WHAT ARE WE?

By Beardy Ed

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It is a warm breezy afternoon. Her hair gets blown back lightly revealing her bright hazel eyes. Your heart flutters a little. Goddamn she is pretty. Her perfume lingers in the air every time she gestures with her slim beautiful arms. You cherish each second of your short walk from church to your hostels. Each Sunday is magical whenever she is around. Her voice entrances you as she weaves in from one event to another relating her week to you. Adjectives cannot fully describe her countenance. “If I could get her the moon!” You believe you must be special since she seeks you out every time so that you can walk her back to her hostels. Sadly, your thought train is cut short by her goodbye as you part ways to your different residences. Damn it! Does the distance get chewed up short on Sundays? As you walk off to your room, a tiny smile flutters on your lips. Happiness, joy and longing well up in you.

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“What is love?” The question has been on your mind for the past six months. Should I also mention that coincidentally it is also the same period of time that Amy and you have been having this sort of ritual walk? Sure you have been to a number of events together but nothing beats the perfect afternoon weather with Amy walking beside you. You can tell you feel something for her but cannot pinpoint it.

I would like to confidently state I do not know the answer to the above question. Love is a complicated emotion that has baffled many. Trying to describe it is akin to subjecting a toddler to complex calculus principles. She/he is spellbound by the concepts but cannot grasp an inkling of whatever is being taught. Many have tried to define love but can only do so from a given perspective that does not encompass the true and complete definition. In today’s world, the term love is most commonly taken to mean the erotic/romantic kind. It is not my wish to discuss this over-hyped and overrated form. There are numerous books, articles, journals, writings, radio programs and TV shows on it. As such, I would like to tackle a type of love that has been in the shadows for far too long.

Platonic love is defined as an emotion that leads to a close non-sexual relationship between heterosexual individuals. Simply put, it is the mutual feeling of connection between heterosexual friends. The Aegean philosopher Plato first described it in ‘The theory of Eros (love)’. We all express this love towards our friends whether male or female. Bromance is a great example of this. However, the society of today has it all mixed up. This is especially true in male-female friendships. Stereotypes have led to the transmission of ideas that lead to dating and casual sex causing sentimental confusion. A lot of guys mistake platonic love for erotic love thus bringing about an awkward situation once they get to realize they feel different. However, this does not mean that platonic love does not evolve and morph into erotic love. It does but not all the time.

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Some of the important pointers that indicate your emotions towards someone are platonic include:

  • You love being around them more than with anyone else.
  • You try your best to make time for them.
  • You feel they understand you the most and best. They can literally read you like a book.
  • You are happy whenever conversing on the phone with them.
  • You keep pictures and souvenirs of them.
  • You try to include them in your plans such as hikes, events, camping etc.
  • You cannot picture a life without them.
  • You feel comfortable around them. Fights are more common and take longer to resolve between romantic lovers than between friends in a platonic relationship.
  • You are interested in their lives e.g. their joys, pet peeves.
  • You have a lot in common e.g. your love for football, your shared dislike for a certain innocent individual.
  • You can both have endless conversations where you share your deepest thoughts and desires punctuated with numerous light-hearted moments. The awkward silence never occurs.
  • They are the first recipients of news about your life and hot juicy gossip. Their opinion is very important to you.
  • People often mistake you as a couple.
  • You avoid flirting and intimacy. You do not feel guilty when flirting with other people nor jealous if they do so. Sexual feelings do not crop up whenever you are together and alone.
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How can we deepen these relationships? First, express your love. You can get them gifts that clearly communicate your intentions. Make them a friendship necklace or buy them a yellow rose on Valentine’s Day. Second, spend time together to strengthen the relationship. You can go out on a friendly date, try new activities together or just take a walk together. In addition, always try to support them in what they do no matter how menial. Lastly, in order to avoid any confusion, always define the relationship. Many might tag you in some nasty memes about being in the friend zone. It is not a cardinal sin to strictly be a best friend but it is disastrous to be in a sort of limbo in the ‘what are we?’ stage after a romping session. 

Love is not about wanting the other person to be yours, it is about wanting the other person to be happy – Vadim Kotelnikov.

More articles by Beardy Ed:

  1. Cyber Security
  2. Toxic Masculinity
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