Taken together, these studies suggest that men and women have vastly different views of what it means to be “just friends”—and that these differing views have the potential to lead to trouble.
Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa.Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them—a clearly misguided belief.This is not just a bit of confirmation for stereotypes about sex-hungry males and naïve females; it is direct proof that two people can experience the exact same relationship in radically different ways.Men seem to see myriad opportunities for romance in their supposedly platonic opposite-sex friendships.Unsurprisingly those who know a person best sometimes know things about them that they have yet to accept for themselves.
Can heterosexual men and women ever be “just friends”?
Both men and women were equally attracted to romantically involved opposite-sex friends and those who were single; “hot” friends were hot and “not” friends were not, regardless of their relationship status.
However, men and women differed in the extent to which they saw attached friends as potential romantic partners.
However, the differences between men and women appeared here as well.
Males were significantly 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.
This is, for some, an example of Truth in Television.