Sarah Liu: Platonic friendships can exist between opposite genders; in fact, we should value them more



w.Meyyappan.Liu.02.14Let’s face it. We commonly see girls and boys together talking in hallways, classrooms and other places. Most students here, including myself, have close friends of the opposite gender they don’t consider a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” It’s a very common sight, but some believe these kinds of relationships cannot exist because romantic feelings bubble just beneath the surface. Even so, we should recognize and treasure their existence.

Many often think platonic friendships cannot exist because they misinterpret the term. Being platonic friends is not being “just friends.” The key factor to platonic friendships is outlook because affectionate intimate connections of the minds of these friends epitomize such ties. Being “just friends,” however, is not as deep because both parties do not intend to be physically involved.

While such cognitive affinity may make two people of the opposite gender seem like lovers, the other key factor is absence of sexual desire. You and someone of the opposite gender do not have to date or be romantically attracted in order to be close friends. Think about your relatives. Certainly, some of your relatives must be of the opposite gender, but you don’t show sexual affection toward them. Even so, your love toward them is equally affectionate, correct? If such love exists between you and your relatives, it can certainly exist between two friends.

As human beings, intimate friendships give us pleasure, which we can find in sexual relationships. However, friendships have varying degrees. According to Aristotle, the highest degree of friendship is platonic as closeness builds up through thoughts and ideas. So there is still pleasure, but it’s a better pleasure, bolstering affections like ionic bonds in chemistry. From this, regardless of gender, friends can enjoy sharing similar values, such as music in the case of composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky. A lady named Nadezhda von Meck loved Tchaikovsky’s works. They shared ardent passion for music, and furthermore, von Meck supported Tchaikovsky financially, yet they were never physically involved, demonstrating platonic friendships can exist and, in a sense, be beneficial.

Women and men can and should nurture platonic friendships despite their biological nature, but by no means am I telling you to break up your dating relationship (if you even have one, that is) today. You can still enjoy time with your loved one(s) and follow whatever plans you two have. All I’m saying is you don’t have to completely focus on each other today. Just make sure to make it just as special for all your friends. They deserve your favor as much as a significant other does.

Read – Maham Nadeem: Popular culture has made it nearly impossible for men and women to be just friends