This is why men and women can't be ‘just friends’

By Marni Dixit November 19, 2016
Jim and Pam

It seems that men and women really aren't destined to be friends according to science!

It’s something that can cause a real problem in relationships: when one person has a close friendship with the other sex. And now a study has found why men and women apparently don’t succeed as friends.

The study, published in Evolutionary Psychology found that problems come about in platonic relationships between men and women because they misunderstand each other. What that means is that men often misinterpret a woman’s friendliness as sexual interest, while women interpret men’s sexual interest as friendliness. Kind of confusing, right?

The study took place at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology with 308 heterosexual participants between the ages of 18 and 30. They were surveyed about their friendships, sexual attractions and experiences with misread social signals.

The results found that men over perceived sexual interest from women, while women under perceived sexual interest from men!

Ted and Robin

The women reported that their platonic actions were misunderstood as sexual around four times a year.

This coincides with research from a few years ago that found men thought women were more promiscuous, flirtatious and seductive than women reported men to be.

The researchers believe evolution is to blame for the results. What that means is that they think men over perceive sexual interest in order to make sure they don’t miss any potential opportunities in choosing a mate.

Chandler and monica

If you’re a guy and find yourself falling for your female friends, it’s actually really common. Another study found that men are more likely to be sexually attracted to their female friends than their female friends were to them.

The study also found that women under perceive sexual interest from male friends because they’re just not interested and thought the lack of attraction was mutual. 

So there you have it, if you think you’re falling for a friend, maybe just be open and tell them as early as possible, so they don’t misread the signals! 

Or you might end up really lucky like Jim from The Office with Pam and live happily ever after, who knows?! Let's be honest, though, they're the exception, not the rule...


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