Can We Just Be Friends? Well, Maybe

Men and women

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It’s a question explored in film and TV, frequently Googled, and now the focus of a study. We’re talking about whether men and women can just be friends.

The findings of a  study were published recently in the Scientific American. In a nutshell, the research claims that opposite sex friends can’t leave it at that. The study claims that “the opportunity (or perceived opportunity) for “romance” is often lurking just around the corner, waiting to pounce at the most inopportune moment.” Furthermore, the study also found the following:

“Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them—a clearly misguided belief. In fact, men’s estimates of how attractive they were to their female friends had virtually nothing to do with how these women actually felt, and almost everything to do with how the men themselves felt—basically, males assumed that any romantic attraction they experienced was mutual, and were blind to the actual level of romantic interest felt by their female friends.

“Women, too, were blind to the mindset of their opposite-sex friends, because females generally were not attracted to their male friends, they assumed that this lack of attraction was mutual. 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.”

Of course, some of this makes sense. As a guy, I can understand why we might think that a member of the opposite would, or could, have romantic feelings for us. After all, if a female is friends with you, then clearly she likes something about you. So, why couldn’t the two of you become something more than friends?

Then again, the study assumes that all we men think and care about is getting some action. Sure. Just because we think about sex a lot doesn’t mean that we want to sleep with every member of the opposite sex. Personally, I know of male and female friends who have kept a platonic friendship. I’ve also known people that have become friends with benefits. And, there’s the friends that eventually end up dating. In short, you never know what’s going to happen.

What’s also interesting is that these findings were similar to those released in Live Science back in May of 2012. However, that study stated that they believe men and women want to be platonic friends, but sometimes attractions get in the way. The researchers also think   that might  happen someday.

See, women and men being friends is  a new trend. Historically, the sexes have been separated. Today, however, men and women have contact with each other in school, the workplace or just interacting in public places. Since the old way of thinking was that if a man and woman were spending time together than naturally it would lead to a relationship. But, that old mindset may quickly be replaced.

Personally, there seem to be some flaws with the study, but isn’t that the case with most of them? My biggest gripe with the findings is that it reaffirms gender stereotypes, and as long as they persist, we can’t really get over the question of whether or not men and women can be friends.

So, ladies and gentlemen, do you believe that men and women can just be friends? Or, will that friendship always lead to something more?

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