Platonic Relationships: Do They Work?

Isn’t that a question we’ve all asked ourselves at one point or another? Perhaps a better question would be whether or not you want a platonic relationship to work. It seems that most people only fool themselves into believing that that is what they want, when really they want a whole lot more. In the real world though, men and women have to be able to work together and even form friendships without letting the relationship be clouded by sex and lust.

So do platonic relationships work? Sure, if you truly want them to, and if you know how to. It’s completely possible for men and women to be just friends, so long as both people are open and honest, both want strictly friendship and both of them value the relationship as it exists.

Set Rules

Contrary to popular belief, not all rules were made to be broken. While we don’t suggest sitting down and writing these out in blood, there should definitely be some clear rules set for the relationship. If both people know exactly what the limits are and which lines are not to be crossed, it’s much easier to maintain a relaxed, platonic relationship.

Once the rules are set, remember them, and don’t take on a, “We’ll see what happens,” mentality. If you are going to be just friends, you’ve got to view each other as siblings, rather than approaching the relationship as, “Friends first.” The rule has got to be, “Friends only.”

Weigh Out the Benefits

There are so many benefits of a platonic relationship, the first being that they tend to last longer because romance and other relationship drama do not get in the way. If approached correctly and handled with care, platonic relationships can be the friendships that you cherish the most and keep the longest.

Being “just friends” means that you can share your innermost thoughts and feelings, whether they are spiritual, emotional, or even sexual, without worrying about jealousy or judgment. Platonic relationships can blossom into the closest friendship you’ll ever have; meaning you will always have someone to talk to and a shoulder to lean on.

You don’t have to worry about being “right” for the person; friends just accept each other for who they are. You are free to be yourself without worrying about how you look, how you sound, or what they think. When you do away with the romance and sexual tension, it’s much easier to relax, talk, and enjoy.


Trust yourself and the other person. In order for a platonic relationship to work, you have to trust in the decision that you’ve made, and trust each other to uphold it. If you are always wondering if the other person wants more, you are never going to be able to clear the way for a real friendship.

Remember that life is not like your favorite pile of chick flicks; the best friends do not inevitably leave their lovers and find true love with each other. Life is not a movie, and some people really are just meant to be friends. When you start to doubt that, reconsider all the reasons that you made the decision in the first place, and then trust that it was the right choice.

Don’t Worry About What Others Think

Everyone in the world has their own set of opinions, and the vast majority of people choose to make theirs heard loud and clear. People are going to judge and pry, and tease until you want to scream, but as long as both people in the relationship are comfortable and happy, that is all that matters.

Platonic relationships are often destroyed by other people for one of two reasons. Either the pair decide that all of their friends must be right about them being perfect for each other, and against their better judgment, go ahead and give it a try. All that happens is hearts get broken, feelings get hurt, and a beautiful friendship comes to an end. Second, they may just decide that all of the criticism just isn’t worth it and decide to go their separate ways.

If your friendship really means something to you, you’ve got to drown out the noise and do what you feel is best. It’s okay to reassure people that you are just friends, you value each other’s friendship, and there is nothing else between you, but you do not have to justify your friendship to anyone.

Face Reality

Just because you decide that you are going to just be friends, does not mean that any and all sexual tension just disappears. As a man and a woman, you are bound to have feelings for each other, and sexual tension may creep up every once in a while. Realize that this is going to happen, plan for it, and know what you are going to do about it.

You also need to keep in mind the reasons why you decided to be strictly friends. Perhaps it was because one or both of you is married, you have religious differences, timing issues, or distance; whatever the reasons, the reality is that they aren’t going to just disappear one day, and all you will ever be is friends.

Be realistic when you make plans together. Don’t set yourselves up for temptation by deciding that the perfect way to celebrate your promotion is with a fancy dinner followed by drinks. Keep things as casual as possible, and don’t let your senses be inhibited by alcohol. A strictly platonic relationship cannot and will not work if one of you is always hinting to the other that there is something more there.

Of course there is something more; that’s what attracted you to each other in the first place. That added forbidden tension between the two of you may be what gives your relationship that little something extra. While you definitely should not act on any romantic or sexual impulses, the fact that they do exist in the relationship may be what makes it so deep and special.

1 Comment

  1. Really enjoyed your advice on platonic friendships. Very sensible!

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