Why Sherlock Holmes And I Need Platonic Relationships // A List

When I write my books, there normally isn’t any romance in them. At all! I mean, I guess if you really wanted two characters to end up being together, you could stretch it (a lot), but for the most part, the relationships in my books are completely

platonic

Ah, thank you, Sherlock. I was just getting to that. Well, yes. Platonic means intimate affection between two friends, but not necessarily of the romantic sort. And as Sherlock has so nicely wrapped up into one pointed hand gesture, WE NEED MORE OF IT IN YA! AND GENERAL FICTION TARGETED TOWARD YOUTH!

I find it extremely odd that every single YA book just has to have two characters fall in love. Romantically. Especially if there’s a female protagonist. Like, HELLO??? You’re SAVING THE WORLD here! Why exactly are you wasting your time? (Note to future self who somehow ends up saving the world: LOOK! EVIL EVIL EVIL! Also I will disown you if you even think about wasting your time when the world is at stake. Unless it’s for a book. THAT is excusable.)

So I have made a list. And invited my dear friend Sherlock to help me out because if he weren’t fictional wasn’t so busy with his cases in England, we’d be best mates. OBVIOUSLY.

We Need Platonic Relationships Because…

1) These things exist in real life!

friends

Platonic and/or nonromantic relationships exist a lot in real life. I mean, girl-girl friendships are considered platonic and nonromantic, as are boy-boy friendships. And you can have platonic nonromantic relationships between girls and boys, too. I know it’s hard to believe, people, but not every teen’s only desire is to fall in love and get married and live happily ever after.

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I know, it’s confusing, right?? Bear with me, small lion cubs. It will be okay.

2) They can be so much more fun than romantic relationships!

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I don’t know about you but it gets a bit tiring when two characters are constantly tiptoeing around each other because they both fancy each other and will someday fall in luuuuurrrrveee. It’s so much more fun when the characters just outright get to the point and insult each other.

3) It’s just wrong to tell teens that romantic relationships are the only ones that matter!

i-dont-care

Um, okay. If I had to choose between living happily-ever-after and having actual friends, I’d probably choose having actual friends. Besides, isn’t living happily-ever-after the same as owning 72 cats and having a TBR pile the size of the Empire State?

4) WHY NOT???

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You are very welcome for this visual. (Sherlock disagrees, but, well, IT’S MY BLOG. Ha.)

I KID YOU NOT WHEN I ASK THIS QUESTION. Why not??? It really isn’t thhhhaaattt hard to write a friendship into a book. Or just somebody who the main character isn’t romantically interested in. Authors, I beg of you. Include a grouchy old cat lady (like my future self) with whom the protagonist must engage to get a bag of cat food to save the world! THAT OLD CAT LADY COULD CHANGE LIVES. (And no, this is not me begging for a more exciting future. I will have my books and my cats and that will be all, thank you.)

5) For some reason even VERY SMART PEOPLE are confused by the existence of such things! (And they make good subplots.)

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SHHH, Sherlock. YOU MAY NOT KNOW THIS YET BUT YOU WILL HAVE FRIENDS. (Also, don’t tell him, but: LOOK! Friendships can build character development for very introverted characters!)

6) Even Sherlock has a best friend, so obviously everyone else should, too

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(Well, mind you, Sherlock Holmes also has the IQ of a genius, and while he does believe everybody SHOULD have the IQ of a genius too, unfortunately everybody, um, doesn’t.)

7) Well, I mean, Sherlock Holmes just said so, and Sherlock Holmes is always right

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And that will be all. Thank you for your time.

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SHERLOCK! I’m so sorry about that, my dears. He can be quite rude sometimes. ANYWAYS. Do you think we need more platonic relationships in YA and fiction in general?

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26 responses to “Why Sherlock Holmes And I Need Platonic Relationships // A List

  1. Yes!!! I’m not the only one who noticed that EVERY YA book I pick up has to have a romance. I’m not against romance in books–I even enjoy them–but not if they are a part every story. It’s sending the message that you can’t do anything worthwhile or be anyone worth knowing on your own. You only mean something or can do great things IF you have a romantic partner.

    • I kind of get annoyed by the romance in EVERY SINGLE BOOK because honestly romance is the last thing on my mind. I mean, I actually do like it when the romance plays a part in the plot (… usually having to do with betrayal…) but I dislike it when there’s unnecessary romance or when the romance IS the plot and it’s not shelved in the romance aisle. I mean, I normally avoid that section for good reason?? Romance just isn’t my thing and you’re right: that message is there, and that’s horrible, because we need more independence and self-confidence, especially in young girls.

  2. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a cheesy easy read romance novel but yes, I agree. Recently, everything I read seems to be one way or another ‘you are my crush and I am yours but we don’t know it but we will fall in love in the near future’ or ‘ooh I have seen you around and now you are my love interest and let’s waste 174930 pages on how I stalk you until you love me!’ And it is getting frustrating! Can’t they include something between friends, as you say, a platonic relationship. Ideal. By the way, just on a quick side note, I LOVE YOUR BLOG AND THE WAY YOU WRITE AND I ACTUALLY THINK YOU COULD PROBABLY BE AN AUTHOR NO JOKES😂, and on that note, goodbye, and I agree!

    • I just point-blank don’t like romance. I have never been in a romantic relationship and it’s been my friends and family (platoniccccccc) who have supported me the whole way through. PLUS with SATs and ACTs and AP classes and sports and volunteering and college apps, um, I’m not really interested? So why should a character be? Part of what I like about books is that they are a reflection of real life. But I find it odd that Nerdy Girl’s boyfriend is always Hot Boy and they spend 1000000000% of their time together and YET Nerdy Girl is still at the top of her class. Like, really??
      Aw, thank you ❤ ❤ ❤ I hope I come across that way but TRUST ME: you have not yet read my books and noticed the Severe And Terrible Lack Of Continuity And Characterization featured in them. 🙂

  3. Awesome post! And yes!!! We need more platonic relationships at the core of YA books. Nothing drives me up the wall more than a life or death situation and the protagonist (usually a female one) stops to consider the soft lips of her male companion. Really?

    That scene between Donna and the Doctor is one of my all-time favorites, by the way. 🙂

    • TALK ABOUT UNREALISTIC. Like, okay, we’re in a life-and-death situation here, should I thwart the bad guy or kiss my boyfriend? Personally, I’d like to think I’d go for thwarting the bad guy and proceed to then dump my boyfriend for not helping me (and possibly being in league with the evil villain).
      Yesssssss. That episode is my all-time favorite. ❤ ❤
      By the way, I LOVED The Eighth Day. It’s probably my new favorite MG! I’ve been meaning to get a review up but I just have a few others to put up because of their publication days. After I finish with those I want to give it all the praise. ❤ ❤ Thanks for the review copy! ❤

      • Yay! I’m so happy you liked it! And speaking of platonic relationships, I almost made a misstep in this book by giving my protagonist a crush on a certain someone. My editor talked me out of it, which was the best thing she ever did for me. When I took that out and revised, SO MANY better things happened in that first book and in the other books of the series. Friendship trumps romance in a lot of ways.

        • I’m glad she did! I LOVED the fact that they were just friends, and it certainly made the plot A LOT stronger. (I actually would’ve betted money when I first read about the two of them that they would end up together, and I’m so so so so so so so SO glad they didn’t!)

  4. Actually, platonic relationships are my favorite. In all honesty, I love watching people fall in love and stay there, but the way it’s shoved into every YA book – no matter how inappropriate to the natural progression of the story and characters – can be pretty out of hand. Especially heterosexual relationships. Very few of them are actually healthy and organic and worth the pursuit.

    But, more than that, too often, this (typically) girl is burning all her bridges or having them burned by others and this guy is her saving grace. She’s all alone on an island of loneliness and then dude comes over like “seriously if you just kiss me everything will be okay.” That’s not how life works.

    So yeah. I agree with you. 😛 Platonic relationships for the win.

    • YES. I actually don’t mind LGBTQIA+ relationships as much because in a lot of those books the characters’ sexuality is a larger part of them because they have a harder time being accepted into society for who they love.
      YES AGAIN. Because if I was on an island of loneliness I wouldn’t turn to a boyfriend, I’d turn to a friend. Because if I’m on this Island of Loneliness I don’t need the possibility of a break up there, too. Plus, HELLO, EVIL VILLAIN ALERT????? Quit kissing and go kick the bad guy’s butt!
      Platonic relationships are my favorite to write, too, because they’re just so much more FUN. Like in a romantic relationship, you say, “You’re weird,” and then you fight and break up and it’s sad. But if in a platonic relationship you say, “You’re weird,” you laugh and move on because the possibility of your friend just leaving is so much smaller, and there’s much less “bad” tension. I mean, you can have a male-female platonic relationship if you want two characters of different genders. And they can both be straight! And single! But they can still be platonic.

  5. THANK YOU FOR SAYING THIS, YOU WONDERFUL WONDERFUL PERSON. I like some good romance in books, but I love my friends to pieces and to be honest I’ve never fallen in love *in that way*. I fall in love with books instead…?
    Having said that, I’m rather a hypocrite. I set out intending to not write any romance and then characters are in love all over the place and I end up thinking about them too much. *sighs*
    Sherlock, though. SHERLOCK.

    • I think falling in love with books is a different kind of sexuality that is currently being oppressed, quite honestly. Because my love for fictional characters and the written word know no bounds.
      I challenged myself to write a romance a couple times and it, uh, never worked out. I just don’t like the I’ll-leave-if-you-say-the-wrong-word dynamic of romance, especially teen romance.
      I haven’t watched Sherlock yet but this version has THE BEST GIFs. It was on my To Be Watched list for this summer but then White Collar accidentally got in the way.

      • Yes, absolutely. Visiting bookshops makes me very overexcited and breathy. 😛
        I don’t think romance is for everyone… I do get what you mean! Fictional teen romance usually seems to be pretty unrealistic.
        It was actually this time last year that I went on a Sherlock binge-watch (after much insistence from my friends). Haha, I thought the gifs were pretty relevant, considering the whole Johnlock canon/non-canon debate. Sherlock does have excellent gifs!

        • Whoops, I didn’t see this, sorry! Visiting bookshops… OH BOY. I hope you have a LOT of energy. Because you’ll need it. To make me sit down and drink a juice box. And possibly drag me out of there in a couple hours.
          Well, um, see, I actually… don’t watch Sherlock? I love the books, so I’ve always seen them as canonically platonic, but yeah, I’ve heard of the controversy. I mean, I’m all for gay/lesbian/bisexual representation in popular TV shows, but I think it’s important to have some platonic relationships, too!

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  8. THIS IS FABULOUS. Every bit of it. And obviously, the Sherlock gifs just made things a WHOLE lot better. I’m fine with relationships – say that to my hundred something ships XD But yesyesyes, friendship makes things so much better. Not EVERY person you’ll meet is going to fall in love with you. Not every novel do you have to put a boy and a girl together and…voila add a romantic subplot to the book. (or a boy and a boy, and a girl and a girl, because y’know, diversity XD) So yes. This post speaks to me. It speaks to us all and you deserve to eat some cake after writing this. Lovely post ❤

    I do ship Johnlock, a tiny part of me always will but their friendship is really sweet, weird as it may be and I don't want anything to ruin that. Even though we need proper queer relationships in TV shows.

    • THANK YOU. Well, um, I’m not a fan of BBC’s Sherlock, actually (I never could quite get into it…), but I definitely can appreciate these GIFs. Like if you cannot do so: WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON PLANET EARTH DO YOU ALSO DISLIKE PUPPIES AND FARMING AND BOOKS?? Thank you. I actually usually like to group gay/lesbian/bisexual “books” if you can call them that, together, because I think they’re important. While romance is not necessary to help people identify with themselves and so on, LGBTQIA+ characters and books fall under the umbrella of diversity (and while not every book needs characters like them), I think they are very different from straight romantic relationships wherein they are actually helping a group identify/explore themselves. Sorry for that awfully pretentious-sounding tangent, I didn’t mean to offend if that is how I came across. I just have so many conflicting opinions and it can sometimes be quite hard to be an Opinion in Sabri’s head, you feel?

      UHM, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Sherlock Holmes. Sorry. I’m on board with the Watson and Mary ship that was written into the original books (since they are the only form of Sherlock media I have consumed thus far), but Watson and Holmes are DEFINITELY THE BEST PLATONIC FRIENDS OF EVER. And right we do, there are so many messed up “oh yes he’s gay so sad for the straight characters shame on them for being gay and ruining the main character’s chance at true love” relationships in TV and it’s just like HELLO THEY ARE QUEER. LET THEM BE QUEER. Like it’s not their fault? Why are we making them feel bad?? SORRY. I have so many strong feelings about queer relationships since a few of the people I grew up around (not in my family but family friends and so on) are queer. Well, that response got long.

      • No, you didn’t sound at all pretentious. it’s all good. I think I might have misphrased my comment, because I definitely don’t have anything against LBGT books and the like. After growing up reading the usual boy/girl pairing, we definitely need more representation. This exists and we need more books on it. Because queer people exist and it helps them explore a part of themselves, and YA is coming to realize that today.

        And the queer part is not what gets me – I adore John and Sherlock’s relationship. But I just think that the BBC had sucked at diversity so far, and what with all the queerbaiting they’ve done they’re probably not going to make Johnlock canon as much as we may want it. Also, I think that Sherlock would be a character who just works better alone. Because even though him and Molly make a nice couple I just think that he’s never actually considered Molly in that way. About John and Sherlock? Throughout the story, it turns romantic, but I find the assumption that emotional love will just naturally turn romantic (and then physical) just completely problematic. Why should the fact that the two of them love each other with all their hearts, more than anyone else, imply that they want to be sexually involved with each other? The attraction between them is not in anyway physical, so it always seems like a huge leap (if not a mistake) when they do become physically involved. I just don’t buy it. I also don’t think either Sherlock or John would just naturally make that assumption either. Sorry if this this turned into a bit of a ramble 😀

        For it’s this, this emotional love that they share, which makes their friendship so fascinating. I just wanted to clear up that I have nothing against queer relationships in movies/TV series 😛 Eep, this got long.

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  10. SURELY, I can not be alone in thinking that romantic relationships are just as common as platonic ones? Perhaps YA novels would benefit from a healthy dose of “just friends”, but doing away with romantic relationships entirely? That world would simply be unrealistic!

    • I agree! But I definitely think that for most teens I know, there are many more platonic relationships that last longer and are much more meaningful than romantic ones. Often, YA emphasizes romantic relationships to the point where if you’re not in love by the time you’re 16, you’re somehow a failure. I see your point in needing romantic relationships to be realistic. I’d like to see some romantic relationships in the background of YA novels, but they don’t necessarily need to be the focus of the story.

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