Some people may say they are completely different things, some may say they're one in the same. I think love and respect are two different feelings that are closely intertwined. Love is something you feel for your family, significant other, and closest best friends; I don't think most people would say they "love" their co-workers. However, you can have respect for the people you work with, as well as for strangers that you may only know from reading about them. But as for the people I hold nearest and dearest, I both love and respect them, and if one is missing, the other is, too. For me, if I cannot respect someone, I cannot love him/her either. If I think you are a lazy person who rides on others' coattails, or you are the type of person to betray someone else to get ahead in life, or you disrespect other people in general...I neither respect nor love you. And sadly, this goes for family members as well as friends. Yes, I will still care about that family member, but those special feelings are no longer there. When I interact with family members who are in this situation, it's like talking to an acquaintance: we talk about work, the weather, TV shows...But I don't share with them my deep feelings or fun secrets or anything like that. This goes for romantic relationships as well. If I cannot respect a man, there's no way I can fall in love with him (or stay in love with him if I lose respect for him once we're already together). And I cannot love a man who is not respected by his community or peers; obviously something's wrong with his character.
I will admit that I lose respect very easily (and don't even get me started on trust...). I know this isn't a good thing, and I am trying to be better about not burning bridges just because someone does something that I think is wrong. But respect and love are things to be earned; I do not share them easily, and it's hard to get back once they are lost. So in that way, these two feelings have similar definitions for me. Does anyone else agree on this?