A friendship with platonic intimacy gives you the best of both worlds. It’s a relationship without the sex and complications that are inevitable with a romantic partner, but there’s a profound affinity that you can’t get from mere friendship alone.
It’s a connection that’s fulfilling, inspiring and helpful. It’s a rare privilege to find someone where you can be your true self without fear of being judged but who will still call you out for bad behavior, someone you can cry on and get support, or be happy with you in your triumphs.
Platonic intimacy is a deep and intense non-sexual relationship between two people who are of opposite sexes. It’s a powerful bond that is based on trust and mutual acceptance of each other. The psychological benefits of having such a relationship are enormous, and it can be your life’s best and longest-running friendship.
How can you tell if you’re sharing platonic intimacy with someone? Examine your relationships with friends and see if they have these attributes.
Qualities of platonic intimacy
Platonic intimacy is marked by genuine no-holds-barred honesty.
You’re comfortable expressing your true emotions without fear of criticism and secure in the knowledge that your friend will not judge or reject you because of your contrary thoughts.
There’s no obligation to see each other on a regular basis if circumstances don’t allow it. But when you meet again, the closeness has never gone.
With mere friendship, you maintain a façade. You don’t share your troubles and difficulties. It’s friends you go out with for dinner or drinks, but not for pouring your heart out.
Platonic intimacy allows you to be vulnerable.
When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you’re opening yourself up to the risk of being hurt. But with a true friend, you’re not afraid to put down your emotional barricades.
You share your deepest thoughts and uncensored opinions with your friend, without worrying that they will be offended, or they will see you in a negative light because you trust them not to betray or abandon you.
When you are heartbroken, angry, hurt, disillusioned, you can unburden yourself to them without second thoughts. On the other side, when you’re bursting with happiness over something, you share them all with your friend because they will be happy for you, too, without envy.
Platonic intimacy allows you to show physical vulnerability because you feel safe with them. Spontaneous hugs when something good happens or wrapping arms over the shoulders are signs of closeness even in a non-sexual context. In a platonic relationship, there’s no hesitation from either of you making physical contact when appropriate without feeling weird about it.
Jealousy is not present in platonic intimacy.
There’s no place for jealousy in your friendship because you’re aware that you’re not a couple. You can both be in a romantic relationship with another person and you’re not sexually interested in each other. Without worrying about consequences, you can be totally open and honest with each other. Thus, you can give and receive perspectives and insights from another point of view.
Communication in platonic intimacy is unrestricted. You can talk about dating and marriage problems that you can’t otherwise bring up with casual friends or your partners.
Boundaries are necessary in platonic intimacy.
This quality seems to contradict the absolute openness aspect. Yet, respecting boundaries is important to maintain intimacy. The physical gestures of hugging and kissing must be acceptable to both of you, and if you’re in romantic relationships, your partners must not see them as threats. Take care not to cross the line from platonic friendship to sexual attraction in a clandestine manner.
Platonic intimacy is not held to the same high standards that are in romantic relationships.
In a platonic deep friendship, it’s a relief to just be yourself because you don’t have set expectations from each other. It’s easier to forgive mistakes and unintended hurts. You give each other space and time if you’ve found a new relationship. You’re not into each other’s day to day activities, and you don’t come first in each other’s lives. But the caring and loving will always be there.
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