By Esther Kardos
If you’ve spent any time on social media in the past month or so, you’ve likely seen that post making fun of the platonic date. “I want to go out with you, but just as friends” is the gist of the platonic date, and it’s easy to scoff at such a concept -- have you ever tried, I don’t know, hanging out with another person? But perhaps the platonic date stems from a deeper need.
The way I see it, to say “I want to go on a platonic date with a friend” is just another way to say “I am starving for an actual emotional connection.” Many times, I’ve agreed to hang out with someone and we spend time doing nothing novel, but instead we sit next to each other at home on our phones because we can’t decide what other alternative to invest in.
We make comments every few minutes about the things on our screens -- who posted a picture with whom on Instagram, what obnoxious new filter Snapchat came out with, how hilarious this Vine compilation is -- but there’s nothing actually substantive there.
Or maybe we even make it out of the house and end up going out for lunch. We sit across from each other and we talk about nothing of any real consequence that we will both forget before dessert, then text other people under (or even sometimes above) the table about how consumed by boredom we are.
Now, this article isn’t an attack on the new age of technology. I will be the first person to snap at every baby boomer who dares to tell me about how back in his day they spoke with words instead of texts, or tries to explain to me how phones are rotting our brains.
Social media has connected me to friends I met over the summer two years ago, has let me witness my baby cousin’s first steps in Hungary while I sit in America, has connected me to stories of people whom I would have never even known about before. I am thankful for much of what technology has given this generation, but I can’t pretend it hasn’t hurt us just as much.
There’s no word you can look up in the dictionary for that feeling of sitting in a room full of people, all silent except for the sounds emanating from their phones. There’s no way to explain the relationship you have with someone when you like and comment on all of her photos so naturally, yet have no idea how to start a conversation face-to-face.
The problem is that as we are more connected than ever, we are also more isolated than ever before. It’s having a hundred thousand followers yet still no one to talk to. That unique feeling of internet loneliness is when you can’t understand why you feel so unloved when a hundred people have liked your photo in the last minute.
Unauthentic friends are easy to find and hard to let go of, and it’s come to the point that society has declared romantic relationships to be the only space where you’re always going to be fully close with someone. When we date, we choose to engage with our partners and to create a connection that is so hard to come by nowadays.
So I say yes, do it. Make a dinner reservation and put on the most absurd outfit you can find. Keep your phone in the car and give me an hour of your time where you’re terrifyingly honest with me. Tell me what you’re most excited for in the future, confide in me the job you would have if money wasn’t an issue, place your heaviest burdens in my hands and let me reciprocate. For once, show me that you’re not just here for the sake of putting something on your Story. Give me a time and a day, and I’d say a platonic date sounds wonderful.