Can a guy and girl be just friends?
A favourite theme in several popular movies, a reason of break-ups in many relationships, and a concept that has driven many young people to become and stay confused. This is a million-dollar question that can never be rightly answered.
But, an article that focuses on a new research conducted by University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the U.S has suggested that completely platonic relationship between opposite-sex friends might not actually exist because women are 'naive' as opposed to men who are 'sex-hungry'.
The study was conducted on 88 pairs of undergraduate opposite-sex friends inside a science lab to check their platonic status. Keeping in mind the awkwardness that might arise if one friend learnt about the probable romantic feelings the other friend had felt throughout their relationship, besides following the standard rules of anonymity and confidentiality the study also required both friends to agree in not discussing the study even after leaving the lab.
These pairs were then separated and each member was asked different questions related to the pair's relationship and whether they felt any romantic feelings or not toward the other member with whom they took the experiment.
The results revealed that men were much more attracted to their women friends than vice-versa. They were also found to most likely live in a misunderstanding that their opposite-sex friends were 'equally' attracted to them.
The research claimed that this mistaken belief was more about how these men felt about their own romantic feelings towards their women friends, and were blind in their presumption of the attraction being mutual.
From The Woman's Perspective
On the contrary, women were also found to be blind about the relationship status between them and their male friends, but it was truly of platonic nature. They supposedly thought that the lack of attraction was mutual from their male friends' side as well.
As a result, men consistently overestimated the level of attraction felt by their female friends and women consistently underestimated the level of attraction felt by their male friends. - Scientific American
Men And Their Feelings
The study further found that men were more enthusiastic about acting on this misguided belief of mutual attraction than women.
One instance where both men and women responded the same way was being attracted to opposite sex-friends who were either romantically engaged to someone or single. However, even then men differed in considering these taken or single friends as possible romantic partners than women.
Women And Their Feelings
While both the genders showed equal interest in going on romantic dates with taken friends as much as single ones, women were more thoughtful and less interested in involving with those who were already engaged with someone.
The Difference Between Younger Men And Older Men
On the other hand, a follow-up study featuring 249 adults, including several married people and conducted by the same university showed that in comparison to women, men were likelier to note opposite sex-friendships as a benefit for the probability of a future romantic relationship. In fact, this tendency escalated as men became older - younger men were reported four times likelier to see the friendship as a benefit while older men were reported ten times likelier to feel the same.
This is not just a bit of confirmation for stereotypes about sex-hungry males and naïve females; it is direct proof that two people can experience the exact same relationship in radically different ways. - Scientific American
To conclude, the article added that the study proves although women are genuine about their belief on opposite-sex friendship being platonic "men seem unable to turn off their desire for something more."