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The women in these friendships, however, seem to have a completely different orientation—one that is actually platonic.Males were significantly more likely than females to list romantic attraction as a benefit of opposite-sex friendships, and this discrepancy increased as men aged—males on the younger end of the spectrum were four times more likely than females to report romantic attraction as a benefit of opposite-sex friendships, whereas those on the older end of the spectrum were ten times more likely to do the same.Taken together, these studies suggest that men and women have vastly different views of what it means to be “just friends”—and that these differing views have the potential to lead to trouble.Can heterosexual men and women ever be “just friends”?Few other questions have provoked debates as intense, family dinners as awkward, literature as lurid, or movies as memorable. Daily experience suggests that non-romantic friendships between males and females are not only possible, but common—men and women live, work, and play side-by-side, and generally seem to be able to avoid spontaneously sleeping together.
Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them—a clearly misguided belief.