While many of us look forward to the prospect of finding a new romantic partner, it’s also fairly common when meeting new people — through online dating, hobbies or family and friends — to discover a great friendship instead.
Platonic relationships — a friendship or relationship in which romantic or sexual tensions either don’t exist or aren’t acted on — can be immensely rewarding and even important, especially as we get older. It makes total sense that we won’t have a deep, romantic connection with every person we meet. However, it’s far more common to find that some of our new acquaintances would make a fantastic companion, traveling partner or pal. Forget the notion that men and women can’t be friends, this is the 21st Century! Platonic relationships are not only possible, they’re fantastic.
The Benefits of Platonic Relationship
The question of whether men and women can truly be friends is one which has been pondered for years and while many imagine that it’ll eventually take a turn for the romantic — such is the case in When Harry Met Sally — in reality, there’s very little reason why a platonic friendship can’t stay platonic and work very well for both parties.
In fact, we may be far better off disregarding any platonic relationship naysayers because research has suggested time and time again that having friends is extremely important to both mental and physical health — especially as we age.
Two studies on friendship carried out by Michigan State University psychology professor William J. Chopik found that from the age of 65 onwards, valuing friendship highly made a bigger difference than it did to those who were younger.
And, after analysing information from nearly 7,500 Americans in their 60s and 70s it was evident how influential friendship can be. Those who had strain within friendships were more likely to have chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and psychiatric problems. On the flipside, when friends were the source of support, those in the study were found to be happier.
“Friendships become even more important as we age,” Chopik said of his findings. “Keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of difference for our health and well-being. So it’s smart to invest in the friendships that make you happiest.”
So, with science encouraging friendships that make you feel the most joy, taking a chance to establish and develop a meaningful platonic relationship could be the gift that keeps on giving.
Establishing a Platonic Relationship
Depending on how you meet your friend, it can be important to establish clear boundaries for your platonic relationship. This is especially true if you met on a blind date or on an online dating site, such as SilverSingles, where a romantic relationship is generally the intended outcome. We’re firm believers that healthy, fun and meaningful platonic relationships are totally viable and here are some steps to making yours the best it can be.
Be Clear From the Start
A solid relationship should be built on honesty, so be upfront with each other about your feelings to address any possible romantic feelings that are involved. This is something important to do earlier on in your relationship so that any lingering romantic feelings are properly addressed without turning to frustration or anger.
Talk to Each Other
OK, OK it might seem obvious but there’s no getting around this one no matter what type of relationship you have. Being open and honest about things that bother you and setting up boundaries will help your platonic relationship be the healthiest it can be. By having this culture of trust and openness between you both you’ll also be able to voice concerns if either of you feels you’re becoming too close in an unhealthy way.
Enjoy the Friendship Fun
While a platonic relationship might go against some people’s preconceived notions of friendship and you might have to have clearer boundaries, by far the most important aspect of your relationship is that you have fun together! Remember to celebrate your friendship and enjoy each other’s company. Here are just a few benefits of having a sound platonic relationship:
Take part in shared hobbies
Are you a fiend for fitness? Or perhaps you’re all about a good book club? Whichever hobbies you enjoy partaking in, things are always better when shared, so why not invite your friend to enjoy it with you. Alternatively, you could both find a new hobby to bond over and learn more about each other in the process.
Traveling and adventuring:
Travelling can be fun and rewarding to do on your own but doing so with a friend can amplify the experience even further. If you’ve had reservations about traveling without a companion, then going with a friend is the perfect solution — not to mention that traveling as a pair is often cheaper than as a single.
Using each other as a sounding board
Having a close friend with whom you can talk through issues can be a literal lifesaver. Because you and your friend aren’t related or in a romantic relationship with you, they offer a different, more objective kind of support. You’ll both benefit from the other’s input and unique perspective on various issue.
While we think platonic relationships are awesome, we also know how amazing romantic relationships can be! SilverSingles is designed especially for men and women aged 50+ who are looking for real connections.