We’re all familiar with the benefits and happiness we receive from healthy romantic relationships, but what about platonic ones? It turns out, they’re just as important!
Here’s a quick look at the difference between the two: a romantic relationshipis a close relationship with another person that involves deep friendship, physical intimacy, and love, while a platonic relationship is between friends. While platonic relationships can be loving, they are not physically intimate.
Of course, it’s common to have romantic feelings in a platonic relationship. If you’re hoping to turn your friendship into dating (or a friends with benefits situation), there a few things to consider:
- Do you think that your friend is on the same page as you are?
- Have they given you any signs that they are interested in you in more than a platonic way?
- Are you willing to potentially change your friendship dynamic for the worse if romantic feelings aren’t reciprocated?
- Are your romantic feelings long-term and actionable or feelings that seem to be fleeting?
If you’re still interested after asking yourself these questions, then be honest with your friend! Expressing emotions can be tough, but it’s important to be honest about how you feel and find the best way to move forward. (Depending on their response.)
Here’s the good news: even if your friend doesn’t want to be romantic, there are plenty of health and social benefits that come from platonic relationships! Here are a few:
Help With Emotional Development
Much like how kids develop problem-solving, empathy, and listening skills through social interactions at school, adult platonic relationships help with emotional development, too. You learn how to navigate social situations and develop the emotions needed for successful romantic relationships.
Act as a Support Network
Whether you’re celebrating exciting news or going through a tough time, your friends act as a much-needed support network. It’s also good to have someone outside of romantic relationships to turn to. One could argue that having friends by your side during life events is even more important than having a romantic partner be there. (Although both are crucial, of course!)
Work as a Sounding Board
Friends are the perfect sounding board when you need to talk out a thought or idea. It’s healthy to have people we trust to challenge our ideas or offer different opinions and perspectives. It’s also helpful to have a third-party view of any new romantic relationships since being swept up in the beginning stages of love can cause you to miss red flags. (If there are any, of course!)
Until you find your forever love, platonic relationships are likely the longest relationships you’ll ever have. The social support you get from platonic relationships can actually help you live longer! There are many negative health effects of social isolation, and studies have shown that friendships can lead to lower instances of conditions like cardiovascular disease.
Don’t you feel extra lucky to have friends now? Not only are they amazing to be around, supportive, and loyal, but they make you healthier, too!