The Gap between Like and Love


The gap between like and love…is called Kadiva (pronounced with a long i)…and I bet you didn’t know that.  At least that’s what I called it back when my future wife and I were dating.  We had reached that tenuous stage in our relationship where we both felt our feelings for the other had grown past the serious like stage, but were uncomfortable floating the love word out there too soon.   You know what I’m talking about, that point where the connection between the two of you eludes a clear definition on the emotional scale…and NO…lust is not what I’m referring to.  Cherish, fancy, adore, deep fondness, these were all weak candidates and not being big fan of grey areas, I decided to make up my own word because I really wanted to let her know how I felt.  Out of the blue and on the spur of the moment, Kadiva was born.  We were in Kadiva with one another!

This limbo stage causes angst amongst a lot of couples and I believe the reason lies in the power of the word Love.  People like me don’t like to throw that word around casually, preferring to hold its value in high regard and defending its meaning against slow erosion.  There’s nothing wrong with that…right?  But what are you to do when like just doesn’t adequately convey how you feel and there's an ocean of sentiment separating it from love?  How can you pick between Miss America and Miss Congeniality when there's nothing to choose from in between?  How do you pick sides for the neighborhood kickball team when your only two choices is the local star athlete and the boy burdened by glasses resembling the bottom of a coke bottle with a mild case of asthma?  You don’t have to because there are always plenty of choices possessing a wide degree of attributes in life…except when it comes to choosing between like and love.

As always, there is a point to my rambling that is writing related, and I can see you tapping your fingers there, so I'd better get to it.  I recently critiqued a manuscript for a friend and when it came time to write my remarks I hesitated.  You see...I didn't love it.   If you get to know me you'll find out that’s not surprising.  There's not much...most assuredly in literature...and especially for things that matter...that I use the love word for. I'm a tough nut.  But I truly enjoyed the work far beyond the like category and I did my best to communicate that fact, but my mistake was that I used the dreaded like word to start off.  Can you imagine my words in the authors head effectively smothering their creative passion -- "he liked it, but he didn't love it!"

That gap between like and love I mentioned before, it's so friggin unfair.  It would be so much simpler if we just scored everything with 0-5 stars, like they do on Goodreads and Amazon (hint - I never give a 5).  Sure, I could bend my principles and simply say that I loved it, because the truth is it was closer to that than like, but I felt I needed to hold that author to the same standards that I hold every other published novelist to.  To do anything else would be a disservice to them, to me, to all of us.

The bottom line is that I felt Kadiva for the manuscript.  Falling short of love shouldn't be considered a bad thing, and the perception that it is needs to be eliminated. 

Just ask my wife.  :)

27 comments

  1. I came upon the word limerence when I was writing my third book. It means more than a crush, but not quite love. But really it's a strange word. How would you use it in a sentence? I'm experiencing limerence with you? I limerent you? I definitely like Kadiva beter.

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  2. I found this most interesting to read, you really did your homework.
    Well done on a great post.

    Yvonne.

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  3. I think you need to sell that word to agents (and editors). I saw that sentiment a lot when I was querying. "Great characters, beautiful writing, mood and setting were spot on ... but didn't LOVE it." There was a lot of Kadiva for that manuscript!

    Considering how many times an agent (and especially an editor) ends up reading a manuscript, Kadiva just isn't enough. It's got to be love!

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  4. I'm with Dianne. I wish Kadiva was enough in the publishing industry. And I've been that writer who was broken when someone only 'really liked' my ms and not loved it like everyone else. It's like 'love' is at the top of Mount Everest, and 'like' and 'really like' are at the first base camp. That's still impressive, but not impressive enough. LOL

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  5. I kadiva'ed this post :)

    "But I love you, man," he said, with the theme of Wayne's World playing in the background :)

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  6. I tend to give a lot of 4 stars, but the 5 stars for me are reserved for those books i couldn't put down, that i want to force onto everyone else to read. I think i've only had 2 or 3 so far this year (but, then again, i've read 40 books so far this year, too)

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  7. "Kadiva", I love it! <-- Ha ha, see what I did there? :)

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  8. Not every perrson will love every manuscript, and most authors know that. Also the purpose of beta readers is to help take the manuscript from like to love. I'm sure your comments helped take it up a notch. It's much better to be honest and help them reach their potential than to give false expectations (not that you would have been so very misleading since you said it was close) and have them leave it as is.

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  9. So I can now say, "I kadivad that book." That's so much better than trying to figure out stars.

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  10. We used to call it being "in like."

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  11. Life experience plays a part in using language to express feelings. "I love you," said at age 18 is different from "I love you," said at age 60. We can express our feelings about a book in the same way. "I love that book," can be a true statement of fact, and a decade later "I like that book," can also be true.

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  12. I use love casually when I'm referring to things--I love chocolate, the sunset, a funny story my husband told, someone's dress. Emotional love? No. Hubs and I went through something similar in our dating, so I understand where you're coming from.

    The Greeks had the right idea. They have 5 different words for our English word *love*. Each typifies a different type of love.

    There are a few books and authors whose writing I love. Not kadiva. I do give out a few 5 stars here and there. Never expect them because I know you as a person and like or love you. I don't roll that way. That judgement is solely based on the story. Love of a story is highly subjective and what I might love and why, may leave someone else cold. I have read quite a few 3 star books. I've read some really awful ones too, but I don't write reviews on 2 stars. I'm not one to hand out snark.

    It's ok, Don, I'll be glad to have you tell me you like or kadiva something I wrote. I prefer honest. There is nothing at all wrong with receiving a silver or bronze medal, imo. It's all good.

    Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

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  13. Kadiva needs to be used waaaay more often! ;)

    You're right - we all have different perspectives on "like" and "love" anyway, so it's best to take comments in the spirit they were meant, rather than reading too much into them.

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  14. So cool that you and your wife invented a term for that no-man's-land between like and love. Good thinking!

    Similar to what Dianne and Stina talked about above, I've been turned down by agents who said although they loved the story, they "didn't love it as much as they should." As if love can be broken down into degrees. Sort of like being a little bit pregnant, it just doesn't work.

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  15. I like the word! It needs to catch on :)

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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  16. Isn't that what "really, really, REALLY like" is for?

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  17. I've been there with novels myself sometimes. It is that Kadiva spot that makes me wish I'd never started writing reviews - or critiques. Sometimes an author has to decide if the Kadiva phase suits them, or if there might be something they could tweak about the novel to nudge it to love. Or, perhaps the reviewer isn't the target audience and and they should be glad you really really liked it.

    An author should get something useful out of ever response. (IMO)

    ......dhole

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  18. I guess you could merge "like" and "love" together? Like + love = live. I LIVE you? LOL....

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  19. The gap between like and love is a canyon not a gap.

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  20. The Goodreads star system doesn't allow for halfs, as in .5 which makes it difficult to decide upon a 3 or a 4, when you really want to give a score of 3.5 - so wouldn't this mean the difference between a 'like' and a 'love'?
    Anyway, your Kadiva word made me think of Lady Godiva - but the two are totally unrelated - just saying...
    However, I totally approve of your Kadiva word!
    Writer In Transit

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  21. You know... I actually understand exactly what you're saying. I get the same feeling often when I crit books. Usually it's because I love the concept or characters or something, but don't like something else about it.

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  22. Thank you. I understand and feel the same thing when I review or crit books. It's tough to give the right star level or the right level of critique. I don't want to be mean, I just might not "love it" - and that doesn't mean I didn't like it or really like it. I do throw the word "love" around too much in every day speech, but I have been trying to stop because there is a difference between like and love.

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  23. I'm not a fan of the gr rating system because, as Michelle already stated, you can't rate with a .5
    Kadivia is a great word. We should petition to have it included in all English dictionaries.

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  24. Your like is someone else's love and vice versa. What either word means when applied to a story is what the author is interested in knowing.

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  25. Why is the word "Kadiva" not in the dictionary?! I'll be honest - I don't Kadiva the word Kadiva. I love the word Kadiva. No in between there. :P Very nice!

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  26. You did a great job with this post and now Kadiva will be such a popular word! I'll bet it'll turn up everywhere.

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