The Platonic Relationship – Amani Day

RHS is a co-educational school. Some – and by some, I mean those who have transferred from only girls schools – see this as a prime opportunity to establish those stereotypical teenage romances that are brainwashed into our minds before we even get to high school, in films such as “10 Things I Hate About You” and the timeless classic ‘Mean Girls’. For others, we delve into what some only believe to be a myth… the platonic relationship.

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Mean Girls

My friendship group/homies/squad/gaggle, whatever this generation wants to call it, has the female to male ratio of 1:4. This ensures that at any given moment I am either in the presence of the male species, or in some form of contact with them. Now I love this fact. I like to believe that over time I have handpicked the strangest, most eccentric and widely diverse group of people, and forced them into a loving alliance until they accepted it and cherished it. Guy wise, this includes (but is not limited to): a giant, a now legal adult who has taken up his authority to the extent of acting like a forty-something year old man, a soundcloud rapper, and an old soul in the form of a Year 10 choir boy. Being extremely close to such a varied group of people means that I get to exert my friendship in a variety of different ways. In metamorphisis-esque style, I often shift between being ‘the mum friend’ – where I proceed to knock on the windows of those living on the ground floor until the occupant of the (hopefully correct) room opens up to the 8.01 cm limit the catch allows in order to smuggle through chocolate bars, and in the most extreme measure an uncooked steak – to the wingwoman, the general encyclopaedia of “wait…do girls do this”, and on occasion a human pillow because hugs are important.

I know, due to the amount of times I have to explain that I am in fact not dating any of the awkward group of individuals that I call my friends, that male/female friendships are often mistaken as being romantic. But gossip isn’t exclusive to just the student body. Oh no, sometimes even matrons can be the culprits. I have witnessed the thought processes of my own dear matron, whom I love dearly, after she realises that there is yet another different boy signing in under my name this week. At first it is confusion; she now has doubts in her observations that I may be seeing a member of Hawke; she probably has to put in a mental reminder to text Ms Wilby and inform her of the error. The second is the involuntary thought that perhaps she wasn’t wrong with her first theory, maybe a drama is unfolding in Holbrook’s suburban grounds; is matron morally obliged to tell anyone? Who knows. The tension rises as she continues to sit on Hood’s sofa, wide eyes glossing over like a rabbit in headlights. While the final conclusion is acceptance, eyebrows become unfurrowed as a lack of judgement is now to be seen on her face as she decides that there are more important things to worry about than the life of a sixteen-year-old; none of this is needed, but it is appreciated nevertheless.

The reason why people seem to believe that men and women cannot be friends without the blossoming of a romance – as if that hasn’t been overused as a plot device – stems from heteronormativity, and for the sake of my sanity please may we avoid it like the plague. In fact, please take this as an official statement that when I am blatantly stealing food off their tray, or using them for warmth, I am neither flirting nor showing affection; I am simply cashing in my reward after spending the majority of the year being supportive over the ‘stresses’ of life before GCSEs, and the dire importance of a good Instagram caption.


when harry met sally
Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal getting… ‘friendly’.

Just to clear it up, while I personally do not believe it exists, the ‘friendzone’ is definitely not involved in a single case with my male dominated flock of sorts. They were pretty well informed early on in our relationship of certain preferences of mine which they couldn’t even consider being; and have been content in knowing that the extent of our relationship is a mess date with at least four other people, and a love that doesn’t involve a future of marriage or children. However, romance that stems from friendships is definitely not uncommon, especially when half of our friends are hoping that certain members of the group will realise that they harbour special love feelings for each other. The 1989 hit film, “When Harry met Sally”, was based around the theory that men and women could not have a strictly platonic relationship; but why does this society deny us an unromanticised human connection? An advantage that I have found with having the opposite sex as close friends is having a greater understanding of the world as you get a chance to view things from someone else’s perspectives.

Establishing the importance of platonic relationships between men and women, especially during our school lives is very important as it reduces young people’s beliefs that they have to seek out romantic relationships in order to be happy, and therefore prevents young people growing up too fast to conform to the media’s portrayal of teenagers in, and constantly being worried about relationships. One of the advantages of schools that utilise co-education is that it gives males and females the chance to integrate and familiarise themselves with each other, which will increase the chances of platonic relationships between them. This makes life easier later on, as it helps people to learn to maintain their friendships, as well as decreasing the chance of people reducing their personal identity to one of someone’s romantic partner.

7 thoughts on “The Platonic Relationship – Amani Day

  • May 18, 2016 at 11:29 am

    This is a very good and humorous article Amani! Thanks for addressing the issue that has been frustrating me for such a long time.

  • May 18, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Platonic relationships certainly are possible – they’re just not very interesting. Who would be that bothered if Romeo & Juliet were just friends…

    • May 19, 2016 at 10:29 am

      I believe the play still would have been dramatic seeming that their friendship would have had difficulties due to the Montague/Capulet feud. I suppose that the advantage would be less death 🙂

  • May 19, 2016 at 10:30 am

    One could argue that if Romeo and Juliet were just friends they would not be dead, Mr Gould.

  • May 20, 2016 at 7:53 am

    In a tragic context, surely death is a good thing?

    • May 20, 2016 at 8:25 am

      In a tragic context, death is, arguably, entirely necessary. In Shakespearean terms, for it to be tragic, you’ve gotta have a bit of death. However, in “real life”, although it’s just as inevitable, I would suggest that very few people think it boring if they don’t encounter a vast number of dying people. So perhaps the real question comes back to the old classic: does art imitate life or vice versa? Or, even more importantly, should art imitate life or vice versa?

    • May 20, 2016 at 10:07 am

      Seeming as my article was about platonic relationships in everyday life, I think your comment is out of context as no one would applaud death in real life for the drama which comes with the theme of tragedy.

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