We should value our platonic relationships

Appreciating all the people in our lives will help us feel fulfilled

Written By Brooke Stephens, Co-Opinions Editor

Love is a blurry word. From an early-age, the princess and knight in shining armor stories are pushed to children to tell them the alleged ideal: a perfect man will rescue the princess when it’s needed most. This push can create problematic and unrealistic standards in children’s minds. But romantic love, even with its huge monopoly in media, is far from the only kind of love out there. Friends and family, depending on each individual relationship, are loved everyday too. Platonic love, especially in times of hardship, supports people in ways that typical romantic relationships usually cannot.

Platonic love is a connection made between people without involving romantic or sexual attraction. People may not know that this term exists for them to apply to their friendships or other non-romantic relationships. Making new friends in college is an amicable, never-ending experience: these are some of the people who will take your phone call at three in the morning, drive you to the hospital, and get an apartment with you during or after graduation. Friends deserve to be cherished. Family members should love and support each other unconditionally. Creating an environment for platonic relationships to thrive is necessary for us to feel fulfilled.

Everyone needs someone to be there for them. These connections can be made in real life, and sometimes on the internet too (but use discretion and good judgment when making friends with people online). Safely-made internet friendships can sometimes last longer than ones with friends who have met in real life since long distance communication is established from day one. Regardless of how these bonds are made, platonic friendships allow people to have a shoulder to cry on or someone to fall back on in times of need, without feeling the unique pressures of balancing the levity a romantic relationship requires. Often, these people even know us better than we know ourselves. During the pandemic, there have been endless phone and Zoom calls which tie people closer together. And in times like these, creating a community where there is no other attraction than being friends is important. In many cases, people feel they can be their most authentic selves with friends or family.

Family could be a source of a range of different emotions from enjoyment to irritation and more for at least the first eighteen years of a person’s life, sometimes less, sometimes much more. The core of a person’s life at any point could be family, which can bring memories, traditions and family recipes. A constant support network, whether through blood or chosen family, should be a source of comfort. A family of friends is just as connected and meaningful as someone having a close relationship with the family they were born into.

Some readers might be thinking of the glaringly obvious missing detail here: Valentine’s Day is a month away. The groans and awwws are audible from here. Whoever is appreciated in your life, tell them. Try not to take a moment with them for granted. Chocolates and roses aren’t only for the significant others planning their dates, or being surprised by one another. Buy flowers for your living room, bake heart shaped cookies if available, and last but not least: breathe. Stressful situations are bound to happen at the start of the semester but turn to friends and family if available. No one should have to walk through their life alone just because they do not have a romantic relationship to rely on through hardships.