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Platonic Friendships: Asexual and Non-Romantic Connections That Deliver Emotional Comfort and Intellectual Fulfillment

What is a platonic friendship? What purpose does it serve? How is it different from a conventional friendship, or from a friends-with-benefits arrangement? If you’re seeking a connection that meets an emotional or intellectual need, without the pressures of sexual expectations or the complications of a romantic relationship, you can find a like-minded individual on DoubleList classifieds.


Platonic Friendship Definition

Platonic friendship is a specific type of friendship involving two people who are attracted to each other but are not romantically involved. The word “platonic” describes a love or friendship that is intimate and affectionate but not sexual. To compare, platonic love is a type of love wherein romantic and/or sexual desire is non-existent or has been suppressed.

Platonic friendships are often used to describe the intimate but non-sexual and non-romantic friendship between opposite sexes. But given today’s evolving gender identities and fluidity, friendship between any gender identities can also be described as platonic. People who are already in a serious relationship can have a platonic friendship with somebody else, and the friendship typically does not pose any threat to this relationship and vice versa.

Boundaries of Platonic Friendships

As with a conventional friendship, a platonic friendship also comes with certain expectations and boundaries. Boundaries within platonic friendships may differ depending on the people involved. The key to maintaining a smooth relationship with your platonic friend is honest communication and an understanding of each other’s needs and boundaries. Respecting boundaries is especially important when one or both of you have a serious partner. Here are some general boundaries that you should keep in mind:

  • Do not involve your platonic friend in whatever problems you may have with your partner. 

  • Don't engage in intimate and sexual physical contact, such as holding hands, kissing, or casual sex. A friends-with-benefits arrangement is different from a platonic friendship, and engaging in casual sex will redefine your relationship. 

  • Your partner always comes first — that is, if you’re in a serious and exclusive relationship. 

  • Don't hide your platonic friendship from your partner, and vice versa.

  • Give each other plenty of space. If necessary, define your boundaries and communicate your expectations. These should be within reason. 

  • Make time for the other relationships you have. A platonic friendship is not an exclusive relationship. You and your platonic friend can explore and enjoy the company of other people. 

If you’re looking for a friend you can be intellectually and/or emotionally intimate with, you can find somebody who will satisfy your need for this type of connection on DoubleList classifieds. An online connection is as good a start as any if you’re seeking comfort and companionship.

What is Platonic Dating?

Platonic dating is simply two platonic friends spending time together. It’s everything dating can be — going to the movies, going out to dinner or for drinks, dancing the night away, having a picnic, etc. — but there is no expectation of romance or sex.

So how is it different from two close friends just hanging out? The difference is with how you define your friendship. Best friends or intimate friends made up of opposite sexes, or same or different gender identities whose sexual preference/s lean toward the friend’s gender identity are often described as having a platonic friendship. When these two friends spend time together for the purpose of just enjoying each other’s company, they engage in platonic dating.

How do you know when a platonic friendship is changing?

It’s normal for a platonic friendship to develop into something more, or change into something less. The change may come from only one person or may be reciprocated. Changes in body language and expectations are sure signs that the friendship is changing. If you or your friend seeks more physical intimacy, shows signs of jealousy, or is more demanding of time and attention, then it may be time for the two of you to discuss where your relationship is heading and what both of you want.

How to keep a friendship platonic

You can keep a friendship platonic and healthy through honest and open communication. Both parties should be honest about their expectations — which should be reasonable — and respect each other’s boundaries. Be clear about what you want out of your platonic friendship and what you can offer the other person. It would help if you can agree on and set aside a regular time to spend together, as well as maintain a routine for phone and/or online communication.

It’s also vital that you don’t engage in casual sex or any other form of sexual contact, which includes holding hands, kissing, fondling, and the like. Threesomes are also excluded. Having a friends-with-benefits arrangement will change the nature of your relationship. Some platonic friends are comfortable enough to sleep in the same bed together without any sexual stirrings. Although having sexual thoughts or romantic ideas about the other is normal, not indulging or expressing them is important if you don’t want to risk ruining your platonic friendship. If you observe any change in intention from your friend, you may have the talk with them, as mentioned in the previous section.

What are the benefits of a platonic friendship?

There are many things you can get out of a platonic friendship and which a romantic relationship may not be able to give you. In a platonic friendship, the closeness comes with fewer demands and expectations and less pressure. You may feel more comfortable to be yourself and express your thoughts and emotions — to be more vulnerable — in a platonic friendship than when you’re in a romantic relationship as there is no or less fear of judgment and getting hurt, and no risk of breaking up or losing the other person.

You can be in a romantic relationship with another person, or even be married, and have your platonic friend as your best friend and soulmate. It’s also possible to have a casual platonic friendship, wherein you just enjoy each other’s company and there’s no sexual element and deep emotional connection in your relationship. If you’re just seeking the comfort of one’s company, somebody who shares your interests, or a person you can connect with emotionally and intellectually and nothing more, you’ll find great opportunities for friendship on DoubleList classifieds.

What if you want your platonic friendship to become something more?

Developing romantic or sexual feelings for a platonic friend is natural. The intimacy you share can easily evolve into something more. If you want more out of your platonic friendship and letting the other person know about your change of heart is important for your peace of mind and the health of your relationship, then you should be honest about your feelings. But it’s also important to remember not to pressure them into reciprocating or doing something.

Sit down and discuss what your new desires might mean to your relationship. How does this development affect them? Will it change how they feel about you? Platonic friendships can be a great starting point and can serve as a solid foundation for a lasting, romantic relationship. But, of course, the desire for more has to be mutual. Keep in mind that there’s always the risk of losing the friendship you have right now. Because honesty and openness are vital elements of your platonic friendship, it’s a risk you might have to take.