Why Platonic Relationships Don’t Work

I have absolutely no problem with having friends of the opposite sex. Actually, personally I have several male friends. Enter the word platonic and I smell trouble.

According to dictionary.com , a platonic friendship/platonic love is “an intimate companionship or relationship, especially between two persons of the opposite sex, that is characterized by the absence of sexual involvement…”

I do not believe in platonic friendships. I will tell you why.

If I may quote an article I read, “a platonic friend is someone you are having an emotional relationship with.” A platonic friend is someone you call when you ‘just want to talk’, or are having a bad day…or when you are having a conflict in your relationship. See, no one ‘understands you’ more than your platonic friend.

Now, right there is where it gets complicated.

Men are wired differently from women. As a woman, you can tell your ‘girlfriend’ your problems and they will just listen or cry with you..or offer advice, or even pray for/with you! Tell a man you are having a problem and he will want to SOLVE it. It’s in their blood I guess. When you tell a man intimate details regarding what problems you are having with your spouse/boyfriend ,  it arouses his need as a man to protect(you) and provide(you with what you are lacking). From there, it gets dangerous.

The same can be said of women. So apparently, your platonic friend is having this really nasty girlfriend who is driving him nuts? He comes to you and you are his shoulder to lean on. As a woman, this arouses your need to comfort him. A seemingly harmless hug clouded with the ‘we are just friends’ kind of thinking… and soon the hug will turn into something else.

Platonic friends, are NOT ‘just friends’.

With time a platonic friendship turns from emotional to physical…and nothing ends a platonic relationship faster than sex. Or  maybe it is platonic relationships that develop into what they call ‘friends with benefits’? In my view, the two reasons why a platonic friendship would work is if one of the friends is gay , or if the two of them are at least 100 years old. 🙂

I don’t know about you, but that’s just how I feel about platonic friendships. Over to you!

36 comments for “Why Platonic Relationships Don’t Work

  1. March 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Hhhhhmmmmmmm food for thought, I usually thought it could work or its because the opportunity never happened? I still believe we could be platonic friends with opposite sex through the refrain should be highly exercised… No?

    • March 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      @Mackel9 Why tempt yourself?

  2. March 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    He he, this could be true for a majority of people but it is not always true. I can confidently say I have been in a platonic relationship with two women for the last 14 years and I am not gay neither am I 100yrs old (at leat 30s approaching 40 is not close to 100). I think most of the time the challenge would be with their boyfriends or your girlfriends who will always believe that there could be something going on between the two of you as there are people who believe that you cannot just be frieds — but then I tell myself that you are in with the wrong type of people then…

    • March 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      @Otienohongo I will not question THEIR sexual orientation coz that’ll be crossing the line
      Wait, I just did? 🙂
      Either way, that’s interesting. Platonic friends sometimes know you more than your spouse does.. Are you sure this is the kind of relationship you have with these ladies?
      Maybe they are friends but not platonic friends?

      • March 28, 2011 at 9:46 am

        He he he! Anyway, 14 yrs is a long time – and I can say that I think I know them more than their spouses probably do but on the other hand, people also grow. I am slightly different from how I was 2 yrs ago because I have had different experiences. At the end of the day when you are married for about 7yrs, there are aspects of marriage that develop other traits in you that were previously never exposed. So maybe a pertinent questions then is do platonic relationships end when you get hitched?

  3. Anonymous
    March 23, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    i wouldn’t know. I can’t get an ordinary boy girl relationship going let alone a platonic one 🙂   http://www.wambuiwanjuki.blogspot.com

  4. Anonymous
    March 24, 2011 at 10:08 am

    am wit you in this my dear,its just last weekend that i ended a platonic relationship after realising that this guy wants to take control of me day by day,he’s all over me.

  5. Wembe Wa Mugumo Tree
    March 24, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I believe Platonic friendships can work!
    As the saying goes “its all in the mind” the problem lies with age and experience. young children are able to be platonic friends until their parents gently “warn” them about being too close to that boy or girl.
    On the other hand i’m aware that our bodies are biological and attraction between two people is possible even without coercing. in such a case i think its wise to encourage our young people to learn how to keep company in numbers so that platonic friendship is not reduced to one on one.
    This may also help them later on in life when it comes to making a decision over a life partner as they will have a wider base to chose from

  6. March 24, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    You don’t like the label Platonic. You do however concede that a guy and a gal can be friends who choose not to screw copulate. It gets complicated (at times annoying) when a gal insists on defining the relationship. She should leave that to Dr. Frued Phil.


  7. March 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I agree with you on this one ! 🙂

  8. S
    March 27, 2011 at 5:19 am

    I don’t think people set out to have a particular kind of friendship. Usually friendships evolve and rarely do we take the time to categorize the people in our lives unless prompted by some event. Most people may not even realize how close or not they are to their friends. I think it’s up to the individuals involved to define the limits of their friendship. If one feels the other is too close for comfort, then it’s time to step back.

  9. March 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    I disagree with you on this one and will second Otieno. Male-female friendships do work. My best bud is a guy (straight), and we’ve  been best friends for 16 years. My other best bud is also a straight guy and we’ve been pals for 7 years now. And though we are so close; we finish each others sentences, the idea of kissing them is icky. It would be like kissing a big brother.
    I think you’re looking at it all wrong. You’re assuming that you’ll always be sexually attracted to your male friends. And if your male pals hit on you when you’re strictly supposed to be pals, then they are approaching it all wrong or you’re hanging out with the wrong guys.

    • March 29, 2011 at 8:40 am

      @Nyambura I have male friends, and I feel you when you say, they become like your brothers. I remember a guy in college who used to call me “my sister”. Even to date , I have friends like that. What I am opinionated against is going to a person of the opposite sex when you need a shoulder to cry on, pouring your heart out to them and all….

      If there is anything I was hoping to bring out when I published this post (which is by the way, no inspired by my own life experiences) , is that there is a difference between a platonic friend and a friend.(…and now, a best friend.) I wonder if a best friend of the opposite sex is synonymous with a platonic friend?

      • March 29, 2011 at 10:43 am

        Hmmm…i don’t think i implied it was based on your life experiences, hence the reason i used assume and ifs in my argument. My apologies if that is how it came off.
        Here’s the thing, maybe we should first off get clear on who a friend is regardless of gender (coz if i can’t go to a friend to unburden when conflicted or to brainstorm, because it will feel uncomfortable then that is no friend and maybe i should self reflect on why i feel ‘uncomfortable)
        This is my definition of Platonic: “Transcending physical desire & tending toward the purely spiritual or ideal…”
        PS: i think adding platonic to anything is just complicating experiences that are best enjoyed when kept simple. We agree to disagree yes?

  10. March 29, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Nyambura, you want to tell us that never once has he or you tried to make it something more? I think you are not telling us everything!

    • March 29, 2011 at 11:43 am

      @ Wambui 🙂 the 02 gentlemen i mentioned above never have. Not even implied it when drunk. I guess they just don’t ‘feel’ me that way either or they simply understand that trying to get into my pants will do more harm than good (and yes, guys can be smart like that)…
      that is not to say I’ve never had a male pal try to ask for something more. When that happens, i tell them I’m not into them like that and never will. Some take it nicely & it’s by-gones, some put distance depending on which option is more comfy for them. My point is, I keep male friendships simple. Yes, i turn to them for a lot of support and they know me in ways most people don’t  but at the end of the day, they still can’t give me that warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy that i get when my partner/companion walks into a room. And they KNOW that.  The day, that changes, then i press a pause button and do some soul searching. Until then, life is good.

  11. Kellie
    March 31, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I agree with you and Otieno. My best friend (Though I don’t believe in that label) is a guy. We talk daily etc, but I NEVER go crying on his shoulder about relationship manenos, I have a girlfriend for that, because as you say it gets complicated. He will hate to see me hurt, he will try measure up where he feels the boyfriend maybe has failed and we’re in trouble.
    That said, there are platonic friendships and they do work.

  12. March 31, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    on point !! my friends call me crazy but i stay away from the fire as i can,

    thanks for sharing this

  13. April 1, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Well, I agree with you to some extent. My closest pal as you may have noticed is a guy. I’m very comfortable in the company of dudes rather than with girls. Always have. Sometimes platonic relationships can go so wrong when one develops feelings for the other. I’ve been in such a situation once>>>> http://kbaab.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/breaking-away/ ]
    So I took the high road and bounced right into my current one. What to say? I’m wiser now…I’ve learnt to keep my boundaries and all that hoping that he is doing the same! 🙂

  14. Jeremiah
    April 1, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Been thinking of this for a while, but never quite thot of it like that. I couldnt agree more

  15. Anonymous
    April 4, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    platonic friendships works if the objective of the commitment is coincidental on both parts, enter a difference in the attitude of one party and the friendship parameter alters, usually to the worst.

  16. Anonymous
    April 13, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Hey, i beg to differ on this one Mrs.Mwiti. I strongly believe that platonic friendships work just as long as you draw clear lines which are not to be crossed under any circumstances. I have been in platonic relationships with enough men which up till now they still work.I find it easier to hang out with male buddies than it is to hang out with female buddies. There are a couple of instances where the men get their wires crossed and think they are in love lol..but the issues are ironed out hapo na hapo and life goes on. Just my opinion though

  17. myldak
    June 3, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I think you got that right mrsmwiti. You hit the nail on its head.Platonic relationships are mental and emotional relationships. I hear guys right here that you draw the line and i just want to know just how do you draw the line when everything happens so fast that you dont have the capacity to even think about it? Just where do we draw the line? I am currently invoved in a platonic relationship which is not platonic and i think both of us know that its more than just meet the eyes. We are attached to each other and after i read this post three days ago i have began pulling out as fast as i could. I realised tha i am so attachhed to this dude that i cant sleep without seeing him and i think the script reads the same on the other side too. It dangerous and ity began as a honest true friendship. Dont get me twisted, we all have spouses but the current in this side is much higher. I think when you are used to someone of the opposite sex so much you begin to get emotionally attached to them. I am trying to get out. Lets hope i leave with both feet and before its too late. This is the gentliest man i ever met and i dnt know how i will make it through without him as my “friend” But i shall try. Thanks for the eye opener. No wonder the girlfriend hated me so much. Maybe she could  see that we are more than just friends. Lack of sex doesnt mean that you are not involved with someone………..

  18. Anonymous
    June 3, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Where are the men? It seems to me that mainly/only women are here defending platonic relationships. Is is possible that the men who are considered paltoic in this case do not consider themselves platonic/want more but too scared to say it coz they’ll get dumped? 🙂

  19. August 14, 2011 at 4:36 am

    i’ve dated a guy whose life was sprinkled with platonic friends. There was this particular platonic friend who hated my existence in his life from here to timbuktu! I never understood why this “friend” disliked me so vehemently. My instincts kicked in later on and i started noticing how clingy that lady was with the guy to the point where he would lie about his whereabouts when he was with me and she happened to call.
    N’way, on the flip side of things, now that im a Mrs. i realise platonic rships are grey areas, margins of errors, fertile ground for mischief…you get the drift here. As much as pple may say they swear such rships work, one or both parties will drift and find themselves so attached to their “friend” more than their spouse ie for those married folk who maintain these rships. marriages and serious rships do change the order of things in platonic rships or rather, they should. That person you hang out with constantly will have to be the person your married to or seriously dating. In order of priority… commited rship 1st, platonic rship 2nd. Not many platonic rships survive this shift of priority and they start waning. This is natural and doesn’t mean you were friends. These are the real platonic rships coz they naturally respect the flow of things… the other which starts causing friction and brings heavy resistance to the flow of things, that’s the one which mosied on to the grey area called “we’re friends and secret lovers zone” when you’re married, your spouse takes priority, if they are uncomfortable, it should be easy for you to put the platonic peeps in the back burner, right???
    All am saying is… juggling platonic and a serious rship is a true art that many cant execute! 

  20. January 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Very insightful post I must say. Platonic relationships do not work. Period. Especially not when you have a serious committed relationship. I am yet to meet someone, male or female who is comfortable getting the attention ‘leftovers’. Everyone wants to be at the top of the list. Reminds me of a quote I once heard( I forget the title of the movie) If you’re not the top dog, your face will always be in some other dog’s butt(Refer to dog sleds.) So in my opinion, its better to cut the ties before shit hits the fan,…before platonic turns into romantic.

  21. Jo
    May 31, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    one thing i know for certain is no one ever thinks, ‘mmh, that’s a lovely member of the opposite sex. Let me walk over to her/him and make them a platonic friend..’. You settle for a platonic relationship after your initial designs have failed.

    • jyoki
      January 8, 2013 at 10:43 am

       i totally agree,and its on a embarrassing note,im friends with a guy, actually best friends only because his original intentions were not met!

  22. kim
    August 4, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I’m wondering if anyone can help me, 6weeks ago i started to pull out of a very close friends with benefits relationship with someone for the last five years, i had been trying to stop the benefits yet we just couldnt, id been his support during his depression after losing his dad suddenly, he came to me as a friend yet he always wanted more, we got on so well, its basically been like a relationship that I was denying to all and sundry as there was something just not right, but everyone could see it was more, i just wasnt sure of my feelings and instead of trying i would say ‘this needs to stop you know that?’ he was in love with me and i was pretty much addicted to the relationship i think. Except i constantly felt like I ‘needed a break’ from him all the time, stifled even. 6 weeks ago his flatmate(whom he’s known since child hood) confessed she had feelings for him and he started considering seeing her, i was more than upset but told him he needed to try to see if it worked (convinced that it wouldnt and that id maybe date someone and realise he was actually for me after all) I told him give it a while and if he genuinely didnt want it with her then end it but not cause of his feelings for me,(meanwhile i felt like id lost my sould mate and sunk into the lowest heartbreak ever) so he carried on with this rebound, we met and had sex twice during the first 2 weeks he was with her, both our faults although he was intiating it and i protested against it but STILL did it :-(, i found out last week that he will not longer try it on with me as she’s pregnant (5weeks in) and he’s fallen for her . It’s happened so quickly for them and I’m having difficulty with it all, i dont have my companion anymore, its too hard for me and i miss him, i was desperate to be in love with him the same as he for me and we’d have been happy together! i can’t accept my lack of feelings for him and think its going to be nigh on impossible for us to be ‘normal ‘friends? i miss him and everytime i do something/go somewhere i feel his absence, cant offload my day to him either now. He’s got a baby on the way etc and i don’t know him as ‘just a mate’ it was always in between friends and r’ship, yes i do have other friends but they’re not the same?

  23. winnie
    September 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    very tru.platonic r/ships most of the tym end up in sexual involvement.i say this out of personal experience.

  24. Judy
    September 21, 2012 at 11:35 am

    i have a very good male friend and trust me that is all there is so I beg to differ

    • November 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      i understand your point but my experience has been different…
      Ive been a tomboy since i was around 13 and of course, most of my friends were guys (a group of about 5). just for the record i am straight, very straight lol! but i have always preferred being friends with guys as opposed to girls. things changed a bit when we went to varsity cuz most of their girlfriends did not understand our platonic relationship, another issue was because i was -and still am- beautiful and they saw me as a threat. 20yrs later i still prefer guys but there are always issues of jealous partners, including mine.
      of all the friends i have had, i have only ever fallen in love with one and even during that time i did not throw myself at him. fortunately -even though found out 5 yrs later that the feeling was mutual- we did not take our friendship further and we’re still friends.
      there willl be times when one of the friends falls in love and the most important thing is how you deal with it. last week i slept over at a friend’s place. yes, a guy, only because i knew it would not be a problem… but we dozed off on the couch and next thing i knew his hands were all over me. i told him to stop but he persisted with the touches and the unwanted kisses until he saw me crying. i ‘broke up’ with him because honestly, if i really have to be raped it must not be by a guy i consider a friend. i still feel violated and no longer keep in touch with him. feeling his hard manhood against my body was the most disgusting thing in 2012, eeuuwwww.

  25. September 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Very ..Very True ….
    Actually have been there….. The details : You just said it. 

  26. kim
    September 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I agree some people can do it surely. I have been in contact with the person I was close to, I wanted to apologise for the erratic behaviour I’d had towards him dating her, also wished him etc and happy that he’d found the right person blah blah, if he didnt get back to me then i understood. I replied to e that he was fine just very busy and that he was fine with me and would keep in touch. On the 19th i got in contact saying i was thinking of him (dads memorial and baby scan) and got a reply hours later saying thnks and it went well, amazing to see and has hit him big time about being a dad, excited but scared and asked how i was. I had heard nothing back after those brief texts. The gf is away overseas for a few weeks and I’ll be surprised if I hear from him. I obviously have the issues at the moment not him as im sure if he knows me well enough then he maybe is aware of how imaybe feel about it but its not his perogative to think about anything but her, the babyand getting the new place secured for them moving. I don’t think we were ever going to be proper platonic friends either way as he always had intentions of us being a couple. I miss the safety and security of him embraceing me and at times, the knowledge of his true feelings but other times id bat away his feelings. We had everything a good solid couple should have yet i’m a let down for myself at not feeling exactly the same 🙁

  27. Chinmay Changappa
    January 10, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    sorry, u r wrong… platonic relation can exist 🙂

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