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This is the top comment for March's What Say You Topic. For that, the Stomper won $100 in shopping vouchers.
Stomper Tham gave a well-balanced argument about whether men and women can be just friends, quoting some studies and research.
This is his entry for this month's What Say You topic, 'Can men and women have a strictly platonic friendship?'
What the Research Says
In one study, researchers at the University of Wisconsin brought 88 pairs of cross-sex friends into a lab. The pairs were required to promise in front of each other that they would refrain from discussing the study after they left the lab. They were then separated and asked a series of questions to gauge their romantic feelings towards their opposite sex friends.
Researchers found that while women were generally not attracted to their male friends and saw the relationship as strictly platonic, the men usually had romantic feelings for their lady friends. Not only were the guys more attracted to their supposedly platonic female buds, they also mistakenly believed that the feelings were reciprocal, and they were more willing to act on their erroneously perceived mutual attraction.
Thus, the study suggests that women generally think that guys and gals can “just be friends,” while men are secretly hoping there’s a chance their relationships with their female friends can be something more. Basically, this study gives us the scientific explanation for the “friend zone.” Women and men are often on completely different wavelengths when it comes to their cross-sex relationships!
There are “functional benefits” for both men and women when it comes to “opposite-sex friends” (OSFs).
Women are more likely than men to see their OSF as a source of ‘protection,’ and sometimes also as a backup mate should things fall through with her primary partner, or as a last resort.
Men and women can be ‘just friends’ and have platonic relationships but on average, men are more likely than women to become sexually involved and to see their “OSF as a potential sex or romantic partner.
Contemporary Americans mostly have the discipline and control to have platonic relationships with the other sex. Other cultures that place a high value on male sexual aggression or lack of control will rarely conceive that it is possible for a man and a woman to have a platonic relationship. The cultural values of men and women are the critical factors.
The Woman define the Tone
Men and women, while different, are still human. It is very common for men and women to share common interests, without having any kind of sexual spark, which is necessary for any lasting relationship. They may go shopping together, or have meals together, the same as two women or two men might do, and discuss their relationships with their significant others, if applicable. But they do not have to be in a sexual relationship in order to do this.
The belief that men are less capable of platonic cross-sex friendships has a kernel of truth to it as men do struggle more than women with sexual interest in these relationships. Men are often portrayed as ‘dogs’ and only interested in ‘one thing’. Sex is a larger part of that psychology for men than for women.
Bio-chemistry of humans do not permit platonic chemistry. Humans are programmed to respond in a certain way in the presence of opposite sex. Ingrained social norms may prevent humans from thinking of physical compatibility all the time but continued proximity will result in hormones overriding other holding forces. It is only human brain which is powerful enough to mask and control those hormones but only for so long.
Platonic Relationships are "temporary" and "acquaintanceship" based. When a heterosexual man and a hetero sexual woman are both single, there is an initial short term period where they are assessing their romantic possibilities with each other.
However, assuming that nothing occurs for whatever reasons, as soon as one of the parties meets a new romantic partner, the "platonic acquaintance" will be dropped immediately.
Time management is the reason. In a 24 hour day, take 8 hours for sleeping, 8 hours for work, 2 hours for getting ready and travelling equals 18 hours. Therefore there are 6 hours remaining. When a new romantic relationship begins, the parties involved will use these 6 hours to spend time together. The few remaining hours can conceivably be spent with a platonic acquaintance but that probability is low, especially if & when the other platonic acquaintance finds a romantic partner for themselves. Then there really is no time remaining for any platonic relationship.
People are delusional and in denial to think that platonic relationships have a long term future. At best, platonic relationships have a very short life.
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