The age old long standing debate over whether or not it is possible for heterosexual men and women to genuinely engage in strictly platonic friendships. Not friends with benefits. Not friends that just hooked up once or on occasion. Not just friends because one person secretly likes the other and hopes for more one day, or any of the other stipulations we put on many gender mixed friendships.
For the most part, we all live, work, and play together in harmony without compulsively sleeping together so your daily experiences and observations may tell you that of course men and women can be just friends. But what if your eyes are playing tricks on you?
With so many people seeking to find the elusive answer to this question, science seems to be the best source for an answer. Researchers brought in 88 undergraduate opposite-sex friends in order to conduct a study. The participants verbally agreed in front of one another to refrain from sharing any information about the study even after leaving the test facility.
The friends were then separated into pairs and questioned about their romantic feelings toward or lack of feelings toward the friend that they were taking the study with. As you may have suspected, there was a big difference in how men and women perceive these platonic relationships. Men were more likely to be attracted to the women and often misguided about the level of attraction their female friend had toward them. The man's thoughts often didn't reflect how the women actually felt.
To top it off, each sex was oblivious to the opposite friend's feelings because they often believed that the feelings they project are mutual. More often than not men perceive the non-romantic interactions as the potential for something more, while the female is more than likely actually just being a good friend.
Without getting into all of the other things that men do wrong in opposite-sex friendships, the study suggests that men are primarily the reason that opposite-sex friends have a difficult time remaining platonic. To be 100, as a man, the study seems to be pretty accurate. Guys, the next time you are tempted to hit on your female best friend, please refrain from doing so for the sake of your friendship.