What Is A Platonic Relationship? Meaning, Benefits, & Drawbacks

Photo: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock
a woman hugging her friend

There are many types of relationships that exist, ranging from romance to friendship.

While many people view love as something that can only be experienced while in a romantic relationship, there are also other types of love that a person can experience that are just as important.

There's the love and connection you can have with friends, family, and even people you work with. 

Those bonds are focused on a platonic relationship, which is just as important as any other kind of relationship.

What is a platonic relationship?

RELATED: How To Meet New People: 50 Platonic Pick-Up Lines For Future BFFs

A platonic relationship is shared between two people who share a close bond, but do not have a sexual or romantic relationship. 

The word "platonic" means the absence of romance, meaning you may have a platonic friendship with close friends, a sibling, a coworker or boss, or even a neighbor.

“Having more platonic relationships say a lot about the people who are engaged in such a relationship,” says Keya Murthy, a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Spiritual Life Coach. “Platonic relationships are healthy and are heart-centered. Society could use more of it in it.”

What are the benefits of a platonic relationship?

1. Reduced stress.

Being in a strong platonic relationship allows people to have someone else to go to when they are facing issues in their lives.

Outside of immediate family and romantic partnerships, it can be beneficial to have supportive and healthy platonic friendships as well as another group of people to lower any stress you might be facing.

2. Increased feelings of support.

Having a plethora of love and support in your life can have important physical and mental health benefits.

A platonic support system can help provide the emotional support that you might need. They can listen to any problems you might be having, as well as give you advice where you need it.

3. Improved conversational skills.

Communication skills are always important in any type of relationship, and with the more platonic relationships that you form, the better you can become at learning to voice your feelings.

By learning to have these tough conversations and learning to overcome challenges in your friendships, it can also help you in other aspects of your life.

4. You get a sense of belonging.

Platonic relationships can create a feeling that you belong with a certain group of people. 

Having such strong friendships can even make you feel as if you are spiritually connected with one another, creating a bond that is incredibly powerful and full of love.

RELATED: 18 Ways To Know Whether You're In A Friendship Vs. A Relationship

Are there drawbacks of a platonic relationship?

Even though platonic relationships aren’t supposed to involve romance or sexual feelings, there is still a possibility of the relationship turning into something romantic or sexual.

This can quickly become a problem if the relationship was never meant to go that route, and can even result in the risk of losing the friendship entirely if you break up.

If maintaining a strictly platonic relationship is important, then it will be beneficial to establish boundaries.

1. Don’t engage in physical contact beyond anything that is deemed casual. For example, avoid things like hand-holding, kissing, or a friends with benefits situation.

2. Set a time limit on how much time the two of you spend together, and maybe even incorporate other people so you aren’t hanging out alone.

3. Have consistent respect for each other.

4. Don’t complain or gossip about your partners to each other.

5. Don’t let any issues between the two of you go unresolved without having a healthy discussion first.

Even though platonic relationships differ from romantic relationships, there is still the common denominator of love.

As long as there are clear boundaries, and healthy communication, a platonic relationship can exist without any problems.

RELATED: Why Forced Friendships Aren't Worth Your Time (& How To Avoid Them)

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.