Issues and questions regarding how relationships work aren't new. As long as relationships have prevailed, the issues do too. And therefore, if you find yourself questioning where your relationship is going wrong, trust me you are not the only one. One of the most common mentions in the word relationships is the term "platonic". Now, I am barely sure that most of you don't understand the concept of platonic relationships. And therefore, you certainly are unsure of how that works or how you will make it work.
Now, if that is the case, you have luckily landed at the best place possible because that is exactly what we will highlight here. In case you want to make your relationship work, worry no further because you will have a lot to work on once you give this article a complete read.
What is actually meant by the concept of "platonic relationships"?
- A platonic relationship is one in which the partners share a close bond but they do not share a sexual relationship.
- The concept of platonic relationship originated in the ideas of the ancient philosopher Plato. The term is also named after him. Plato believed that this sort of love could successfully bring people closer to a divine ideal.
- The modern idea however is mainly focused on the idea of two people being close friends.
- The opposite of a platonic relationship can be a romantic or basically sexual relationship. While the term is mainly thought to be applicable to opposite-sex friends, it can however apply to same-sex friendships as well.
What signs would identify your relationship to be platonic?
Several characteristics will help distinguish a platonic relationship from the other types of relationships. Along with the addition of a lack of a sexual aspect, these relationships can also be marked by the following signs:
Both the partners in a platonic relationship share a closeness to each other and they specifically feel that they share things in common.
Although this should identify most relationships as well, understanding is one of the key signs when it comes to platonic relationships. People who share a platonic relationship also share a common connection. They also acknowledge and appreciate each other's personal space. They have no intention of forcing the other person to do things that they don't intend to do or don't want to do. They allow their partner to be who they are and don't believe in forcing their opinions on them.
Both the partners in a platonic relationship feel that they can share what they really think and feel with the other person. This is because the level of honesty they share with each other is considerable. They are transparent with each other and don't fear sharing things, even the ones that they think can hurt their partner.
Platonic relationships tend to feel much easier and more comfortable. That is because both the partners feel that they are safe and free to be themselves. They have no hesitation in showing who they are which makes the relationships easier.
These types of relationships are often friendships according to modern concepts. Although the lack of sexual relationships is what characterizes these relationships, it does not necessarily mean that the individuals are not attracted to each other or cannot start to feel attracted toward the other.
What are the types of platonic relationships that basically exist?
Different terms have emerged to describe some of the different types of platonic relationships. We are highlighting some of the basic concepts that are common in platonic relationships:
This term is mainly used to describe an affectionate, non-sexual, and close relationship between two men.
This particular phrase is sometimes used to describe a close but non-sexual connection between two colleagues or co-workers that involves bonds and sometimes even roles similar to that of a marriage.
This term specifies a bond that is emotional, non-sexual, and romantic between two women.
How can one form platonic relationships?
Platonic relationships are certainly important for the psychological well-being of a person. Research has even established that social support and platonic connections play a vital role in mental health. Thus, building a network of people that includes platonic friends, family, and other loved ones can certainly help improve your overall wellness.
Some things that you can do in order to foster platonic relationships are:
- Sign up for workshops or classes on several topics that you willingly take interest in.
- Volunteer for causes that you care about in your community.
- Join social networking groups where you can meet new people.
- Participate in online communities.
Along with developing platonic relationships, it is also very important to understand how you can keep the ones that you already have in your life. You should ensure that these bonds remain healthy and strong. Some of the simplest ways that you can do this are being supportive, maintaining boundaries, and practicing honesty.
What impact do platonic relationships have on you?
There are plenty of reasons why having a platonic relationship is important for your health and well-being. Some of the positive effects that these relationships can have on your life include:
Lowering of stress
We all know how harmful stress can be to your mental and physical health and well-being. Chronic stress or stress for a prolonged duration can lead to cardiac diseases, high blood pressure, digestive issues, and decreased immunity. It can even play an active role in mood problems such as anxiety or depression. Therefore, having a platonic relationship can really help with these because having such relationships outside family and partners can help a person cope better with sources of stress. Additionally, having supportive platonic friendships lowers the stress faced by people.
Love and support
Research has shown that having love and support from the people who are close to you can positively impact your life. This sort of support can lower your risk for diseases, improve your immunity, and decrease your risk for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression too. Your platonic support system can aid in providing emotional support. You can easily reach out to them and clear your mind out and be yourselves. They can help you provide valuation, and help you in times when you are in need.
Platonic relationships can even play a role in helping someone become more resilient when it comes to several life challenges. Whether it involves troubles that you face in your romantic relationships, problems in your personal family matters, work-life challenges, or health challenges, your platonic relationships will always be there to support you while you face all these.
Studies have even proved that one of the biggest predictors of a person's ability to recover after any sort of traumatic or stressful event was the presence of strong friendships and people to support them.
List some tips to follow if you want healthy platonic relationships
Although the concept of platonic relationships might seem easy and appealing, it is certainly not that easy to find or that easy to maintain. Once you establish a strong platonic bond, it is certainly important to maintain, strengthen, and nurture the connection. Some of the things that you can do to improve these relationships include:
Always stay in touch
Once you feel that there is a person who understands you, keep them. Make all the efforts that you need to and make sure to stay in touch with them. Call, text, or even email the other person from time to time just to ensure that you keep that communication open. Convey it out loud to them, about what you feel, what you are thinking of, or just even ask them if they are okay.
Never make them do all of the work
When you care about someone, you need to show them by making an effort. So, don't rely on the other person to always initiate conversations and make plans. You need to reach out to them regularly and engage with them on a regular basis so as to make sure that the connection never fades.
Try to show up for them
If someone has been there for you, you should do the same. There is nothing more attractive than reciprocation of energy. So, you should always be there for your partner, when they need you and even when they don't. Be the shoulder they can rely on upon safely, and always listen to what they have to say.
It is even necessary to understand when to let go of a platonic relationship. That is because while platonic relationships are important for relieving your stress, unwanted relationships can be a reason for the stress too. So, don't be scared to end your association if the other person doesn't seem fit for your mental health. If he/she is unkind, manipulative, hurtful, or doesn't support you the way you do, then leave.
What can be some of the potential challenges that a platonic relationship can face?
- It is very essential to note that platonic relationships are nothing similar to unrequited love. Where an unrequited relationship is essentially a crush that includes one person being romantically or sexually interested in the other. But the other does not reciprocate their feelings. However, true platonic relationships do not involve any such unequal balance of emotions.
- That, however, does not mean that a platonic relationship cannot or would not be developed into something romantic or sexual. That can be a problem if preserving a platonic relationship is important for you. While such relationships can potentially turn into strong romantic bonds, you also entertain the risk of losing the friendship if you end up breaking up.
- If maintaining your platonic bond is of great importance to you, you should necessarily focus on establishing and maintaining clear boundaries. You should also practice setting limits on things such as the time you spend together, the extent of physical intimacy, and the amount of contact that is allowed.
What are platonic boundaries?
Although platonic relationships are meant to be your safe space, there should be certain boundaries too. Some of the boundaries that you need to maintain while being in a platonic relationship include:
- Always make sure that you give each other plenty of space.
- Never engage in physical touch beyond casual intimacy.
- Avoid ditching your partner to spend time with your platonic friend.
- Do not gossip or whine about your partners to each other.
- Make time for your other relationships.
- Never conceal your platonic relationship from your partner.
What should you do if you want something more than just your platonic bond?
- If you are the partner who desires to extend a platonic relationship into something more, it is very necessary to be open and honest with the other person. You should express your interest but keep in mind to not pressurize them.
- You should openly discuss what it might mean to the relationship and make sure that it does not end up ruining your friendship.
- Platonic relationships can serve as an excellent foundation for romantic relationships, but it is even important for the people involved in them, to be honest, and communicate openly.
Can a woman and man really ever be "just friends?"
- Contrary to popular beliefs, yes, platonic friendships between heterosexual friends can and do work as long the partners involved in it are setting up and maintaining the ground rules.
- Having a platonic friend doesn't mean that it would not turn up to be something sexual or romantic. But your ability to stay within the boundaries of friendship is what will preserve the relationship in its truest sense.
- If sexual intimacy becomes a part of it, the relationship will lose its innocence and will instantly cease to be platonic.
Relationships are complicated in themselves and that is why people struggle with them at times. Even though platonic relationships don't involve the sphere of romantic or sexual relationships, they aren't without complications. This article has swiftly compiled all the information you would need to know about platonic relationships.
TL;DR: Key Takeaways from the article:
If you are worried about why your platonic bond is not working out, this blog has got you covered. It has listed all the necessary information that one needs to understand the concept of platonic relationships. Thus, if you desire to know what platonic relationships are or how they work, all you need to do is give this article a quick read.