Rules of Attraction: Can Men and Women be Just Friends?

A new study found that gravitational feelings between friends of the opposite sex are a burden rather than an interest.

Can men and women be friends only? Probably not, according to a study by the University of Wisconsin-ou Clare. The researchers found that attraction is common among people in anti-sexual friendships and that these feelings can cause problems, especially if a “friend” is in a romantic relationship with another person.

When participants were asked to include the pros and cons of having friends of the opposite sex, 32% said that feelings of seriousness were an obstacle, while 6% said those feelings were useful.

Forty-seven percent of women between the ages of 18 and 23 included attraction as a negative attribute of anti-sexual friendship, while 22 percent of men felt the same.

The gender gap closed slightly when the participants were asked if the jealousy of another important person was the cost of maintaining their heterosexual friendship, 38% of the women said yes and 25% of the men agreed.

In addition, it seems that feelings of gravitation towards a friend have a negative impact on the feelings of other participants: younger women and middle-aged participants who reported more attraction towards a friend of the opposite sex were informed by lower satisfaction in their romantic relationship

Researchers believe that interaction with a member of the opposite sex leads to instinctive mating strategies.

“Our findings suggest that there is an attraction in the friendship between the sexes as a common and potentially negative consequence for their colleagues in the long term,” the researchers wrote in the August issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relations.

Tell us: Do you think that men and women can only be friends? Tell us about your experience with other sexual friends in the comments below. (Note: users will not be able to comment on mobile devices).

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