You CAN begin (at least) to count-the-ways. Uh, do so? As an arbitrary beginning, I propose here that to (in fact) "like" another person, you MUST (so say I) enumerate at minimum, seventeen "things" you like-about them...Can you go that high? Well, I could TRY (at least). Let us thence proceed.
"I like you". That is NOT enough, be specific!
1. Your smile is crooked, but not badly. As an individual then (I infer) you are NOT trying "to be the ideal"...smiler. Ditch the ideal! I like that about you.
2. Your willingness to say "shocking" things (privately) is a fun way to communicate. It suggests a love of the "authentic" or "real", and this love (in you) rises above the (all the time) "acceptable". This, I like!
3. As we stand, shoulder-to-shoulder, looking out at things together, your viewpoint is similar-enough to mine to be understandable, and perversely odd enough to remain interesting. You make me think! Good stuff.
4. You can be remarkably gentle (at times), and when I am not being that way, you refrain from throwing a "righteous" fit. You listen! How deeply weird of you! But me? I like.
5. You steadily keep drawing me "back". Back where? Back to good-sense, back to the "big-picture", and back to what REALLY counts. I've got to like that about you. You remain a "good-force", moving me off my rabbit-trails (to nowhere).
6. You make me laugh, not by being "funny", but by being observant! And better yet, you don't get mad when I start laughing thusly...what's NOT to like?
7. The creative streak in you basically scares me, in that it causes me to wonder "how best to treat you?". Should I use kid gloves? But, you just snort (!), and make "nothing" of your beautiful creations. You remain a genius and keep people like me around?
8. Pointing my crazy heart back (again) to the true King, when I slip (back) into crazy-pants land, you refuse to hold it against me that I appear (at least) unable to consistently recall our One human hope! This, I've got to admire.
9. You know all (or most at least) of my deep flaws as a person, and aren't constantly trying to "fix" me. Thank you, this; the art of being a true friend.
10. You tell me interesting things about your childhood. That can be fun!
11. You consistently refuse to talk about pets as-if they were people!
12. You are not a fussy eater, and will only talk about your "diet" if someone is silly enough to ask! Now, THAT; I do like!
13. You think children are "cute, adorable, fun, funny, precious" and such stuff, yet studiously avoid discussing how-best to raise them! This means you are liking-first, before expecting-next. I like.
14. You (too) are a "book person". Believe me, this counts!
15. "Money, Fame, Power" is NOT "where it's at" for you. This gives me hope!
16. I do not recall you and I ever yelling at each other. That's got to be a good thing.
17. My thinking is often;"To defend you-from-me (and my serial bad traits) 'makes sense' in my sad heart". And you (oddly) refuse to use that against me!
See? That wasn't so hard. Love, whatever it finally proves to be (and supposing somebody cared enough to find out?) can never out-flank "like". We would do well to employ some "like" among one another...at least it's REAL!
Love? A roller coaster (lots of screaming). Like? A walk-together remembering funny stories. Love? To "be worked-at", like another full-time job? Like? The refreshing visit with old friends who refuse to comment on your expanding girth, and grey hair (or lack thereof).
See? Like is solid! It's the sound of loyalty, of KEEPING secrets for somebody else. It is the sound of dogs barking, children playing, rivers gurgling...hey, it's the sound of life! We do not well-know what our souls "are" or "do'. But, by our souls, we rejoice, we embrace, we fly! Okay, maybe the latter requires a kite? Cut me some slack.
Love will break your heart. Uh, gee, WHY would you WANT that?... I mean is "like" so despicable, is it so weak that we can't like each other? Because I'll tell you, the one thing I best-like in you is that I hear a whisper, an echo, a hint of Another voice. We could call it the voice of truth (or of sanity for that matter), but really, it's His voice, breaking-in to reality, through you!
As a broken vessel, (a shard really), of a broken image-which-was, you YET reflect Him. Oh sure, it's just a wee-bit...for now. But it's real, and we together await the re-forged image-which-shall-be. So then, He's the TRUE friend, and you, in your out-of-focus way, are little bit like Him. Oh, and it's increasing! Did we mention that? I like how you you are growing up to be just like Him, the only real friend any of us ever had...
See? you CAN begin to count the ways.