Jump to content
BecauseMeg

How is romantic attraction different than friendship?

Recommended Posts

I don't think this post is supposed to be in this topic, but it didn't really fit anywhere so I will just leave it here.

 

I know I don't experience romantic attraction, but I never quite understood how it is supposed to feel or what it's like. There are no good descriptions on the web, or in any of the books I have ever read (and I read a quite a lot), and nobody seems to be able to explain it. As a fanhuman, I find it very hard to have ships because I don't understand it when the characters are attracted to each other and how it's different from them being friends.  How do you figure out if a person is romantically attracted to somebody else? How is romantic attraction different than friendship?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your question gives me very big quoiromantic vibes!

 

Honestly, if we all knew what the difference was, I suspect we would've put the terms' respective definitions up in bold on the home page. From what I've been learning, both from the aromantic and alloromantic communities, is that the distinction between friendship and romance is different for everyone. Some people don't even have a real distinction and it's all just a nebulous feeling. There are some aros who define romantic attraction in a way other aros define platonic attraction. There are some allos who define romantic attraction in a way aros define their platonic attraction. Some people (like me) have very specific definitions of different types of attraction, while others keep it broad, and even others don't bother defining anything at all. It's also really hard to define something you haven't ever experienced, right? The thing about feelings is that they're subjective and are very difficult (if not impossible) to compare between two different people. I experience this issue even for non-oriented feelings like sadness. 

 

As for participating in fandom, I can definitely see how it's frustrating and confusing, but it might help to know that different characters' definitions of romance might be different. That's why certain characters may get together romantically and others not, even if they're in almost identical-looking situations. I don't think it's possible to figure out if a person is romantically attracted to somebody else unless you have a good sense of how they define romance. I've had plenty of friends accuse me of being romantically attracted to people I definitely did not like that way.

 

Not sure if that helped or just validated how confusing this stuff can be, but basically, these definitions are naturally fluid and subjective, so it's OK if you don't understand someone's feelings. You can still be accepting.

 

There are plenty of conversations about this that have gone on in this forum. If you're curious, here's a whole thread about defining romantic attraction:

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@running.tally has pretty much covered it all with respect to definitions, but I just wanted to comment on the question of fandom specifically:

 

On 1/18/2019 at 3:47 PM, BecauseMeg said:

As a fanhuman, I find it very hard to have ships because I don't understand it when the characters are attracted to each other and how it's different from them being friends.  How do you figure out if a person is romantically attracted to somebody else?

To be honest, my personal response to this is... who cares?

 

We could argue for years about whether the way two characters interact in canon in is technically "romantic" or "platonic" - and we would waste an awful lot of time trying to answer a question that has no objective answer. (I've seen it happen. It really is a MASSIVE waste of time. People get into nitpicking all sorts of absurd minutiae like whether a 0.72 second glance signifies romantic interest or just, you know, looking at someone.)

 

Orrrr we could remember that fandom is transformative. It's not about what is, it's about what could be. The real question we should be asking here is: "Is something about the idea of these two characters interacting with each other interesting to you?" If so, go ahead and "ship" it in whatever way you like! Write them having the kind of interactions that are interesting and enjoyable for you to imagine - regardless of whether other people see those interactions as "platonic" or "romantic". Fandom and ships are whatever you want them to be.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, eatingcroutons said:

Orrrr we could remember that fandom is transformative. It's not about what is, it's about what could be. The real question we should be asking here is: "Is something about the idea of these two characters interacting with each other interesting to you?" If so, go ahead and "ship" it in whatever way you like! Write them having the kind of interactions that are interesting and enjoyable for you to imagine - regardless of whether other people see those interactions as "platonic" or "romantic". Fandom and ships are whatever you want them to be.

YES. Dude, YES. It’s the characters’ interactions with each other, their dynamic that I’m super into and what makes me ship them! I was so blinded and smothered by the romance bit that I kinda lost my mind back then. ;-;

 

What could be. Yes! That’s what makes fandom fun, yo! Mixing and matching different identities with different societies, etc. etc.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×