19th March 2000
By Ruhanie Perera and Laila Nasry
A guy... a girl...no candles, no harps and no cupid's arrows! Just friends! That's what platonic relationships are all about. 100% pure friendship. Now we all know that friendship is fine and easy when both people are of the same sex. But the moment the two people are not of the same sex the natural tendency is to think - 'yeah right, just friends, my foot'.
Do those convinced that they have a perfect platonic relationship going, ever wish it were different? Do little 'what ifs' enter their minds? Can there be misunderstandings that can sour a 'friendship'? Is there such a thing as a platonic relationship? This is what we found out...
Anouk Tillekeratne (19):
I think it is possible to have a platonic relationship, but it all depends on the person. The two people involved, have to understand that it's just a friendship and be really sure about their feelings for each other. You basically have got to make your intentions clear, 'cos it all depends on the feelings you communicate to the other person. Of course if you are going to fall in love with that particular person, you will, despite the platonic relationship factor.
It's the girls who are more prone to misunderstandings - guys say things not really meaning it, and girls who are more sensitive tend to take it seriously. After there is a misunderstanding like that, someone usually gets hurt and that's the end. But I suppose after all the hurt is gone and the "I hate you" phase is over, you can go back to being friends.
Yes, girls and guys can definitely be just friends. In order to have a relationship you need to fall in love and you don't go around falling in love with every Tom, Dick and Harry you are close friends with. In that case there will be more couples than friends. If you have these 'what if' thoughts about a friend, then it's not a friendship. You are either in love or in 'like'. At times like that your behaviour and attitude towards the other person changes as well.
Sometimes even after you've broken up with a person you become friends. That's what mutual breakups are based on and that's a platonic relationship. I think girls are the ones who have the tendency to muddle up a friendship with a relationship. We are famous for going 'gaga' over guys. I don't think guys really care that much - they are not bothered at all.
Guys are the ones who always misread girls when they want to be friends. A girl talks to a guy and the guy (who is more often than ever immature) thinks 'she likes me, she wants to go out with me.' Girls on the other hand can be close friends for a longer period of time than guys. But at some point attraction sets in. So basically the 'just friends' theory is a myth. I don't believe that a guy and a girl who are really close friends can be in a platonic relationship. Even when it comes to a relationship where the two people of the same sex are involved, it can become more than a friendship. Platonic relationships, my foot - that's how my boyfriend and I started out ...I rest my case.
I think guys and girls can be just friends. I mean, after all you can love only one person. The rest of them are all your friends. And the relationship you share with them is a platonic relationship. Of course some people can't control their feelings and cross the fine line between friendship and love. That's when the platonic relationship ceases to exist. I think mutual understanding is what makes a platonic relationship. Both parties are well aware of what is going on.
It's also a lot about the messages you send out. Send out the wrong messages and your intentions may be misread. And guys do that most of the time. Guys take it upon themselves to believe that girls are falling in love with them. Not all of them though. I have plenty of really close friends who are boys.
I believe in platonic relationships and why not? Not necessarily should there be a misunderstanding of a friendship between a guy and a girl. I'm not saying that the tendency to misunderstand is not there, because there can be an instance where the other person can entertain romantic thoughts though you didn't mean to give her the wrong idea. But if that person does express those thoughts there is still a chance of having a platonic relationship for things can be worked out.
Unfortunately people around misunderstand it. If a guy and girl are friends then they are bound to be going out. A platonic relationship is based on trust and understanding. You must be able to confide in your friend, and the friend in turn should be able to listen, understand and be there for you. You should be able to discuss even relationship problems, if you have a strong friendship. Neither the girl or the guy is more prone to misunderstanding. If the two people who are really good friends know what sort of friendship they have there shouldn't be and there won't be a misunderstanding. It's when this understanding is lacking that the friendship moves away from that of a platonic one.
I think it's difficult to have a platonic relationship with a person you have just broken up with. There's always a chance, that person can think you still have a partiality towards him or her. Once I was in a situation when someone misunderstood my friendship. Though we remained friends, the platonic part of it went off.
Shamil Amit (27):
Generally girls get carried away. I can be wrong, but I think in their hearts a majority of them think, that some guy they are friends with could be interested in them. A friendship between a guy and girl most of the the time does not stay purely platonic, at least I don't believe it stays that way.
Also society doesn't see it in that light either. If a guy and a girl are friends then the natural perception among others is that they are going out. For a perfect platonic relationship absolute trust is the number one criteria. You trust the other person and believe that your friend will be there for you at all times. Love is a possibility so long as it remains platonic.
I was educated at an international school and had lots of friends of the opposite sex and I must say I was never in a situation where a platonic relationship was misunderstood. However the likelihood of two people who have just broken up staying real good friends, is very slim. I'm not saying it doesn't happen but it's a very low percentage.
Platonic relationships are possible. Girls can be just friends, guys can be just friends - so girls and guys can be just friends. Even couples who have broken up can be just friends. Some might hate each other's guts, but others enjoy a platonic relationship.
The main thing is that there are absolutely no 'love' feelings involved and that's what makes it platonic.
Of course there are times when there are misunderstandings, that depends on the people. Speaking from my personal experience, I think that there is such a thing as a perfect platonic relationship.
By Ruhanie Perera
We've always been creators at heart. Over millions of years we've discovered the difference fire can make in our lives, know that circles work better for wheels than squares and travel around in the wonderful 'flying machine' without even blinking an eyelid. Such discoveries have opened up a whole new world for us. And we keep at it - learning, discovering, inventing.
The Young Inventors Group Activity Society of De Mazenod College, Kandana, are a group of youngsters who take great pleasure in trying out the theories behind famous discoveries, doing a bit of their own experimenting, launching new projects and creating ingenious inventions of their own. The Society, which was founded in 1997, covers a wide range of areas in which a student can conduct various projects. Be it chemistry, computers, mechanics, electronics, astronomy, environment, or even performing arts, cookery, and graphics - you name it, they've got it!
Although the Young Inventors Society was originally for the seniors of the school, they have now 'adopted' the students from grade 6-9, who have incorporated the 'Activity Room' concept into their syllabus, under the subject 'Practical and Technical Skills'. There are five such 'Activity Rooms' And it is here that the Albert Einstiens, Marie Curies, Steven Spielbergs and Celine Dions of tomorrow are born. The nicest thing about the whole system is the fact that the 'older' Young Inventors have reached out and taken the young 'uns under their wing. "The areas set out in the new syllabus were very similar to the areas in which the Young Inventors Society have been conducting various projects," says Mr. Luxman Nonis, the teacher-in-charge of the society.
On the 3rd of March, the Young Inventors Society had their 10th 'Mazedonian Activity Evening'. Such 'Activity Evenings' are organised to give the boys a chance to display their creations. It is also an oppurtunity for the boys to work towards a particular goal. "If there is a goal in mind, then your work is automatically better," says Mr. Nonis, who goes out of his way to help the boys to organise this event because he feels that this is a way in which the staff can acknowledge the boys' untiring efforts.
And the efforts were well worth being recognised. You could see that a lot of hard work and care had been put into all the projects, from the little 'Knight-Rider' gadgets and the creations out of eggshells, which the younger ones had on display to the impressive bio-gas plant and solar power plant done by the older students. Everybody was enthusiastic and even during the ceremony one was constantly aware of the fact that it was the boys who were taking the photographs, recording the event and projecting images of the event from an overhead projector. The girls took the lead when it came to the dances, which had been choreographed by themselves under the Performing Arts field.
And what do the children have to say... It is easy to say that Niradh Perera and Mahesh Gunathilleke are in their element when they are working on a project. Their favourite project so far was the model train they made - " we even made lights that come on using a remote control device and railway gates that open automatically." They do almost all the science projects in their text books and also work with transistors and stuff." These were things I had no idea about and here were 13-year-olds, explaining them to me.
On my way out I met Chrishmalee, busily getting refreshments ready. She told me that though she enjoyed eastern dancing it was cookery she loved. Animatedly she told me about their milk toffee making experience. "Even the boys helped" - but I suspect their mouths worked faster than their hands. "We in turn help them when it comes to working with wires!" - comes the enthusiastic exclamation. Well, it sure seems like a whole lot of fun.
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