It’s a traditional rom-com trope as previous as time.
Boy meets lady. Boy and lady make it clear that there’s nothing extra to their relationship than friendship. Unbridled sexual pressure ensues, and we (the viewers) desperately await the second that our protagonists lastly notice they’re excellent for one another. Amorous embrace, passionate kiss, and fade to black.
In the event you haven’t seen When Harry Met Sally, don’t fear. The above synopsis is shut sufficient. Modern films and TV reveals have at all times danced with the concept that feminine and male pals can’t presumably exist with out some kind of hidden romantic attraction brewing beneath the floor, inflicting us to imagine that the identical goes for actual life. However is that actually the case? Is it unimaginable for heterosexual women and men to maintain their relationship strictly platonic? Nicely, we checked with science, and right here’s what the analysis says.
A research printed within the Journal of Social and Private Relationships examined cross-sex friendships between rising and middle-aged heterosexual adults. The objective was to find out the diploma to which women and men expertise romantic attraction inside these friendships, in addition to how usually they view this attraction as a profit fairly than a price of being in a cross-sex friendship.
The research’s authors outline cross-sex friendship as “a voluntary, cooperative, non-romantic alliance between members of the alternative intercourse.” They observe that some of these friendships face 4 foremost challenges: figuring out the kind of emotional bond shared, dealing with sexuality within the relationship, presenting the connection as an genuine friendship to outsiders, and addressing equality within the context of gender inequality.
Researchers first investigated the cross-sex friendships between rising adults, bringing in 88 pairs of pals of the alternative intercourse from a public college. Following commonplace confidentiality protocols to make sure honesty, they then requested the chums to explain the romantic nature of their friendship. As soon as full, the pairs had been separated and every member was requested the identical questions once more.
The outcomes discovered giant gender variations within the methods women and men expertise opposite-sex friendships. The research confirmed males had been more likely to be drawn to their feminine pals than vice versa. They had been additionally extra more likely to imagine that their feminine pals had been drawn to them than vice versa, that means that males usually assumed any romantic attraction they felt was mutual, no matter their feminine good friend having emotions or not.
Ladies, however, had been more likely to underestimate the extent of attraction their male pals felt in direction of them, in addition to much less more likely to have romantic emotions themselves. Even in conditions the place girls felt romantic attraction in direction of their male pals, they had been much less keen to behave on them, particularly if their male good friend was in a relationship. Males had been reportedly extra keen to behave on their emotions, no matter their feminine good friend’s relationship standing.
When researchers investigated whether or not or not the pairs of pals seen romantic attraction as a price or a advantage of their friendship, the outcomes had been extra shocking. Each female and male pals reported viewing attraction inside their relationship as a price fairly than a profit. This was true throughout the board for these in critical relationships in addition to those that had been presently single, suggesting that the women and men concerned within the research had been extremely conscious of the issues their cross-sex friendships induced (particularly these in relationships who reported having jealous companions).
Whereas it’s not definitive, this research has given some weight to the idea that women and men can’t be pals – although it appears that evidently males are those who wrestle essentially the most. The research additionally failed to look at the romantic dynamics in gay same-sex friendships, that means extra analysis is required to be conclusive.