Hi my name is Pankhuri, and I’m a Google Photos addict. With the pandemic, living in a different state than all of my friends, and the general wave of "I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them” has me constantly craving nostalgia. I find myself going through old videos of small, insignificant but tender moments we didn’t even realise we were recording. Whether it be my roommate and I softly humming songs as she played the ukulele, videos of us dancing badly in our pajamas, or a vlog of the night we made an entire box of strawberry custard 3 days before its expiry for dinner. All these little, affectionate moments of pure platonic intimacy still help me get through the lockdown. And they’ve helped me get through most things since.
Love has a tarnished reputation. In the midst of bad romances, flirting, passion, sex and the subsequent heartbreaks, we forget that love is more abstract and functional than just the hurt it harbours. It can be soft, healing, wholesome and helpful.
If the Beatles were right and all we indeed need is love, maybe most of it should come from the friendships we nurture and cherish. Platonic love is the foundation of most friendships. It’s described as love which is not motivated by sexual attraction, or even romantic attraction. In a world where there’s rampant over-sexualization of relationships and people — especially in pop culture narratives of finding ‘the one’' — we tend to overlook friendship soulmates. Sometimes it's bliss to just have pure, unadulterated affection without any expectations of physical attraction, awkwardness, and unspoken rules of dating.
There is so much to learn from platonic relationships! You have the same foundations of commitment, support, setting boundaries and understanding love languages.
You leave behind the expectation of finding ‘the one’ to complete you, understand your needs, and share your life. The concept of only having your partner for emotional support can and has led to the common ridiculed pattern of mostly men in heterosexual relationships — ‘manchilds’ treating their girlfriends as their ‘therapists.'
Patriarchy and toxic masculinity also comes with certain stigma around affectionate male friends or designated ‘bromances’. Hug your friends! Snuggle with them to watch movies, cry on their shoulder, go on lunch dates. And please, for the love of god, stop using ‘no homo’ as a defense mechanism for every time you get a little close for comfort.
Scrolling through Reddit at 3 in the morning, I saw a woman’s post asking if she was the as*hole for prioritizing her friends just like how her married friends prioritized their significant others. Somehow, people only expect you to put in effort into romantic partners. In my life, my friends were the ones who stuck around for the long, messy and broken haul that is life. So, I will go out of my way to let them know they’re appreciated.
I won’t lie to you, it has been difficult and sometimes even exhausting to keep up with friends during this time. With Zoom fatigue due to online lectures, I barely want to log in again to see my friends. However, it’s important to put in some work to nurture these friendships. All of us friends used to make cute cards for each other’s birthdays which have now improvised into rambly, cheesy birthday letters via email.
Last winter I planned a murder mystery game night with all characters being people we know and a very dumb plot to find the suspect. Or it could just be playing Ludo on a conference call till 4am, the effort doesn’t demand huge gestures but a genuine tenderness. In the end, a simple @desi.affirmation meme sent with a “this reminded me of you” text can be more than enough.
You shouldn’t have to wait till you get into a long term relationship to feel like you belong. Many a times ‘home’ is where the squad is. <3
Now that we're friends, tell me about your cute platonic moments! I'd love some ideas for my next game night.