It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.
“Researchers surveyed more than 80 man-woman pals. They found that men were more attracted to their female friend than vice versa. Men also consistently and mistakenly assumed that their female buddy was attracted to them more than they actually were.” (“Attraction Between Friends of Opposite Sexes”; ScientificAmerican.com 7/22/2012)
Fascinating! In another attempt to answer the “can men and women be friends?” question, studies now show that, more often than not, ladies can handle it. It’s the men who want more.
This holds, apparently, even if one of the pair is in a relationship. “Men’s attraction to their women friends was not deterred if they, or the friend, were already romantically involved with another person. Women, on the other hand, reported having much less desire to date their male friend if they, or he, were already romantically engaged with another.”
I don’t love thinking that a guy already in a romantic relationship might still want to date his female pal, but I guess this is where trust comes into play. Feeling an attraction is one thing, acting on it is another.
When I think about cross-gender friendships, I see the possible attraction as a hazard. It complicates things. Apparently, most people agree. But, according to this research, some people think potential romantic feelings is a plus. An opportunity. (I guess this makes sense. There’s the whole “be friends first!” theory of romance, after all.) But even this is a bit gender specific.
So how to handle the conflict of attraction between friends? In another survey the researchers found that, overall, the participants were five times more likely to see it as burden than as not. Although the scientists spotted a gender difference here, too. Turns out men felt there was more to gain from attraction in friendships, and women felt there was more to lose.
Does this information surprise you? When you see a male-female pair of BFFs, do you question if one is secretly in love with the other? Do you think it’s usually the guy who has the romantic feelings? (I’ll be honest, I would have thought it was the other way around. That more often the girl would have the crush than the guy.)