A post spurred by this conversation on nonromantic attractions & relationships.
First of all, “platonic” is, etymologically and descriptively, kind of a terrible word, and I still wish it would go away. A decent replacement would be nice. But it would also be cool if we could agree on whether that replacement means nonromantic, nonsexual, or nonromantic-nonsexual. Or we could just… use the words I just listed there. *shrug* It would solve a few problems, that’s all I’m saying.
But to get into the meat of the matter: when folks are talking about nonromance, I’ve been seeing a lot of claims, enthymemes, and entire concept models that are wonky, confusing, and clash with my own experience. I’m going to talk a bit about the latter. So here we go:
In my experience, friendship doesn’t mean anything.
And by that I mean — “friendship” can describe almost anything.
Or rather, it describes an interpersonal relationship and an implied peer-level emotional bond, but beyond that… it doesn’t narrow itself to anything in particular.
People have talked before about how definitions of & ingredients for “romance” can vary from person to person, and that’s definitely just as true for friendship, if not moreso — especially since people tend to have more friends than they have romantic partners at any given time.
Using my own limited social experience as an example: my relationship with the people I befriended in high school out of casual commiseration looks a lot different than my relationship with the people I latched onto during each week of annual summer camp looks a lot different than my relationship with my online friend I’ve known for over four years (and who has my phone number but doesn’t know my first name) looks a lot different than my relationship with a college buddy who has her own tag on here (#flying right seat) and who once suggested the two of us marry for financial reasons looks a lot different from my relationship with the regular commenters on my blog looks a lot different than my amicable work relationships looks a lot different than my relationship with an ex-coworker-turned-friend who has a crush on me.
I could refer to any of those as “friendships.”
Regardless of how much emotional closeness they involve, how much/often we’re in contact with each other, or what we do together.
To me, “friendship” is a huge, broad category. My definition isn’t necessarily universal. But I also don’t think I’m all that unique when it comes to this.
So, from the get-go, deliberately describing/defining something in relation to “friendship” (as if it’s some fixed, static, limited, known entity) — without making mention of some additional ingredient — is already confusing and wrong to me, because to me a “friend” is pretty much defined by getting along with each other & liking each other.
If you want to talk about something being “neither platonic nor romantic” or “neither friendship nor romance” then I don’t know what you’re saying to begin with, because I thought pretty much any positive nonromantic relationship was friendship.
If you want to begin a contrast with the premise “platonic, you feel with all your friends, or its what you feel when you wanna be friends with someone” then I’m confused to begin with, because there’s not One Specific Feeling or relationship-tone I feel with “all” my friends and desired-friends.
If you want to describe something as “deeper feeling” than some fabricated notion of true-distilled-only-friendship, you’re already wrong.
If you want to describe anything as “a step above best friends,” I will be nauseous.
If you want to imply that sensual interaction and emotional intimacy disqualify anything from being friendship or “platonic,” that’s you placing your own narrow, arbitrary (wrong) restrictions on what friendship can be, and also lighting the fuse to a hatebomb in my heart.
I think — and I can only guess, because nobody has spelled this out beyond vague devaluations — that the aros participating in these discussions have swallowed and accepted the idea that “friendship = casual and physically/emotionally limited” and think that it’s fine for that idea to be perpetuated and enforced.
But, look. C’mon.
Intimacy within friendship, y’all. It exists. And you can talk about it & your desires for it & mark off a distinct category for it without spitting on me and my wonderful dear friends.