Romantic vs platonic attraction?

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    Anna Jo

    Do any of you have tips on differentiating between romantic and platonic attraction? I’ve never been in a romantic relationship or really experienced those feelings since reaching adulthood, and I’m hoping there are aces here who are more perceptive than I!

    It seems like either my romantic feelings are very subdued or my platonic ones are a little stronger than I thought. For example, when one of my best friends texts me, I can’t help smiling. Sometimes it even feels like my heart jumps a little. I have no idea if this is normal for friendship, if it means I’m crushing on them or simply starved for attention. Looking back on my earlier life, there were people I thought were pretty and wished I could get to know and I’d feel very happy if they noticed me. Is that a common platonic experience as well or was I experiencing romantic attraction without realizing it?

    So I guess I’m asking for examples of how all of you feel in these scenarios. What’s it like when you text a friend versus a crush? How do you feel when you admire someone as a friend versus a prospective significant other?

    Misha Anastasia

    Honestly, I have a hard time distinguishing them too! I have very intense feelings for my friends and my romantic interests so sometimes I have to really think about it.

    I guess the easiest way for me to tell is to ask myself do I just want to give this person lots of hugs or kisses all over their face when I want to show them affection?

    Do I want to have this person sitting next to me on the couch every night while we’re both on our laptops not talking or do I want to go home and do that by myself at the end of the evening?

    I’m a bit starved for affection so when I do make friends I can get kind of attention greedy – I’m working on it – so I try to ask myself if their attention is something I want in doses or ALL the time?

    Maybe try asking yourself what you would want to do with a romantic partner that you WOULD NOT want to do with a friend?


    The discrete (separate and distinct) nature of these feelings should distinguish itself slowly, over time, as you truly come to know the significance of another person, I.e. who is this person, inside? The initial feelings of attraction that we as humans feel, when encountering another, do come in different forms; but they can become a bit jumbled up in the beginning stages of ‘getting to know someone’. Again, when truly making an effort to foster a relationship with another person, the nature of that relationship should reveal itself naturally to you with time – as a casual acquaintance, a close friend (strictly platonic), or as a romantic partner.

    Also, Misha: You raise an excellent point when you say that you have to ‘think about it’. That is a key component, as it’s easy to get swept up in an initial whirlwind of emotions when encountering another. Far too often, folks are led, blindly, by these initial feelings of attraction. Only later does the mind (source of our thoughts) catch up, at which point many folks ask themselves, “What was I thinking?!” The answer to that would be, “That’s just the problem; you weren’t thinking.” 😬

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Let'sBeReal.

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