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BF’ or BFF’s: are platonic relationships more important?

By Victoria Curley

What does it mean to have a platonic soulmate and how do they compare to romantic partners?

You hear stories of couples who sat next to each other in their first seminar, or were flatmates in their first year, or met at a football social and the rest is history. A history that’s retold and romanticised to naïve teenagers eagerly awaiting their turn. University has been sold to us as the soulmate mating ground, and frankly, I’d like a refund. 

Are you really experiencing uni at its best by being in a relationship? I’m not so sure. The budgets we’re all constrained by don’t exactly accommodate for three dates a week, a movie and the occasional gift. Of course, this is under the assumption your partner actually treats you correctly – apologies if I’ve just caused an argument. However, these kinds of expenses split five ways instead of two are much more manageable. The friends you surround yourself with not only make your life cheaper but more spontaneous. Living with guys I have to convince with food to take out the bins, coffee outings with neighbours, and attempting to sneak a free carrier bag at Lidl with them, with people that now feel like family, compares to any connection that could impact my University experience in the way that a romantic partner would. The love for living with mates is one of a kind.  

This begs the question; can a platonic soulmate be all you need? Jake Peralta and Charles Boyle. Phoebe Buffay and Joey Tribbiani. Jo March and Theodore Laurence. Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. The list is endless. We’ve been exposed to countless pairings of platonic soulmates and falling as deeply in love with them as if they were a couple throughout our whole lives, in all genres. We base some of our ideals on these examples of platonic relationships. 

In most cases we would say this is my “best friend” – hopefully the numbers are dwindling on people saying “bff,” – but I think people assume that this is different to a soulmate. Is it? For me, I have friends from home, recently met friends at uni, family friends, and gap year friends. At each point in time these groups of people were my plans, my therapists and my fun. I received much more from them than I would from a boyfriend or girlfriend. But these were points in time, they didn’t last forever, the friendships do, but sometimes the intimacy gets lost. I would call my best friends (people I consider my platonic soulmates), people who I place higher than normal friendships. I’ve had them through single and taken life and the relationships haven’t been lost. But I’ve never considered them my life partners, mostly because I have more than one. But also, because the only mentioned time this was brought up was a marriage agreement if we’re both single at 30. Do people really commit to doing life completely with a non-romantic partner, or are there sacrifices that only lovers commit to making it work? 

All examples listed above show characters who love one another yet in every example both parties found happiness and true love in romantic relationships as well. I would also say that having a platonic soulmate and not being able to gossip and discuss each other’s love lives would make for interesting conversations and perhaps a lack of closeness. Part of having someone there is to share the ups and downs in your life, which often do arise from romance. I personally don’t think I could be trading a platonic soulmate for a boyfriend anytime soon. I’m able to juggle both relationships if they occur and be equally if not happier. Why choose one or the other? Maybe at University the best thing to focus on is yourself rather than others. 

The way I see it? You should think of a best friend, your platonic soulmate, as a pillar in your life, to hold the house up you’re going to need more than one, and perhaps one that’s potentially romantic. I say the more people in your life the better.       


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