Why It’s Important To Love People

Medically reviewed by Arianna Williams, LPC, CCTP
Updated March 15, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

No matter who you are or what your age, race, religion, or sexual orientation may be, it is a human phenomenon to love and be loved. In fact, the need for love is considered to be one of our most basic needs.

According to psychoanalysts like John Bowlby and Abraham Maslow, being loved is as essential as food, water, and shelter. Once your physical and safety needs are fulfilled, love and belonging are next in line. What happens if we do not have love in our lives? The answer to that varies greatly depending on whom you ask, but it generally boils down to unhappiness.

What is love?

Are you in love or infatuated?

Love is not just one thing. There are different types of love: You can feel love for your family or friends, love for groups of people, or you can be romantically in love with someone. You can also love yourself. Classically, there are eight types of love:

Storge love

This is also called familial love because it is the love you feel for your families, such as your parents or siblings. It is more about familiarity and dependency rather than physical attraction, as the family you’re born into is not your choice. It is similar to an affectionate love that is felt between friends, which is called philia love.

Philia love

You have a choice in who your friends are. There is no sexual attraction in philia love, but affection can sometimes seem like attraction. The Greeks considered this love better than eros, or sexual love, because it is a love between people who feel they are equals.

Eros love

This type of love, which is also considered to be romantic love, is named for the Greek god of love and fertility. It is associated with physical or sexual love, passion, and romance. The Greeks thought this type of love was dangerous because it can cause a person to “lose control.”

Agape love

This is also called unconditional love and is rarer than the other types. Agape is mostly a love that you feel for a relative, but it can also be someone who you want to marry and spend your life with. 

Ludus love

Ludus love is also referred to as playful love and is more akin to infatuation than real love. This is the type of love you feel at the beginning of a new relationship and it often does not last. Studies have shown that ludus love is similar to being high on a drug. Your brain becomes more active and makes you feel excited and more alive because its reward center is experiencing stimulation.

Mania love

Mania love, or obsessive love, is not a good kind of love because it can influence you to lose control or lead to serious jealousy and stalking. Those who exhibit this type of love are typically experiencing low self-esteem and should consider seeking help to manage inappropriate thoughts or feelings.

Pragma love

Have you ever seen an elderly couple that just seems like they have been together forever? That is pragma love or enduring love. This love has developed over a long period of time and even though they have been together for a long time, they still hold hands and kiss each other all the time.

Philautia love

Also known as self-love, philautia is arguably the most important type of love in life. While some people believe that loving yourself sounds narcissistic or selfish, those who love themselves know that it is nothing like that. Loving yourself is often a precursor to loving people in your life, and can help you feel happy and safe in your attachments with others.

iStock/Nattakorn Maneerat

What health benefits are associated with love?

Loving someone does more than just make them feel good. Love really has some excellent physical and mental benefits. For example, your brain produces more dopamine, which is a mood intensifier that will make you feel happier.

It also produces oxytocin, which is a bonding hormone. It can not only gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling, but it can also mitigate stress and anxiety.

Being in love can encourage you to take better care of yourself. From the beginning of a relationship, you may be more apt to shower more, dress nicely, wash your hair, and pay attention to your appearance. You might care more about what you look like because the relationship is new, and you want to impress your love interest and keep them interested in you. 

In addition, being in a relationship typically means that someone else cares about you and will encourage you to make healthier lifestyle choices. This may mean that you are more likely to go to the doctor when you need to rather than putting it off like you might have normally done.

In fact, love can be so good for you that it can help you live longer. Various studies confirm that married couples live longer, have less depression, have lower blood pressure, and lower rates of substance use. Married couples were more apt to find health issues early because partners were looking at areas of the body that most people do not see. They can spot melanomas, abnormal bruising, and other symptoms that may otherwise have gone unnoticed. 

Content warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention substance use-related topics that could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use, contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Support is available 24/7. Please see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

That being said, even if you are not married, as long as you have some good friends and relationships, you may be more likely to be healthier in the long run.

Are you in love or infatuated?

What help is available for people experiencing challenges related to love?

Can you imagine going through life without ever loving anyone else? This is almost impossible for most people. First, many people naturally love their parents and siblings. Others love their partners or children. 

If you feel that you cannot love people at all, there are several psychological conditions you may be experiencing, such as depression, narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or avoidant personality disorder. Although these disorders are treatable, there is no magic pill that can make you feel something you cannot feel.

If you or someone you care about is having issues related to love or relationships, it may be worthwhile to talk to someone about it. Whether it is about how you are obsessing over someone or that you do not feel love like other people, there are mental health professionals who are experienced in assisting people navigate troubling thoughts and feelings. 

Online therapy for those with love challenges

Using online therapy platforms like BetterHelp, you can talk to a licensed professional within a short time of answering a few initial questions. These questions are designed to match you with a compatible therapist. You can book an appointment when it is convenient and without leaving the comfort of your home. Typically, you will receive a match within hours, as opposed to the days or weeks it sometimes takes to find a compatible in-person therapist. 

In addition to its benefits, online therapy has proven effective in treating people from diverse backgrounds experiencing challenges related to love, including low self-esteem, behaviors that sabotage otherwise healthy relationships, obsessive thoughts, and narcissistic tendencies. In one study, practitioners employed a treatment model entailing twice-weekly, live, face-to-face exposure and responsive prevention (ERP) sessions for three weeks, followed by six weeks of once-weekly online check-ins. 

These treatment terms resulted in statistically significant improvements for participants experiencing obsessive-compulsive symptoms, as well as symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Additionally, these results were achieved in less than half the time when compared with traditional in-person once-weekly treatments, resulting in significant time and monetary savings.


The ability to love and be loved is an essential human need, labeled equally important as nutrition, shelter, and sleep. There may come a time when we feel unloved or unable to love, and these feelings can arise from a variety of reasons. Regardless of the truth, a person’s perception is often their reality. Licensed professionals are available at BetterHelp to explore challenging emotions and thoughts related to love in a nonjudgmental manner. By discussing what’s on your mind, you may come up with ideas to connect with others in healthy ways, and these connections can eventually lead to deep, meaningful, love-filled relationships.
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