The word platonic comes from the name Plato (yes, the philosopher), who left an indelible mark in history with his thoughts and perspectives on many things in life, including love. He once said that: 

“Neither family, nor privilege, nor wealth, nor anything but love can light that beacon which a man must steer by when he sets out to live a better life.” 

His point was simple: love is the most powerful force there is. He believed that this emotion should guide us in life and help us reach our ultimate destination.

Most people I have met would gladly agree with this.

But there are many kinds of love. For instance, we have parental love, romantic love, and even love between friends.

We also have platonic love.

So, What Exactly Is Platonic Love?

Platonic love exists in platonic relationships. The most defining attribute of this love is the lack of carnal interest between the partners.

According to Plato, this kind of love makes us better and inspires us to achieve more in life.

But today, when people talk about platonic love, they mean the bond between friends.

However, we all know that many friendships in existence have a party who would be interested in “something more.” Does that make the friendship any less platonic?

To help clear the air, here are a few things you should know about platonic love.

Features Of Platonic Love

1. Platonic Relationships Have No Expectations

Romantic relationships have lots of expectations. After all, they involve planning a life together. 

You are also committing yourself to someone, and that means making sacrifices that have to be acknowledged in one way or another.

Platonic relationships allow those involved a lot more freedom.

The only thing holding you together is the friendship, not finances, children, family ties, or common goals in life.

Unless you are past such expectations, then you don’t truly enjoy a platonic relationship.

2. You Can Be Completely Honest

Romantic relationships have a lot at stake. And so, a few white lies here and there are often used by the partners to protect the relationship.

We say our partner makes us happy even though we are mad at them over something they did to us because we hope things will be better. 

In a platonic relationship, there is nothing much to protect. So, lies are unnecessary, and even if you hurt each other and part ways, you know you can always get back together.

3. The Boundaries Are Respected

In particular, you know that the relationship could never be romantic. More importantly, you are both okay with that and nobody feels like the relationship is giving them less than they expected.

That’s not to say there was never romantic interest between the partners at some point. No, the important thing is that even if such an agenda existed, it was put aside and the relationship became purely platonic.

4. Platonic Love Is Selfless

Ideally, romantic love should be unconditional. But on some level, it is selfish because people get into romantic relationships to enhance their lives with the hope their partner enjoys the same benefit.

But platonic love is very selfless. There are no hidden agendas, and if there are, then what you have is not true friendship.

In platonic love, you are free to let your partner be the best they can be because the survival of the relationship is not the highest priority as with romantic love.

If the person no longer wants to spend time with you, you don’t act up.

Your friend can do whatever makes them happy, even if it does not make you happy. That’s selflessness.

How Can Platonic Love Exist In Modern Society?

In today’s society, it is usually a little hard convincing people that you are friends with someone of the opposite gender and there’s nothing else going on.

But just because people cannot imagine how such friendship exists does not mean it can’t.

There are people who started off as romantic partners and ended up as platonic friends. But for this relationship to exist, there are some things you need to understand first.

How To Make Platonic Relationships Work

1. Understand The True Nature Of A Platonic Friendship

If you want to be friends with nothing more, make sure everyone knows this and is on board.

From there, if one partner tries to change, then you will be under no obligation to play along fearing that you might hurt their feelings.

You have to understand the nature of every relationship you get into. Relationships are very different.

2. Consider The Benefits Of Keeping Your Relationship Platonic

It would be a complete lie to force yourselves into a platonic relationship when you know you would both prefer a romantic relationship.

So, figure out what you really want. There is no pressure to be anything you are not just to keep up appearances.

3. Be Honest About Any Sexual Tension Between You

Without intending to, you can find yourself in a situation where some romantic tension exists between you and your platonic friend.

If the relationship is to survive, address this issue first. Without dealing with this issue, chances are that you will get romantically involved with each other.

4. Forget About Everyone Else

Many relationships come tumbling down because the partners paid too much attention to what other people had to say about them.

Even in regular relationships, letting too many people have a say in your friendship can ruin it. Right from the start, understand that this relationship comprises two people.

5. Everyone Should Know What They Want

You should sit down as adults and make sure you can go on as platonic friends. That means you have to stop playing games with each other, be honest about your feelings, and address all relationship concerns.

Also, you need to be ready for the possibility that the relationship might not work.

6. Control Your Emotions

You cannot afford to get jealous whenever your friend finds a promising romantic prospect. Such outbursts will ruin the relationship quickly.

Obviously, you can give your friend some guidance and try to steer them off the wrong path if that’s what’s happening. But you cannot let your own feelings interfere with other relationships they are trying to have.

7. Avoid Some Forms Of Touching And Sexual Conversations

You can greet and hug each other,  but if you touch each other in sexual ways, feelings might arise that would make the relationship sexual.

Similarly, having discussions on sexual matters, especially when together, can overstretch the boundaries of this relationship and cause its collapse.

Platonic love is complicated for many people to understand, but it exists. 

In this kind of relationship, romantic sentiments are pushed aside. Instead, two partners of the opposite sex pursue a deep and enriching friendship bound by love without expectations or conditions.