Platonic?

Don't pretend the energy isn't there.


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Comments (45)

(45) clara amram, April 6, 2009 3:51 AM

Lori you speak in such a nice,practical and realistic way that it is a real pleasure to listen and to learn from you! Thank you very much for your wise advices

Dear Lori, You speak in such an easy,practical and realistic way that i could listen to you for hours.It is a real pleasure to learn form you. Thank you for your wise advices!Hag Sameah and all the best!

(44) James, February 28, 2009 2:40 PM

boy/girl platonic friendship is just that--friendship

I've been the close friend to many women over my 57 years of living and even though I've listened to many a problem and have "been there" many a times, I've never have been viewed by any of these women as being in something other than a friendship, even when asked by me or by someone else. I'm still friends with many of these women. I guess the philosophy is that when you finally find someone whom, not only can you trust with your most guarded self, and will be there for you whenever needed, why ruin it with a relationship?

(43) Gary Katz, February 19, 2009 8:04 AM

Different categories

Of course many platonic friendships involve one person having asymmetric feelings for the other. However, this "energy" tends to peter out, and the friendship evolves into purely platonic. Every case is different, naturally.

(42) Dvirah, February 11, 2009 9:42 AM

Just to clarify...(piqued a bit)

I see after reading more comments that the assumption is that for a platonic relationship the woman must be unattractive. It is not so - first, physical attaction does not always depend on classical or current standards of beauty and second,I've seen many cases of handsome and plain being attracted to each other enough to marry. I myself have had enough offers to know that I am not unattractive, so this man's "no" was not due to that cause!

(41) Dvirah, February 11, 2009 9:28 AM

Who jumps?

While I do not mean to dispute Lori's statement, I wish to tell of a time I did ask a male friend (not a boyfriend) if he wanted to take our relationship further romantically and he said "no" - so it does happen that not all men jump at the chance to be romantically involved with a woman they like platonically. We are "just friends" to this day - but are careful to keep a certain physical distance between us anyway.

(40) Anonymous, February 8, 2009 10:21 PM

how can this kind of relationship be platonic? maybe the girl thinks it is, but why does he want to be friends with her in the first place!?

(39) Pepe, February 7, 2009 1:48 AM

She is so right!

I kindda got mad while listening to her words. But, she is perfectly right! Energy between two people of the oposite sex doesn't discern there is God,it doesn't recognize the holyness of God. Thank you for sharing that Lori

(38) Eric S., February 6, 2009 12:46 PM

Lori, you''ve nailed this subject on the head!

You''ve mentioned the instance where a friendship between a man and a woman could be taken to the next level. In your case, the woman proposed that the man take it to the next level, and he jumped on the chance. I asked a Jewish and single woman who I''ve known since I was in primary school if she''d like to slowly get to know me and vise versa and she told me that this was a smart move! Men and women can''t purely be platonic, I agree, there''s a good energy between the sexes. If you feel it''s there, go for it, life is short and must be lived!

(37) Marc, February 6, 2009 12:48 AM

Correct!

I can't beleive we have so many people arguing with Lori this week! Its a touchy topic for all these folks who think women and men should be mingling! I hate to tell you all but this is not Lori's feeling, this is the Torah's Way of dealing with men and women. All the laws of yichud and tznius (there are other reasons for tznius as well).... are based on the fact that we are worried that there might be a illicit relationship. If you people would look into the gemara and rishonim and learn hilchos yichud in shulchan orech, you would see that the issur of yichud, being alone in the same room as a woman (with locked doors and other requirments) is a problem by people of any age- from as young as under bat/bar mitzva (that is being nice, because many sages say that even younger is a problem) to 120 yrs old! (there is a special permission given to old, sick people who need help....) So let us not be fast at making decisions about how much we know in this area until we know what the torah has to say about it. The torah warns us "lo sikrivu l'galos ervah" don't come at all close to illicit relationships, which forbids us from being even in the same room, certainly to develop a relationship is not good. At least we should try to look after same sex people for help in our daily life or spiritual! Thank you Lori as always.

(36) Ronni, February 5, 2009 10:51 PM

Agree

It seems some people feel threatened that their "platonic" relationship just might not be. I've had many so-called platonic relationships and there is no denying that even when the other one is unattractive we still enjoy the affect we have on them be it emotional or physical, we like getting the opposite sex's real opinions knowing they don't have the nerve to take it to the next level and so you'll get a different answer from them than you could expect from someone that you're dating(or did you really think that your feelings are mutual?!). This relationship might be good for you but it isn't necessarily good for the other person so if you were really kind you'd break it off so you both can stop getting emotional satisfaction with a relationship that isn't going anywhere which will in turn make you both seek out someone that will truly be your better half and stick to same sex relationships for simple friendships. From a reformed "I'm your sister, best friend, cousin, or whatever makes you happy, serial non-dater" who is thankfully married and has seen the light.

(35) Shmuel Zev, February 5, 2009 5:39 PM

Support for Lori

Several years ago, I heard about the following discussion between a Rabi and his student which is relevant to your article. Rabbi: I heard you intend on going to a certain party. Student: Yes, I plan to. Rabbi: I heard there are often immodestly clad women there. Student: That is true, but I can assure you I am not affected by them Rabbi: Oiy, you must be unwell. The point of the story is that the normative state of existence involves an attraction between members of opposite gender. This is why Judaism is so careful about preserving laws of separation between men and women. A person who does not have a healthy emotional constitution would not have a normal reaction. But there is a more plausible explanation. We are simply inundated by attractive bodies from the opposite gender. Whether on TV, internet, newspaper ads of women in undergarments, or city streets – we are surrounded. So our threshold has been challenged many times and our sensitivities are burned out. We can go to the beach in the summer and hardly notice the immodesty around us. Is that normal? The Torah wants to make the man-woman relationship unique for husband-wife. The laws of modesty and family purity accomplish this. Our rationalizations and common every day experiences in this area sometimes go against Torah ideals. It’s a sorry state. Years ago, I had to meet an attractive account executive on some business. As we parted, she extended her hand. I politely did not shake it. She asked for an explanation. I told her that my wife is at home. She’s busy tending a family of kids, and has no time to work out in the gym or dress to kill. She can not have her hair done and nails polished, and manage household tasks at the same time. She’s too busy to go to school at night, and be up on the latest technologies and advancements. Yet I love her for what she is and what she does. If I limit my verbal and physical contact with younger, more attractive women, then my marriage is safe and preserved. When I discuss and share with my wife, I strengthen the bridge bonding us. If I am not careful with others, then I am a man like any other man, and perhaps in a weak moment I might make a bad decision. The executive understood me completely.

(34) gitty, February 5, 2009 4:22 PM

Torah's stance on platonic relationships

You can disagree with Lori all you want, but to discredit the Torah because of it is simply ridiculous. The Torah doesn't imply that EVERY platonic relationship is a farce from the onset, but the One who created us knows very well about the complex relationships between male and female and about how these feelings can change over time, and under certain circumstances CAN develop into something totally different. So, like with many areas of life, the Torah sets up certain boundaries in order to protect us from the pain and upheaval that improper relationships can bring into our lives. The Torah, for example, teaches us Laws of Yichud. (When males and females musn't be alone together without a chaperone) The Torah does not differentiate these laws from anybody to the greatest of Rabbis. Why? Because the Torah knows, not what WILL happen every time, G-d Forbid, but what COULD happen, given the circumstances. It's the same thing here. Lori is saying, I believe, that given certain circumstances, any "platonic" relationship could change into something else due to the natural electricity that occurs between male and female. If you're TRULY honest with yourself, you will have to agree.

(33) Marilyn Clarey, February 5, 2009 12:27 PM

You are absolutely right on the mark!

Thank you, Lori, for having the courage to speak this truth. Had I understood this in my youth, and had healthy boundaries in place, I would have spared myself (and others) a lot of heartache. It's so important to look well to the way we're going, and not just follow along with the popular culture.

(32) Nancy, February 5, 2009 10:41 AM

I couldn't disagree with this more. There may very well be many individuals who are incapable of having platonic relationships with members of the opposite sex. But to make a blanket statement like that for the whole world? It's not for anyone else to say how other people feel or would feel. It's a chutzpah to think you do.

(31) King of all Jews, February 5, 2009 9:00 AM

Platonic is hard not impossible

In most cases there is an underlying sexual tension between "platonic" friends of the opposite sex. This is especially true if at one time they were romantic and then the romance "disappeared". However, as one man here commented, if the woman is not good looking, the sexual feelings are not there or are at a very low ebb. One woman here said that she does not experience these feelings around her male acquaintances. Probably the feeling is sytronger in men

(30) Shlomo Silverstein, February 5, 2009 6:38 AM

You are 95% correct but there are exceptions

I agree with Lori that the vast majority of so called platonic relationships are only because the boy hasn''t made "the move" yet. However I was in a true platonic relationship with a girl for about 5 years. I eventually married a close friend of hers and after a year of marriage, decided, after talking to my Rav, that I had to severe this platonic relationship for the sake of my marriage.

We met at a party. We got talking about all sorts of things. I was in the first stages of becoming Ba''al Tshuva. I was 24, single and just made Aliyah. She was about 3 years older than me but we hit it off intellectually immediately. She invited me along with others to her home for a group Shabbat. This became regular. Our relationship strengthened. She became like my older sister. She taught me about kashrus and about hilchos Shabbos. She was FFB and taught me how to learn Chumosh with Rashi. We became very close seeking each other''s company and advice on many subjects including my girlfriends and her boyfriends. At no time whatsoever did I even consider her in a "romantic" way. Honestly!!! I never did. She wasn''t unattractive, just not my type physically. I always assumed she felt the same way. I trusted her more than anyone in the world for advice. My wife and I were learning to adjust to our new married status and there were arguments and fights occasionally. When things got too heated I would get in the car and end up at my best friend''s home. We''d chat for hours over coffee and cake and she always seemed to know just what to say to make the world seem better. I knew that this was not healthy though. After talking to my Rav and after hours of heart ache I wrote her a letter and told her I could not see her *or* speak to her again. She phoned many times. I was "always out" when she called. I know I hurt her and she did not understand what I was doing. She told others that she thought I had turned Chareidi and extreme. It was difficult at first. I felt a huge part of my life was missing. I felt guilt and pain for a quite a few years after. I heard she had married. I''m happy for her. My wife and I have been happily married now for 16 years Baruch Hashem with four lovely kids. My wife is now my best friend. That''s how it''s supposed to be. I still think about my friend occasionally and remember things she said that changed the way I look at the world. I did the right thing though.

(29) Gavin, February 5, 2009 5:45 AM

Not living in the real world

Absolutely men and woman can have a friendship. I think its naive at best to think otherwise. Nothing is absolute and to make absolute statements just puts one on the defense as it is so easy to disprove. Just state your agenda that you DON'T want men and women to be friends as you are afraid that things will develop, but don't say that's impossible because many people watching your video has had really good friendships with the opposite sex, and it only discredits the Torah when we CAN prove such statements to be false!!!

(28) Anonymous, February 5, 2009 5:33 AM

Thanks

Thanks. Your article has reminded me of my own thoughts (I could not agree more with you) and made me wonder if my behavor is compliant with what I believe. As a woman, I think we sometimes enjoy this power over man and use it to reinforce our ego... First of all, we need to be councious about it. Deny won't help it.

(27) Anonymous, February 4, 2009 6:30 PM

There is such a thing as a platonic relationship

I agree with Lori in principle but there is actually one place I can think of where there is a true platonic relationship and that is between a handsome guy and a really unattractive girl. That is the kind of relationship where if the girl were to ask the guy to take the relationship to the next level, the guy would squirm and fidget and say no. He would say something like "I just want to be friends with you, nothing else, let''s not ruin our special friendship by making this into something else..." I know because I had to use that line a number of times with girls I was a true friend to, but wanted nothing from them romantically whatsoever.

(26) judy, February 4, 2009 12:56 PM

I gues ya could call this article....

(Lori) Palatonic

(25) Tsofiya, February 4, 2009 12:37 PM

I agree with Lori

I've recently read Gila Manolsson's book 'The Magic Touch' and it was the first time, when I realize that there really can't be pure friendship between man and woman. There is always this hidden passio or the energy as Lori has said in this video. I totally agree because it has happened to me many times when I considered a guy just as a friend, and suddenly he appeared to like me. It is wonderful to be friends with opposite sex and all, but we still should be careful with these relationships. As I've read in Manolsson's book: this kind of 'pure' friendship between man and woman may cause serious trouble in future when they separately get married, and suddenly realize that have wasted all the emotions they were supposed to give to their spouses.

(24) Elonna, February 4, 2009 9:01 AM

1/2 agree

I'm not married, and I would never socialize alone with a man who's married or has a girlfriend. My mother never told me this, it's a gut instinct inborn in me! However, I disagree there's *always* an energy between males & females. I'm definitely NOT attracted to every man out there, or vice-versa.

(23) Tal, February 4, 2009 3:27 AM

You were my Kala Teacher in Toronto 13.5 years ago!

Shalom, I enjoyed your talk. But was more overjoyed to see you and it reminded me of our classes together. I am now happily married and the mother of three children thank G-D. I have fond memories of coming an sitting in your living room and chatting. You look just as young and just as beautiful! Tal P.S I am the one who moved to France

(22) Anonymous, February 3, 2009 7:29 PM

Partly agree, partly disagree

Yes, that energy is always there. Boy, that sure makes life fascinating! Does that necessarily imply cutting off opposite-sex friends when contemplating marriage? I'm 48 and still optimistic about marriage. And for the record, before anyone jumps to a false conclusion, I have not had a problem with commitment - it's usually been the other party. But as a man who is fascinated by women, I have accumulated many female friends. Should I just tell these friends of many years to get lost if I want to get married? I have what I think is a much better solution - share friends! Bring each party's friends into the open, let the spouse be part of the friendship process. If all the people involved are good-willed, sincere, with no hidden agendas, then it's win-win for everyone.

(21) Tracey, February 3, 2009 5:50 PM

Platonic? It's possible.

My best friend for over thirty years is a man who I met while we were in college. We started as friends, we attended each other's weddings, watched our children grow, and I was even his listening board during his divorce. He and my husband have also become good friends. Has he ever once "made a move" on me? No. Even if I told him I had feelings beyond friendship with him (which I don't, because he's not my type), I truly believe he'd talk me out of them. He is a religious man with strong values. Essentially, what you're saying is that men cannot control themselves when presented with a woman who is attracted to them. By promoting this belief, you are giving men carte blanche to behave badly (to be polite). You didn't give the other side -- If a man confessed his true feelings for his female friend. When you can say, with certainty, that she would jump at the chance to be with him 100 percent of the time, then you can truly stand by your words.

(20) Barak, February 3, 2009 5:33 PM

Really appreciate Lori's topics, but disagree with this one

As a man, I have numerous friendships with women which are of course platonic, with no chance whatsoever of being or becoming anything else - ever. The supposition of this discussion is silly, no - ridiculous. I would suggest if people that are going through "rocky relationships" opt to abandon those relationships under those circumstances, with someone else, then our discussion should be about other, more serious topics surrounding those behaviors.

(19) ruth housman, February 3, 2009 2:48 PM

celebrating women/celebrating men

Hi, I am about to go to a concert with this title so I was caught by this discussion. Yes, there is an energy between men and women and it''s different than the energy generally found, woman to woman in "straight" relationshps. On the other hand, there are people who experience the energy in different ways. God created a very complex world, a world in which energies among people and how they are received and transmitted vary remarkably, due to genetics, upbringing, and so many intangible factors. People do have these attractions of all kinds.

I think there can certainly be platonic relationships with opposite sex people. I know many people who have these, and yes, there are also relationships in which we feel the charge.

It''s a good thing to be cognizant of boundaries and it''s also a good thing to celebrate the ability to be friends with those who are of the opposite sex, when it''s truly what they, and we, are looking for. Why not?

(18) Daniela, February 3, 2009 12:49 PM

Platonic friendships are indeed possible between and man and a woman...

...as long as the woman in unattractive enough.

(17) Amanda, February 3, 2009 11:50 AM

Yes and No

In some friendships, I have had there was the potenial energy there and not acted upon and there have been realtionships with one sided energy which can be akward. But many of my friendships with the opposite sex have simply not had that energy there. Not denied, just as if our sexual selves didn't recognise each other as ptential mates.

(16) Dan, February 3, 2009 9:30 AM

Middle ground

I would offer that yes, there will always be a unique kind of energy b/w opposite sex friends. But being in the business world, I have to maintain relationships with women, and that doesnt mean that I am going to sleep with them. So Platonic, no, but sexually charged, also no.

(15) marvelous,-}, February 3, 2009 9:15 AM

Your advice is awesome! If there were more parents in this world with this kind of understanding, this life could be a lot less painfull. Keep up the good work and thanks for the wisdom.

(14) Anonymous, February 3, 2009 9:08 AM

My Platonic Relationship

I had a platonic relationship with a guy when I was in college. He was my best friend & I was engaged to someone else. That fell apart & next month my platonic friend & I will be married 28 years! You're absolutely right, Lori!

(13) mina mishel eiger, February 3, 2009 8:55 AM

When Is Friendship possible between a man and a woman?

Friendship is possible between a man and a woman only when at least one of them loves the other and is therefore interested and is responsible for keeping it alive, either feeling that it is better than having no contact at all with the loved one and not knowing if he is OK or when something bad has happened to him and he would need help while knowing and accepting that their friendship won't grow into love between them, and there are also those who simply can't accept that the loved one does not feel anything towards them and are continuing to hope that some day he or she would return their love if they would continue to be in a friendly contact with them. Friendship between a man and a woman isn't possible when both don't have any romantic feelings towards the other. Such a friendship can't last, as there is nothing that would cause it to last unless one of them has or harbors another, egoistic interest to make it last. But between lovers, friendship must exist for their love to be geniune and lasting.

(12) Aliza Hausman, February 3, 2009 8:27 AM

Disagree

I have had purely platonic friendships where neither of us have been attracted to each other in any way. I have had a number of these friendships for years. Sure, there have been friendships that turned into relationships and sure, there have been friendships where I have had feelings and the other person hasn't. These are all different types of friendships and they are possible.

(11) Anonymous, February 3, 2009 8:24 AM

Don't pretend the energy IS there, either. Pretend nothing!

Good advice on boundries for those who believe their world is uniquely heterosexual! One needs to reasonably think about potential outcomes in such relationships. However, for those whose lives and minds are rich with diversity, and who seek out and embrace others based on a mutuality of respect and on shared values despite differences, the boundries should be responsive. A great friendship with someone who is not interested in your sexuality, has one less headache to address when setting boundries. Healthy relationships require healthy boundries.

(10) Malky, February 3, 2009 8:06 AM

Thank you ...

... for your insightful comments. I've been beating myself over the head (not literally, of course) for weeks, because I broke things off with a man who wants lots of ... friends ... who happen to be female. I agree with you ... a real relationship between a man and a woman is so precious ... why risk harming it by bringing in extra ... friends?

(9) L.S., February 2, 2009 9:13 PM

respectfully disagree

Rebbetzin Palatnik, 90% of the time, I see eye to eye with you on things and do enjoy your videos very much. This time, however, I must respectfully disagree. I have had some male friends since high school and would absolutely not "jump at the chance" to pursue a romantic relationship with any of them. Just because as a woman I am attracted to men, it does not mean I am attracted to ALL men, just as heterosexual men are not attracted to ALL women. Sorry, but sometimes platonic friendships exist, and there is no need to turn a mole into a mountain. B'Shalom, L.S.

(8) Chana Zelasko, February 2, 2009 11:38 AM

Excellent

Excellent, excellent advice. Unfortunately I have seen the results when young couples are too open and friendly with each other's spouses. A real tragedy.

(7) Miriam, February 2, 2009 9:43 AM

True, True, True! But why is it always ppl like me - who aren't interested in those relationships that listen to these kinda stuff? it doesn't help if i say that it's true and wonderful! we need other's to hear it!!! and i hope they do!

(6) Rabbi Aryeh Moshen, February 2, 2009 9:12 AM

Choice of words

Gender is a better than the other word.

(5) Leslie, February 2, 2009 8:45 AM

Wonderful and TRUE words of wisdom

I so enjoyed hearing your advice. Men and women can never be "just friends" without some kind of boundary. Preferably, these boundaries are defined at the beginning of a relationship, otherwise, there is always the potential for a blossoming relationship!!

(4) Anonymous, February 2, 2009 6:48 AM

When Harry Met Sally...

Just what Billy Crystal told Meg Ryan, and he was right.

(3) sarah shapiro, February 2, 2009 2:19 AM

WONDERFUL

.

(2) Zissi, February 1, 2009 6:38 PM

Don't play with fire

You're right on that. Men and women cannot be friends with each other. The attraction will always be there. Married people, especially, keep the boundaries and don't play with fire.

(1) Batsheva, February 1, 2009 4:59 PM

If you call him Mr. he can't cross the line

We've become entirely too casual in our relationships. Calling someone by his first name invites friendship, which may lead to crossing the line. If you call your friend's husband Mr., and he calls you Mrs. neither one is likely to cross the line.

 

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