14 Important Rules of Platonic Friendship to Keep It Smooth

In platonic friendship, one must maintain healthy boundaries to keep the relationship intact. Read on to know about the rules for platonic relationships.

Updated on Jan 09, 2023   |  10:55 PM IST  |  248.9K
What is a Platonic Relationship | Rules of Platonic Friendship
What is a Platonic Relationship | Rules of Platonic Friendship

Friends are for life. Most people consider their friends a precious treasure and are with them through thick and thin. It is true our best friends know us inside and out. There are many types of  friendships, like close friends, acquaintances, platonic friends, etc. Here, we are going to gain insight into a platonic friendship. Platonic friendship is the relationship between two people who share a deep connection without the presence of sexual and romantic feelings.

The word amor platonicus (Latin for platonic love) was coined by Marsilio Ficino, an Italian scholar in the 15th century. The term was named after Plato, a famous Greek philosopher, who gave the theory of platonic friendships. He believed that platonic friendship in its true form is divine and brings two people closer together spiritually. The term can be applied to both same-sex and opposite-sex friends. Platonic relationships are on the rise, and there are some rules that must be followed to make them work. Keep scrolling to know more!

What Is a Platonic Friendship And How to Maintain It?

What Is a Platonic Friendship And How to Maintain It?

A platonic relationship is quite different from all other types of relations. In this, two people confide in each other and have trust, faith, and loyalty without any romantic feeling towards one another. According to Plato, love evolves both sexually and non-sexually. In platonic love, a person's mind and soul direct their energy toward spirituality.  

In simple words, platonic friends are those whom you trust and love. With them, it feels like you are with a non-romantic soulmate.

However, there is no hard and fast rule that people who share a platonic bond can't have romantic or sexual feelings for each other. At some point, one or both people might start thinking about dating each other. But if you let go of these feelings and keep your friendship intact without even a tint of romance in it, your friendship remains platonic.

The similarity between platonic and romantic relationships is that both of them involve a deep level of mutual connection and friendship. In romantic relationships, both people crave physical intimacy and are often involved in it. On the other hand, even if platonic friends desire physical intimacy, they don't get involved in it. This is the difference between romantic and platonic love. 

If you are not sure whether your relationship with someone is platonic or not, read the signs below that'll help you figure it out.

Some Common Signs Of a Strong Platonic Friendship

Some Common Signs Of a Strong Platonic Friendship

  • Closeness - In a platonic relationship, two people have a lot of things in common. Even if their personalities and hobbies are different, they feel close to each other.
  • Faith and Honesty - When it comes to platonic relationships, both individuals are honest and feel secure sharing everything with each other.  
  • Quality Time Together - If you two love spending time together, but have no romantic feelings, your relationship is platonic. 
  • No Physical Intimacy - If both individuals share a good rapport and are very bonded by friendship, but have no wish to pursue physical intimacy, the friendship is platonic.

Remember, a platonic friendship is not:

  • Friends with benefits - It is a type of relationship wherein you do lots of activities together, and even indulge in a physical relationship occasionally. But, you don't have any romantic feelings for one another. This is not a platonic relationship. 
  • Unrequited love - One-sided love  affairs are not the same as platonic relationships. 
  • Friendship with ulterior motives - Being friends with someone with the hope of making them a romantic partner someday also cannot be defined as platonic love.

So, now that you have a clear understanding of what is the meaning of platonic, let's take a look at the rules of platonic friendship.

14 Rules for Platonic Friendship

14 Rules for Platonic Friendship

Many people assume that two people of opposite genders cannot always stay friends — some romantic feelings are bound to creep up in their hearts or one or both are destined to end up desiring a physical relationship.

However, the truth is, it is possible to have a pure friendship bond with anyone, regardless of gender. You just need to follow the platonic relationship rules mentioned below.

1. Set Healthy Boundaries

In any relationship, setting healthy boundaries is important to avoid giving any wrong signals to the other person. It is important to avoid triggers that can possibly lead to romance. For example, if you are planning to watch a movie late at night at your friend's house, rethink because who knows where that could lead? Set boundaries so that you can avoid situations that can kindle romance between you two.

2. Practice Respectfulness

Being respectful is the key to maintaining a healthy relationship. Many times, it is seen that people are not comfortable with their partner's friends of the opposite gender. But in this day and era, it is next to impossible to not have a friend you are close to. Having said that, it is your responsibility to make your partner feel comfortable in the presence of your platonic friend. Don't forget to give your beloved importance when you are with your platonic friend. At the same time, you must also take steps to ensure your friend is comfortable around your partner. Don't do anything that would make your partner feel jealous.

3. Do Not Behave Differently Around Each Other

One of the rules for a platonic relationship is to be yourself with your friend. By this, we mean that if your friend is a male, you should not behave differently by dressing up for him or going out of your way to impress him. Similarly, if your friend is a female, you need not bring her expensive gifts and do special things for her. This might give hints that you are leaning toward a romantic relationship, and make your bond messy. This doesn't mean you should never make each other feel good by spending time together, giving gifts, and so on — just don't go overboard with it!

4. No Vacationing Just for the Two of You

Give Them the Same Treatment As Your Other Friends

Going on a trip with friends is always fun and thrilling. In the daily hustle and bustle of life, visiting a place can help you kill boredom and enjoy. But going on a vacation with a friend can create situations that make you feel passionate for each other. It is okay to go on group vacations because then you two won't be alone.

5. Avoid Sexting

Sexting is a quite common thing to do while being in a relationship but is a big no for platonic relations. Any kind of sexual conversation should be avoided with friends. It doesn't matter if you are doing it as a prank or just for fun — just don't go there. For example, you should not talk about your sexual fantasies, desires, etc. with someone you have a platonic relationship.

6. Say No to Flirting

Many people might think flirting is harmless, and a bit of it cannot cause chaos in your friendship. But the truth is that flirting can do more harm than good. If you start giving signals to show you might be attracted to your friend, they may get scared thinking this is a bolt out of the blue or might reciprocate their feelings for you. If it's the latter, you may go ahead with a love relationship, but only if you two are on the same page. However, in a majority of cases, flirting does a lot of damage to a pure friendship, so refrain from doing so. 

7. Avoid Manipulation 

If you have developed feelings for your friend, you should communicate clearly with them. Do not manipulate them by trying to make them jealous, or doing things to grab their attention. That might put them off and damage your friendship.

8. Avoid "Date-like" Outings

Maybe it's a weekend, and you want to chill over at your friend's place. It is normal to spend time at your friend’s place. But avoid scenarios that might harm your friendship. This includes dressing up too much, having a candle light dinner, giving each other gifts, sitting too close, etc. At any cost, you should refrain from indulging in “date-like” outings because that can ruin your beautiful friendship.

9. Give Them the Same Treatment As Your Other Friends

Give Them the Same Treatment As Your Other Friends

Even if you have found your platonic soulmate, you should treat him/her like you treat your same-sex friends. That means there should be no flirting, touchy-feely kind of a thing between you two.

10. Don't Plan to Get High Together

Alcohol doesn't always bring out the best in everyone. Avoid getting drunk with your platonic friend, and if you plan on doing it, make sure not to get cozy. It will be very embarrassing if you two hook up and then make the excuse of being drunk. This will ruin your friendship, so refrain from doing so.

11. Avoid Being Cozy Together

Many people are touchy-feely and like holding hands, ruffling hair, and so on. But if you want to maintain your relationship platonically, then you need to avoid being touchy. It can send flirty signals to your friend if you are not careful.

12. Don't Let Your Friends Mock Your Platonic Friend

Friends have the habit of teasing each other with the name of their beloved. If your friends do the same for your platonic friend, ask them respectfully to stop. Not doing so can give your platonic friend the wrong signals, thereby weakening your bond with them. 

13. Don't Act Like a Couple

In a platonic friendship, it is important that you don't do things that a couple does. This includes celebrating Valentine's Day together, giving each other's gifts, going out on candlelight dinners, and so on. It is perfectly normal to give each other gifts on special occasions like birthdays, but doing it frequently can scream "I want to be with you as a lover."

14. Accept Your Feelings

If you realize you are getting attracted to your friend, don't be angry at yourself or feel confused. You need to accept the fact that it is not a bad thing and it is natural. However, you should not expect your feelings to be reciprocated. If you feel your friend too is interested in you, then you can share your feelings, but then your relationship won't be platonic. To keep it that way, you need to keep your romantic feelings aside and remain friends.


There are many benefits of having a platonic friendship — it boosts mental health, gives you a close friend  to share everything with, lowers stress, and teaches you about boundaries. You must follow the rules mentioned above sincerely so that you don't jeopardize your relationship with your platonic friend. True friends are always there when we want to laugh our hearts out, or want a shoulder to cry on. Maintain the thin line between friendship and love with your platonic friends, and reap all the benefits of divine friendship.

However, if you feel the friendship is turning into something else, don't throw yourself into the dark pit of confusion and anxiety. Address your emotions properly, and if you believe the other person is also into you, go on and have a healthy romantic relationship, but only if that is what you both truly want.

ALSO READ: 8 relatable problems ALL long distance BFFs face

About The Author
Aastha Pahadia
Aastha Pahadia
Certified Relationship Coach

Aastha is a certified Relationship coach and she strives to help those who seek expert advice on relationships. As a ...

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