Intimacy belongs in friendships and platonic relationships too. Essentially, intimacy in platonic relationships, or platonic love, is non-sexual intimacy. A heightened sense of platonic intimacy is about celebrating and not dismissing the power of vulnerable affection. Societally speaking, there has been quite a defined line between platonic and romantic relationships. It seems that in society, one clearly holds more importance in the grand scheme of relationships. What if there was another way to engage in friendship? A decidedly more intimate and vulnerable way.

What does intimacy in platonic relationships look like?

Intimacy in platonic relationships takes many shapes. The highly romantic, intoxicating feeling of being connected to someone intimately exists beyond a romantic partner. In the same way that you can have multiple soul ties, you express intimacy in many different ways. Companionship, in any form, has intimacy at the center. Typically, the love shared between friends is not praised or put on a pedestal as much as intimacy between lovers. Placing the highest value on romantic relationships may lead to excluding yourself from the depths of what your intimate friendships may look like. Often, romantic relationships, long-term and otherwise, can be fleeting and subject to change. Your bestie may be a constant in your life and embracing that intimacy may even strengthen that friendship.

The tactile and sensory element of friendships is one way to lean into platonic intimacy. Particularly after years of lockdown and non-physical ways of navigating life and relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic, many have placed a higher value on platonic touch. Otherwise, platonic intimacy is about fostering vulnerability to deepen the relationship and release expectations. It’s about treating your platonic bonds with as much excitement as you do a new boo.

How to improve platonic intimacy

Learn your friend’s love languages

Just as you would prioritize learning your partner’s love language, get to know your friend’s love languages. Making an intentional effort to ensure that your speaking your friend’s language as fluently as you might a romantic partners, is definitely worth the while. Check out these simple ideas to making your friend feel fully loved according to their love language: 

Quality time: Plan a date somewhere new for you and your friend, where you can catch up uninterrupted in a new place that might become your new spot.

Words of Affirmation: Write them an unexpected message letting them know they’re appreciated. 

Physical Touch: Self-care spa day together, somewhere that speaks to all the senses.  

Acts of Service: Are they having a busy week? Offer to help them tick something off their list or cook them dinner. This way they have one less thing to worry about.

Gifts: Pay attention to what is on their wish list and surprise them with a gift that show’s you pay attention to them. 

Routine maintenance

Paying attention to emotional, mental and spiritual wellness are all ways to ensure that you’re on top of the intimacy in platonic friendships. Intimacy takes time and effort. As life happens and you evolve as people, the way you show up intimately in the friendship will too. The closer you become in your friendship, the more you’ll be able find a routine that works for your schedules and intimacy styles.

Destigmatize platonic intimacy

Intimacy does not mean sex. It is necessary for friendships to have a protected and valued sense of intimacy. If anything, intimacy strengthens friendships and creates deeper bonds. Think making your friend feel held/seen through touch, embracing, hugging, and giving non-sexual kisses. This level of physical touch, when natural and consented, helps create feelings of intimacy and safety. 

Express your love

Normalize saying ‘I love you’ to your pals. It’s another way to destigmatize intimacy and redefine what and how romance exists in your life. Open up and telling your friends how much you adore and love them. 

Related: 8 Ways To Strengthen Your Long-Distance Friendship