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After all, friendships are platonic by definition, right? Platonic friendship specifically refers to friendship between two people who could, in theory, feel attracted to each other. If you experience these feelings and decide to keep what you have, your friendship remains platonic. Friendships fulfill an important social need, and they can look different for everyone. You go to concerts, have similar taste in movies, and enjoy cooking and hiking together. You also have sex on occasion. Neither one of you wants a relationship, and romantic feelings have never come up.
But sometimes, when the moment feels right, you go for it. If you have a crush or something stronger on one of your friends, maintaining a friendship is still Seeking a secret lover and a special friend. Taking care to set boundaries and respect theirs going forward can help you maintain your friendship. Here are some other pointers for navigating unrequited love. Opening up about your feelings will usually serve you best. Also consider this: If they eventually come to feel the same way about you, they may not be happy to realize you misled them about your feelings and intentions.
You might break up and get back together, or have an on-again, off-again situation. Some people do go on to become good friends after breakup or divorce, though the specific circumstances of the breakup could affect this outcome. Setting clear boundaries and putting effort into the friendship you desire can make a healthy friendship more likely. Boundaries are one of the most important — if not the most important — elements of maintaining a healthy platonic friendship. Everyone has different needs, so boundaries are something to determine for yourself.
That said, considering the possibilities below can give you some guidance on boundaries for your friendship. For example, you might spend the night with a friend occasionally but sleep in separate beds. If not, you might want to reconsider. Plenty of friends feel comfortable discussing sexmasturbation, and aspects of their romantic relationships with each other. Others may avoid detailed conversations but share general information. Some friends may avoid the topic entirely. It depends on what works for both of you. If one of you feels uncomfortable, your friendship could suffer. Casual flirting happens in a lot of relationships.
Around your platonic friends, at least, it can help to keep your banter innuendo-free. Any friendship can face challenges from time to time. Being mindful of issues common to platonic friendships can help you avoid them.
Again, friendship styles can vary, so some friendships can seem very intimate to outsiders. Context can also matter. A group of friends stripping down together to go skinny dipping may not lead to any confusion or mixed als. Two people alone together doing the same thing could potentially open the doors to some sexual tension. You might worry about losing the friendship. Unfortunately, that can happen. However, plenty of adults are capable of handling romantic disclosures in a healthy way.
Talking about your feelings could even bring you closer together. If you bury them instead, you might experience jealousy and resentment when your friend dates someone else. Strong communication characterizes most good friendships. Again, if your feelings toward your friend change, talking through those feelings early on generally yields better than avoiding them. Similarly, if you start to have an inkling your friend might have romantic feelings for you, asking them outright can help them feel comfortable opening up. If they deny it, explain what led to that impression — but then take them at their word, unless they give you reason not to.
Unnecessary doubt can also harm your friendship. In a perfect world, every romantic relationship would be characterized by a strong sense of trust. Sometimes platonic friendships do shift into romance. These tips can help you keep both relationships going strong. If you share a tight bond with your friend, you might feel tempted to downplay your closeness to your partner.
This can backfire, though.
For one, if they find out you were less than honest with them, they might have a hard time trusting you again. Own your bond and talk your friend up! Tell your partner how much your friend means to you and how lucky you feel to have not one but two valuable relationships. Avoid the temptation to twist the truth or lie. Dishonesty destroys trust. Guilt can affect your relationship in other, more subtle ways.
Open communicationon the other hand, shows you have nothing to hide. Sometimes, you really need to be present for a friend.
At other times, your partner may need support when dealing with something difficult. The key is to avoid consistently neglecting one bond. Watch out for red flags in this area, too, like a partner trying to guilt-trip or otherwise manipulate you into spending time with them instead of your friend, or vice-versa. If your platonic friend has a partner, the tips above can still apply. Keeping these additional considerations in mind can also help. Your partner might understand and accept your friendship, but their partner may feel differently. If your friend mentions their partner has some concerns, they may want to cut back on hanging out.
Just remember, good boundaries and open communication are key to the health and success of your friendship — and any other relationship, really. Crystal Raypole has ly worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health.
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