Platonic love is a chaste, pure and non-sexual love / affection that one feels; and platonic relationship is one whereby friends of the opposite sex share a special friendship with no sexual or romantic links at all.
While there are people who clearly believe that platonic friendships exist, and are currently enjoy these kind of friendships - there are also the staunch believers that platonic relationships do not exist.
Let us take a look at these differing views and how to make platonic friendships work.
The Non-Believers in Platonic Relationships
More of these staunch believers that "platonic relationships" do not exist, or are not possible are males, not that surprisingly. They tend to think that they cannot be "merely friends" with just females, or if they do, it would have to be "friends with benefits" with the opposite gender.
For instance, Callen*, an Accounts Manager, who shared his views with us," It is not possible for a male and female to get very close without feeling anything. Call it chemistry, slow love, whatever - but I believe that the two friends were probably in love with each other without realizing it."
Another interviewee, Roman*, Civil Servant, told us this, "Men are more practical creatures, really. Sometimes they get close to a female because they are interested, but if the female friend-zones him, he cannot do anything also... just have to wait till she gives him a chance."
Interesting takes from the two gentlemen. So when males see, or get close to a female, is it not possible to just regard them as another fellow human being, and talk to them like a sister / brother or buddy?
The Believers in Platonic Relationships
"Not true, I have many close female friends as well, and I don't think lewd or romantic thoughts towards them. I always handle them with respect, and we hang out and confide in each other like brothers, literally," Jeff*, who works in the Media line, tells us.
"I also believe in platonic relationshps - there are some people that you feel very comfortable with, but there is just no chemistry between us - so they become good friends in the end," Megan*, a Banker, shares her views.
It is true, that males and females can be devoid of romantic or sexual feelings towards each other. It all takes mutual trust, respect and efforts to make it work.
In fact, while same-gender friends are awesome, we all need unbiased opinions and support from friends of the opposite gender. For a similar issue, I like to seek the views of both my female and male friends, and I like how both sets of friends assess the same situations differently, and see things from different angles / perspectives.
Not just for support, opinions, views and solutions - in fact, sometimes friends of the opposite gender make for great hanging out or hobbies buddies. If you are like me and enjoy activities such as singing, pool and maybe exploring haunted sites or sports, you would appreciate like-minded buddies regardless of gender.
This goes exactly the same for some males who may prefer to bake, cook or are into fashion, it is essential for you to cast aside all romantic thoughts and take a serious look at the next girl who enjoys these activities as well, but is not attracted to you romantically. Don't cast her aside yet - she may become the best buddy you could ever have.
How to Make Platonic Relationships Work
Firstly, adjust your mindset if you have always been skeptical of platonic relationships. When you see someone from the opposite gender, do not immediately scan them to guess their cup size, gawk at their long legs or generalize them into the "yes" or "no" categories just yet. Instead, focus on their strengths and bask in the benefits a platonic female friend can offer - such as a different opinion, soft skills or tips on how to handle your current girlfriend / wife etc.
Secondly, regard them as your "brotherly" or "sisterly" pal - they are no different from the same-gender friends that you hang out with. Be natural, be yourself when you hang out with them and offer comfort in times of need - they are people you can laugh with, and count on - but you do not want to kiss or touch them. You enjoy their company, but know that it would not lead to anything complicated or misunderstood.
Thirdly, be very clear and firm on one's stand - do not give your friend the wrong idea or false hopes. If you are sure that you are not interested, yet the potential friend may feel more than just pure friendship, put them down gently. Then explain that although you don't feel romantically-inclined towards them, you would like to keep them as friends if they did not mind because of their great personality or like-mindedness.
Fourthly, do not give off the wrong vibes or signals. If both of you are more open-minded or physical, ensure that a friendly hug or lending of shoulders to cry on are within acceptable limits and do not cross the line. For females, do not wear anything too revealing when meeting any male friend alone, or even in a small group. You would not want them to start feeling more than friendship toward you after they'd gotten a good glimpse of your cleavage!
Finally, ensure that your partners do not feel insecure or threatened by these close friends from the opposite gender. Do not over-mention the friend's name to your partners, or turning down your partner's suggestion to attend some event and then agreeing to attend when your close female friend asks you to. Do not lie about meeting the friends from opposite gender; if possible introduce them to your partners, so that he / she know who you are hanging out with and the extent of friendship. In short, never prioritize your platonic buddy over your partner (depends on individual case by case basis though) generally. Once your partner and platonic buddies have better understanding with each other, it would make things easier for you too.
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