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Thursday, December 7, 2023


Platonic relationships should be valued just as much as romantic ones

Two hands are clasped, a representation of platonic friendship

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

In the realm of pop culture and media, romantic relationships often take center stage. But in the process of prioritizing romance, it can be easy to miss the value of platonic connections.

Romantic relationships might be more exciting to portray, but platonic relationships should be depicted more because they are something everyone can relate to. They serve to remind us of bonds we have or have had and can be used to show important struggles like personal growth.

Platonic relationships resonate with viewers because we have all grown into the people we are due to the friendships we’ve had throughout our lives. These sorts of bonds, along with relationships like family bonds and mentorships, are fundamental in shaping the way we come to be.

One key example of how platonic relationships can be portrayed  is in the “Harry Potter” series. As the viewer watches the main characters forge friendships and grow together, they receive an opportunity to reflect on how they were in the past and who they are growing to be.

Real life Platonic relationships can enhance this feeling.  As we watch the camaraderie of the characters on screen, they remind us of the friendships we have in real life. Seeing ourselves helps us relate to the struggles and victories of the characters and enjoy the films even more.

Platonic relationships are about more than just friendships, though. They also include depictions of mentors, people who help the characters grow throughout their journey.

When we see the teamwork and vital role that characters like Hagrid, Sirius and Dumbledore play as mentors for Harry, it can similarly remind us of our real life teachers.

The viewer can relate even more to the media as they watch Harry and the others learn from those who are older and wiser. Their experiences as they face challenges, make mistakes and grow in tandem are made all the richer by how well these characters are written.

Overall friendships depicted in media remind us of how we are supported by those that care for us platonically and that we are not alone in our struggles.

This is not to say that romantic connections on screen cannot show us the same richness of personal growth and emotional strife.

But when media purely focuses on non-romantic connections, it also inspires us to appreciate the other connections we have in our lives aside from romance. Most importantly, good depictions remind us that all these relationships matter equally.

In some ways, friendships are building blocks. They help us develop over time and can actually help us grow so that we can have an equally rich romantic connection later on. 

Good depictions of platonic relationships can shine a light on the emotional depth of other forms of love. While it can be easy to think of love in a purely romantic sense, friendships can be just as valuable and emotionally rich as romantic relationships. 

Friendships represented through media can dismantle the idea that romantic love is paramount above other types of love. In including different types of bonds, a vast amount of people can further engage in the narratives put forward by pop culture and media. 

There is more in the equation than just nostalgia that keeps us going back to young adult movies (or books), after all. We tend to consume media that resonates with us, and fictional friendships can help remind us of the “good old days”. They stick to us like glue even as we grow older. 

Different types of portrayals of unconditional love bridge us from our places of isolation- watching in the third person- to seeing scenes in the first person. When done well, it’s almost as though we are living there with the characters, with our own unique experiences connecting us to the story.

Celebrating platonic relationships shines a broader light on human connection. It can lead to us recognizing that there are so many other relationships just as vital to us in our lives.

If the media content that we consume is a powerful influence on societal expectations and norms, then it should diversify by providing more representations of platonic relationships.

That way, perhaps many will further come to value their own friendships or the ones that they will eventually make. Whether it’s through moments of shared laughter or the tragedy of separation, good platonic relationship depictions can stick with a viewer for life.

HaiAn Hoang is a creative writing sophomore who can be reached at
[email protected]

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