Platonic by Marisa G Franco explores friendship

Using attachment theory to form better friendships

By the time I was halfway through Dr Franco’s book, I was convinced of the importance of deep, supportive friendships for keeping us happier, healthier, friendlier, and more optimistic.

I could hardly wait to get to the practical how-to section. I was desperate to know how I could play a more active role in building a strong and resilient support network.

I was not disappointed. I learned that my most traumatic social encounters were largely a result of my mind. I interpreted other people’s actions as hurtful, even when they were objectively neutral or positive.

“Attachment is what we project onto ambiguity in relationships… and our relationships are rife with ambiguity,” Dr Franco explained

Platonic is packed with helpful resources, woven in such a way that you never feel condescended or blamed for any friendship troubles you’ve experienced. It teaches you to unpack your attachment styles and the invisible social baggage you carry, which can tarnish even the most wholesome of connections.

Dr Franco goes beyond the tired trope of telling readers to ‘be themselves’ and unpacks how to realistically put that advice into practice. She teaches how to harness vulnerability to create space for your needs and make decisions that reflect who you are rather than defensively and unconsciously reacting to triggers.

While the book doesn’t shy away from heavy or upsetting content, it does so in a way that instils hope and optimism. It shares how, with self-awareness and compassion, we can unlearn the lies we have internalised about our place in the world.

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We can learn to trust and believe in the inherent goodness of others. In doing so, we not only improve our relationships but become more trustworthy, kind, and friendly.

Zooming out, it’s easy to appreciate how the lessons taught in Platonic could lead to positive change in the world at large. If we were all secure in our relationships and hoped for the best of everyone, perhaps we could eventually become one giant, multifaceted community.

Instead of fearing, judging, or distancing ourselves from one another, we could all use our individual strengths to support the collective. Our weaknesses could be supported by others who care about our wellbeing just as much as they do their own. Fragmentation and loneliness could be replaced with cohesion, collaboration, and connection.

After finishing Dr Franco’s book, I felt a tangible change in how I interacted with others. I reflected on how I could become the kind of friend I had always wanted by my side.

I took responsibility for my friendships in a way that felt empowering rather than scary or overwhelming.

In the weeks after I finished the book, I reached out to old friends from whom I had drifted apart. I contacted acquaintances I had always wanted to get to know better. I became an active player in my social life, and I am so grateful I did.

 

Purchase a copy of Platonic: How Understanding Your Attachment Style Can Help You Make and Keep Friends here.