Is Caring For Someone The Same As Being In Love?

Emotions are complex things – we’ve defined words, but connecting them to what you’re actually feeling is difficult. How do you know what’s love, what’s care, or what’s joy? You simply know you’re feeling something – and hoping the other person gets it.

Caring for someone is not the same as being in love. Love is an intense emotion accompanied by a deeper connection, but to care means to feel their discomfort. You can care for many but only love a few. You always care about those you love, but not vice-versa.

Keep reading to discover more clearly how you can understand your emotions and differentiate between the two.

Is Caring For Someone The Same As Loving Them?

While they may not be the same, love and care are deeply intertwined. Let us understand their relationship with each other in-depth – their differences and similarities.

1. Both are Inherent Emotions

Love and care have a similar root within us. They seem to be deeply ingrained in our genes and are emotions that we cannot run away from.

This means that both love and care are the same in the regard that they cannot be avoided and will make you feel connected to another in one way or another.

Neither can you avoid falling in love with someone when it comes, nor can you avoid feeling care for others around you.

You may lock your emotions out or hide them, but both will always be there and shoot up when you’re around certain people.

2. We Need to Give and Receive Both Emotions

Since these are inherent emotions, they are also ones that we need to live healthy lives. Receiving either love or care (and better if both) makes a person feel secure and at ease.

It allows people to build trust and take risks that help us grow later on.

Thus, both these emotions are key requirements for a happy and fulfilled life, and their lack can cause several mental and physical health issues.

Giving love or care is also associated with better self-esteem and greater joy.

3. Love is More Specific than Care

Where love falls out from care and starts building its own identity is when we look within each emotion’s intensity.

Love is often more intense and consumes more time, energy, and resources – making it a rare commodity.

You are bound to be much more selective in terms of who you love, and breeding love will also take more time. In the case of care, you do not need to build a relationship with another.

You can care about someone the moment you see them in distress. In fact, caring for someone often paves the way to developing other stronger emotions, such as love.

Love is More Specific than Care

4. Love has its Types

To care for someone is a fairly simple concept. On the other hand, love seems to be much more complicated. Every person seems to have a different experience and definition of love.

The definition of love also changes depending on who you love. Thus, love has its own types. The love for a partner is different from that of a friend or family.

You may experience different types of love in each of these categories as well. Care has a more general meaning of concern, only of different intensities.

5. Caring is a Subset of Loving

While you can only love a few among all the people you care about once or more in your life, you will almost always care about the ones you love.

Care is a bonus you get with love, but unfortunately, it is never the other way around. Caring is a positive social emotion that people experience.

Love, being that of high emotional investment and value, carries several such positive emotions within itself.

But this high level of investment that love requires makes it impossible for us to love every person or creature we feel concerned for.

6. Love is More Intense than Care

Care can be a sudden emotion. If you see another human in pain, you automatically end up feeling empathetic and concerned and will attempt to help them if you can.

Love, on the other hand, is built up slowly. Since love is built on solid foundations built over long periods, it is also more intense and valuable than care.

That does not make caring any less significant in our lives – its importance in our life is its focus on the breadth of our social connections rather than depth.

Love is More Intense than Care

7. Love Comes with Commitment

While you are not obliged to love someone or care for someone against your own will – love itself will come with plenty of obligations.

You can show someone care and then let it go, but that’s rarely the case with love. Love asks for long-term commitment and devotion. With love comes plenty of sacrifices that you are willing to give.

Most times, people will express their concern and care in ways that are convenient to them, whereas in love, you offer it whether it is convenient or not.

Thus, it is also more likely that you will love someone with more careful thought and conscious decisions. On the other hand, you might show care towards people spontaneously and without much consideration.

8. Care Builds Social Foundations

We put loving someone on a high horse – it’s deep, passionate, and inspiring. But care is like its underdog sidekick.

Our ability to care is actually a key tool in our survival kit – it forms the basis of social connections, and yet, it often goes unnoticed.

Your empathy is the primary tool with which people are drawn to you. Whenever you show a random stranger care, they start thinking highly of you or wish to get acquainted.

If you have a friend with you in that circumstance, they will also put you up on their social ladder when they witness your act of kindness.

9. Love Needs A Relationship, Care Does Not

We understand that love is rarer than care, which isn’t just because of how intensive it is.

To love someone, you need to have some form of relationship with them, while caring for someone doesn’t need anything.

To care about people, our surroundings, animals, and literally anything is so natural to human beings that it is independent.

Love, on the other hand, is dependent upon the trajectory you share with the other person.

Whether you are building a relationship with another in your head or the real world, love needs to be used as context to take root within your heart.

Love Needs A Relationship, Care Does Not

10. Love and Care Have Boundaries

Both emotions, if not managed, are actually incredibly harmful for you.

When you love “too much”, you can lose a piece of yourself, and when you care “too much”, you might get too consumed in others to take care of yourself.

Thus, there’s only so much love you can give or care you can show before it turns against you.

Love may stretch its boundaries too far because of its addictive nature, while with just caring – you might be a little on the safer side of things.

In simple words, setting boundaries and maintaining them with people you care about is much easier than those you love.

11. Love is A Strong Word, Care Is A Great Substitute

A beautiful relationship that “love” and “care” share with each other is being used interchangeably. They are so closely related that the context is clear and understandable in most cases.

Since love can come off as a strong word, it scares people. Love can mean so many things to so many different people that it’s complicated to comprehend and accept when someone says, ‘I love you.’

Saying ‘I care about you’ is a great way to express love and make the other person more comfortable and prepared for love.

12. Both Emotions Speak A Universal Language

Love and care are expressed and felt through actions – the best part is that their communication language is quite universal.

Whether you travel across the world to a different country with a different tongue, you can express love without confusion.

Others will not confuse care for love or love for care as long as you are clear in your expression.

Understanding these two emotions and their responses is intuitive most of the time, and you, or anyone else, can clearly pick up signs of how someone feels about you if you do not cloud your mind with forced thought.

Both Emotions Speak A Universal Language

What Does Caring For Someone Mean?

1. Empathize

Caring for someone generally comes from a place of feeling and understanding their pain.

We care for people because we understand how they feel – we’ve witnessed it before through either personal experience or observing others.

Without empathy, care does not exist – because when you feel their pain (potential or current), it can remind you of your own pain or imagine yourself in their shoes.

What you don’t wish upon yourself, you won’t wish that upon another when you care about them.

In summary, caring for someone means empathizing with them and acknowledging what they’re going through.

2. Show or Feel Concern

The keyword that summarizes “Care” is your concern for another. Empathy often tumbles down to feeling a sense of worry for the suffering of another – which is what happens when we care about someone.

When you care about someone, you don’t want them to be hurt, to witness the ugly parts of life, or to feel alone or helpless.

Some people are better at acting out on their concerns and actively doing things that make the other person’s life better and more easygoing.

However, it does not mean you don’t care if you fail to show concern. It might only seem so in the eyes of another, but simply feeling concerned is an act of care.

3. Help Others Out

Acting out on your concerns and empathy often comes forward in the form of help. It is an attempt to snatch away the other person’s pain or worry.

When you care about someone, you don’t always have to go out of your way to help them. Caring is not about sacrifices.

Simply choosing to do what you can in your own capacity or losing a few things that don’t matter to you but can make someone else’s day are all a way to show that you care.

Choosing to invest your time, energy, or any resource to ensure the other person can have it a little better – it can be a lover, colleague or stranger, means that you care about them.

Help Others Out

4. Think For Their Benefit

Caring places a lot of the focus on the person you care about. That does not mean they have to be on your mind 24×7.

Cues that trigger good thoughts for someone else are more than enough of a sign of caring.

For example, you don’t think so much of the person sitting in the next cubicle, but they accidentally staple their finger.

You get the cue of an incident, and you rush to offer first aid. Voila – you simply care about the humans around you.

You get a cue, and you think about what’s best for the other person in regard to that cue. The stronger a relationship, the more it just becomes a part of your everyday life.

5. Protect Them

Concern can also reflect in protection; however, this is a bit trickier and depends on how much you care about someone.

The desire to protect your child is often stronger than the ability to protect yourself – hence, you care about them.

However, you most likely wouldn’t jump in and get yourself killed if a robber snatched another person’s valuables.

It doesn’t mean you don’t care – it just means you care more for yourself and, hence, must first protect yourself.

To care means to protect, as and when it is possible. If it’s in your hands, and you care, you will protect another from whatever little harm they may face.

6. Offer Gifts

When you care about someone, you give. Giving is a part of caring. Similar to others, giving could be something small or massive – it need not mean that you bear the loss.

Since you want the other person to be in a good state, you make offers. Offering gifts does not necessarily imply material objects, although it does include them.

But you can also offer your time and energy as a gift.

Checking in with someone once in a while, offering someone food off your plate, or bringing them coffee when you get up to get your own are little ways people show care for those around them.

Offer Gifts

7. Show Compassion

Caring generally comes from the compassionate side of ourselves, and thus, it is natural for you to show some form of compassion towards those you care about.

When you care about someone, you show compassion by speaking kindly, doing acts of service, or sometimes even letting them be.

You show compassion by putting aside self-interest and acting out from a place of offering them peace.

8. Bring Them Comfort

To care about someone means to ensure that they feel comfortable.

While you cannot control their comfort levels at all times, you will try to make those that you care about comfortable around you for the least.

You accept them as they are, you forgive them for their mistakes, and you simply let them be.

If you like to create a warm space around you for another and do not think about the twenty things that bother you, there’s a good chance you truly care about them.

9. Solve Their Problems

The desire to solve their problems is just another way of trying to take some of their pain away.

Sometimes, you simply lend them an ear to vent out and sometimes offer practical solutions – both are signs that you care.

Other times, you might go out of your way to take action to ensure that inconvenience does not bother them again.

These acts can sometimes be so simple that they go unnoticed by you and the other person, but one way or another makes their life easier.

Solve Their Problems

10. Give Them Hope

All of us, at some point or another, feel helpless and hopeless in life. It is common for life’s ups and downs to make us feel cynical or pessimistic.

But when we care for someone, we aim to make them see hope in life because we want them to enjoy every bit of it.

Whether through little actions that make them see the better parts of life or words of affirmation that feel good – caring aspires to light others up and live with optimism.

This not only makes them happier, but it helps them become better individuals: another aspect that care focuses on. To care means to help others become the best version of themselves.      


We may have romanticized the idea of being in love so much that sometimes that is all we see, ask for, or give importance to.

Little acts of showing and receiving care can make a phenomenal difference in our lives – and they cost very little of our time, energy, or money.

Similarly, make time to appreciate those who care about you and show it in little ways daily. When you cherish care, love blooms on its own.

Shashank Verma

A trained theatre actor and a STEM graduate who brings perspectives and methods from these worlds into dating and relationships. Also a big time Krav Maga enthusiast and practitioner.

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