Why Men and Women Can’t be Friends

Imagine you’re having coffee with your best friend who just happens to be a girl. She’s a really cool girl and you go way back and she has amazing breasts.


You slap yourself in the face in your mind and concentrate on a packet of sugar. Better.  Now you can look at your breast best friend and continue chatting relatively boner-free. We are not monkeys, after all, and we can engage in civilized concepts like friendship between men and women.

Benefit or Burden? Attraction in cross-sex friendship says, no, we can’t. Or we can, but it’s never 100% non-sexual. According to this research, friendships between men and women are a relatively new concept and we’re still prone to what the researchers call “evolving mating strategies” (breasts!). Despite all that civilization, friendship between men and women naturally activates those horny monkey instincts because we’re programmed that way and haven’t evolved enough.

Here are some other findings:

If they’re attracted to each other, male and female friends see accidental hook-ups as not good. In other words, attraction seems to be a burden rather than an advantage. (Though if it leads to a relationship… it’s probably not so bad, right? I say; research doesn’t).

Good news (?) is that the levels of attraction are often moderate. The very, very shocking news is that “the magnitude of that attraction was stronger for men and for emerging adults.”

The biggest issue in male-female friendship is jealousy from the romantic partners. But!

Women put a big red “do not cross” sign over potential hook-ups if their male friend has a partner. Men, in true monkey-style, like the conquest no matter what their female friend romantic status. But!

If the person’s romantic relationship is blah, the attraction to the friend of the opposite sex becomes higher (another shocker: married middle-aged men tended to score highest on this correlation).

Men usually think their female friends are into them when they aren’t. There’s no correlation with how you think we see you with how we actually see you. Bummer.

So that’s the research for you. And, yes, we know that sometimes we’re the ones crazy-pining for our male buddies. But it seems, again, we’re the ones running this show, and as one of my girl friends once said, “He’s going to be my friend as long as I say he’s my ‘just a friend.’”

Image by IS Stock.

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