The Importance of Platonic Relationships

Before I came to college, I knew already that the new relationships I’d make would shape and change me-- although I had determined that any pursuits for romance would be futile. And over the course of my time here, I’ve developed several friendships that transformed into a mutual platonic love. Platonic love is generally understood as a close relationship between two people that is intimate and affectionate, but is not sexual. Platonic love is ever so more important in college than in high school for one specific reason: most of my friends in high school were individuals that I had class with, while most of my college friends are people I have to make an effort to encounter-- whether that be through clubs or by grabbing lunch with each other on Wednesdays. Thanks to those, I’ve been able to make friends that are willing to make an effort to grow our friendship. Here are three reasons why platonic relationships are important in college!

1. Platonic relationships will encourage you to be vulnerable and honest. Most of us put on a facade and pretend that we have everything together. Unfortunately, we all are human and we have our own struggles, ranging from having trouble with a course concept to dealing with mental health issues. During my second year, I dealt with anxiety issues and stress, and I thought I had no to turn to. Thankfully, I had a good friend whom I was able to trust and open up to when I thought no one would listen or understand me. We spent hours pouring our hearts to each other about how stressful our second semester at Tech has been, and likewise revealed our excitement for the things to come at the end of our second year. Most times after we hung out, I often felt a huge weight lifted off my chest. I was able to reveal my true feelings about my current emotional and academic state without any judgment-- a process made easier when my friend also opened up since I learned I wasn’t the only one dealing with the sophomore slump. This mutual trust in a platonic friendship helps filter out people you are able to turn to when you are struggling, allowing you to be 100% honest with your friend and yourself.

2. Platonic friendships show you that there’s more to school than academics. The main purpose of college is to get an education, but focusing only on your grades and classes can burn you out. It's important to take a break from academics and spend time with people who care about you just as much as best match you care about them. I came to this realization during a stressful week last semester. Instead of going to my dorm to study for an upcoming exam, I spent time with my friends until 3 am. Even though I wasted precious study time and didn’t get any work done, I was able to make up for missed time with friends I hadn’t seen for weeks. The time spent enjoying your friend's company is much more valuable than the time spent worrying about a test that won't matter in a few years.

3. Platonic relationships force you to grow and gain confidence as an individual. As humans, we tend to have a narrow view of the world and like to see things from our perspective, rather than that of others. When thinking about different issues, we like to see how it affects ourselves in our community, but friendships can sometimes force you to look also outside your field of vision. Thanks to the relationships I have fostered, I’m more likely to tolerate and/or encourage those differences to be expressed. The other day, I was talking with a friend about our backgrounds-- and while we have similar personalities, our upbringings are slightly different from one another, which caused us to have different outlooks on the world around us. This conversation has allowed me to understand more about her as an individual, but it also made me think about how life would be different for me if I had the same upbringing. How would my views change? Would I still be as optimistic as I am now? Would I still have a close relationship with my family? These were some of the questions that ran through my head as we were talking. I learned something about her perspectives on different ideas and concepts, which in turn opened up mine. I also gained respect for my friend’s upbringing because that inspired her hard work. I also was able to appreciate the support my family has given me, which greatly contributes to my family-oriented personality.

College can be hard in many ways, but it’s harder to go through this journey alone. Creating and building the platonic relationships varies from person to person, but these friendships will help you grow and have a more enjoyable college experience.