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  • Natalie Garcia
    Natalie Garcia

    The Fine Line Between Friendship and Romance


    Friendship and Romance - how entwined can they be? Many believe that the two cannot exist within the same relationship, while others may insist they do. There is a complicated intermediate state between friendship and romance which many of us find ourselves in but it's one we struggle to define. Even though it's hard to categorize, it frequently manifests as deep emotional connections between two people and often populates with uncertainty and questions. What does this distinction mean for our relationships?

    There's an obscure understanding between the two entities in which their respective characteristics overlap and blossoms into an indeterminate union. It's something that on face value appears incompatible but works so incredibly well yet brings a sense of insecurity. We become attached to someone but at the same time uncertain about what lies ahead and this makes us question what will happen to the relationship if it continues down a path of mutual attractions. Does stepping over the friendship threshold mean that there is no going back? Or can we explore our newly formed connection whilst preserving the sanctity of platonic friendships?

    The relationship blur has increasingly gained prominence in the modern world but remains relatively unexamined despite becoming a significant commonality within modern social life. Our relationships are blurring the line because friendships often contain intimate elements such as interacting regularly, enjoying each other's company, having meaningful conversations and ultimately developing strong emotional bonds; all of which can be equally as common in romantic relationships. Some scientists suggest that these situations complicate our lives due to being unable to clearly differentiate between both types of relationships leaving us underdeveloped when it comes to having an understanding or narrative of what our dynamic actually is.

    Niall Gooch from Ideas Lab states "Often 'platonic' relationships have a lot of attractive elements in them - warmth, intimacy, security -which you naturally seek out in more committed relationships. Sometimes with a friend you end up free-loading on positive emotions associated with romance - but not taking the risk inherent in declaring your love." This suggests that when developing deep emotional cordiality with someone we can be overwhelmed with warmth and intimacy, triggering romance-like feelings yet remain unready to commit to that steadiness/risk. We oppose redefining the dynamic that gave us comfort although these deepened feelings creep in provoking a tug-of-war scenario between both volatile states.

    In any case, why should either label even matter? It is understandable why boundaries can become blurred, especially when talking about closeness and bonding. The delineation introduces unwelcoming expectations thus silencing openhearted conversations and alternative outcomes. Moreover, different individuals respond differently in various situations leading them to unapologetically break down any identified thresholds or establish them as strictly separate domains of being.

    For some, exploring this further can mean taking uncomfortable risks which lead them to confront issues such as whether a relationship should remain platonic or if it would become something beautiful – A comforting and exploratory haven for both people involved in which their respective needs are met with communication and an acknowledgment of their individualism displayed through compassion. Whilst there are no defined rules in answering the inexorable crossroads that come up at the junction of friendship and romance, sometimes figuring out the elusive navigation is entirely necessary in order to understand how a genuine affinity of two souls can breach both spiritual and physical planes without upsetting either boundary or neither crossing it where emotionality should hold a safe haven for expressing the strong bond within one entity.

    Dr Iris Murdoch, the philosopher and novelist articulates the notion that "We can all hear the call of love unreservedly, yet at the same time keep free from being swept away into mere possessiveness". This asserts that by acknowledging and properly respecting each classification within every relationship that combines both strands, we are giving each other as well as ourselves time to be exposed to vulnerabilities before making permanent decisions about one another's existence. Love bloomed from friendship carries a dozen heady benefits such as familiarity with one another, trustworthiness and openness since we already lay down foundations of shared interests. On top of this, we feel liberated to explore the unknown with an unlimited amount of care knowing we have each other's unconditional support thus allowing us to express even the furtive most desires without fear of judgment or ridicule.

    At its core, having blurred lines come hand in hand with chaos and awkwardness that sometimes reveals itself not as desirable outcome; but instead a requirement towards actively growing towards personal happiness and that of our significant other's. Irrespective of whichever state we decide to take our shared connection too, strict lines don't constitute an answer or service people right – what really matters is finding a way to balance each other's expectations without completely erasing our fortitude hence transforming into wholesome friendships built on undivided honesty and true admiration.

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