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Friday, December 8, 2023

Platonic Relationships on Valentine’s Day

February 9, 2023
Nicholas Humphries

Why Friendship is as Important as Romantic Relationships

Nicholas Humphries

There are many relationships in existence: negative, positive, romantic, and platonic. While Valentine's Day typically focuses on romantic relationships, platonic relationships, or friendships, are just as important.  

There are several Greek words for love, including eros (romantic love), storge (family love), and agape (selfless love). But another term, philia, stands out as a basis for platonic relationships. “Philia is encouraging, kind, affectionate, and everything that makes up a true friendship. It is entirely platonic, yet both meaningful and sweet.” [1] 

Philia is wanting the greatest outcome for someone else. Wishing your roommate gets the best grade on a test or hoping for your friend who plays basketball to win the game shows a kind of love seen daily, but I would argue it is more important than romantic relationships. 

Romantic relationships are practiced between two people. Although these relationships are the most passionate and important in one’s life, they do not affect other people in such a way as friendships do. Friendships are held between two people, but those people usually have multiple friends, sometimes numbering the hundreds. Although romantic relationships can have a positive impact on the world, the number of platonic relationships seems to have a greater effect on our lives. 

Many people celebrate Palentine’s, which is a portmanteau of the words pal and Valentines. This celebration happens on or around Valentine’s Day to specifically celebrate love between friends. There are many benefits to celebrating and having friendships. One of the greatest benefits is to improve one’s health. Friendships boost mental health by “[increasing] your sense of belonging and purpose, [boosting] your happiness and [reducing] your stress, [improving] your self-confidence and self-worth.” [2] Additionally, friendships can have physical health benefits. “Adults with strong social connections have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure, and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). In fact, studies have found that older adults who have meaningful relationships and social support are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.” [3] 

Although having many friends is healthy, having meaningful relationships among a handful of friends is especially important. Taking time for friends is good to do. The thinking that “I don’t have time for friends now” is detrimental to relationships. Putting events on the calendar, using lunchtime to meet, and making get-togethers routine, are just a few ways you can ensure friendships last. [4]  

One of the best ways to keep in touch with friends who leave your vicinity is to call them on a regular basis, whether this be weekly, monthly, or another set period of time. Ultimately, a call can make a large difference in a friend’s life. 

The song “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers exemplifies the difference that friendships make in one’s life. 

“Sometimes in our lives 

We all have pain  

We all have sorrow 

But if we are wise 

We know that there's always tomorrow 


Lean on me 

When you're not strong 

And I'll be your friend 

I'll help you carry on 

For it won't be long 

Till I'm gonna need somebody to lean on.” [5] 

Although many of us might be involved in a romantic relationship this Valentine's Day, I challenge you to give friends the chance to lean on you. Take time for platonic relationships each day. The differences they make can last for a lifetime. 



  1. Rider, E. (n.d.) 7 Types of love (and what they mean). Elizabeth Rider. 
  2. The health benefits of good friends. (2022). Mayo Clinic. 
  3. Ibid. 
  4. Komar, M. (2016). 11 Ways to make more time for friends when your schedule gets busy. Bustle. 
  5. Withers, B. (1972). Lean on Me [Lyrics].  
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