Shine On

New study says men and women can’t be friends

Men are more likely to have romantic feelings for their gal pals, rather than vice-versa. (Thinkstock)Ever since Harry famously told Sally that "men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way," sociologists, researchers and everyday folk have been arguing about whether or not that statement is, in fact, true.

In the most recent chapter of the on-going debate, American researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire surveyed 88 sets of man-woman friends and found that despite being platonic pals, most of the men harbored romantic feelings for their female friends.  The reverse, however, wasn't necessarily true.

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"Men also consistently and mistakenly assumed that their female buddy was attracted to them more than they actually were," reports Scientific American.

Researchers also found that even if the women surveyed were in a relationship with someone else, their platonic male friends were completely undeterred in their affections.

"Women, on the other hand, reported having much less desire to date their male friend if they, or he, were already romantically engaged with another," says Scientific American.

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Last year, Jesse Budd and Patrick Romero, two independent filmmakers, walked around the Utah State campus with a video camera, polling people on this very topic.

Their unscientific findings? Most women said they could be just friends with their platonic male pals, but the men didn't think it would be possible. Most men shown in the video said they would sleep with their "platonic" female friends if given the opportunity. And, upon further questioning, many of the women revealed they knew that their platonic male friends harboured romantic feelings for them.

It seems the discussion is still far from closed.

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