8 Different Types of Love Defined by Greek Philosophy

Published March 3, 2020
Couple in love embracing outdoors

Greek philosophers came up with eight different types of love. These types cover different expressions of love with yourself and between others.

Different Types of Love and Examples of Them

Ancient Greek philosophers explored the concept of love in depth. While originally focusing on eros, philia, and agape, the list was expanded to encompass a more extensive understanding of the word love.


Eros, or erotic love, is the love that is expressed between those who have sexual feelings for each other. This type of love is one filled with passion and typically is seen in new relationships. This type of love can initially attract two people together. This love emphasizes how the feeling of love makes you feel versus the actual connection to your partner. This type of love can fizzle if a relationship is not nurtured appropriately. Examples of eros love include:

  • A couple that has recently fallen in love
  • A passionate couple that feels strong romantic emotions for each other
  • Romantic movies often highlight this type of love (The Notebook, You've Got Mail, and Dirty Dancing to name a few)


Agape love describes a religious love between an individual and God, as well as a love and respect for other people. This type of love is unconditional and highlights a general respect and understanding for all human beings regardless of past mistakes, flaws, or shortcomings. This type of love can be shown through actions without the expectation or receiving anything back. Examples of agape love include:

  • Volunteering
  • Teaching
  • Counseling
  • Having love for someone you dislike
Man volunteer helping senior with computer


Storge love is an unconditional love that families can share. Parents will feel this type of unconditional, undying love for their children. Unlike other types of love, this can be unbalanced and may work in just one direction, instead of being reciprocal. This type of love fosters warmth, commitment, and feelings of closeness. Examples of storge love include:

  • Parent to child love
  • The love between family members


Philia love is the love shared between friends or those working towards a singular goal together. This kind of love is non-romantic, but can impact romantic relationships. Having philia love can create a solid basis for eros love in relationships. This type of love can be fulfilling and can bring you genuine joy as strong friendships can make you feel supported, cared for, and understood. Examples of philia love include:

  • Co-workers who have a solid friendship
  • Best friends from childhood
  • Romantic couples who have a healthy friendship
Two women friends embracing


Philatuia is the love you have for yourself. Having this type of love means respecting yourself and honoring your true self. Having a strong relationship with yourself and being true to your own wants and desires can help you forge a healthy relationship with yourself, which can impact all areas of your life positively. Increasing your self-esteem can increase your assuredness and confidence in going after what you truly want out of life.


Ludus love is expressed by flirting and being forward with someone. By doing so, you are able to see if you'd like to have a different type of relationship with this person. Expressing this type of love can be playful, silly, and sensual. Examples of this include:

  • Flirting with a passerby
  • Being playful with a friend who you'd like to be in a romantic relationship with
  • Flirting and getting to know someone at a bar or a club


Phileo love is the love you choose to have with others. It is cultivated through mutual friendships that are filled with respect and kindness. Through phileo love, one can experience the meaning of true friendship. This love doesn't extend to those you dislike. It is reserved for those who you have chosen to have in your life and who you actively maintain a platonic relationship with.


Pragma is long-lasting, consistent, and reliable love. This love takes time to cultivate and can make it through the ups and downs of life. This is the love that is shared by truly committed individuals. Examples of this include:

  • The love shared between old friends
  • The love in a committed partnership
  • The love shared between a married couple

Understanding The Greek Philosophy Behind Different Types of Love

Although Greek philosophers categorized the different types of love long ago, their definitions are still relevant and useful today. Better understanding the different types of love can help you identify which types are present in your life.

8 Different Types of Love Defined by Greek Philosophy