Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021April 2021May 2021June 2021
News Every Day |

How platonic relationships differ from romantic relationships — and why you need both

two friends hanging out, playing ping pong bumping elbows

Summary List Placement

The word "love" often evokes an image of a happy couple. But, in reality, romantic love is only one type of loving relationship you'll experience throughout your life. 

Yes, there's your bond with a significant other, but there are also connections with friends, siblings, and neighbors, to name a few. These relationships center on platonic love and offer additional support outside of a romantic partner.

Here's what you need to know about navigating and growing platonic relationships in your life. 

What is a platonic relationship?

Platonic quite literally means the absence of romance. You may have a platonic relationship with your best friend, a coworker, a cousin, a workout buddy, or any person you value in your life. 

According to Emily Guarnotta, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of The Mindful Mommy, characteristics of platonic relationships include:

  • Respect
  • Love
  • Admiration 
  • Loyalty
  • Honesty
  • Bonding over shared interests and beliefs

"Platonic love is what we feel when there is trust, safety, and validation in a close relationship. It's the sense of feeling good and cared for in a relationship," says Nikki Coleman, a licensed psychologist with her own practice Dr. Nikki Knows

Platonic relationship vs. romantic relationship 

There are many benefits of platonic relationships that romantic ones don't always offer. For example, a platonic relationship may entail fewer expectations and pressures, less stress about your physical experience, and possibly a more stable connection as there isn't a fear of breakup, says Guarnotta. Most notably, platonic relationships are not passionate, which often means they don't include overt sexuality. 

Platonic relationships also provide an opportunity to explore different parts of yourself and build unique experiences and memories with friends, says Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at Lenox Hill Hospital. 

Cultivating platonic relationships can also help your health. In a large 2010 review, researchers found people with strong social relationships had a 50% higher likelihood of living longer than those without them. 

Platonic relationships and intimacy 

A platonic relationship can involve intimacy, such as sex and cuddling, if romantic feelings (aka passion) are not involved.

"All romantic relationships are not sexual, and all sexual relationships are not romantic. You could very well have an important someone in your life who creates all of those feelings of intimacy and closeness associated with platonic love but not romantic love," says Coleman. 

Before bringing sexual intimacy into the equation, it's important to ask yourself what the end goal for the relationship is: In a 2020 study of friends with benefits relationships, people who wanted to transition to a friendship were successful 59% of the time. In contrast, those who sought a romantic relationship only achieved it 15% of the time. 

Intimacy in a platonic relationship only works when both people are on the same page. If one person starts developing romantic feelings and the other doesn't reciprocate, then it could lead to negative feelings like rejection or resentment, says Coleman. 

Communicating boundaries is critical for ensuring no one receives or sends mixed signals in a platonic, but sexually intimate, relationship. "Taking the time to have an uncomfortable conversation upfront will save all parties so much time, confusion, and frustration," says Romanoff.

According to Guarnotta, potential boundaries to consider in a platonic relationship are:

  • Incorporating or limiting physical intimacy
  • Consistent respect for each other
  • Avoiding topics of disagreement or discomfort 
  • Not letting conflict fester without discussion

Insider's takeaway 

Platonic relationships differ from romantic relationships but are no less loving or important. In fact, platonic relationships can provide additional support, respect, and loyalty outside of a romantic partner. 

Unlike romantic love, platonic relationships usually have less pressure surrounding physical appearance, expectations, and commitments. 

While platonic relationships can be sexually intimate, parties involved should always establish boundaries and consent before doing so.

7 tell-tale signs of a toxic relationship and how to fix it, according to couple therapistsWhat does it mean to love yourself? 6 ways to practice self-love, according to psychologistsCouples therapists share 5 tips on making a long distance relationship work10 proven ways to be happy alone and feel less lonely

Join the conversation about this story »

Read also

'Unhinged' man arrested for punching 12-year-old Jewish boy in the face in broad daylight

European club end their interest in Spurs player due to excessive demands

U.S. Olympic Trials: Swimming live stream, TV channel, start time, event schedule, how to watch

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here
News Every Day

Kids Fun TV Compilation Video Frozen Elsa and Anna Frozen 2 Skits