Can Men and Women Ever Be Just Friends? New Research Says Nope

can men and women be friends

Just friends? I don’t buy it. | Source: ShutterStock

This is a proud day because science has finally proven me right. Finally! Finally. I have always said that men and women can’t be just friends without at least one person crushing on the other person, and now new research has backed me up. It’s pretty much official, girls: researchers have stated that guys and gals can’t be simply friends without the opportunity for “romance” hanging out and waiting in the corner.

I know plenty of people are going to disagree with both me and these researchers on this. I’m sure there are tons of you who have guy friends who you would never dream of hooking up with or dating officially. But let’s face it, do you really know how they honestly feel about you? Because here’s the thing: as I’ve always suspected, men think about opposite-sex friendships much differently than women do.

This study looked at 88 pairs of opposite-sex friends and discovered that the majority of men were attracted to their female friends. The majority of men believed that their female friends were attracted to them also – but those guys were wrong. It turns out that majority of women were not attracted to their male friends and also had no idea that their male friends were attracted to them.

I’m not saying that I don’t think men and women can be friends at all. I do! I just think that in these friendships, one person is always going to have more than platonic feelings for the other person. Maybe your guy friend secretly thinks you’re hot and sort of wants to get in your pants. Maybe if the opportunity presented itself, he would take the chance of full on dating you.

Why do I feel this way? I’ve seen the evidence way too many times, and I’ve also discussed this with plenty of dudes who have agreed with me. Most guys I talk to about it say basically the same thing: they would date and/or hook up with any of their female friends if given the chance. Even our resident guy expert Ethan pretty much agrees! Do you know how many times I’ve heard dudes say that it’s not possible for girls to be friend-zoned because their friend would always be willing to try to take things to another level?

It’s also happened to me on numerous occasions. When I used to waitress, I was friends with most of the guys that I worked with. At work, we joked around and also talked about more serious stuff; after work, we hung out together with everyone else and had a good time. I had zero romantic interest in most of these guys. Almost all of them ended up hitting on me at one point or another. It was super disappointing, because I really wanted to believe that we could be just friends without having any awkward romantic situations going on. And I’m not trying to sound cocky, like it only happens to me – no, I’ve watched it happen to all of my girl friends at one point or another.

So what’s the definitive answer on this? Based on this research, it seems like guys are more likely than women to have romantic feelings for their opposite-sex friend. And while they might not come right out and say that they have a crush or that they would be willing to hook up, they would take things to that level if they had the chance.

But keep in mind that this research was only done on a small group of people. This doesn’t mean that every single guy out there thinks his female friend is hot. It doesn’t mean that there is no girl ever who feels friend-zoned by a guy. Still, I find myself pretty convinced: unless someone can prove otherwise, I truly don’t think guys and girls can be just friends without one of them sort of crushing on the other person.

What do you think – can guys and girls be just friends? Have you ever been in a totally platonic friendship with a guy? Do you agree or disagree with this study? Have you ever been friend-zoned? Tell me in the comments.


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  • Lenny De Tomaso

    If a man is in a committed relationship he shouldn’t be trying to have sex with a women he is friends with. A man or woman can find many others sexually attractive. It’s your commitment that should stop you from jumping at the chance to bed someone else. I am a man. I know ladies that I consider to be my friends. Some of them I think are attractive. I do not want to have sex with them nor do I think they want to have sex with me. I love my wife. If one of these friends was trying to have sex with me firstly I would be surprised. Secondly I would make sure it didn’t happen even if I had to stop being friends. So, I think a man can have female friends. I also have to tell you I am 60 years old and I am married for 34 years. My wife still doesn’t like me talking to other women.

  • Pingback: Can A Guy & A Girl Really Be Just Friends? 8 Reasons It’s Hard To Stay Platonic | Passnownow()

  • N.N.

    I didn’t bother reading the study you linked yet, but from your writing I get the impression that you do not believe men are able to have relationships with females without crushing on them. You are so very wrong in that. While as a guy I agree that a lot of friendships start like that, I have a whole bunch of female friends I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole in a romantic sense. It might help that I didn’t actively look them out but instead we hanged in same groups and thus ended up spending time together. I also have strong reasons to believe they wouldn’t consider me under any circumstances… but that’s an angle you didn’t address in the first place.

  • HeyBabe

    No. Wrong. This article only looks at the male perspective, and only answers one question:

    Will boys have sex with anyone..yes.

    Friends with opposite genders is obviously possible.

  • Abby

    Jessica Booth comes out with these ridiculous articles and statements. Most of what she says is so untrue and she tries to substantiate her position by using some obscure or bad research data.
    She does not have a balanced view and cannot accept anything different. Her articles are too black and white. She goes all out to try and prove she is right and that her views are “the only way” I think she is a terrible author with no balance in her attitudes. They are extreme.

    I fully agree with “feminazi”

    Jessica Booth is MISLEADING young impressionable teen girls.

    I would advise all girls reading all Jessica Booth’s articles to take what she says with a pinch of salt. Her arguments are terribly immature and misleading.

    • Jessica Booth

      I wrote about a legitimate study and then included my own opinions… at the end of the post I even say that it was a small study that I’m skeptical of believing. Just because you don’t agree with my opinions doesn’t mean I don’t have a “balanced view” of things and never once did I say my views are the “only way.” Like I said, just because you don’t agree, doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

  • feminazi

    LOL and the earth is flat. This website is a disgrace. I cannot believe all the fallacies I am finding here. I’ve been best friends with lesbians, men, and women all of whom were not romantically interested in me.

    Stop. Generalizing.

    It’s enforcing your opinions and ideals onto other people as facts which is downright inhumane. Men and women are not creatures so painfully driven by sexual desires that they cannot obtain a meaningful platonic relationship.

  • Lanah

    My best guy friend and I are like siblings. Just thought of either of us having feelings for each other is gross to both of us. It would be like incest.

    • joejoe

      I’m a man, and I’ve seen a few instances where the guy claims that in public (i.e., the girl says exactly what you said, so they’ve obviously talked about it in private between themselves), but admits privately to his guy friends that he’s crushing (usually in more “manly” terms such as ‘working an angle’). These can go on for years. The most personal one was a friend of mine that had/has a crush on a mutual friend that I ended up dating for awhile. She had NO idea that he felt that way, and I only suspected that he did until he admitted it one day after I was no longer dating her. It’s usually when the guy isn’t very good looking and/or has low self esteem.
      I’m not saying it *can’t* be true, just that of the dozen or so instances I’ve seen, only one has been legit. In that case, both the guy and girl were good looking, popular, etc. It’s MUCH easier for a guy to be friends with girls when he has self confidence and especially has other romantic options (i.e. girls that will hang out with him & consider dating him). Even so, it is SO SO SO hard for guys to remove sex from the friend equation. Also, much of it is simply that men are generally more casual about sex. So, it’s much easier for us to entertain the idea that, sure, if the opportunity arose, I would sleep with friend X. I think using article the term “romantic feelings” is a bit of a stretch and probably doesn’t represent the direction of the study questions well. “Would you have sex with X” and “would you date long term / marry X” or “do you have a crush on or are you in love with X” are very very different for men, and my impression is that a lot of women find those questions & feelings to be much more similar than we do.

  • Carolina Burgos

    And What happens if a girl boyfriend’s has a girl best friend?? Does this menas he likes her??

  • Maya

    If youre not close friends, there doesnt have to be attraction, but if you are then i think probably there is at least a little. doesnt mean he’d ever act on his feelings though. i read something that is more or less true: there are 3 reasons why a guy would befriend you; 1. he likes/is attracted to you. 2. you have mutual friends, or a friend is dating a friend, or something of the sort. 3. you use to date and have gotten over it. not always true, theres exceptions to everything, but its surprising how much this applies!

  • Lindsay

    Okay, this is totally untrue and I’m disappointed that the author of this article thinks it is.
    Just because you haven’t experienced something does not mean it doesn’t exist. My best friend is a guy and things are going fine between us. He probably finds me somewhat attractive, and we’ve addressed that issue and moved on. We’re like brother and sister. Hooking up would be awkward and we’ve discussed that already. People who say guys and girls can’t be friends obviously is not mature enough to handle that kind of a friendship.

    • Jessy

      Umm… she covered that. And that’s exactly what she said. Fact of the matter is that you already discussed the situation (he finding you attractive) and friend-zoned him. You’re like brother and sister now, but at one time, he didn’t see you that way. She’s not saying you CAN’T be friends with a guy because of these possible feelings, the study and she are saying that it’s possible the guy (or girl) can be friends, but one will have more of an attraction to the other until the sentiment is either nipped in the bud or acted upon positively. Get cho life, hun.

      Or in an equation:
      Guy+Girl= Possible Friendship/Soulmate/Fling

  • layla

    I actually believe the study becoz i’m actually bffs with a guy and it so happens that I like him! Yep but that means that my other guy friends that i dont like actually have crushes on me? eewww??

  • Cianelle

    I agree. I have a close friend in 5th grade and he admitted he has a crush on me so I started distancing myself from him, it’s kinda embarrassing you know. Then in 9th grade I have best guy friend, we’ve been just friends just that year and we got really close, one day he asked me to go to school with him to get his yearbook. I agreed and decided to ask his ex-gf to come with us to surprise him. After we went to the school we went to the mall, after a while his ex left so it’s just me and him. He took me to 7-11 to wait for my ride and he said goodbye. That night his ex told me that my friend asked me to go with him because he wants to be alone with me, then my friend texted me that he likes me. We’re still friends even though I know he likes me, now that 2 years had passed we’re still friends and still contacts me. I just don’t know who he likes now because whenever I ask him who he likes he kept on saying he’s enjoying his “bachelor” life.

  • Jane

    What a stupid study. i can’t believe they actually found an investor and everything.

  • Kimmy

    I had a lot of guy friends and one of them I pretty liked me a little more than a friend because he always tried to make me laugh. Then When I was in 4th grade one of my friends actually asked me out but I think that was a dare idk. But I have plenty of other guy friends who I’m sure have no romantic feelings for me so it could go either way

  • LittleRedWolfGirl

    This is why having gay guy friends is great, and I don’t mean you should go out and hunt down a gay guy to become your friend. However, if you happen to know a guy who’s gay and you get along with, they really can be your best guy friends (as long as there isn’t any risk of YOU falling for them, because that’s one you will never have). If you have a male cousin around the same age as you who you get along with, that also helps, since there’s no risk there, either. It’s sad, though, because I usually have a much easier time hanging out with guys and being myself around them than I do girls (probably because I’m not into guys), but there have been too many times where I get to know a guy and think he’s great to hang out with, because we’ve got a lot of the same interests and he seems like a nice person, but eventually I can tell he’s interested in being more than friends. I’ve had to stop hanging out with a few of my friends for this reason, and it makes me sad.

    • Kimmy

      I don’t think you should stop hanging out with guys that like you a little me just because of that. That’s probably why some guys that are your bestfriends won’t come out and tell you or there best girl friend that they like the. Because they think it’ll ruin there friendship with you

  • MarieJ

    Yeah you’re right! When the guy becomes really nice all of a sudden, it means he’s interested in taking it to the next level, not because he really takes you as his close friend or “sister”

  • Lisa

    That means my crush probably is attracted to his friend who is a girl… Isin’t that typical?

    • Cassidy

      Not necessarily, lol! Maybe she likes him!