Emotions are a very complicated thing. Most of us don’t really understand how they work. And as such a complicated subject, it would make sense that the language we use to describe them would be a bit tricky.
One example is caring deeply and having feelings. Are these two the same thing? No.
Caring deeply is when you want what’s best for something or someone else. Whereas having feelings for someone is when a want or need of yours can be met with them.
Today, we’ll be really diving into what each of these phrases means so that you can fully understand what their differences are.
When you tell someone that you have feelings for them, this is usually meant in a romantic or sexual context.
When meant in a romantic context, these feelings are usually along the lines of love. It could be a way of saying they’re almost but not quite in love. Or it could be a way of saying they aren’t sure if they love you or not, but they’re feeling something.
However, when used in a sexual context, the “feelings” is usually just one feeling, horny.
To tell someone you have feelings for them is a romantic but subtle way of letting them know how you feel.
However, if you care deeply about someone, there doesn’t need to be any romantic or sexual feelings involved.
It just means that you want what’s best for them, and if they’re happy, that will make you happy too. This will usually be said about someone’s children or their good friends.
To care deeply about someone means you’re not helping them because it benefits you in any way. Sometimes it can even cause you stress, but their well being is more important than your mood. Hence, you do what you need to do anyway.
There will, of course, be some situations where you both care deeply about someone and have feelings for them. Whilst they do mean different things, that’s not to say they can’t occur at the same time.
For example, if you have a spouse, you will have feelings for them. They’ll make you happy, and probably cause physical feelings too. But you also care about them, as you’ll be willing to cause discomfort to yourself, to benefit the person you love.
In fact, most relationships are made up of sacrifices that might negatively impact you, but you choose to make anyway.
I would argue that to be in a healthy romantic relationship, you need to have feelings for them, and care for them.
If you have feelings but don’t care about them, you’re not treating them like someone should be treated, but you’re just using them. I’m not saying you should never think about what you want in a relationship. Still, for a relationship to be successful, there will be times when you need to put your own emotions aside and focus on what’s best for your significant other.
A relationship with caring is just a long one-night stand.
It’s not the people we can care deeply about.
Sometimes, we can have such a strong emotional attachment to an inanimate object that it feels as though they have a soul.
If you need to sell a family home, you might say “I care deeply about this house, but I can’t afford the repairs”.
When talking about your country, you might say “I care deeply about my country, so I’m happy to pay a little bit more tax”.
Even though these things are not alive, we’re still willing to do what’s best for them.
Care is one of the words in the English language with long etymological roots. Before it was the English “care”, it was the Old English “Carian”, which meant to be anxious or feel concerned.
Before that, it was the proto-Germanic Karo to mean grief. And before that, the Old High German Charon, which meant to complain.
And finally, at the very start, it was Gar (to cry out) in the proto-indo-European language.
The concept of caring has therefore been a part of our culture for a long time. Likely ever since we lived in caves. The idea of compassion for others is part of human nature.
Feelings vs Emotions
Sometimes, we might use the words “feelings” and “emotions” interchangeably. And not many people outside of psychology know this, but feelings about emotions are not the same thing.
The best way to describe the difference is for you to imagine a tree. Within this tree there are going to be branches, these are general emotions such as “Joy” “Anger” “Sadness”.
But upon each of these branches, there are going to be leaves. These leaves are the feelings that we would associate with each emotion. For example, on the “Joy” branch, you might find excitement, zen, and relief.
Upon the anger branch, you might find annoyance, rage, and confusion.
Can they be used interchangeably?
Usually, on the “One thing vs another thing” articles on this website, it doesn’t matter if you use these two words interchangeably. But these two should never be used in place of one another.
Having feelings for someone and caring deeply for them are not the same thing. You wouldn’t say that you have feelings for your best friend, that would be really weird.
Having feelings is romantic or sexual, whereas caring deeply is not. Misusing these phrases can make you say something that you don’t mean.
Caring deeply for someone and having feelings for them are not the same thing, even if there could be a few similarities.
You will have feelings for a romantic partner or someone you wish to get into your bed. But you can care deeply for anyone and everyone, even inanimate objects.
When you’re in a relationship, you should both care deeply and have feelings for that person, as this means you view them in a grown-up way, but you don’t see them as a toy.
And unlike some of the other words and phrases on this website, you can’t use these two interchangeably.