There has always been the debate that women and men cannot strictly be “just friends” without there being sexual desires. Platonic friendships come under even greater scrutiny when you’re in a committed relationship. Your significant other may feel jealous or insecure, or insinuate that there’s more to this situation than just camaraderie. It can be healthy to have a friend of the opposite sex to share perspective on how your actions may be affecting your mate or to get the point of view from the other gender.
The question is, how do you make sure your friendship remains strong as well as your relationship? Here are four ways to sustain both:
Inform your significant other that you have friends of the opposite sex so that it doesn’t come off as a surprise. Communication is key, and when you’re able to have conversations about the people in your life that matter, you don’t have to neglect your platonic friend that was there before your relationship. Keeping it in the dark can come off as sneaky and spark insecurities.
It can be uneasy meeting any friend of a significant other, but it can also be a new friendship in the making. Introducing your platonic friend to your boyfriend or girlfriend can alleviate some of the doubts and questions that may have existed.
Throw a game night or plan a brunch where your friends and your significant other will be able to mingle. You can casually introduce them to each other in a welcoming environment full of laughter, conversations, and chill vibes. Setting the right atmosphere helps put everyone at ease.
Balance Your Time
Before your relationship, maybe you hung out with your platonic friend a lot, grabbing a bite to eat or hitting different events together. There has to be respect for your relationship. By no means should you abandon your friends, but recognize that your quality time has to be re-prioritized.
For example, your significant other may want to go to a basketball game together, but your platonic friend also invited you out the same night to go to a movie. A decision will be have to made, do you go out with your significant other or your platonic friend? The choice is yours, but going out with your platonic friend may leave your significant other feeling that you value that friendship more than your own relationship, or that there is something more going on. Sometimes you will have to tell your platonic friend no, and that is okay. Whether it be talking on the phone every once in a while, hosting a potluck or kickback, going to happy hour, volunteering, or any number of other activities, there are plenty of ways to maintain friendships without interfering with your relationship.
Boundaries! Yes, you must set boundaries when it comes to platonic friendships. Although you may have no attractiveness towards your friend of the opposite sex, that doesn’t mean that they feel the same way about you.
There may be activities that can be deemed inappropriate to do with your platonic friend. These should be determined by having a conversation with your significant other on do’s and don’ts, regarding your friends to make sure that lines are not being crossed when spending time with them. Some boundaries you may want to set with your platonic friend are: no flirting, no physical touching, no sexual innuendos, a general best practice of not doing anything in private that you would not be able to do in public or in front of your significant other. If this friend can't abide by these boundaries, then are they really a platonic friend? Think about it.
These methods should make it a little easier to sustain both your relationships and platonic friendships. Remember that the most important part to maintaining a healthy balance is using your best judgment. If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments below.