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Can there be friendship between a man and a woman?

Can there be friendship between a man and a woman?

March 29, 2024

More than two decades have passed since the premiere of one of the most acclaimed romantic comedies: When Harry met Sally. This film was a resounding success at the box office, and if it did, it was thanks, at least in part, to placing one of the most recurrent questions in the spotlight: Is friendship between a woman and a man possible?

The friendship between a man and a woman: a utopia?

In previous articles we have verified which are the 7 signs to detect a toxic friendship, explain the relationship between political ideology and sexual attraction, or solve the question of why kindness is a problem when looking for a partner.

Today we will try to gather information that will help us understand if a man and a woman can maintain a disinterested friendship of any romantic or sexual project.

Many people think that it is not possible, that heterosexual women and men can not establish a relationship of pure friendship. And it is usually attributed that this impossibility resides in the effect of hormones . However, many people claim to have had one or many friendships of the opposite sex. It seems that it is a very subjective question, which depends a lot on the scale of values ​​of each individual.


An investigation published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, commanded by April Bleske-Rechek, professor of Psychology at the Wisconsin-Eau Claire University, concluded that men perceive romantic options more frequently than women with their friends (2012). The study also noted that men tended to be equally interested sexually or romantically in their friends, regardless of whether they were already in a relationship with another person.

What does the Bleske-Rechek study tell us? That men and women differ in the appreciation of their relationships with people of the opposite sex , bringing clearly differentiated attitudes about their expectations. The research also showed that, in the typical friendship between a woman and a man, the man tends to overestimate the level of attraction that the friend feels towards him. On the other side, the woman underestimates the degree of attraction her friend feels towards her.

As a result of this asymmetry, the man can think: "I am sure that my friend wants something more than a simple friendship", while the women conceive: "Oh, of course not, my friend does not think of me in that way , We are good friends". It is possible that these different perceptions about the same relationship are the origin of endless misunderstandings , or the reason why many women give, unwittingly, "false illusions" to their male friends.

The variable sincerity also comes into play

Another variable that probably influences to bias the results in this type of research is the inclination of the females to hide certain thoughts or opinions . In the study, participants were guaranteed that their answers would be completely anonymous and confidential.

Likewise, before the surveys were completed, the researcher promised to separately promise the pairs of friends that they would not talk about the answers at the end of the study. Although it was presumable to think that all the subjects were absolutely sincere, the truth is that a degree of shame was detected in accepting that one feels attracted to his friend, although he appreciates that this attraction is not reciprocal. Obviously, pride and withdrawal can influence the responses of the participants, thus altering the results.

Although there is no extensive scientific literature on these issues, a unique study by Jesse Budd and Patrick Romero, two young and talented film directors who managed to reach the same conclusion: friendship between men and women is impossible .

They considered carrying out a video recording that could confirm the veracity of the hypothesis. It is clear that his method was miles away from being considered as rigorous and scientific, but they managed to document some informal questionnaires among university students. The experience revealed that, when the girls were asked, they began by saying yes, that it was quite possible to maintain a friendship with a man. However, as the survey entered the subject and they were asked if their friends were attracted to them, they blushed and admitted that it was quite likely that . According to this, could it not be said that the friendship between individuals of different sex is never exempt from a certain degree of attraction?

Friendship and attraction: concluding

In fact, it seems that both women and men should reflect on our conceptions about friendship, to get our friends to be so for their personality. We value the sincere, reciprocal and lasting friendship, be it with a man or with a woman.

Recently, in addition, some North American researchers conducted a macro-survey asking thousands of people if they had sex with a friend , and if that intimate contact had worsened or improved the friendship relationship. The results of the surprising study can be found by reading this article:

  • Related article: "Sex between friends strengthens friendship"

We will remain alert when offering new information on this issue. What opinion do you deserve the subject? Can there be friendship between a man and a woman? Opinions are diverse and always bring controversy. We invite you to offer us your vision on this topic in the comments section, or through our Facebook account.

Bibliographic references:

  • Barriga, S. (1982). Group psychology and social change. Barcelona: Time.
  • De Castro, R. (1996). Social influence and environmental change: current and prospective intervention strategies. Psychosocial intervention, 5 (13), 7-20.
  • Martínez, M. F. (1993). Community psychology. Seville: Eudema.

Why Men and Women Cant be friends (March 2024).

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