“Its no big deal.. we’re just friends”. Is this legit or are they the famous last words uttered two weeks before your wife runs off with her yoga instructor?
Science has confirmed what [paranoid, psychotic, over-protective] spouses have always believes. Men and women cannot just be friends. Well, more precisely, male-female friendships are very often underlined with a sexual attraction.
A new study from the University of Wisconsin has confirmed that male-female friendships – always considered an evolutionary anomaly – are wrought with sexual attraction. Both men and women are apt to view their opposite sex friends with a sense of sexual attraction. And men and women are prone to think more fondly and highly of their opposite sex friends who are more attractive.
And, the new finding in this study, both men and women feel this at pretty similar levels. Earlier studies had fond that men tended to lust after their female platonic friends, but women were far less likely to feel the itch for their male buddies. Turns out no… men and women get the sex goggles for their platonic opposite sex friends at pretty similar levels.
These findings are particularly tricky for me. For all of my life I have had more close female friends than male friends. I prefer hanging out with women and, while I have never crossed sexual lines with any female platonic friends that would violate rules in my primary relationship, I would be lying if I didn’t say there were a number that I felt attractions to at some level. And I have definitely allowed attractions to build and for sexual flirtation to become part of the friendship.
And – while I’m not necessarily proud of this – I definitely have a bias in friendship toward attractive women. My university (male) friends used to tease me about how many good looking women I hung out with as friends.
I guess I have always felt that if you can mix friendship, attraction and a little harmless flirtation… all the better. But, in retrospect, does that make me a little shallow for this life-long bias I have had toward attractive women? How many good friends have I missed because of this bias?
I’m really happy to have found this study… While I love the friends I have, I’m happy to have this bias (that I know I hold) exposed. Resolution of the day – go out and find an unattractive male friend!