on her face I could tell that what her sister had suspected in the first place was true. Her expression showed no liking towards this girl’s boyfriend, rather a deep hatred and irritation. It looked as if there was an annoying little boy who kept on teasing her and pulling her hair. Is that the definition of like? She appeared so agitated that I wondered why she had kept such a strong opinion from her sister, it must have been important. Did she love her sister too much to tell a truth that would surely hurt her? Or did she not care about her sister enough to bother being truthful? The two sisters slowly walked on down the aisle. One of them shot me a glance. She probably suspected I had been listening in on their little chat. In denial I rapidly reached for the havarti and pretended to be intently examining the nutritional facts. I walked out of the store that day knowing two new things. Number one: the girl in the cheese aisle had used like as her protection from telling the truth to her sister. It had been her armor in revealing her real thoughts-what she really believed. Number two; havarti is unbelievably high in fat.

With all this is mind, like can still be used in a positive sense. It is so nice when you know that somebody likes you, if they sound genuine and honest about it then maybe, just maybe… it is true. You and a stranger can like each other but you and your best friends should love each other. Like is however a useful word, that has its advantages. Everyone uses it, I certainly do, and it’s most likely that I’ll never stop.

When you love someone you give him or her gorgeous bouquets of red roses, mouth-watering chocolates, and sometimes even beautiful diamond rings. You compose them a love song or recite a lovely poem. But what do you give when you like someone? Love is a rose, like is a dandelion, love is a delectable Ferrero Rocher chocolate, like is a smartie, love is a creamy, expensive, French Camembert, like is a cheese string.

In conclusion, who knows what the definition of like is. We live in a world full of diverse opinions, but I think it means any number of the following words:
It could mean any of these things and so much more. Your job is to dig deep and find what your friends, peers, family and acquaintances are really attempting to tell you when they say, “I like you.”

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