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Males were ificantly more likely than females to list romantic attraction as a benefit of opposite-sex friendships, and this discrepancy increased as men aged—males on the younger end of the spectrum were four times more likely than females to report romantic attraction as a benefit of opposite-sex friendships, whereas those on the older end of the spectrum were ten times more likely to do the same.
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These friendship pairs were then separated, and each member of each pair was asked a series of questions related to his or her romantic feelings or lack thereof toward the friend with whom they were taking the study.
Few other questions have provoked debates as intense, family dinners as awkward, literature as luridor movies as memorable.
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The suggest large gender differences in how men and women experience opposite-sex friendships. See Subscription Options Already a subscriber?
Knowledge awaits. However, the differences between men and women appeared here as well.
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Although women seem to be genuine in their belief that opposite-sex friendships are platonic, men seem unable to turn off their desire for something more. 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.
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. Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them—a clearly misguided belief.
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Men seem to see myriad opportunities for romance in their supposedly platonic opposite-sex friendships. And even though both genders agree overall that attraction between platonic friends is more negative than positive, males are less likely than females to hold this view.
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Adrian F. Ward is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Thanks for reading Scientific American.
In order to investigate the viability of truly platonic opposite-sex friendships—a topic that has been explored more on the silver screen than in the science lab—researchers brought 88 pairs of undergraduate opposite-sex friends into…a science lab.
However, men and women differed in the extent to which they saw attached friends as potential romantic partners.
Men were also more willing to act on this mistakenly perceived mutual attraction. Daily experience suggests that non-romantic friendships between males and females are not only possible, but common—men and women live, work, and play side-by-side, and generally seem to be able to avoid spontaneously sleeping together.
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in. In a follow-up study, adults many of whom were married were asked to list the positive and negative aspects of being friends with a specific member of the opposite sex.
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Give a Gift. The women in these friendships, however, seem to have a completely different orientation—one that is actually platonic.
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To the outside observer, it seems clear that these vastly different views about the potential for romance in opposite-sex friendships could cause serious complications—and people within opposite-sex relationships agree.
Privacy was paramount—for example, imagine the fallout if two friends learned that one—and only one—had unspoken romantic feelings for the other throughout their relationship.
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Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa. Are you a scientist who specializes in neuroscience, cognitive science, or psychology?
His doctoral research is focused on the relationships between technology, cognition, social relationships, and self-esteem, and he worked briefly as a scientific consultant for a dating website.
See Subscription Options. In order to ensure honest responses, the researchers not only followed standard protocols regarding anonymity and confidentiality, but also required both friends to agree—verbally, and in front of each other—to refrain from discussing the study, even after they had left the testing facility.
Variables related to romantic attraction e. Get smart. Still, the question remains unanswered.