Amicology: The Sociology of Platonic Friendship

In the social sciences, there is much more attention paid to sexual relationships than to any other. This is for obvious reasons. Yet, platonic relationships are, arguably, of equal importance. The popularity hierarchy of a school, a workplace, or a small town are majorly determined by connnections. Amicology is the study of small-world networks, the power dynamics within them, and how social capital moves in social networks outside of sexual relationships. Amicology is the political science of interpersonal relationships from the micro to macro scales.

It is a massively understudied force in world and interpersonal affairs. Some social scientists and psychologists are Freudian in their assignment of too much to sex. This is especially true in regards to men where the dominant questions are ones of masculinity. Men are, as stereotyped in psychology, insecure and defensive about their own manhood. Yet, for men who are beta and not so macho, such as myself, this stereotype isn’t true but it very much affects us because of amicology. It makes us uncool and this can have drastic and dire consequences for our lives. Again, in college I got in trouble for platonic harassment and that is mostly a victimless crime of being uncool around cool kids. And because of things found in the Lerner and Simmons study, the less popular are viewed as morally inferior and having been punished by “karma”.

So, the less masculine can be charged with loitering and viewed as morally inferior owing to their lack of coolness. That is a horrific effect that amicology would study. I was recently watching the documentary “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” And Roy Cohn made his entire evil career through working connections and exchanges of loyalty. Alex Murdaugh built his criminal empire based on the crony corruption of small town politics. That is also the purview of amicology. It was netowrks of platonic friendships which got the Rosenbergs executed and John Gotti aquitted of murder. Because platonic friendship has weaker emotions, generally, than sexual relationships, it can have more political calculation. The lizard-brain is less there and the prefrontal cortex more.

Friendship is among the most understudied parts of sociology. Understanding friendship is the means to understanding so much of society. The mafia is not built on sexual relationships but platonic ones. Business partnerships are not built on sexual relationships, they are built on platonic ones. Political favors are done far more for friends than for romantic partners. From murders to mergers, platonic friendship is at bottom of most of it but the social psychology and sociology of it is far understudied compared to its sexual cousin. The science of platonic friendships is not a toddler lesson in fuzziness but as savage and brutal as Roy Cohn and Al Capone.

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