Platonic relationships

Friendship is constant

In all things,

Save in the office

And affairs of love.

— Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Yes indeed, friendship is constant, except in the office and affairs of love. That has proven to be true so many times, for in the office there is often rivalry for position, promotion, status, authority. As for affairs of love, most times there is no room for friendship, for extreme emotions come into play.

Then, of course, there are affairs of love in the office, where friendship takes a beating and a back seat. But one area where you can have a good friendship with someone of the opposite sex and there is no jealousy, no rivalry, no heartache, and no emotional turmoil is a platonic relationship.

A platonic relationship is one where people share a close bond, but not have a sexual relationship, says the dictionary. The term is named after the Greek philosopher Plato, though he never used the term itself.

Sounds mighty improbable huh, impossible even, even downright crazy, but it has been known to happen.

Is it possible, is it feasible, is it practical or workable in this modern-day sex-infused world where relationships come and go and are as fickle as a scammer? We'll find out right after these responses to my take on 'Wish list'.

Hi Tony,

I have long stopped making new year wishes, having retired from work 13 years ago. I have no need for career wishes and personal wishes are meaningless as they are never effective or actively acted upon, and if any effort is made to carry out the wish, the effort is short-lived. My only wish is not a new year wish, but a resolution that requires action and determination, and that is to eat healthier foods and exercise more. A long and healthy life is all I wish for.


Pickering, Ontario, Canada

Hey Tony,

Put your wish upon a star and a million dollars will magically appear. A wish is merely a hope for something to happen without making any effort to get it. As a result, wishes are pointless and meaningless. It's better to put your nose to the grindstone and work for what you want. Even the Bible says that the Lord helps those who help themselves. So you can pray and you can wish, but you have to put in the work.


A few days ago I was listening to The Two Live Crew with Dhalia Harris and Christopher “Johnny” Daley on RJR. They were discussing the issue of platonic relationships. It's a topic that's right up my street, so they had my rapt attention. As I listened, I realised that they shared most of the views that I had on the subject, so I decided to explore it some more.

Many people simply do not think that it's possible to have a close relationship with someone of the opposite sex and there is no physical activity going on between them, no sex involved.

“You mean to tell me say that strong, young, handsome man and that beautiful lady are just friends? Yeah right.”

See, it's almost always met with a snide cynical response, as it basically defies all the laws of nature, logic and basic common sense. But it really does happen. The question is though, is it sustainable?

Speaking from personal experience, I have had platonic relationships with many women in my much younger years. But that's because even from an early age most of my friends were female and for some reason I could easily relate to them and they to me. Maybe that's why I'm so in tune with my feminine side and am able to express the moods and feelings from the female perspective.

One drawback though, is that on some occasions that platonic wall gets breached and the friendship is in jeopardy. That's because platonic and romantic don't mix. They're like oil and water, fire and rain, immiscible objects that have no place in the same room.

One reason is that when they were just friends without any sexual emotional bonds they shared the most intimate elements of their lives, their secrets, their fears, their desires. I remember platonic friends of the past telling me about boyfriends that they would love to be involved with and asked my opinion on the matter.

I even remember one who was being courted by two men and she asked me which one I thought would be more suitable for her. I duly advised her and gave my honest opinion. That's how close we were. The danger lies, though, is when that platonic relationship morphs into a sexual one, for sometimes people should not know too much about each other. There should be some mystery, some mystique in the relationship. Very often too much information works against them.

Even when the platonic relationship is pure and true, there is often pressure from the outside. Let's face it, would you, could you, should you tolerate a platonic relationship between your spouse and a member of the opposite sex? Could you have your wife having a best friend who is a man, and would you relish the thought of your man having a platonic relationship with a beautiful woman?

The external pressure is intense, so after a while the platonic relationship is bound to suffer.

“I'm sorry, but we have to stop being friends, my husband doesn't approve of our platonic relationship.”

Heck, even now I remember my good bredrin cussing me off because I used to phone his house and when his wife answered the phone we would chat for a bit before he came on the line.

“Listen, Tony Robinson, I don't want you and mi wife chatting too much yu nuh, I know yu, I know yu.”

That feeling may be justified, as sometimes that platonic relationship takes precedence over the real relationship and starts to squeeze it out. The spouse now feels neglected. As Dahlia and Johnny said on the radio programme, when that platonic friend starts to seem more important than the spouse, then that spells trouble.

The term that they used was 'office wife' or 'office husband'. That's the unofficial wife or husband who's at the office, as opposed to the real one at home.

“He shares more details of his life with her than he does with me.”

“She prefers to be at work with him rather than come home early.”

Maybe that's why many spouses fear the relationships between bosses and secretaries, even though there's nothing going on. The thing is though, sometimes it does develop into something more than platonic, and that's where the danger lies.

But even though the relationship is platonic, and there is no romance or sex involved, the potential is there, and that closeness can impact on the other spouse who feels slighted, left out and even anxious.

What if the person involved in the platonic relationship has no significant other? Still, there are rules to follow, for there is a thin line, a fragile wall, a vulnerable levee that can be breached in a flash.

With the platonic relationship there has to be a hands off policy, no intimate touching, no caressing, no kissing, no sleeping in the same bed. Any one of these and definitely all of these can lead to sex, and wham, there goes the platonic relationship.

At times, too, one friend really wants the relationship to be platonic, but the other has other motives and is just biding their time until the moment is opportune. It's like watching a mango on a tree and acting as if you aren't interested, then it ripens and you first jump and pick it. Men have been known to do this, as they get close to women under the guise of platonic friendship, only to win her trust, confidence, and then whoosh, he strikes like a cobra.

“Come baby, it's time we take it to another level.”

It's much easier to be involved in a platonic relationship if both parties are asexual. There are people who have absolutely no interest in sexual activity, so it's no problem and no pressure to be involved in a platonic relationship. In fact, every relationship that they have been involved with was platonic.

“Man, she pretty like cook food and look sexy as a go-go dancer, but she has no interest in sex.”

It's also easy if one person in the platonic relationship is gay, and I know of quite a few of those, where the gay man and the heterosexual woman have a platonic relationship for many years.

Ironically, when I discussed the subject of platonic relationships with some people, many husbands could relate and said, “But that describe my relationship with my wife.” Ah bwoy, what can I say, you open one Pandora's box, and so many crosses fly out.

More time.

Footnote: There are people in life who are sad for one reason or another, and justifiably so, for life can deal some cruel blows. But some embrace this sadness and refuse to try and emerge from it, preferring to be immersed permanently. As I related a sad experience of someone I know to a good friend of mine, he said to me, “Sadness is a part of life, but suffering in it is an option. No matter how you try to lift the person out of their doldrums, they resist and reject and prefer to suffer forever.”

Switching gears, the legendary Franklin Bowla Morant of KC fame was having some health problems recently. Bowla is the only person in schoolboy history to be on winning Champs, Manning Cup and Sunlight Cup cricket teams, in one school year too. We wish him a speedy recovery. Fortis, Bowla.

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