The pure platonic relationships look good in stories, but do they find a space in the sexually awakened world? If rom-com scenarios and pop culture are to be believed, every love story begins with a deeply loyal, platonic friendship. This generic perception leaves no space for any good opposite-sex friendship to thrive.
When every rom-com you see on the big screen screams that a platonic relationship will eventually turn into a physical one, you begin to question if a platonic relationship can ever truly last.
Amid so many pressures and complications, it becomes difficult to figure out whether platonic love is real or rare, much like a fabled unicorn. Do true platonic relationships exist? What are the signs of platonic love? To clear the myths and hidden dynamics, let’s explore the platonic relationship in detail.
What Does It Mean To Be In A Platonic Relationship?
A platonic relationship is the epitome of a ‘pure friendship’ between a man and a woman. According to this concept, two individuals of the 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 sacred kind of relationship, devoid of any ulterior motives. In this phase, both the partners adopt a mature perspective toward their platonic friendship and harbor only deeply dedicated and sex-free love for each other. The reasons why you love someone don’t just revolve around sexual chemistry.
Named after the Greek philosopher Plato, this concept is 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’.
If you’re still thinking “I can’t tell the difference between platonic and romantic relationships”, we’ll put the difference in a very literal sense: romantic relationships involve sex and sexual attraction, platonic relationships do not. We’re certain you can find many platonic relationship examples in your life as well. Any friendship with a person of the opposite sex where you do not feel sexual attraction is a platonic relationship example.
Besides getting a bestie for life, this bond comes with a lot of benefits too. S/he 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 make 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. Just like any other friendship, there may well be heated arguments and regular banter. There may also be lots of emotional security and selfless affection which plays a strong bonding factor.
Simply put, a platonic friendship means when two people are friends without any sexual attraction whatsoever. The complete opposite of a platonic friendship can perhaps be a friends with benefits relationship. There’s not much difference between a platonic relationship vs friendship, both are essentially relationships devoid of sexual attraction with varying degrees of closeness.
Friendly hugs and platonic cuddles may send the wrong vibes to your inner circle, but don’t let it bother you 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 of it. Like best buddies, both of you find peace and contentment in the company of each other. There are no demands or expectations, and you get full-time support for the best and the worst times. The relationship has no space for jealousy, complications, and insecurity.
Instead, you are secure in your friendship space and can talk to them about anything you want. You can get wise and sane advice on dating issues from somebody of the same sex. Isn’t that great? To nourish it like a bottle of 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 both of you. As a unique and rare bond, it may be prone to many societal judgments which may cause problems and unwanted complications. Influenced by the ‘pop-culture’, this bond may succumb to twisted friendships, turning it into a somewhat complicated relationship. 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.
1. Nobody crosses the line
As a platonic relationship rule, none of you should initiate sexual attention and interest in each other. As a 3 AM buddy, you can support them in times of need. But that doesn’t mean you will take them for granted, or use them for a rebound relationship.
The same is applicable to what you say. 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.
Boundaries of a platonic friendship must be adhered to if you want yours to stand the test of time. Harmless flirting can quickly go from something funny to something that might make things awkward. Before you know it, you two are seen-zoning each other!
Related Reading: The 8 Types Of Love And What They Mean For You
2. 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 at night, while some might find it weird. These boundaries of platonic friendships will help you keep your romantic temptations at a distance.
Try to understand your friend’s perspective and make things seamless for both of you. Once the precious “platonic” tag is put to risk through sexual advances, it’s possible you’ll lose a best friend. Keep it in your pants! If you need help getting started, common boundaries in a relationship can also be applied in your platonic relationships.
3. 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 feel that your relationship has grown out of platonic commitment, 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 also be 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.
If you have noticed your platonic friend’s interest in you, then bring it up politely and assert that you want to keep it platonic. Talking it out will leave no one in doubt. Before you make a decision, understand the difference between platonic relationships vs romantic relationships. Make sure you don’t jump into anything!
4. Don’t break the trust
If he opens up a secret to you, don’t gossip about it. Foiling his trust will be the biggest relationship breach you can ever make. So, avoid spreading stories about private conversations, keep to your word and nurture your relationship with trust. If you feel he is going wrong somewhere, help him sail through the troubled times with sane advice.
Building trust in a relationship will only benefit you two. The same goes for men. Don’t be uninterested in her problems and try to actually listen when she’s explaining something to you. Signs of platonic love feature trust and care, don’t make her feel unheard by not paying attention to her when she talks.
5. Don’t be jealous of current partner
Don’t turn a platonic friendship into a possessive love triangle. If she is dating, be considerate of her feelings. Don’t compare yourself with their 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 emotions hamper your pure bonding.
The difference between platonic relationships vs romantic relationships will be amplified when your platonic friend talks to you about the multiple problems they’re facing in their relationship. We bet you’ll be glad you decided to keep things platonic when you see how problematic romantic relationships can be! Dealing with jealousy in a relationship takes some work. Try to not let it arise in the first place.
6. Flirting foils the platonic love
Treat platonic friends as same-sex friends and never initiate any form of flirting. Avoid any form of playful flattery, sexual remarks or bringing any touchy-feely signals to your bestie of the opposite sex. These mixed flirty signals harm personal dignity and breach platonic love, which you may never want.
However, if you’re struggling to not flirt with your platonic friend, then it may be time to reconsider how platonic your feelings are in the first place. A platonic relationship isn’t forced, it naturally occurs. If you’re constantly forcing yourself to not make it sexual, you probably want something more than a platonic relationship.
7. Don’t turn platonic love into an emotional affair
Many of us may confuse platonic friendship with a guilt-free emotional affair. But that is far from the truth. If your partner is not happy with your friendship, you may have to consider getting him or her to trust you or end the relationship. If you are married, this could have a toxic influence on your spousal relationship.
Do not ever do anything that may hurt your partner or spouse, or make them feel jealous or uncomfortable, and always keep it respectable. So, invest your energies wisely while handling both a marriage and a platonic relationship.
Related Reading: Inappropriate Friendships When Married – Here’s What You Should Know
8. Keep a check on your emotions in marriage
If you are unhappy with your husband or your wife, don’t find a crying shoulder in your platonic friend. Talk to your spouse and resolve the issues amicably. Respecting your marriage is important. Don’t invest more in your platonic friends than in your spouse. You shouldn’t just pass on your intimate information to your platonic friend and breach the principles of marriage.
Try not to compare your spouse’s flaws with your friend, this could damage your healthy marriage. Just because you’re very close to your platonic friend doesn’t mean you can hurt your spouse by sharing all their secrets and immediately disregarding them for your friend! At the end of the day, your marriage is only going to work if you put the work in, not if you cry about it to your friend.
Remember, platonic relationships may be rare but are real in every sense. Full of ups and downs, happiness and tough times, they are not 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 of 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.