You’ve almost most definitely heard about the concept of platonic friendship but like myself, you probably haven’t really understood what it exactly means to be in a platonic relationship with someone and what the rules are of such a relationship.
Well, today, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the benefits as well as some disadvantages and secrets to making platonic friendship work!
I must admit that it took me a while to collect all the data of this inspiring platonic love and the results were really fulfilling and eye-opening. So, let’s see!
What Is A Platonic Friendship?
To understand the concept of platonic love, we must go back to the past and its roots.
So, the first human being who came up with the term was the famous Greek philosopher, Plato.
(I’m a little bit disappointed in myself because I haven’t connected these two terms before.)
Plato believed that platonic friendship has the power to bring out the best in people and bring them closer to God.
He perceived platonic love as love that is devoid of lust, sexual tension and sexual desire.
Even though platonic love, like romantic love, can be deeply intense, it is still a type of love that is non-romantic.
From Plato’s days, the definition of a platonic friendship has evolved and changed a little bit.
Today, in modern times, a platonic friendship is still one that brings out the best in people and helps them become the best version of themselves and it is a friendship between a man and woman who are best friends and most importantly, ‘just friends’.
(And no, it has nothing to do with ‘friends with benefits’.)
Basically, platonic friendship means having a very close friend of the opposite sex and it’s a strictly non-sexual relationship.
From my personal experience, opposite-sex friendships are real gold and I’ve always had an urge to make friends with guys rather than girls.
But don’t get me wrong. Female friendships are also priceless but it’s just that I can connect more easily with guy friends than with girl friends.
I know it’s kind of impossible to imagine a relationship between a man and woman that is totally devoid of any romantic interest but it is possible and it’s one of the most important types of love one can experience during a lifetime!
Both women and men have this capacity to develop a strong friendship with a high level of trust and be good friends for years to come!
Still, I will not lie to you.
There are also some potential disadvantages that you need to be aware of once you decide to be platonic and we will cover all of that so that you have a clear insight on what platonic friendship really is all about!
See also: 10 Reasons Why Low-Maintenance Friends RULE
The Pros Of A Platonic Friendship
The pros of having a romantic partner or life-partner are innumerable but there are also many benefits of being in a platonic friendship as well and here is a list of some reasons why you should consider being in one (if you aren’t already):
1. They’re a true friend
One of the main reasons why we should praise platonic friendships more than anything is because of its pure and true nature.
Having a platonic friend means having a true friend, relationship counselor, wing-person and someone who totally understands your weird habits all in one.
That famous statement ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ doesn’t really apply to platonic friendships.
It’s true that men and women have different perspectives on things because their mindsets greatly differ but having a platonic friend brings these things into balance.
And that’s why platonic friendships are the most powerful friendships in the world.
All the differences that melt into compromise and acceptance of the opposite sex make it so much more special and worthy!
See also: Fake Friends Vs. Real Friends: 12 Ways To Spot The Fakers
2. It improves your communication skills
We all know that men and women communicate in different ways and on a different level, which are the main causes of so many arguments and fights (especially in relationships and marriages).
But having a very close friend of the opposite sex can help you with that! How?
Because spending time with your platonic friend improves your communication skills (especially if you’re too anxious when it comes to talking to the opposite sex).
You will feel more comfortable to share new ideas and your point of view without a fear of being judged for it or misunderstood.
You will feel more free and relaxed when it comes to dating and meeting new potential partners which, in the long run, can have a positive effect on your love life and life in general!
3. You have a trustworthy relationship counselor
If you’re in a relationship at the moment or if you’ve ever been in one, then you know the importance of having a trustworthy friend to whom you can say everything that bothers you and seek some helpful advice.
We usually do that with our friends of the same sex and I’m pretty sure you already know the drill:
You have an argument with your partner or you’re feeling unhappy in your relationship for some reason and you get together with your best friend (of the same sex) and you tell them everything in the hope of getting relief and some valuable advice on what to do next.
And one thing is for sure, you most definitely get relief but often they don’t really help you in the advice department.
That’s why having a platonic friend is gold! Since they are of the opposite sex, they are a legit, trustworthy relationship counselor.
Why? Because they understand how the brain of their species works and perhaps they’ve been in the same situation, so they can tell you what’s really going on from their own perspective and experience.
They can help you establish a healthy relationship by giving you the best advice that will save you tons of your time (and patience)!
4. It helps you understand the opposite sex
As already said, the assumption that women and men are from different planets has become deeply rooted in our society and I won’t even try to deny it.
While all this is true, the real question is: What are we doing regarding the matter?
Are we trying to understand each other or have we given up on the fact of ever being able to even partially understand the opposite sex?
Since we have accepted the hypothesis that we’re from different planets, we’ve become stagnant without ever questioning it or looking for some potential solutions that might help us understand things better.
And that’s where platonic friendship comes into it!
Having a platonic friend can teach you a lot about someone of the opposite sex, how their brain functions, their preferences, how they deal with certain things and much more.
And you have to admit it, it’s easier to ask some things from your best friend who is of the opposite sex than your romantic partner because the chances are they might misunderstand you.
Men who are friends with female friends and vice versa have higher chances of establishing successful and healthy relationships!
So, observing the behavior of your platonic friend will help you connect the dots between men and women and, as a result, it will help you build the bridge between the opposite sexes and greatly improve your future romantic endeavors.
5. You get reciprocal, complementary support
Both men and women need support in their life and the only difference is in the way they give support to others.
In the support department, men are known to be solution seekers, whereas women are more emotionally oriented, which are two different aspects but when combined, they create a very much needed balance.
For example, let’s say that a woman had an argument with her colleague at work and after that, she goes to her platonic friend to tell him what happened.
She will expect him to just listen to her but he won’t do just that.
He will also immediately start looking for possible solutions to the problem because men are just wired that way (and sometimes that’s exactly what we need).
Now, let’s say that a man had an argument with his colleague at work and he goes to his platonic friend to share it with her.
In this situation, he will expect her to give him a solution to his problem but instead, she will be more emotionally invested (which is exactly what he needs).
A platonic relationship works on the principle of reciprocal, complementary support which is crucial when it comes to meeting our supportive needs and encouraging and helping each other become the best versions of ourselves.
6. You’ll be introduced to new interests and activities
While I don’t really support the idea of strictly male and female interests, hobbies and activities, the truth is that some of it can be classified as belonging to the male or female species.
Also, it’s true that girls and guys are interested in different things, so a platonic friendship is the best medium when it comes to all this!
Having a friend of the opposite sex means being introduced to new interests and activities that you haven’t tried before, be it because you’ve never thought of trying it or because you haven’t had the chance or someone willing to try it with you.
Having a platonic friend means living a life without gender-based restrictions.
In the platonic world, there’s no space for strictly male or female hobbies or activities.
Everything becomes universal and the more time you spend with them, the more carefree and in tune with your true self you’ll feel.
Repeating the same activities with your friends of the same sex can become dull over time and that’s why your platonic friend is the perfect remedy for it.
You’ll never feel bored because platonic adventures are simply unlimited.
7. It can help you kick your bad relationship habits
Both men and women can be prone to developing bad relationship habits and one of the best ways to deal with it is by talking it out with your platonic friend!
For example, let’s say that you’re a woman and you’re constantly picking toxic men who are not worthy of being with you.
When you mention this in a conversation with your platonic friend, he might instantly notice what the real issue is about and give you helpful advice.
This can be applied vice versa as well. Let’s say that you’re a man and you have communication problems in your relationship.
Your platonic friend can help you detect this bad relationship habit, work on it with you and help you improve it.
Whatever issue or bad relationship habit you might have, your platonic friend will understand it because they are the opposite sex!
They know how their crew functions and that’s why their advice is ten times more valuable than any others.
See also: 7 Toxic Relationship Habits Which We Mistake As Normal
8. You can help each other in the dating pool
You’ve probably heard about the concept of wing-people but in case you haven’t, being a wingman or wingwoman means supporting and helping someone when it comes to approaching romantic partners.
So, if you and your platonic friend want to be in a relationship with someone, you can help each other in the dating pool!
If you’re a woman, you can say a few nice words about your platonic friend when you’re in a circle of other women and your friend can do the same for you or he can deal with any unwanted candidates, which will make your life much easier.
You can have each other’s back when it comes to all kinds of different situations and Lord knows that modern dating abounds in them.
So, having a platonic friend means having someone who will help you deal with all these dating challenges and who will always be there for you no matter what.
9. It helps build trust for the opposite gender
If you’ve gone through a recent heartbreak or you still carry scars from your past heartbreaks, your levels of trust in the opposite gender are probably very low, which is totally understandable.
Rebuilding trust usually requires years and this prejudice toward the opposite sex can greatly affect your love life as well.
However, lucky you! One way to build trust for the opposite gender is by hanging out with your platonic friend.
This is the first step to opening yourself up again to another person who is not your friend of the same sex, which is necessary when it comes to healing, moving on and building trust again.
The more time you spend with your platonic friend, the more you’ll feel connected with them and it will be easier for you to jump into the dating pool again without letting trust issues prevail.
But as with everything, rebuilding trust takes time, so remember to stay patient and enjoy every second of your platonic friendship.
10. They’ll introduce you to new people
Having a best friend of the opposite sex means having the opportunity to be introduced to their friends who are of the opposite sex as well.
Their single friends will be your new friends and who knows, maybe you will find the right one for yourself among them and you end up in a romantic relationship with a friend of your best friend. Sounds awesome, right?
Your platonic friendship will get even richer because you’ll have one mutual friend who is both your significant other and your best friend’s friend.
Also, if you happen to like some of their single friends, you can easily say that to them and they will make sure to say a few nice words about you (without making it obvious, of course).
Platonic friendship makes the dating world more bearable and it’s definitely one of the biggest benefits one can have from nurturing such a friendship!
11. You can help each other in awkward situations
Platonic friends have each other’s back in every aspect of their lives, including those priceless awkward situations.
I remember when I was once out with my platonic friend and there was this one guy who wouldn’t leave me alone.
He would constantly text me, call me and ask me to go on a date with him, even though I specifically told him that I was not really interested.
So, that night, my platonic friend pretended that he was my boyfriend and when this guy approached, he told him to leave me alone because he was in a relationship with me.
The guy instantly backed off and I haven’t heard from him since.
There are probably tons of other awkward situations but this was just an example that being in a platonic friendship means being able to help each other in awkward situations like this one.
And the Lord knows that everyone needs such friends (especially women) because the dating world is becoming really cruel and you never know what will happen next.
However, with a platonic friend in your life, you don’t have to worry about such things because you know that you can always count on each other!
12. It teaches you about boundaries
Having a best friend of the opposite sex certainly teaches you a lot about boundaries.
You’re not romantic partners and you’re neither friends with benefits but you’re on the other spectrum of relationships.
You’re platonic friends which means that you have to control yourself and set some boundaries, so that you don’t cross them and ruin what you have built so far.
Now, these rules vary from friendship to friendship but they all teach you a lesson on the importance of boundaries.
Some platonic friends are okay with seeing each other naked (in a non-sexual way of course), while others nourish strict privacy.
And that’s totally okay. As long as you both agree on it, there’s nothing to worry about.
Setting boundaries and respecting them is a sign of mature thinking and it’s the most important thing when it comes to maintaining a healthy platonic friendship.
It means that you’re both aware of the fact that what you have might turn into something more but you’re still willing to respect the boundaries because you have a deep appreciation and respect for your platonic relationship.
And it takes a real man/woman to do that.
See also: The Ultimate Relationship Pros And Cons List That Works
The Potential Cons Of A Platonic Friendship
As with everything else in life, a platonic friendship also has some potential cons that you might face at some point.
I intentionally added ‘potential’ because it means that these cons are not determined or bound to happen but there’s a chance that you and your platonic friend might experience one or a few of them:
1. You might develop feelings
Some friendships never reach a point where two people want more from each other.
They’re perfectly happy with being ‘just friends’ and they can’t think of being in any type of romantic relationship with their friend.
But in some cases, over time, a platonic relationship may turn into a romantic relationship.
Some people enter a platonic friendship with already developed feelings for their platonic friend and hope that this might gradually change, so they don’t do anything about it.
Or they develop feelings later on while being in a platonic relationship.
The reason why this happens is that it’s easy to develop romantic feelings for your best friend who is of the opposite sex.
Being best friends is one of the stages of every healthy romantic relationship, so there’s a thin line between a platonic friendship and romantic relationship and there are high chances that things might change its course toward the romantic zone.
If that happens, the best thing to do is give each other some space and time and talk about it to see if you’re both on the same page.
Developing feelings for your platonic friend can turn into a seriously complicated situation because cutting contact with them for the sake of withdrawing from romantic feelings would mean losing your best friend as well.
It’s hard to make a wise decision in such a situation but eventually you’ll have to choose between the two!
2. Everyone thinks you’re a couple
I don’t think there’s anything more annoying in the whole world than the assumption that two individuals of the opposite sex must be a couple if they’re constantly spending time together and enjoying it.
It happened to me multiple times.
I would spend lots of my time with my platonic friend riding bikes, going for drinks, enjoying long walks, etc. and the next day or in a few days, some people would ask me whether we were together.
It’s really annoying having to explain to everyone that you’re not a couple but he’s your best friend and that’s the only reason why you spend so much time together.
So, if you ever find yourself in a platonic friendship, you need to be aware of the possibility that other people will think of you as a legit couple.
However, as always, you shouldn’t give a damn about what other people say! Why?
Because no matter what you say or do, people will always talk and that doesn’t mean you should worry about it.
Just focus on enjoying every moment with your friend and nourishing your platonic relationship and you’ll be just fine!
3. There’s a possibility of jealousy
The possibility of jealousy in platonic friendships is really high but mostly if one of you already has a partner and especially if that partner has trust issues.
Having a platonic friend means spending lots of time with them and keeping them updated on every aspect of your life (including your relationship) and that’s why some partners might become slightly jealous of it.
Not every single one of us understands the concept of platonic relationship and that’s why your partner might need some time to accept all that and to understand that there’s no need for them to be jealous of your platonic friend.
And if your partner still doesn’t accept it, then you might have a serious problem.
Jealousy is one of the biggest destroyers of a romantic relationship and it’s hard to exterminate it once it becomes a part of your daily life.
All this might get you into a situation where you’ll have to choose between your platonic friend and your boyfriend/girlfriend and when that happens, it’s really hard to stay sane and to know exactly what to do.
See also: 9 Ways Jealousy Destroys Your Relationship
4. Girls’/boys’ nights will become much less frequent
Having a platonic friend means being aware of the fact that your girls’ or boys’ nights might become much less frequent because inviting your best friend of the opposite sex on an exclusive girls’ or boys’ night simply doesn’t work.
So, this means spending more of your time with your platonic best friend alone or having to choose between the two.
The rest of your friends might support and love your platonic friend like their own but this doesn’t change the fact that they’re still of the opposite sex, so it’s awkward to invite them on nights that are specifically reserved for girls or guys only.
And if you avoid attending those events just because you don’t want your best friend to feel isolated or alone, the rest of your friends might get offended by it.
All in all, everything leads to one conclusion and that is: girls’ and boys’ nights will definitely become much less frequent (but you can always compensate for this or compromise)!
5. They’ll nitpick about every single person you’re interested in
When your best friend is someone of the opposite sex, your love life is bound to be influenced by them. Why?
Because they know how their species function and they’ll see their every move as a potential threat or flaw.
Because they want the best for you!
And that’s why they’ll nitpick about literally every single person you’re interested in.
They won’t do so because they want to ruin your chances of entering into a romantic relationship but because they think that you deserve perfection.
So, there might be some awkward situations where your platonic friend picks on something about your potential romantic partner and as a consequence, it drives you mad.
But you shouldn’t let that happen.
You should always keep in mind that they’re doing it because they love you a lot and they want to make sure that you’re happy and with someone who is worthy of being with you!
6. Your single friends will ask you to introduce them to your best friend
If you (like myself) hate being a middleman or in a situation where your best friend becomes romantically interested in your other friend , which may ruin the possibility of being friends altogether, then you have to be aware of this.
You have to keep in mind that your single friends will probably ask you to introduce them to your platonic friend.
Sometimes it’s hard to share your best friend with your other single friends because you know that there’s a chance they’ll become more than just friends.
And that would mean partially losing your best friend and the ability to hang out alone with them.
That would mean sharing your best friend as a potential romantic partner to your single friends when all you want is for you all to relax and just have fun as friends without this notion of a potential romance constantly hovering above your head.
10 Secrets To Making A Platonic Friendship Work
Since we’re done with all the pros and cons of a platonic friendship, it’s time to see how to make it work!
Remember that movie When Harry Met Sally which suggested that women and men can never be friends no matter what and that in the end, romantic feelings and an attraction for the opposite sex will prevail?
While this might be true in some cases, it still shouldn’t be the norm or something of the sort.
Every platonic friendship is unique and it has an equal potential for success if you know all the tips and tricks on how to make it work.
To help you with that, here are some rules and secrets that will help you maintain your platonic friendship like a boss (and that will prove the above hypothesis wrong)!
1. Be conscious of what you say and do
The number one thing you need to pay attention to when it comes to platonic friendships is your own choice of words and actions.
You need to be aware of everything you say or do because if misinterpreted, it can ruin your friendship in the long run. How?
Your platonic friend might start thinking that you want more from them and because of that, they might develop feelings for you over time without you even knowing it.
Also, if one of you has or both of you already have a partner, you would want to respect that and therefore, be conscious of your words and actions.
The best way to know whether you’re crossing boundaries with your platonic friend is to ask yourself this question: “Would I act this way if my partner were here?”
If your answer is yes, then you know you’re not overdoing it or doing anything critical that might give them false hope and ruin your friendship or a relationship.
However, if your answer is no, then you might want to press the pause button for a moment and be more careful in future.
Understand that it’s so easy to cross the line when it comes to this kind of friendship and that’s why you need to be especially cautious.
2. Establish and maintain healthy boundaries
Every platonic friendship needs to have boundaries because it’s the essence of maintaining such a friendship.
It’s one of the ground rules of making it work and that’s why you should pay special attention to establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries within your platonic friendship.
However, you shouldn’t do it on your own.
Instead, you should communicate with your friend about it and come to a mutual agreement.
For example, if you both agree that you’re not comfortable with seeing each other naked (even in a non-sexual form), then you should respect that.
Or if you’re not feeling comfortable with certain topics, you should ban them.
Apply the same rule to any other thing that might be critical for you or influence your friendship in one way or another.
Once you’re both familiar with all the things you approve of doing and the things you don’t approve of, it will be easier to maintain a healthy balance without being scared that things will go in a romantic direction.
Once you define all this, you decrease the chances of your friendship turning into something more or harming your relationship with your partner.
See also: Managing Expectations In Your Relationship
3. Don’t compare your friend to your partner
One thing’s for sure—we all love to compare people, things and whatnot because it’s in our blood to always seek perfection and comparison is one way of doing so.
But comparing your platonic friend to your partner is a double-edged sword and nothing good will come of it.
If you do this, your mind will turn into a roller coaster because you might start overidealizing your friend and wanting your partner to have those qualities.
Summarized, you might get the urge to change your partner into a person who is similar to your friend.
And you should never do this. Why? Because these are two separate individuals with their own unique perspectives and flaws and because perfection doesn’t exist.
Also, if you have a problem with something regarding your partner, you need to know that the only person who can change it is themselves.
So, instead of comparing them and thinking that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, accept things as they are and give your partner some time and space to improve if needed.
4. Don’t (constantly) complain about your partner to them
Constantly complaining about your partner is a sure-fire way to ruin your platonic friendship in record time. But don’t get me wrong.
Occasionally complaining about certain things about your partner and saying a word or two about them is totally okay but doing it every time you see each other is not okay.
There’s not a chance that a friendship can survive like this.
The basis of every friendship should be healthy communication and not toxic complaining about each other’s partners.
Also, this says a lot about your relationship with your partner as well.
It means that you’re evidently not happy but you’re not doing anything about it except complaining about it to your friend.
So, instead of only talking about it to your friend, you should talk about it to your partner and try to find a solution for everything that is bothering you.
5. Don’t do things that are ‘date-like’
Doing date-like things is another way of ruining your platonic friendship, so beware of that one!
Avoid doing things that are date-like, like having your friend cook you dinner at their place or even going for dinner together if the setting is kind of romantic.
Why? Because these things scream passion, cuddling, romantic bonding and you know the rest.
And if you want to preserve your friendship, you should never let yourself get into a situation where you’ll have to think about your next move.
You don’t want the pressure to become too much, forcing you to do things you normally wouldn’t.
And dinner at your friend’s place, a few glasses of wine and a romantic movie is a perfect recipe for that.
So, this one should be definitely added to the list of your boundaries, so that neither one of you succumbs to temptation to invite each other on a potential date.
6. Avoid sexual connotations and conversations
Another way to ruin your platonic friendship is by implementing too many sexual connotations into your conversations or choosing topics that are sexually oriented.
While you’re probably used to doing it with your friends of the same sex, you should keep in mind that your platonic friendship is a different thing.
Everything you say or do can reflect on their conscience and influence them to imagine things they normally wouldn’t.
So, what you should do is avoid any sexual connotations if possible during conversations and focus on regular topics that aren’t solely sexual.
This will protect you from entering that awkward zone where you don’t know what to say next because you feel too embarrassed about what you just said in front of your friend.
Also, you don’t want them to get the wrong idea of something or to think that you’re implying something on purpose.
7. Accept the possibility of sexual tension
Many platonic friends get confused about this one but I’ll try to explain it to you, so that you don’t make the mistake of acting impulsively.
Given that your platonic friend is of the opposite sex, there’s a chance that you’ll feel sexual tension from time to time but this is nothing that you should worry about.
It’s natural and it’s bound to happen, especially when you’re spending lots of time together chilling, laughing and enjoying different activities.
So, when that happens, what you need to do is just accept the fact that there’s sexual tension in the air, but you should never act upon it.
Just focus on other things and the tension will vanish sooner than you think!
See also: Sex With Friends? The 10 Biggest Secrets No One Will Tell You
8. Communicate with your partner
Since you’ll be spending lots of your time with your platonic friend, your partner (if you have one) might start feeling neglected and that’s why you should always make sure not to take them for granted.
Communicate with your partner, make them feel special from time to time and explain to them that they’re still your number one priority.
Don’t make them feel like they have to fight for your attention or your time.
Explain to them that your friendship means a lot to you but your relationship means even more to you.
Don’t neglect either one of them. Try to establish a healthy balance between the two!
9. Don’t get too casual
Getting too casual in other friendships is not a big deal but you might want to avoid doing so in a platonic friendship.
Watching movies curled up next to each other may lead to cuddling, cuddling may lead to something more and there you have it—an endless circle of unnecessary complications.
So, play it safe! Don’t get too casual because if you do, you might regret it big time (of course, that’s if you’re determined to nourish your platonic friendship and make things work).
10. Avoid going on vacation together
Another variation of getting too casual is going on vacation together. But not just any type of vacation.
A weekend getaway, road trips and similar are totally okay but those long vacations that include sharing a room or similar is something totally different.
Just think about it. You and your platonic friend sleeping in the same hotel room, sharing everything and avoiding bumping into each other naked is surely a recipe for developing something more meaningful in a romantic or strictly sexual way.
Just like not doing things that are date-like, this one should also be on the list of your boundaries, so that you memorize it very well!
Be honest with yourself!
One of the most important rules of all is being honest with yourself!
If you decide to enter into a platonic friendship, you need to make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons because if there are any kind of romantic feelings involved, your friendship might end sooner than it even started.
The secret to establishing and maintaining a successful platonic friendship is in being genuine and honest with both yourself and your potential friend.
After all, honesty is the basis of every healthy relationship, so this one should be no exception!
See also: The Top 15 Signs You’re In A Queerplatonic Relationship