Learning to Love

This one-off event will be a highly sociable, immersive day consisting of inspiring and consoling lectures, exciting meetings, food and drinks, and interactive games. Expect a high level of interaction within a liberating environment, where you’ll be provided with discussion points and icebreakers to facilitate conversation. 

Ticket Price £249 or £199 when buying two or more tickets in one transaction for yourself, friend or partner (discount will automatically apply in checkout).

What to expect from Learning to Love

In most relationships, we are trying to do something enormously difficult with the bare minimum of support necessary. It is not surprising that – very often – we have troubles. Learning to Love will teach us, through a combination of lectures, films, psychological exercises, confession and discussion, a basic toolkit of the most fundamental strategies for navigating the course of love.

Our One-Day Festival is very much a ‘Conference-mini’ – a chance to experience the best of The School of Life’s teaching on love over the course of a day.

This event is suitable for absolutely anybody, whether in a relationship or not. It is entirely up to you whether you choose to attend alone or with your partner, a friend or family member (however we do encourage you to interact with other attendees as well the person you arrived with – it’s sometimes easier to open up to a stranger than to someone you know well!).

At all of our events, we aim to create a safe, sensitive and discrete, environment where everybody feels free to share even sensitive or deeply personal thoughts without fear of judgement. Of course, there is absolutely no pressure to share anything within paired or group discussion that you don’t feel comfortable with.

The day will include:  

- Keynotes session with Alain de Botton, founder of The School of Life

- The Confessions Game - our faculty members will prompt honest, daring answers to important questions about our own feelings of joy, hope, fear and sorrow

- Lectures, films, music, psychological exercises and conversation

- A unique gift bag filled with emotionally intelligent gifts

- An exciting choice of delicious refreshments throughout the day

- An opportunity to make new friends and connections in a community of like-minded individuals


o   9:30-10:30 Welcome & Registration

Get settled in and meet new friends over hot drinks and pastries.

o   10:30-12:00 First Content Session: Finding Love

In this morning session we explore the challenge of finding someone to love, and finding love within a new relationship. In order to improve our understanding of why we make the choices we do, we consider our early experiences give us scripts regarding whom we can love, and how. We examine harmful repetitive patterns, and ask whether we sometimes reject love and affection because it makes us anxious. We also look at common problems that arise in long-term relationships, including ‘Perfectionism’ and the difficulty of learning from one another in order to explore ways to improve our existing relationships.

o   12:00-12:30 Coffee break

o   12:30-1:30 Second Content Session: The Skills of Love Part I

We turn to consider the key skills that help us to keep relationships going. At The School of Life, we don’t believe that love must inevitably fizzle out over time; this happens when it has not been wisely managed. We discuss how we sometimes give up on love too soon. The end of love is not inevitable, and even seemingly terminal situations can be rescued. We are introduced to the idea that love is not just an emotion; it is a skill that can be successfully learnt and practised.

In this section we consider how to communicate, teach and learn, how to allow others to get close to us. We learn how to understand and explain our distinctive way of feeling loved, and how to translate what our partners may be telling us when they aren’t communicating well. And we consider how to give, and receive, comfort.

o   1:30-2:30 Lunch

Enjoy a selection of delicious food with newly-made friends

o   2:30-3:45 Third Content Session; The Skills of Love Part II

We continue in our investigation of the skills that allow relationships to flourish. We consider how to navigate conflict through humour, how to deal with sexual differences and awkward desires, and how to be appropriately and usefully pessimistic about love. Finally, we discuss the ways in which love is, ultimately, always an act of imagination and generosity.

o   3:45-4:15 Coffee break

o   4:15-5:30 Final content session: Leaving and Staying, and the Good Enough relationship.

In this section of our day we ask the question: what is a good enough relationship?

It can be remarkably hard to know what level of compromise, hard work, difficulty and everyday scratchiness we should accept in love. On the one hand, our culture presents us with seductive images of constant intense love and passion; on the other, we hear reminders that relationships are hard work and that we should keep our expectations in check. How then are we to assess the relationships that come our way? How can we decide what the right, sensible level of joy and frustration might be?

To begin to answer this question we conduct, audit of love in general and our relationships in particular. We consider how much a couple should argue, what a partner should understand about us, what a ‘deal-breaker’ should be, and what level of sexual satisfaction is to expected in a good enough relationship.

Aside from auditing our attitudes to love, we consider a variety of approaches for either improving or exiting relationships, giving us the tools to put our desires into practice.

We close by considering that many of the answers we crave around love are within us already, waiting for the correct tool to extract them.

o   5:30-7:00 Drinks reception

Discuss what you’ve learnt over the course of the day over wine and canapés.

Please note that this Festival repeats content from our Love classes and One-Day Workshops. There is also some overlap with the Conference and 5-Day Schools.

Ticket price includes lunch, refreshments, games and break out activities, and the goodie bag.

About The Speakers

Raul Aparici is the Faculty Lead at The School of Life. He also works as a coach, consultant and facilitator and teaches on the Postgraduate Coaching Programme at Birkbeck, University of London . With a diverse background which includes a career in the fitness industry, a BA in English Literature and an MA in Critical Theory, he likes to match academic insights with real life wisdom. He has a particular interest in psychoanalytic concepts and is generally curious about the human condition.

Alain de Botton is the founder and Chairman of The School of Life. Alain was born in Zurich, Switzerland and now lives in London. He is a writer of essayistic books that have been described as a 'philosophy of everyday life.'  He’s written on love, travel, architecture and literature, including the titles 'How Proust Can Change Your Life' and 'The Consolations of Philosophy.' He is also the founder of Living Architecture, a social enterprise that asks top architects to build holiday homes for rental around the UK.

Learning to Love

One-Day Festival
Sat 16th Mar 2019 (09.30)
Bush House South East Wing Strand London WC2B 4PA
Add to Wish List
Please note that we are unable to offer refunds or transfers less than 30 days before the event. Please also note that discount codes are not valid on tickets for this event unless specifically stated otherwise.