Platonic Love Versus Romantic Love

Hand holding is a sign of intimacy, and for most people, it can be for both friendships and romance.

Hand holding is a sign of intimacy, and for most people, it can be for both friendships and romance.

Lancy Shi, Photojournalist

It is common for adolescents to start dating and exploring their sexuality in high school. Most YLHS students have either been in relationships, or seen people their age “fall in love” with people they were originally friends with. Based on my observations, however, some people seem to just jump into romantic relationships without actually thinking about whether or not they actually like that specific person. This baffles me because I think that it is a given that you need to make sure you actually like someone before dating them. I realize that some people might not actually know the difference between platonic feelings and romantic ones, and I think there is actually some psychology behind that.

According to Mark Matousek from Psychology Today, “Erotic love is fierce and wild; the love of friends is more familial (as in healthy families), contained, unconditional, balanced, and tame” ( Here, he mentions that deep friendships are almost family-like, which is funny as most people friendzone others by saying “You are like a brother to me.” Basically, the tension is the main thing that creates a difference between friendships and romance. Even though it is possible to be intimate with someone and not catch feelings, “The problem is that once platonic friends become sexually intimate, the lines and boundaries become blurred” ( 

So now that we know the basic difference between platonic versus romantic, what are the specific feelings associated with falling in love? We know that the main difference is the sex and intamacy in romantic relationships, but what else? Well, when you first like someone, it is almost like an infatuation, and you see them as perfect. According to an article on sexual health, “Higher-than-usual levels of hormones, like dopamine and norepinephrine, drive the intensity of these early feelings” ( These hormones cause butterflies in your stomach and redness in your face, commonly seen in exaggerated cartoons. These “hormones associated with love can make everything seem more exciting, particularly when you know you’ll see them soon” ( You tend to feel bubbly and happy, and you crave their attention. 

When I asked my friends about this topic, most of them said something along the lines of “you know it when you know it.” Chloe Yu (10) mentions that “If you think about them a lot, then you probably like them.” When someone is in love, they usually think about every little thing about their crush. They will notice if they change their hairstyle, or when they put on a different kind of perfume. It is fascinating what love can do, whether it be romantic love or platonic love. At the end of the day, does it really matter if teenagers are jumping into relationships without thinking about this stuff? Isn’t dating in high school all about experience? YLHS students have differing opinions on this topic and some people would argue that dating is useless unless you like someone, but either way, your teenage years are for self discovery, and you should just try to enjoy it as best as you can.