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Love Is More Than Romance: Five People Speak On The Beauty Of Platonic Love And Relationships

A while ago, I watched a vlog on YouTube where the vlogger went on a road trip with a stranger he met on a dating app. It is no longer news that dating apps now surpass their traditional function of meeting people for romantic relationships or sexual relationships. People now use dating apps to make friends. It was a heartfelt vlog which ended in them not “getting together.” This left people disappointed which they expressed in the comments. Platonic love relationships

The reactions of people got me thinking: do people value romantic relationships over healthy friendships — otherwise known as platonic relationships?

While many would say yes, I do not entirely agree. It is true that people have been socially designed to put romantic relationships on an idealistic pedestal. Singlehood is seen as a self-inflicted state of immaturity, while being in a relationship is seen as a hallmark of becoming a successful, normal adult.

However, there is something to be said about platonic relationships that often balances out romantic relationships. In our evolving world, more and more people are starting to value friendships in partnerships more than the trappings of sex and romance. It’s not meant to be a consolation prize when a (romantic) love interest “friend-zones” the other.

Just like Plato, the classical Greek philosopher whose name this type of love and relationship was derived from, I agree that platonic love transcends the physical — inspiring noble pursuits and bringing one closer to the divine. In Plato’s view, this kind of love brought out the best in both people. It describes an affectionate love that elevates and enriches both people (of any gender or sexual orientation) without romance, sex, or any desire for either.

Love is so much more than cupid, arrows, and romantic relationships. It is complex and not necessarily just within the context of romance.

In this month of love, RADR Africa spoke with five people on their views on platonic relationships. Join us as we discuss more about this expression of love, honoring those relationships that thrive beyond the traditional understanding of it.

Nkay Okwudiri – Lifestyle, fashion and brand influencer, Content marketer

In your opinion, which type of love do you think is stronger: Platonic or romantic?

Platonic love, to be honest. Most times, romantic love comes and goes. I think platonic love is stronger because your friends stand with you for life.

Many people do not know this but you have to put effort in your platonic relationships just as your romantic ones to sustain them. Tell us how you’ve sustained your platonic relationships and how these relationships have helped you grow as a person?

You have to put in as much work as possible in your friendships because they are still relationships and they require a lot of effort to work.

I have sustained my friendships by talking to my friends frequently and making time to be there for them in whatever capacity they need me. It’s a give-and-give relationship. I don’t call it taking because everybody gives. It fills my soul when my friends reach out to me. It’s a beautiful thing.

Funke Olotu – Content creator

In your opinion, which type of love do you think is stronger: Platonic or romantic?

I don’t think one is stronger than the other per say. I wouldn’t know how to measure love or if it should be. I’ll say they are both equally important. I don’t think one should overshadow the other, they should not have to compete, there’s enough love to go around.

Many people do not know this but you have to put effort in your platonic relationships just as your romantic ones to sustain them. Tell us how you’ve sustained your platonic relationships and how these relationships have helped you grow as a person?

I’ve sustained my platonic relationships by being intentional. By knowing who my friends are – what do they like? What do they hate? How often do they prefer to talk? I have friends I talk to everyday and friends that I speak to once deeply in 2 weeks or so. By being there for them when they need me. I’m a show up friend to be honest, and my people show up for me. By setting boundaries, not setting boundaries breaks friendships more than setting because things build up and one day you’re tired (it’s happened to me in the past). Basically giving what I’ll like to receive and communicating that. Don’t assume, always talk.

Immanuel Anosike – Actor, film producer, and podcaster

In your opinion, which type of love do you think is stronger: Platonic or romantic?

I don’t know that any one type of love is “stronger” or more important than the other and different people might have varied life experiences. Just like with most things in life, balance is key. Platonic relationships build the foundation for romantic ones – having strong and healthy friendships allow you to have deeper romantic connections. I would say that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Before you can love anyone else fully in any capacity, you have to start within.

Many people do not know this but you have to put effort in your platonic relationships just as your romantic ones to sustain them. Tell us how you’ve sustained your platonic relationships and how these relationships have helped you grow as a person?

I’m a very low maintenance friend and that sometimes causes conflict, because I can go days without speaking to my friends but it doesn’t mean I care for them any less. Platonic relationships require intentional thought and action. You will be hurt and you will hurt others because no one is perfect, but you have to be able to communicate effectively.

In the penultimate season of Insecure – which has one of the best depictions of modern friendship, Molly’s therapist asks her if she wants to be right or in community with her friend. This year especially I’ve had to learn to be more forgiving and be a better communicator.

I sustain my friendships by making sure my actions always show loudly and clearly that I value them as friends. I apologize when I need to and try to not sweat the small stuff. As you get older, having a solid tribe you can count on is very important. My friends have helped my confidence, romantic relationships, family relationships and my career.

Jennifer Idiaru, Digital creator

In your opinion, which type of love do you think is stronger: Platonic or romantic?

I think both love play their roles but I’ll go for romantic relationships because there’s an extra high that comes with it and you cannot get that in a platonic setting. To be honest, before now I used to be a forgetful person when it comes to checking up/ sustaining relationships, but getting older has made me realize how much I need people and to make the bond grow. I need to put in the work.

Many people do not know this but you have to put effort in your platonic relationships just as your romantic ones to sustain them. Tell us how you’ve sustained your platonic relationships and how these relationships have helped you grow as a person?

Sustaining doesn’t necessarily mean calling every day (although I do have some friends I speak to on a daily basis). It can be as little as sending memes to them, hyping them up (lol), referring them for a job, helping out with work or bouncing helpful ideas off each other and lots more.

Being more serious with my friendships has helped me in many ways. Knowing there are people I can always talk to when I’m not feeling a 100 or when I’m feeling a 100 is bliss. Knowing there is no judgement when odd things happen. Knowing there are people who’ll always tell me the truth, who’ll support my business / remind me of who I am when self doubt kicks in & people I can have the best laughs with is really the best thing in the world.
Yea! I love my friends!

Chiamaka Ehiem – Fashion Creative

In your opinion, which type of love do you think is stronger: Platonic or romantic?

Platonic relationships are very much as important as romantic relationships and I think they’re stronger. Platonic relationships, to me, are the truest forms of relationships. You’re invested in a relationship where you want to make the other person better at all costs. This is not to say that those in romantic relationships aren’t striving to make each other better.

Finding your unique tribe of people who would go all out for you is very important. But there’s something to know about platonic relationships, they’re relationships that are formed based on trust, instincts and aren’t always give & take.

Many people do not know this but you have to put effort in your platonic relationships just as your romantic ones to sustain them. Tell us how you’ve sustained your platonic relationships and how these relationships have helped you grow as a person?

Understanding the friends you have and knowing how to handle each one is a trait that I’ve learned and perfected over time. People are built differently and the way I’d treat friend A isn’t the same way I’ll treat friend B. I’ve been able to sustain my friendships this way, by knowing what makes them tick and knowing just how to be there for them.

Platonic relationships require an open mind and an open heart, both to accommodate people with differences and allow them the grace to be themselves. My platonic relationships have helped me in more ways than one; in curbing my fierce temper, in finding myself, in knowing that I have shoulders to lean on, in giving myself grace to just be.

Platonic relationships require all the love, care, and support because to me it is the purest form of relationships. A relationship where even if one person is benefitting more than the other, there’s that understanding and awareness that it brings with it.

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Collins Badewa