Listened to an interesting NPR podcast the other day about what research has to say about male-female platonic friendships. I’ve had really good female friends with no problems my whole life. In fact, Kim and I started out as platonic friends. Anyway, some new research suggests some interesting differences in how men and women experience these friendships:
Some of the research indicates that men, in particular, are somewhat likely to both report some level of attraction to their female friends and to believe their female friends feel some level of attraction to them.
So basically, men are somewhat attracted to their female friends and women are not attracted to their male friends. I do wonder, though, how much of this is limited to friendships. I.e., I would not be at all surprised to learn that men are, on average, more attracted to all the females in their environment than women are attracted to the males in their environment (and likewise falsely perceive themselves as being seen as attractive).
Now, presumably this represents some sort of a problem, but I think the issue is not so much attraction as what you decide to do about it. If you are a happily married man (or woman, but more likely man), you simply say my friend X is attractive, but so what, and that’s that. And if you don’t? Well, you’re not a happily married man. It’s presumably more difficult when you are single and you genuinely do have to worry about that whole ruining the friendship thing. Or, maybe your wife reads your blog so you state unequivocally that you have never found one of your female friends–other than her, of course– the least bit attractive.