Can Men and Women Be Just Friends?

Can Men and Women Be Just Friends?


By Evan Marc Katz

The stereotype is that men become friends with women because they’re hot and they want to sleep with them. Maybe they’re in the friend zone. Maybe they’re waiting for her to break up with her boyfriend. Maybe they work together and can’t act on their attraction. As such, this stereotype has a large basis in truth. It’s just not the full story.

Reeder analyzed hundreds of transcripts written by people about their best opposite-sex friends and discovered four unique but overlapping types of attraction:

  1. Friendship attraction – the kind of attraction you feel when drawn to someone because you like that person and enjoy being with him or her.
  2. Romantic attraction – Romantic attraction is about the desire to alter the friendship into a couple relationship. Only 14 percent of friends said they currently feel romantic attraction for their friend. Interestingly, almost half said they used to feel more romantic attraction, at an earlier stage in the friendship, than they do now.  
  3. Subjective physical/sexual attraction – Almost a third of the survey respondents felt this form of attraction for their friend, but the strong majority (over two-thirds) did not currently feel such attraction. This feeling can change over time and is more likely to decrease (in 30 percent of respondents) than to increase (20 percent).
  4. Objective physical/sexual attraction. This refers to thinking that one’s friend is physically attractive in general terms (“I can see why others would find him attractive”), but not feeling the attraction yourself. This kind of attraction was experienced by over half of the people –one-quarter more than subjective physical/sexual attraction.

This would indicate that men and women may be drawn into friendship by attraction, but as they get to know each other, that attraction can morph considerably.

Can men and women be friends? Absolutely.

You can find someone objectively attractive and not want to sleep with him.

You can start off by feeling romantic attraction to someone and feel less over time.

You can feel sexual attraction for someone and not act on it.

So let’s settle this debate once and for all:

Can men and women be friends?


It often takes more time to see how you truly feel about someone. This is why half of opposite-sex people who became friends felt their romantic attraction reduce when they got to know each other better. Too bad more couples don’t consider this before hopping into bed themselves.

So, do you think men and women can be friends?


Related Articles

Leave a Reply


You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Combat Domestic Violence and Abuse will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.