The pure platonic relationships look good in stories, but do they find a space and existence in the sexually awakened world? If rom-com scenarios and pop culture are to be believed, every love story begins with a deeply loyal friendship. This generic perception leaves no space for any good opposite-sex friendship to thrive. On the other hand, family and friends also think you both are serious about each other. Amid so many pressures and complications, does it become difficult to find out that whether platonic love is real or rare, like a fabled unicorn? To clear the myths and hidden dynamics, let us explore the platonic relationship in detail.
What does it mean to be in a platonic relationship?
A platonic relationship is an ideal epitome of a ‘pure friendship’ between a man and a woman. According to this concept, two individuals of opposite sex can stay in love sans any sexual interest and still be great friends. If you think ‘it is a complicated equation’, then you are wrong. It is probably the most sorted of all the relationships. In this phase, both the heterosexual partners adopt a mature perspective towards their platonic friendship and harbour only deeply dedicated and sex-free love for each other.
Named after the Greek philosopher Plato, this concept is basically sourced from one of his writings in ‘The Symposium’. It explores numerous interpretations of love, be it a passionate sexual relationship, or a deep platonic love motivated by pure feelings towards each other. This is a special form of man-woman friendship that can live and last forever, in a literal sense. There is no attraction, no romantic expectations, jealousy, demands or complications in it; only a celebration of ‘pure love’.
Besides getting a bestie for life, this bonding comes with a lot of benefits too. He/she can be your support in times of need, a patient listener to your rants, a friend who will correct your perspective or even develop your understanding of the opposite sex. This honesty and openness is what makes a platonic relationship special in a true sense.
What is a platonic friendship?
A man and a woman can be strong friends in a platonic friendship, but that doesn’t mean it will be a sugar-coated relationship. There will be heated arguments and regular banters with lots of emotional security and selfless affection which plays a strong bonding factor.
Lots of friendly hugs and platonic cuddles may send wrong vibes to your inner circle, but don’t let it bother as you both have set the pact as ‘Strictly Friends’. There is openness, honesty, fairness, security and trust in it that goes a long way. Your dating partners may get insecure about this ‘special’ friendship initially, but when they know the real picture, they might be supportive for both of you. Like the best buddies, both of you find peace and contentment in the company of each other. There is no demand or expectation, and you get a full-time support for the best and the worst times. The relation has no space for jealousy, complications, and insecurity.
Instead, you are secure in your friendship space and can talk to them about any subject in the universe, including dating issues or love relationships and get a wise and sane advice from somebody of the same sex. Isn’t that great? To nourish it like an old wine, both the friends must follow certain platonic relationship rules which are mentioned below.
Platonic relationship rules
Platonic love can be very special for the both of you. As a unique, rare bond, it may be prone to many societal judgements which may cause problems and unwanted complications. Influenced by the ‘pop-culture’, this bond may succumb to twisted friendships and complicated dynamics. But worry not! If you wish to stay away from the complications of platonic dating and flaunt ‘just platonic friends’ tag forever, here are some basic ground rules.
- Nobody crosses the line: As an unspoken basic of a platonic relationship, none of you initiates sexual attention and interest in each other. As a 3 AM buddy, you can support them in the times of need. But that doesn’t mean you will take them for granted. Or use them for a rebound relationship. Same is applicable to what you talk. Just because you can discuss any topic in the universe without any hesitation, including relationship problems; sexual conversations are a strong no-no. Be mindful and never involve any sexual innuendos in a dialogue to keep it comfortable
- Know your boundaries: If you frequently visit their house, then this rule is applicable to you. Set some limits on when and what time you can visit each other’s house. Ideally, daytime or evenings are a good time for friendly visits. If, in an emergency situation, they have to stay over your house, be comfortable in each other’s company. Don’t make it an awkward experience for both of you. Some platonic friends may not have an issue with sharing a bed in the night, whereas for others, it may be a strict no-no. Try to understand your friend’s perspective and make things seamless for the both of you
- Be open towards your feelings: Every relationship changes its form in the course of time and platonic friendships are no different. But, if you are vocal and honest about your feelings, then it may save you from lots of future complications. If you are interested in platonic dating and are feeling that your relationship has grown out of platonic commitment, then ‘talk it out’. Don’t fear the risk of losing your friend. Instead, take a chance and put it out there. You never know, they may be also feeling the same way and you may be dating your friend in no time. But if they don’t feel the same way and wish to keep it platonic, then go with the flow
- Secret codes applicable: If he opens up a secret to you, don’t gossip around it. Foiling his trust will be the biggest relationship breach you can ever have. So, avoid spreading stories around private conversations, keep to your word and nurture your relationship with the trust. If you feel he is going wrong somewhere, help him sail through the troubled times with a sane advice
- Don’t be jealous of current partner: Don’t make a platonic friendship a possessive love triangle. If she is dating, be considerate of her feelings. Don’t compare yourself with the current partner. Be comfortable in your own space. Remember, dates may come and go, but platonic friendships remain forever. Cherish that feeling and don’t let any negative emotion hamper your pure bonding
- Flirting foils the platonic love: Treat platonic friend as a same-sex friend and never initiate any form of flirting. Avoid any form of playful flattery, sexual remarks or bring any touchy-feely signals to your bestie of opposite sex. These mixed flirty signals harm the personal dignity and breach the platonic love, which you may never want
- Don’t turn platonic love into an emotional affair: Many of us may confuse platonic friendship with a guilt-free emotional affair. If you are married, this could lead a toxic influence to your spousal relations. So, invest your energies wisely while handling both a marriage and a platonic relationship. Here are some tips that can-
- Keep a check on your emotions in marriage. If you are unhappy with husband, don’t find a crying shoulder in your platonic friend. Talk to your spouse and resolve the issues amicably
- Give due importance to your marriage. Don’t invest more in your platonic friend than your husband
- Don’t just pass on your intimate information to your platonic friend and breach the principles of marriage
- Don’t compare your spouse’s flaws with your friend, this could damage your healthy marriage
Remember, platonic relationships may be rare but are real in every sense. Full of ups and downs, happiness and tough times, they are not the mighty relationship unicorns; they ‘do exist in the real world’. Our Bonobology relationship experts acknowledge that a little wisdom and clarity of thought can give platonic friendships a new lease of life sans any complications. Agree with us? Do you know any platonic friendship near you? Are they youngsters or in the middle-age? Or have they spent considerable years in life together? Do share your platonic love cum friendship stories with us.Published in