It’s no secret that healthy, romantic relationships are incredibly beneficial for our overall well-being—but what about platonic ones? Is one type of relationship better than the other? Not quite…
It turns out, platonic and romantic relationships are equally important!
Let’s break down the difference between the two: a romantic relationship is a close relationzship 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.
That said, it’s definitely possible 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 are 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 damage your friendship 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! Even if they’re not interested in being romantic, there are plenty of health and social benefits that come from a platonic relationship. Here are four of the biggest ones:
Help With Emotional Development
Adult platonic relationships help foster emotional development, much like how kids develop problem-solving, empathy, and listening skills through social interactions. Through platonic relationships, you learn how to navigate social situations and develop the emotions needed for healthy romantic relationships.
Act as a Support Network
Platonic relationships can help you get through anything life throws your way. Whether you want to celebrate exciting news or vent during a rough time, your friends are the perfect support network. It’s also helpful to have trusted people to turn outside of your romantic relationships.
Work as a Sounding Board
It’s healthy to have people we trust that can 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 “the one,” platonic relationships are likely the longest relationships you’ll ever have. Research actually shows that the social support you get from platonic relationships can 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!