Friends form the bedrock of our social lives. They are fun to hang out with, they make us laugh, and they lend us a shoulder to lean on when life gets hard. The honest, unwavering bond we share with them only gets stronger as the years pass by. And gradually, they turn into family. A friendship of this kind transcends social divides and survives the smallest of tiffs to life-altering catastrophes.
So, when we connect with someone so deeply, does gender really matter? Can a close relationship between two individuals be free of romantic overtones? On the occasion of Friendship Day, Soulveda explores the nature of platonic friendships and what they bring to our lives.
In his work titled Symposium, 15th century Greek philosopher Plato classified love into two kinds–Vulgar Eros and Divine Eros. While the former means love that involves attraction towards a beautiful body for physical pleasure and reproduction, the latter refers to love that transcends to the appreciation of the divine. Divine Eros is today known as platonic love, named after the philosopher himself. Such love is earnest, unconditional, and yet, unromantic.
Popular culture has plenty of examples of such relationships. Take Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, for instance. They meet at school, get into countless adventures together and even defeat the darkest wizard of all times. Through fun times and nearly fatal shenanigans, they have each other’s back. And yet, there is nothing remotely romantic or sexual about the affection they share. Yet another such pair is Phoebe and Joey in the TV series Friends. The camaraderie they share is truly heartwarming. In a memorable scene, Phoebe gets mad at Joey for cancelling plans with her and says, “Girlfriends and boyfriends are gonna come and go. But this is for life!”
Indeed, in today’s world, platonic friendships are more common than ever. Such mingling exposes people to varied perspectives and sensibilities.
In a platonic friendship, the passion factor is absent. And yet, the closeness and loyalty it creates makes it just as important as the relationship one shares with one’s significant other.