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While you may swear that your relationship with your dude BFF is totally platonic, science begs to differ. New research in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests that men and women canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be just friends.
Researchers interviewed 88 pairs of opposite-sex, college-aged friends about their romantic attraction to each other and their perception of how attracted their friend was to them. The findings confirmed long-standing rom-com stereotypes: Men are much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa. Guys also tend to overestimate their gal-palÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attraction towards them, while women underestimate how much their guy friends want them. Men were also more willing to act on mistaken mutual attraction. This research suggests that men, more so than women, have a hard time being Ã¢â‚¬Ëœjust friendsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬”as Billy CrystalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s character Harry says in the classic When Harry Met Sally, Ã¢â‚¬Å“the sex thing always gets in the way.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Study results also show that stress levels soar when hormones mix with co-ed friendships. If the thought of your guy friend reenacting a Fifty Shades of Grey scenario in his head every time you two hang out makes you want to gag, you should know what to say in case he pulls a move. If you want to remain friends, the most important thing is that he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel rejected, says psychotherapist Bonnie Eaker Weil Ph.D., author of Make Up, Don't Break Up. Tell him youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re really flattered he wants to take things to the next level, but even though heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an attractive guy (possibly a white lie thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll spare his ego a little), you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to spoil the friendship by crossing a line.
photo: Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock
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