Science Says You Can’t Be “Just Friends”

Written By John Richards on Sunday, January 20, 2013 | 3:57 AM

People have been debating whether or not men and women can be “just friends” for years. It’s a subject that drives many movies, from When Harry Met Sally to, well, Just Friends. Hollywood has had it figured out. In the movies when you have a best friend of the opposite sex (that is hetrosexual) your story line can only end two ways: in eternal love or in heartbreak.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin found that though many opposite-sex friends believe that they can be just friends, it’s not really the case. Eighty-eight pairs of undergraduate opposite sex were surveyed individually for the study – with a verbal agreement saying they would not talk about the survey.

What they found is that how men and women experience opposite-sex friendships is pretty different. Males more often are attracted to their female friends, and are more likely to think that their female friends are attracted to them. Basically the guys surveyed saw that their attraction to their friends was mutual, overestimating the level of attraction felt within the friendship. On the other side of the friendship, the women participants were more likely to underestimate the level of attraction felt by their friend.

Because the survey was done between specific pairs of friends, it shows that two people can approach a relationship in entirely different ways. And it proves that men are more likely to struggle with the idea of being just friends.

How does this relate to your opposite-sex friendships? Are you oblivious to your guy friends attraction to you?


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