Is platonic love more powerful than romantic love?

Annabel Hogg shares her thoughts on why platonic love is just as important as romantic love.

Annabel Hogg
12th March 2021
There’s a reason the speeches of maids of honour and best men are feared by newlyweds every time June comes around.

These are the people that have held our hair over toilets, campaigned for us not to get kicked out of clubs and picked up the pieces of our drunken adventures with their bare hands (sometimes literally, in the form of broken wine glasses). They are also the people who have reminded us to eat, the people who we text when we get home safe and the people who have mended our broken hearts. It is for this very reason, the memories made, that platonic love is just as, if not more powerful than romantic love, even if we fail to realise it.

"However, where partners outgrow each other or grow in differing directions, true friends seem to grow together."

The truth is, no romantic love is completely unconditional. We fall in love on the condition of many things: physical attraction, personality, common interests – the list goes on. The problem with young adult relationships is that everyone is still growing, and so these conditions that we fall in love on the basis of often fall into fragmentary pieces over the years. This is why so many happy relationships can meet a tragic end. However, where partners outgrow each other or grow in differing directions, true friends seem to grow together. This, in itself, is power.

Through terrible eyebrow phases, drastic haircuts, hobbies, career changes and weeks of little to no conversation – true friendships seem to be able to survive everything. Even friends with absolutely no surface similarities have souls that’s seem to entwine in ways incomprehensible to others, they just get each other. To use a favourite metaphor of mine, true friendship is like that cactus we all own that survives by itself, relationships are like a Peace Lily plant – difficult to take care of and bound to death when presented with change.

As naïve baby adults (who’ve possibly spent too much time reading Jane Austen to ever be satisfied with this world’s romantic offerings), we spend far too much time searching for the loves of our lives, who inevitably will come along when the timing is right. We should instead be recognising the soulmates we’ve already found and appreciating them before they become background characters.

Romantic love often feels more powerful than anything else in the world, but that doesn’t mean it is. Ultimately, it’s beautifully fragile and requires a lot of attention.  Before we are fully formed persons, we should be focusing on the people who actually encourage us to grow, not break up with us for that very reason.

When ‘the one’ eventually turns up, your best friends will become the people you meet up with over a bottle of wine every so often. So, for now, appreciate the nights out, the Sunday brunches, the distressed phone calls, the side-splitting laughter and the ‘text me when you get home safe’s, for they are perhaps the purest, most unconditional forms of love you’ll ever feel.

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