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GhostyPeppers

Aromantics and Friendships

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I have a very weird question for anybody in the aro-spectrum: Do you think your aromantic orientation impacts your relationship between friends?

I guess I've always had a strong platonic connection with other people, yet it took me many years to realize that a lot of allos don't see friendship that way or feel platonic feelings that strongly (bit of a generalization, though). I mean, I rarely get bummed out over past relationships after a short period of time, but it is really hard for me to get over a loss of a friend, even if it's been 2-3 years since it happened. I also find myself getting an emotional high when a friend says ILY (platonically) or expresses some sort of approval. Alloromantic people?? Don't seem to react the same way as far as I've seen personally?

I don't want to make it sound like I don't think allos experience platonic love at all, but I've been told my dedication to friends is more on the extreme side.

I would like to hear how you think your aromanticism impacts how you see/interact with your friends and non-romantic loved ones.

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Definitely. I'm very loyal to my friends and I don't like the idea that someday I could become second tier just because someone else is willing to kiss them or whatever. To me, a friendship is a commitment, and I'm always willing to go out of my way to support friends if they need it.

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Yes, absolutely.

Coming to terms with not caring for romance has massively changed the demographic of my friends. I am one of two men at my workplace who gets along with most of the women who work here, and given the other guy is gay I think that it has to do with me not making unwanted advances. The lack of romantic expectation frees me to be genuine, to talk openly.

I suppose the other difference is that I place a high value on relying on friends, as in if someone was worried about a something, or someone was dealing with a difficult event in their life I have no expectation of having a partner to comfort me, so I see that as something that a friend just does. I would jump up at two in the morning and travel to the other side of the country to be with a friend in need. I would drop my plans and take care of a friend's child if I knew they were stuck for options. Some alloromantic people do have this idea, and two of the people I am good friends with have a miltary background and are very thorough about doing right by their friends, but I don't think that is a common thing because of the expectation that someone should have a partner to help them with those things.

One last thing for me is realising that my  level of comfort around the idea of sex free of romantic expectations, which is an idea I was open with before I came to terms with the words allo aro, made a fair few people see me as a bad influence. Especially people I got  to know from church in my early teens, I was already on shaky terms through leaving the religion but there was definitely the perception that what was really bad was interacting with someone who felt comfortable living what they saw as a life of sin. I drifted away from people I would have been very happy to be friends with due to that. (sidenote, I was quite happy to not talk about it and for most of those people I never told them those views, it was the fact it was generally known what I felt which was enough for them to push away)

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On 7/31/2020 at 1:24 PM, GhostyPeppers said:

I also find myself getting an emotional high when a friend says ILY (platonically) or expresses some sort of approval. Alloromantic people?? Don't seem to react the same way as far as I've seen personally?

My two best friends and I say we love each other all the time! I honestly think that's probably why I ended up with them as my really close friends - they understand and value platonic relationships just as much as I do, and recognize that my being aromantic and whatever close platonic relationship we have because of it isn't gonna infringe on their romantic relationships. They're also friends who I absolutely trust not to bail on me because of romantic partners because I know we value each other very much.

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On 8/2/2020 at 3:18 PM, emmafriendly said:

My two best friends and I say we love each other all the time! I honestly think that's probably why I ended up with them as my really close friends - they understand and value platonic relationships just as much as I do, and recognize that my being aromantic and whatever close platonic relationship we have because of it isn't gonna infringe on their romantic relationships. They're also friends who I absolutely trust not to bail on me because of romantic partners because I know we value each other very much.

That sounds really nice! One of the struggles of being aro is being left behind because your friends all get partners and completely ignore you.

I would say my aro-ness definitely impacts my friendships. I value them a lot more than an allo would, and with that comes the existential dread I'll one day be replaced by a romantic partner. A book I was reading triggered this in me, since a character in a relationship explicitly said they valued a friend less than their partner.

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Huh, I haven't really thought about this before. I've had a strange personal history with friendships, though. Long story short, when I was younger I had a lot of trouble making and keeping friends because of some unchecked mental stuff. Even now that I'm older and I have good friends and I have some solid skills and coping mechanisms for those mental problems, I still have a skewed perspective when it comes to forming relationships (with a lowercase 'r') with other people. I tend to get nervous that they'll think I'm weird, or too much, or annoying, or I'll worry that they'll find another friend and like them more than me, and cut me out. It basically boils down to really strong and partially unhealthy platonic attraction. I've been working on it pretty heavily, and by now I'm in a place where I can be honest about my worries, both with myself and with the people to whom those worries apply. It's helped a lot. 

I definitely do share the excitement-high whenever a friend tells me they love me or that they like to be around me! It's funny, because usually I have no problem telling my friends and even my acquaintances that I love them, because it makes me feel good! But I do have one friend who's close to me, and I had a frank talk with her about how I don't want a relationship but I really valued her as a friend, and we ended up agreeing on a FWB relationship that's going pretty well. I struggle to tell her I love her, not because it's not true, but because I'm worried it might give off signals that I don't wanna give off. (Even though, yes, I've had MULTIPLE conversations telling her what's up, lol.) So that's a little annoying, I guess.

I think I'm lucky right now because both of my close friends aren't in relationships, and as far as I can tell they're not looking for them anytime soon. That gives me some comfort. I'd hope that if they got into relationships, that would just mean that we got another friend into the circle! (I'm optimistic, sue me)

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I see platonic friendship as being a subset, rather than entirety, of friendship.
I'm very open to doing romantically coed things with friends or having non-platonic friendships.
I don't see romantic relationships as more than. (If I had to rank rank them as less then.)

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4 hours ago, Mark said:

I see platonic friendship as being a subset, rather than entirety, of friendship.
I'm very open to doing romantically coed things with friends or having non-platonic friendships.
I don't see romantic relationships as more than. (If I had to rank rank them as less then.)

Huh, Ive heard of QPRs, but I never considered non-platonic friendships to be a thing. I just assumed friendships were platonic by default?

This is an interesting insight, thanks for sharing :)

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3 hours ago, GhostyPeppers said:

Huh, Ive heard of QPRs, but I never considered non-platonic friendships to be a thing. I just assumed friendships were platonic by default?

Having assumed default for a noun can make it important to use adjective (including prefixing "non-" to the assumed one) in order to avoid that assumption being made.,
It's also the case with "relationship" where "romantic" can be an assumed adjective.

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9 hours ago, Mark said:

I see platonic friendship as being a subset, rather than entirety, of friendship.
I'm very open to doing romantically coed things with friends or having non-platonic friendships.
I don't see romantic relationships as more than. (If I had to rank rank them as less then.)

I never considered this but...wow that's such a good point! There can be non-platonic friendships. I mean. That's basically what me and my ex had haha. 

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