Platonic relationships can be a blessing, but like any relationship they can get complicated – platonic relationships are notorious for becoming a breeding zone of negative emotion – jealousy, frustration and at worst, unrequited love.

However, a healthy platonic relationship has all the benefits of a love relationship without intimacy. Thankfully, if two people in a platonic relationship can learn to manage their friendship without crossing that line (or recovering if they do) the benefits will flow in abundance!


What is a platonic friendship?

Platonic Relationship

A platonic friendship is simply a friendship; a relationship without sex and dating. The term ‘platonic friendship’ is generally applied to friendships where there could be a potential love interest. Platonic friendships occur between all types of people, and sexual orientations, including friendships between two homosexual men, two homosexual women, and in heterosexual friendships where there’s a male-female friendship.

A healthy and happy platonic friendship means that both people involved will respect their friendship’s physical and emotional boundaries – and in a platonic friendship, that means no physical intimacy.


What a platonic relationship doesn’t mean

For a strictly platonic relationship, it has to be void of physical intimacy, including kissing, dating, and sex. 

If two people in a platonic relationship kiss – the relationship is no longer considered platonic. Instead, the relationship might evolve into dating, friends with benefits, or even a committed love relationship.

A platonic relationship simply doesn’t exist if the two people involved are more than friends. 

However, it is possible for platonic friends to fall for each other, and this doesn’t need to be a stressful situation – it simply calls for some honest conversations.


Falling for your platonic friend

Platonic Friendship

Some platonic relationships will last a lifetime without confusion over a potential love interest. However, for others, navigating a platonic friendship can be a tricky experience, particularly if one person starts to feel stronger emotions than the other. 

It’s fine to open up about romantic feelings in a platonic friendship. Close, meaningful friendships call for open and honest conversations. But if romantic feelings are unrequited, a healthy platonic relationship can only continue if both people involved listen and respect each other and don’t push for more. This can mean that those with stronger feelings may need to work through their own emotional distress when their friend meets new love interests and dates.


Going from platonic friends to dating

Some platonic friends naturally end up experimenting with other forms of intimacy like kissing, dating, friends with benefits, or even long-term love relationships. It’s all part of growing and navigating the complexities of life, and it doesn’t have to damage a healthy friendship.

Platonic friends can change the dynamics of their relationship, date, and return to being long-term friends. 


The best parts about having a platonic relationship

A close and meaningful platonic relationship can be a great blessing, add value to your life, and like any good friendship, bring much value and joy! For heterosexuals, in particular, a deep and meaningful non-intimate relationship with the opposite sex can teach many critical life lessons – all useful for building other healthy love relationships and dating!

Understanding the opposite sex

For heterosexuals, platonic relationships can provide insights into the opposite sex. You can discuss your dating or relationship woes and get the best insider knowledge from a person who has your best interests at heart.

If you’re actively dating, your platonic friend will be your greatest wingman or wingwoman – decoding messages or giving you a gentle steer in the right direction when it comes to navigating the world of dating and all that comes with it.

Learning to communicate

Close friends can say anything to each other, and a close friendship with a member opposite sex can help you see how the opposite sex communicates. Platonic friends allow you to develop your emotional and social skills in an emotionally stable setting.

No in-laws or family commitments, but all the benefits

You might love your platonic friend like a brother or a sister. They might be as special or as supportive as a parent, but since they’re not a blood relative they’ve always got your back in times of need or during family disputes. 

A long-standing platonic friend is likely to be welcomed in as part of the family and you part of theirs, but there’s no pressure to visit your friend’s family unlike intimate relationships. Extended families are unlikely to complicate platonic friendships in the same way families can complicate some love relationships. 

Adventuring through life together

A platonic friendship means that you always have someone to get through life with. Like any close friend, your platonic friend will be by your side through the good and the bad. They’ll celebrate the highs and support you during the lows.

And if you have an adventurous side, and a friendship built on the great outdoors or fun then there’s no stopping you from building a catalog of memories together. Whether you love hiking, exploring, or binge-watching Netflix, you can count on your best platonic friend to indulge in it with you!


How to make a platonic relationship work

Platonic Friendship

If you want to maintain a platonic relationship, both people involved need to respect the other person, and importantly, the boundaries of this non-romantic relationship. It’s likely that people in a platonic relationship will eventually meet someone else, so maintaining physical and intimate boundaries is key to keeping a platonic relationship whilst dating other people. It’s important that the platonic relationship is non-threatening to future partners.

There’s no reason why platonic friends can’t move their relationship forward, date, and have a healthy relationship. As long as both parties communicate, listen and respect each other, it is possible to develop from friends to long-term partners – and in the worst case where things don’t work out romantically, it is possible to go back to being platonic friends after a breakup. There’s really nothing to lose because good friends will always find their way back to each other.