When we talk about human relationships, one of the most controversial issues is whether friendship between men and women is possible. A question for which everyone has the answer based solely on their personal experiences and those of people close to them.
But science has gone further and has investigated this great dilemma. A group of researchers from the University of Wisconsin, United States, have decided to dedicate their efforts to providing a definitive answer to this question and presented the study called ‘Benefit or burden? Attraction in corss – sex friendship’, which could be translated as ‘Benefit or burden? Attraction in friendship between the sexes.
According to Abril Bleske-Rechek, the psychologist at the head of the working group that carried out this study, men and women have a very different perception of the messages they receive from the opposite sex. This, especially in the case of men, leads them to misinterpret the signals.
Said study mentions that, in effect, the existence of a friendship between a man and a woman is possible, but it is more likely that said relationship will end up becoming a romance or there may be interest in one of the parties.
The researchers enlisted the support of 88 opposite-sex pairs of friends. Both people were separated and each member was given a questionnaire related to her romantic feelings towards the friend of the opposite sex with whom they were conducting the study.
The young people who were part of the research were asked, first separately and then in front of their friend, what was the level of attraction they felt for the other person, with three options: “no attraction”, “moderate attraction” and “extreme attraction” During the study phase, different factors were taken into account, such as the way in which they met, the time they have been friends, the frequency and degree of interaction or the emotional experiences shared by both. After analyzing the answers, the researchers indicated that there are differences between the genders with respect to their friendship and here we explain them:
1- Men tend to feel attracted to their friends and in that sense women do not feel the same,
2- Boys believe that their attraction is reciprocated and this does affect friendship, Men do not care about marital status, for the On the contrary, women respect this situation a lot.
3- It was also shown that two people of the opposite sex can live the same relationship in a totally different way. While men feel they have endless opportunities to turn their friendship into romance, women tend to see the relationship as platonic.
Then we can reach a conclusion and that is that, for women, a friendship between both genders is possible. But from the male perspective, this relationship can always be something more. Of course, both they and they agree that the attraction between friends is more negative than positive for the relationship.
Friendship between individuals of the opposite sex is impossible when it is verified that one of the parties, if not both, ends up developing at some point a different degree of sexual attraction.
In certain everyday attitudes, such as when a man lends a woman his jacket when it’s cold, while she perceives only what a good friend he is, watching out for her not to get cold, he is only sending a clear signal of the attraction that he has. feel. In this sense, the research determines that it is the men who feel a greater attraction for their friends, with the feeling, moreover, that this feeling is reciprocated. However, they tend to interpret the gentle and friendly attitudes of their peers as a direct consequence of the friendship that unites them, which makes them less likely to misunderstand love with their friends.
During the research process, the psychologists who were part of this study detected that when men send sexual messages to a friend, she usually interprets them as a sign of sympathy, while when they are especially nice, they interpret their behavior as a first sign of sexual attraction.
A completely different perception towards the same messages ends in misunderstandings that can even end the friendship, which can only be saved if one of the two or both have a committed sentimental relationship, which does not affect or resent the friendship.
Michael Nast, author of the book ‘The generation of the incapable’, is more radical in his approaches, saying that, specifically in the millennial generation, pure friendship between the sexes is impossible, because the people of this generation are emotionally incapacitated who understand love as a reaffirmation of his ego, not as a commitment.
For this author, whose reasons are purely biological, men and women can be friends only if sexuality is suppressed, if neither of them has any hope of maintaining a love relationship, which coincides with the thesis that supports that friendship relationships among friends committed to third parties they are much more established.