I made an account just because I felt the need to point out, explicitly, that love doesn't have to concern romantic relationships, or even family. It can sometimes(I was about to say "just as easily", but I don't think that's the case) be for good friends, as well. A man can "love" a male friend without being homosexual(I will not
use the slang "gay" for "homosexual", I'd much rather use the word for it's original meaning). Many homophobes are scared of the word because they are deathly afraid of being labelled as homosexuals, and are equally afraid of showing care for others, of their own gender, particularly.
These are my thoughts on the subject. When you meet a person, you care for him/her no more than most other people, and trust is based solely on first impressions, or perhaps a bit more(on both counts), if it's a friend's friend. Then, as you get to know the person and establish a personal relationship, your care and trust for him/her grows. You eventually become friends, and some friends, usually the ones you feel that you could trust with anything, are considered to be close friends. Everyone cares for the ones they would call friends, or more, and I believe most people have some measure of care for any human or animal, and caring about someone is wanting the well-being of that person. In a way I think love is an extreme version of caring, yet more. It's not something that's easy to put into words. If an acquaintance or a distance friend suffered a tragic accident(not talking fatal*), someone you care about, yet aren't particularly close to, you would be concerned but no more than that. If, however, a close friend suffered the same, the concern for that person would be potentially overwhelming, just as easily as if it where a family member.
Again, these are my thoughts, and I know that there's bound to be at least 3 billion people in the world that disagrees, and I know that these matters can be extremely relative based on whose emotions we are talking about. I also think this subject is extremely hard to put into words. In short, emotions are electrochemical reactions produced by various drugs that the brain generates, based on your mental and physical state, and affects your mental state(there's an extremely vicious circle there if you look). But though it can be explained scientifically, to a degree, neither logic nor reason can be successfully applied to it, and if logic and reason fails, so do I.
Mental Mouse: I believe your comment about evolution is not entirely correct. To the best of my knowledge, forgive me for not researching further before posting, humanity hasn't gone through any significant evolution in the last, oh, 10 000 years, if not 100 000. I'm not so sure about the numbers, but a significant amount of time, certainly, though a drop in the ocean when talking about evolution. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe many, if not most, of our social tendencies have been found in other highly social animals. I believe elephants and monkeys can be considered at least nearly as social as humans.
ZeeB: Wow. I never saw that. Excellent point. I was going to say something about devoting your entire attention to a loved one is foolish, but with this description, the comic makes much more sense. I suppose it's not unnatural to view a new and strange emotion as a point of curiosity. I myself have a tendency of drawing conclusions to such emotions too quickly, resulting usually in embarrassing situations.
Oh wow.. this post got lengthy. Even for me. I'll try to restrain myself in the future, but I doubt you'll see too many short posts by me.