Platonic Relationships...Do They Really Exist?
People love to the throw around the “we’re just friends” line, but are you really just friends? Movies like “Brown Sugar,” don’t lean in favor of genuinely platonic relationships between men and women actually existing. One or both people seem to, more than likely, end up feeling some type of way. With that being said, how do boundaries get crossed? Can men and women be just friends? Are there ways to keep things strictly platonic? Let’s talk about it.
It is quite possible for two individuals to find one another attractive, and just be friends, right? Sure, it is. Some people can find others attractive, and not want a thing from them. They can admire, and keep it moving. Not the case for most. Physical attraction definitely sets the stage for something more to happen. The way that a person looks is usually one of the first things that most people are drawn to, especially men. It doesn’t take much to cross the line if physical attraction is present.
Although physical attraction plays a major role in two individuals coming together romantically, sometimes, that isn’t even needed. For example, I have been in romantic relationships and/or entertained men that I had absolutely NO physical attraction to. There was something in their conversation, personality, or some character trait that I liked that got them in the door. It is no different with friendships. Even if physical attraction isn’t present, there is some thing or things that you like about the person. Otherwise, you wouldn’t even be friends in the first place.
Let’s recap really quickly. If we’re physically attracted to a friend, something more may happen; and even if we aren’t physically attracted to a friend, something more could possibly happen. Sounds like a Catch 22 situation, huh? Well, whether or not men and women can truly maintain a platonic friendship and keep it that way has more to do with underlying intent/desire, having a mutual understanding, and possessing self-control.
Underlying intent or desire refers to what you’re really expecting out of this relationship or what you would like to see happen between you and the other person. When you think about this person, do you think about the common interest that you share, how you support each other, and how you are sounding boards for one another? If that is the extent of how you think about that person and view the relationship, it creates a situation for genuinely being “just friends.” On the flip side, if you find yourself thinking of this person in a romantic way (i.e. wanting to date) or even having more shallow thoughts of recruiting them to be a Sealy Posturepedic mattress tester with you, then being just friends isn’t your intent. In a lot of instances, one or both parties have the latter thoughts, which 9 times out of 10 will eventually surface, disrupting the platonic relationship.
Hypothetically, you and your friend find each other attractive, however it is already mutually understood that you are just friends. Let’s also say that they have a significant other. One day, you find yourself temporarily wanting more, but you know that attempting anything could possibly ruin the friendship, as well as your friend’s romantic relationship. At that point, practicing self-control is imperative. We live in the generation of self-centered satisfaction and instant gratification, which doesn’t add to the success rate of keeping things “friendly.” You can’t move on impulse and temporary emotions when wanting to maintain platonic relationships.
All in all, the right conditions have to be in place for platonic relationships to work and to last long-term. Platonic relationships can and do exist, but I believe that they are few and far between. It is up to those involved to set boundaries, and be on one accord…which they rarely are. So again, are y’all really JUST friends?