What are the 4 forms of love according to the Greeks?

In a previous post, we tried to define love, or at least, to get an idea on the subject. Thus, we discovered that the Greeks classified love in 4 different forms.

Indeed, love is a polysemous concept. It is experienced and felt differently depending on the loved one. In an attempt to explain this plurality of meanings, the Greeks established the 4 forms of love what are: thelove Eros, Philia, Storgé and Agape.

In this article, we are going to go deep into discovering each of these forms of love. It will be a question of presenting them, of studying their manifestations and characteristics.

Eros: romantic love

Eros: romantic love

In Greek mythology, Eros represents the god of love, but above all of amorous desire. Mother Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, Eros is one of the 5 primordial gods. The Greeks therefore decided to name romantic and erotic love, Eros love.

You see when you met this person who, over the discussions, fascinates you a little more every day. This person who when you receive his message or a call, a smile appears on your face. That person you want to end your life with. For this person, you feel Eros love. And this love is based on essential principles for it to last over time, which are:


Who hasn't heard the phrase " communication is the key »? Indeed, non-violent communication based on empathetic listening allows each of the partners to express themselves and be understood by the other. Indeed, good communication within a couple contributes to the fact that each is a safe place for the other to flourish.


Trust is a feeling of security, assurance and peace that we have towards a person. It is essential for the development of the couple. It consists in not doubting the other and always believing in their good intentions. Indeed, as soon as trust goes away, the couple shatters. It is therefore important, for the well-being of the couple, to trust each other and to always hope for the best intentions of the other.


Among the 4 forms of love, eros has the particularity of passion. Indeed, the passion in the couple is a very strong interest for the other. It is she who pushes us most of the time towards each other, and represents an important factor for the development of the couple. However, the couple should not rely solely on her. Passion is therefore not what makes a relationship, but it is important to maintain the couple. And this passion, which is manifested by what is called the flame, is maintained by actions that we voluntarily take on a daily basis to show love to another.


It's important to admire the person you're engaging with. The romantic relationship is made up of ups and downs, there will be times when the feelings will decrease in intensity. What will allow you to nourish your love when you feel like you don't feel anything anymore is the admiration in your eyes when you look at your partner. Be your first fans for each other.

Of course, eros is not based solely on these 4 principles. Indeed, from my point of view, these are the most important. However, I will not be against your interventions in comments. What other principles do you think Eros love is based on?

The next form of love is indispensable in the life of any individual.

Philia: friendly love

Philia: friendly love
Philia: friendly love

We all need friends, those people we can lean on when things go wrong and with whom we rejoice in good times. There Philia expresses, not a love relationship, but a membership in a social group, according to the etymological dictionary of the Chantraine Greek language. Of the 4 forms of love, it designates the feeling of friendship and camaraderie that exists between two or a group of people. It is with this love that we love our friends.

"The friend loves in all circumstances and in misfortune, he shows himself to be a brother"

Proverbs 17:17

As this quote from the Bible says, the friend is the brother who does not necessarily share family ties. Philia love is therefore essential for the fulfillment of an individual and is based on principles such as:


Loyalty is fidelity shown by conduct to commitments made, respect for the rules of honor and probity. In friendship, it is manifested by the fact of doing what is necessary to maintain the friendly relationship, to remain available, to give time and to communicate freely.

The commitment

Commitment translates into accepting the other as he is. With his convictions, his choices, his qualities, but above all with his faults. It means making a commitment not to judge him when he confides in us and to support him in need. This principle also applies to the 4 forms of love.

The support

What's the point of being friends if we can't be there for each other? Indeed, the friend is the one who stays close to us when everything goes wrong and rejoices with us when we have a success. It dries tears, draws smiles, holds hands.


The friend does not caress in the direction of the hair. He supports us, listens to us, understands us, does not judge us, but he also reframes us when we do not act correctly. A sincere friend is the one who puts us face to face with reality and makes us take responsibility for our actions and choices. He does not accept everything in hypocrisy, but chastises us when he deems it necessary.

Storgé: family love

Storgé: family love
Storgé: family love

The family represents the first social space of the individual. It is his main place of socialization. This is where the child develops his values and principles, and even his tastes for things. So the love a person gives outward as an adult greatly depends on the quality of love he witnessed while socializing. Thus, if we want to build a strong generation, we must express enoughstorged love. And this manifests itself through:


Many parents do not know how to communicate with their children, which has the main consequence that they feel little understood by their parents. Within the family, good communication is based on a good dose of compassion and a real desire to understand the other.


We tend to want to prevent our loved ones from making the same mistakes as us. Often, we protect them to the point of enlisting their freedom, in the name of the love we have for them. It is important as a parent to trust the judgments of your children. Indeed, you have inculcated an education in them and they are endowed with the mental faculties to reflect. Trust in the education you have given them to always make the right decisions for their lives. When they need your help, they will come to you.

The respect

I don't know about you, but I live in a context where we tend to minimize the opinion of certain people because of their age. Indeed, the younger you are, the more you are considered not very wise and your opinion is reduced to your number of years. A lot of people do that, unfortunately.

Respect is very important in any relationship, but especially in the family relationship. Everyone must learn to respect the other, because the other is a human being. Regardless of age, regardless of generation, a person who feels respected will be more fulfilled, because their life and their opinion matter.

The family being the first place of socialization of the individual, it is important to know how to love in an appropriate way, in order to participate in the construction of individuals who are aware of healthy love, and who know how to give it.

Agape: unconditional love

Agape: unconditional love
Agape: unconditional love

I'agape is the Greek word meaning love, tenderness, affection, devotion. It designates “divine”, “unconditional” love. Having the Latin equivalent of the word caritas which means the charity, agape is in the Christian world not only the love that God has for Man, but it is alsoe this love that men are called to love one another. It is not based on feelings or a particular interest in the person to whom one shows love. We love, quite simply, without needing a reason. Of the 4 forms of love, agape is the most pure, simple and extraordinary form. It is based on principles such as:

The unconditional

As the definition of the word Agape reveals to us, it is an unconditional love, in the sense that the person we love does not need to perform any particular actions for us to love them. Whether she gives it back to us or not, that doesn't change our love for her.

Indeed, I think you will agree with me that no matter the relationship, we tend to expect reciprocity in the love we give to others. Agape love says: “I love you for the pleasure of loving you. I don't need you to do things for me. You don't have to struggle to get my love. I simply love you ". Which brings us back to this second principle:


Unlike other forms of love, agape does not wait for the other to respond to his love in order to love. It is this love that drives us to help the homeless on the street. It is he who makes us come to the aid of this person who has hurt us so much. It is this love that makes us love those who wish our downfall and have compassion for them despite everything. It is agape love that allows us to understand the incomprehensible.


" love never stops ". This is the very definition of apagè love. Indeed, when one loves a person with agape love, even if there is separation, one never ceases to love him or at least to feel compassion for him. How is it possible ? Quite simply by the fact that we decided to love him without limits, regardless of the circumstances.


A principle that relates to non-reciprocity, agape love is that by which we love others, without expecting anything in return. There is no interest that pushes us to love it, just the pleasure of seeing others happy, of contributing to their happiness. Agape does not focus on what it receives, but on what it gives.

“There is more happiness in giving than in receiving”

Acts 20:35

Said like that, some may think that they will never be able to love with such love. Well, let me tell you, we all can. Each of us has an inexhaustible source of love in our hearts that is just waiting to be poured into the lives of those around us. Thus, in each of our relationships, friendly, family and even romantic, we can bear witness to agape love and live fulfilling and happy relationships.

When the 4 forms of love meet

When the 4 forms of love meet
When the 4 forms of love meet

3 of the 4 forms of love are based on the principles of reciprocity, receiving to give, and sometimes even selfishness. Indeed, in all our relationships, we tend to engage out of self-interest, motivated by what we can get from each other.

Agape love then allows us to experience different relationships. Combined with other forms of love, we live relationships based on pure and lasting love., who tends to want the well-being of the other as much as our own. Let's find out how we can love our friends, families and spouses with boundless love.

Eros + Agape

It is agape love that allows us to love our partner, with his qualities and especially his faults. It pushes us to the commitment to love a little more each day and to forgive, again and again. He makes us believe in good intentions and never suspects evil.

Philia + Agape

In friendship, agape love keeps us away from jealousy and envy. One looks at the blessings of friends with optimism and joy, sharing their happiness. And we only wish them well and do our best to contribute to their happiness.

Storge + Agape

The parent who loves with an agape love, learns to let his child make his own decisions and assists him in his choices. He accepts his child as he is, even if his life choices do not always fit with his personal aspirations. Agape love pushes us to love beyond our limits.

A tiny hiccup!

To end this article, I could raise the fact that very often, the fear that prevents many from loving with this pure love is the fact of being manipulated by others. Indeed, when we love without counting, most of the time, others benefit. It is therefore a justified fear. What should be done then? To this question, I will answer to love, as much as you can, with all the passion of your heart. If others don't recognize it, that's none of your business. The most important thing is that you will have liked it.

Love wholeheartedly, with the purest intentions and the right disposition of heart. Don't always expect reciprocity, but know how to leave when necessary, because distance is often the best solution. Especially since there are people it is better to love from a distance.

About the Author

Picture of Sorelle KEMAYOU
Writer - novelist, I am very interested in subjects such as the education of children, interpersonal and intrapersonal communication, spirituality, psychology and above all, Love. My different articles will therefore focus on these different themes. I look forward to reading your various comments.

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1 year ago

Very well written!!!🥺🥺

Immaculate Nyiraneza
Immaculate Nyiraneza
11 months ago

Very well explained. May God bless you abundantly. I just got really rich

10 months ago

Very rare to read such an interesting and sensitive article
Thank you so much

Augustin Guerlin
Augustin Guerlin
3 months ago

C’est article me passionne. Je l’aime d’un amour agapè.

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