Platonic Relationships; Are They Possible?


Amy Espin

Picture this. You have a best friend of the opposite sex, you go everywhere with them, and to your knowledge, you are nothing more than friends. Since you two are close, people can’t help but think there is more than just a friendship. Throughout history this scenario has lead to one of the most controversial questions in the universe: can people of the opposite sex just be friends? Is there an actual friendship where both ends want nothing more than to be companions? Platonic relationships have been a topic of discussion forever.

Over the years, there have been countless studies and discussions debating if an intimate friendship can stay as a friendly bond and lead to nothing more. There is a difference between romantic and platonic love. A study conducted by Philip F. Guinsburg shed light on the fact that platonic and romantic attraction does have an important place in a relationship between two people. However, there is a difference between friendship and romantic interest. In a platonic relationship there is an absence of interest in physical intimacy. 

One of the main pieces of a romantic relationship is physical intimacy. These two differ, just due to sensual and sexual involvement. English teacher, Steven Gavrielatos, says platonic relationships all come down to circumstances and boundaries. 

“It’s perfectly possible for men and women to be friends without any underlying intentions or motives. Of course, this depends upon the person, his or her present circumstances, and his or her intention when entering the platonic relationship,” Gavrielatos said. “While I agree that one cannot always control feelings of love that may emerge, boundaries should always be respected.”

Romantic involvement can affect the situation of attaining a chaste bond. According to the Good Men Project, becoming friends with whom you had a previous relationship can be challenging for some individuals. Ensure that you and that person don’t want anything to do with each other, but to be mutuals after having something amorous. It takes a while for the previous couple to have a good association without past feelings consuming that friendship. Gavrielatos provides insight on this. 

“I think a platonic relationship will still be possible, albeit much more difficult because of the circumstances,” said Gavrielatos.  “If the two people are in the same place emotionally, I think it is certainly possible.” 

On the contrary, a female student who has chosen to remain anonymous believes that platonic relationships are harder to achieve. This is where society tends to view this topic differently. Platonic relationships can be viewed as what they are or otherwise, one side wants more in the relationship.

“Girls can be friends with guys, but guys can’t be friends with girls,” said Anonymous. “Men are the ones who make it into something more; which is what makes it hard for girls to be friends with them.”

A component of a platonic relationship is the clear lack of romance. When the opposite sex are friends, the friendship is frequently questioned. The Thirlby Newsletter elucidated why that is, “From childhood through adolescence, we are conditioned to seek out people of the same gender as friends and those of the opposite gender as potential suitors.” 

If a man and a woman are friends, assumptions are made towards the relationship. It’s either the man wants to be more than friends or he is gay.  Opposite sexes don’t always have to seek more in their platonic relationship, like sex or romance, but assumptions are what makes it difficult for some to believe this. Not every friendship is trying to pursue one another.

If there is such a thing as platonic relationships, what affects the perception of them? We can continue to question if there is a possibility that these relationships even exist. But we can also account for how our age can control our perspective and how we act in these connections. History teacher Samantha Minor contributes her belief that this can be one of the factors that influence how we perceive these relationships. 

“It’s easier for older people to have platonic friendships, but with young adults/teenagers their hormones may impact their judgment,” said Minor.

We are left with the same question we had in the first place, DO platonic relationships really exist? With the constant differing points of view on this topic, there will never be a correct answer to this question. Whether or not the possibility of platonic relationships existing is true or false, do not let that stop you from being friends with anyone you wish to be friends with.