How do you know if you love someone?

One age-old question is as follows: How do I know if they like me? This question has perplexed members of every generation, and another is like it: How do I know if I love them? Here are a few pointers to help you draw a conclusion.

You know you love someone when…

10. You look for them in a crowded room

…and, when they say “make a wish,” that person is the first thing that comes to mind.

9. You want to stop saying goodbye to them

“It’s been occurring to me / I’d like to hang out with you / For my whole life,” Taylor Swift sang in “Stay, Stay, Stay.” In other words, you never want to stop making memories with them.

8. You can’t experience anything without wishing they were there to see it, too

When you miss them at 2 in the afternoon when you’re busy, not 2 in the morning when you’re lonely. When they are the last person you think of at night.

7. You’d choose them

In her book The Chaos of Stars, Kiersten White put it, “And I’d choose you, in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.” You know you love someone when you would leave the entire world behind for them.

6. They are home to you

As E. Leventhal once put it, “She knew she loved him when ‘home’ went from being a place to being a person.” If you could go anywhere in the world right now, would you go to a “where” or to a “who?” Sometimes “home” has a heartbeat.

5. You see their flaws, brokenness, and innate depravity, and you still love them

Love that is present in light of knowledge is real love.

4. You give them the power to destroy you, but trust them not to

When you let them in on the insanity of your mind, on your thought process, not just the well-thought-through conclusion. When you let them in on who you really are. When you take off the face you maintain for the greater public.

3. You genuinely desire to serve them, to give to them

John 3:16 says God loved the world so much He gave. “When you love a person deeply,” author David Brooks noted in his book The Road to Character, “you want to serve them and earn their regard.” When you truly love someone, you will sacrifice for them. You will put them before yourself, helping them even when the circumstances are not ideal, or when you’re struggling. When the Bible speaks of love, it doesn’t measure it by how much you want to receive but by how much you are willing to give of yourself. You know you love someone when, at times, it terrifies you what you would do for them.

2. You can’t hate them for breaking your heart

…and you still love them with all the little pieces. “If this is love, I do not want it,” Tauriel said after losing Kili in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. “Why does it hurt so much?” She asked. “Because it was real,” she was told. Sometimes it’s not the butterflies that tell you you’re in love, but the pain.

1. You wish nothing but the best for them

As Julia Roberts once said, “You know it’s love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you’re not part of their happiness.”

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