Affection (storge, στοργή) is fondness through familiarity, especially between family members. C.S. Lewis is able to bring clarity to complicated topics and on storge he says: "It is described as the most natural, emotive, and widely diffused of loves: natural in that it is present without coercion; emotive because it is the result of fondness due to familiarity; and most widely diffused because it pays the least attention to those characteristics deemed "valuable" or worthy of love and, as a result, is able to transcend most discriminating factors."
I was blessed to grow up with a big family (being Greek and Armenian it's sort of a prerequisite. I spent a lot of my time with my cousins and younger brothers and building a lot of familiarity with these people. While we weren't always reciting numinous poetry to each other, there was something about living in a full house that just shined with a selfless love.
A good measure of storge is whether you call a family member because you have to or because you want to. In my family, if I don't call everyday it usually blows up to meaning that I don't care about them or I have forgotten my loved ones, or my personal favorite--'I'm too busy for them.' I'm never too busy for my family but there is a difference between wanting to call family members because you miss them and calling them because you feel that guilty, looming feeling that they are missing you. This type of love brings a sort of freedom when you don't feel a single ounce of guilty pressure to constantly check-in or report about your life. I want to call my aunts and uncles when I truly have something to share with them and I want to talk to them, not because I have to or feel obligated to.
Storge can also be shared between friends. Many are familiar with the feeling of seeing an old friend and practically picking up where they last left off. That's Storge. It's the sensation of being on the same page and on solid ground with your family and closest friends. The love you share with these people are completely disconnected with the things you do for them or accomplish. It's the confidence that if you don't text them back within four minutes they won't disown you. It's being loved unconditionally with no strings attached. It's being loved wholeheartedly. That's storge.
Photograph by Sarah Byrne