A platonic type relationship is one where you have a deep mindful and emotional connection with either a member of the opposite sex OR with a friend you build trust with (who may even be of the same sex), without the expectation or any possible initiative of a sexual favor or interaction. In short, you can call it “non-sexual love” or “non-sexual friendship”.
There has been a considerable amount of misbelief and misinformation regarding the whole subject of platonic relationships and then how to build and maintain them. So what I’d like to do is give you a firm outline of where platonic love and interaction is sustainable, why it is important and what the good and the bad of it is. Also, I’d like to educate you on how to successfully identify a potential platonic mate and successfully have a platonic relationship going with them.
Platonic relationships exist nearly everywhere – the church, your workplace, between people of identical positions and ideals and even long term dedicated friends. However, the extent to which you call one a relationship and devote a segment of your life to is determined by the emotional involvement of the people with each other.
The Platonic way Of Relating – Definition
First off, be careful of tripping over into the “friendship” vs. “platonic connection” pendulum. This is what happens when you’re friends with someone and you frequent sexual encounters with them. But since you’re not fully involved with them at a committed level, the connection gets mis-labelled as a platonic relationship. A casual friendship with even negligible sexual encounters CANNOT qualify as a platonic type of relationship.
To be in a platonic relationship with someone, you must come from a frame of mind that allows the two people to resonate with each other’s views and share a sense of social belief about themselves, the people around them, their ambitions and what they wish to make out of their lives. And to come from such a frame of mind, you adhere to certain elements of interaction as follows:
# 1 : CARING VALUES
As a dependable support, you should have a sense of concern about the other person’s worries, obligations, wants and help as a friend or guidance source to move towards solving the worry, fulfilling the obligations and wants and also take care you uphold your part of the relationship by giving condolence and understanding gestures even if the other person doesn’t mention a need.
# 2 : CHOOSE THE RIGHT PEOPLE
This is a big one. If at any point you feel you might not click right with the person long term, even though you may be concerned about them, you’re likely to mess it up. So avoid such a connection. Also if you feel you might end up getting sexually attracted to the other person, it will complicate everything and break the platonic vibe. So again, don’t bind up if there’s no incentive to remain disengaged.
# 3 : KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
Determine what you want out of the platonic love or platonic-based friendship. This sounds calculating because it is!
If the time your partner will give you and the what bounds they are willing to feel for you is acceptable, then by all means, you both could sustain as a great example of true platonic love. If however, there’s a misconception regarding your interests in the other person or vice-a-versa, then there is a chance the bond might break apart. So to avoid a problem, see that your end of the pipeline is clear. Have clear and good intentions! And make sure you communicate them in concise words to your mate beforehand.
# 4 : BUILD FROM THE GROUND UP
After knowing each-other’s intent and what they want to get out of it, the next step is to establish good rapport. Now here’s a key distinction between other relationships and a platonic one. While in other relationships, rapport is established by sharing experiences and building up a sexual tension and heat, it’s the other way round in a platonic type of relationship. Here, you need to say goodbye to all that banter. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be playful, but here your rapport is built on shared emotions, not experiences.
Shared emotions means shared feelings which translates into the realization that you finally found someone who understood you and was willing to agree in your agreeable stance.
When experiences are shared though, they project out learning and what goals you have in common, or they project the sharing of a grievance, rather than building tension.
# 5 : GIVE SPACE
To raise the bar higher and have the platonic relationship build well is to allow certain flaws in the mate and let them test waters with your tolerance and their quirks. No friend is perfect. No colleague is completely disciplined. So as long as no one is jumping over the set boundaries of ambition and trust, let them drive you to extremes.
The best way to give space is to take your own space! When someone is over expressive and counter ambitious, you have a duty to be counter ambitious and over expressive as well. Instead of reciprocating with doubts and interrogating inquiries as a committed husband and wife do, you take your friend by the hand and let them see your adventurous side as well. That way, you both know that you share each others sense of flare and can trust them even if they’re going overboard on certain issues. You know they won’t do anything that will break the bond between you two.
THE PROS AND CONS OF PLATONIC RELATIONSHIPS:
- You’re able to see things clearly – the other person’s way! There’ crucial times in life where we could all use some honest perspective. Sadly, most friends with benefits are too occupied with getting romantic with each other that they miss out on life saving advice and clarity from their trustworthy opposite.
- You get better at listening. With over 75% of the spoken word going unheard, listening and getting analytical over it has been replaced by anxiety and apprehension. When you listen, you get to ask pressing questions to problems only your platonic friends can solve best. You get answers where you need them most!
- Getting the experience of knowing someone closer than life. Intimacy without indulging is intimacy in truth. When you start to respond to certain patterns in your friend’s behavior, you develop a sense of understanding of someone that goes to help you in dealing with other people in your life in a better way. This will help you get out of rough situations and bond better professionally with others. It’s also an experience necessary for good conflict handling.
- Fearless emotions. There’s no sexual tension in a platonic relationship to distract you as you talk. Further, if you present deep thoughts and emotions, there’s no need to think back and feel embarrassed. You get to share, combine your thoughts and draw new ones. You evolve emotionally and rationally.
- Leverage with family. Now this is a tricky one. But stay with me. There’s an expectancy in your family, with your loved one, or say with the ones you’re romantically involved with, that you’re not involved with anyone else. Now you and your platonic partner know that. A lot of times the others don’t know this. And they tend to compete over you for no reason. While in most cases a person might see this as an extramarital or outward threat, a true platonic friend will help you out and turn the situation to your benefit. They may either straighten things out for you right away or may play along and have you see a better experience out of your charged family.
- There’s always the risk factor of one person developing romantic feelings for the other one or going over dependent into the grabby zone. This is likely to break bonds and push the other person away.
- Being misunderstood by other people in your life, especially true for those with romantic partners who get jealous or feel neglected. Also, since a lot of people don’t fully comprehend the benefit of having a true friend and being socially very involved with one, they may look down upon your connection.
- Over-dependency. This is one of those dysfunctional behaviors that is common to people staying together or spending a lot of quality time together. It is observed also in corporate offices where colleagues over socialize at the workplace and cause a decline in productivity in the absence of the other. You will have to find a way to cope with this if you are in a platonic relationship.
- Knowing too much. Platonic love has a tendency to flow in where you begin to share information and problems with each other that you wouldn’t talk of to anyone else. This is a fantastic thing, but it can have it’s downside. It creates a sense of alienation among friends where you do talk about problems but you can never get involved in those that are too intimate with the one sharing them. The key to survive this is to always have a sense of giving more than you get.
HOW TO GET A PLATONIC-BASED RELATIONSHIP THAT SURVIVES?
Well here are some steps to follow through right from day one of when you decide to get closer emotionally:
# 1 : Be open to tense push-pull situations
The possibilities of conflict among the same sex and sexual tension among the opposite sex are always there in a platonic relationship. This is because conflict and attraction mechanisms are hardwired into your genetics. Being mentally prepared to handle them beforehand is key to having a good experience with each other.
# 2 : Trust yourself before requesting the other to trust you
All possibilities said and done, if you’re planning to go platonic with someone, you need to tell yourself right then that you need to keep it that way, at least at your end of the pie. Any social pressure, natural genes or external conflict source is not the reality changer about you and your friend. Minor things do shake people up, but don’t let your faith in your intentions ever be shaken!
# 3 : Set clear rules in advance
The day you two step in, you make sure that both of you know the rules, your physical limits, boundaries and concerns with each other. It may be a rude or extremely practical sounding confrontation, but you need to have this in the beginning rather than midway, to avoid problems. It’s better to know your platonic relationship’s potential and care of each other like siblings do, rather than think of ways to bend the rules and turn your platonic stance into something you think would work out later. No no no…..don’t do that!
# 4 : Remind yourself of the benefits
If there are great moments you have had, cherish them together. If there are trips you made, see the memoirs over and over again. You’ll set nerve pathways in your brain that will learn to acknowledge the good things and benefits the other person has brought to your life. Show these to your partner as well. You’ll both strive to strengthen your relationship from then on.
# 5 : Joint effort to defend yourself
If there are people who’re too bothered about your platonic relationship, or just plain suspect it for being more, don’t let it bother you one bit. Look, people will always have something to say. It may or may not have reason. But as a wise set of companions, you and your friend must always join hands and be prepared to boldly face anyone who dares to question your bond together. That ability to stand up for what matters with each other is priceless!
So maybe you have been thinking a relationship of this sort is “fuddy-duddy” and out of date – but please think again. There is definitely room in these high speed, high pressure times we live in for a meaningful platonic relationship.