Can men and women be just friends?

Men report more sexual interest in their female friends than their female friends do in them, and men are also more likely than women to overestimate how romantically interested their friends are in them. In most cases, sexual attraction within a friendship is seen as more of a burden than a benefit, the study finds.

“I think men and women do want to be friends, they do want to engage in platonic friendships,” said study researcher April Bleske-Rechek, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. “But the data I’ve been collecting suggests that attractions can get in the way.”


A disbelieving Andrea Tantaros took the topic to Times Square to ask folks on the street for their own opinions, and what she got was a bit of a mixed bag. But one thread ran throughout — the chances for a platonic guy-girl relationship are slim, ladies and gents.

Finally, a girl told it as it actually was. She said that if he were sexy, of course not. With gays it might be possible.

Logically, a man will hang with attractive women. Now look closely at those women – why are they attractive? They look after themselves and such women are sexy, are they not?

Therefore a guy most certainly would, given half a chance.

Now look at men – ugly muvvers, most of us.  So the pool of potential partners is far less than the pool of friends in women’s eyes.   Test – two attractive women walk into a room where there ae two men.   Do the men think: “Oh goody, an intellectual discussion,”  or do they think: “Here’s nooky.”


14 comments for “Can men and women be just friends?

  1. September 10, 2012 at 20:36
  2. dearieme
    September 10, 2012 at 20:45
  3. September 10, 2012 at 21:10

    PC – like it.

    Dearieme – superb.

  4. September 10, 2012 at 22:27

    I am sorry James, but this post is very cheap and inappropriate.

    I am sure you will claim you don’t know what I mean. But I know you do know exactly what I mean.

    I might have to start quoting the ‘Ten Commandments’ at you!

  5. JD
    September 10, 2012 at 22:30

    James, I told you this morning what the secret is 🙂

  6. September 10, 2012 at 22:49

    I find these reactions interesting. Before this evening, I’d never heard of this “freedom zone” thing. To have been so out of touch for however long it’s been a phenomenon is a bit daunting.

    As for Cherie’s reaction, that’s a puzzler. Ten Commandments? What the post is about is that men and women, by the clips and studies, are obviously on different pages over this. So what hope is there?

    As far as I know my own sex, there are two main motivations if an attractive woman turns her eyes his way. One is to bed her and the other is mine – to let it get deeper and see where it goes, always with a view to it becoming something else. I never see it as staying where it is in the small talk phase because that is shallow and shallow is boring.

    On the other hand, there are women I do know and I can’t see it being anything other than friendship so probably it is possible if there is some limiting factor such as one being married – but that’s a constraint I feel, not one much of my sex feels these days from what I can gather.

    Which is not to say I always felt this way but now I do. Maybe I don’t know my own sex but in that scenario with two women walking into a room, I’ve heard enough from males nearby to think it’s what they think. And I’m sure the women don’t.

    So in the post and also in the comments as well, you can see the misunderstandings standing out clearly. Truly two different species.

  7. Wolfie
    September 10, 2012 at 23:02

    I suppose it just depends how immature you are?

  8. September 10, 2012 at 23:30

    One is to bed her and the other is mine – to let it get deeper and see where it goes, always with a view to it becoming something else. I never see it as staying where it is in the small talk phase because that is shallow and shallow is boring.

    and the second part through lack of confidence, insecurity, lack of opportunity or any other myriad of reasons then becomes ‘The Friend Zone’ almost as impossible to escape as the event horizon of a black hole

  9. Amfortas
    September 11, 2012 at 02:33

    I am an ‘eligible batchelor’. Actually, twice married and twice divorced. I have quite a few female friends and even a few that I quite fancy and some who fancy me. I am told I am quite a handsome fellow ( I don’t think so, but there we are) and that I am ‘quite a catch’.

    I support Marriage. I would not ever marry again. To a chap like me sex is intimately connected to marriage so I remain celibate.

    One particular woman I know made a mis-step a few years ago. I like her a lot and enjoy her company, which is usually in the company of others. I said to her one day, after a long BBQ where there were many friends gathered and conversations formed, flowed and moved on, that we should spend a little time together next time and really ‘talk’ together. Well the next time came a few months later and she reminded me by email that it would be a good opportunity.

    This woman is attractive. She rarely wears cosmetics and lets her natural ‘face’ shine through with its character and natural pleasantness. I was astonished when she turned up ‘made-up’. It was almost a different woman. I was pleasant in response but the objective of knowing her more and sharing some friendship time uninterrupted was lost in this display. She had clearly thought that I had ‘designs’ on her and clearly she was up for the game. But I had had no intention of being anything other than a friend and simply wanted to spend some time knowing her better and being myself.

    Can men and woman be friends? Of course. But this idea that only men see attractiveness as leading to sex – and blaming them for it, or at least criticising it- is just low-level misandry.

    Where a man might respond to a woman’s physical attractiveness, women seem not to care as much about his. She seems far more interested in his ‘place’ in life, his earning capacity, his clothes and possessions. How ‘other’ people see him. He likes her; she likes what he has. He responds to who she is; she responds to what he has and how others look up to or down on him. She deliberately hides who she is behind a false wall of pretence, starting with the facial ‘cosmetics’ and working down.

    Even without the minefield that marriage has become for men, sex is just as dangerous. One mistaken impression, one enthusiasm too far and any man can find himself accused of a crime. Simply ‘looking’ at some women is considered ‘assault’ these days.

    If friendshp between men and woman has become fraught and questioned, it is entirely down to women. As I say, I like women. But I also like lions and tigers. And tuna fish.

  10. JD
    September 11, 2012 at 07:37

    ….a true story:
    when I buy my morning paper I will glance at the Red Tops and will say ‘oooo lovely ladies’ and the newsagent, Mr Singh, will say laughing as he says, it you naughty boy 🙂
    But one day he said you lady next time come back which was eventually deciphered (his English is as good as my Punjabi) as- any man who is too keen on the opposite sex will reincarnate as a female in his next life.
    Interesting thought!

  11. September 11, 2012 at 08:02

    JD first – now that is something to consider.

    Amfortas – thanks for that. “But this idea that only men see attractiveness as leading to sex – and blaming them for it, or at least criticising it- is just low-level misandry.” I think perhaps that’s what Cherie was saying – that I might have been misandrist in assuming all men do that and that the post was cheap for that reason – her comment does have me puzzled.

    PC – I do see that zone though don’t think I’ve been in it. I tend to hang back but if there seems a chance or a way in, I go for it – or did when I did these things. Which means initial signals are pretty vital.

    Being boring, I was always after something serious, not casual. Part of that was sheer usage of resources, from spiritual to financial to sheer energy levels – I just couldn’t see the point of doing all the groundwork for nothing but the buzz for me is in the relationship itself rather than just the physical.

    Like everyone, that meant various “trial runs” which did not work out and though that looks casual on the surface, there was always a serious romantic intent behind it.

    Perhaps that’s why it ended each time because there always has been this element with certain women wanting to try the goods with me without necessarily committing. Must be the wild look in the eye which worries them, I don’t know, I’ve never worked it out. And even after that, they want to continue it on that casual basis but that’s not platonic friendship.

    I conducted a campaign with WN1 to get her and she allowed it for some time, had obviously already decided but was enjoying the chase and then she simply said yes, to my shock. WN2 caught me unawares and that was a different story.

    Wolfie – it does and I think there are a lot of immature people.

  12. Amfortas
    September 11, 2012 at 08:17

    I have to add this: Moving from the particular (my experience) to the more like general (the videos) one matter stands out, and that is ‘age’.

    The men and women in the videos were barely either, some still having the cradle marks on their bums. Most of the men in particular who were shown or alluded to by the young women, were without status or possessions, rank or authority, and were therefore not likely to be considered as ‘mating’ material by the girls. Hence them being shuffled off into the ‘friends zone’.

    Men have feelings which the girls freely admitted that did not know about, care to know about or even ask about. A man’s feelings do not matter as far as the average female is concerned. Only when SHE is interested in him does his feelings become a matter of interest to her. Then his feelings are of paramount importance, it seems. But woe betide him if his feelings are not wholly upon her.

    There is an ‘N’ word for this general condition.

  13. September 11, 2012 at 19:47

    @ James,

    After reading down the comments, maybe some of my original thoughts were incorrect.

    I might have been misandrist in assuming all men do that

    That is part of what I was thinking, not all men think the same way. Following up from the comments on women further down, not all women are the same either.

    You could argue that most men/women act/think in the same way but certainly far from all of them.

  14. September 11, 2012 at 19:59

    Well, I think it’s been a useful exercise to see the shades of opinion and I learnt a new concept in the process.

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