Can Men and Women Be Just Friends? | The Science of Love

Can Men and Women Be Just Friends? | The Science of Love

Julian: Has it something that in your relationship
either of you have acknowledged at one point and brought up?
Participant 1: Sex? P2: Are you attracted to me at all?
P3: Like us talking about sex? P1: Us talking about sex together? Julian: Can guys and girls be just friends? Can they do it in spite of attraction? What
if you find yourself in the friend-zone? What about friends with benefits? As you can see
this all gets complicated, fast. Cross-sex friendships are actually shockingly recent
to human history. It’s really only annoyed us for the past one percent of our existence.
Only like a few thousand years. Before that, for the first 99% when we were mostly nomadic
there’s almost no ethnographic evidence of men and women having platonic friendships.
But even though we’re not wired for it, socially we are way ahead of the curve. Men and women
work together, learn together, and socialize together. So if you want to thrive in the
modern world, you better get good at having platonic friends. Now at their core friendships
are social exchange, each of you has needs, and the trades got to be fair. When two people’s
needs are very different one person usually gets hung out to dry. Now if you need someone
to be more than a friend, but they only need a friend, you might feel trapped in a friend
zone. What about if you’re in a friends with benefits relationship and you develop the
need for emotional support and commitment, but your partner is just content with the
physical side. We so often find ourselves on one side of the fence because we only know
what we need out of a friendship. But we never even think about what the other person’s needs
are. So today, we gathered a group of male, female friends and had them take a crack at
awkwardly figuring it out. Julian: So we have here a board of needs,
and we want you to consider looking over all this in your friendship what do you need out
of that. P1: What I need from a friendship?
Julian: Yeah, things that you need from this friendship. Go ahead, take your time, consider
what you want, when you do just put them in the circle alright?
P3: Okay! P4: That’s an easy one.
P5: Criticism. Julian: So, what do we have? P2: Well I have a lot of needs.
P1: I picked money, humor. P4: Stimulating conversation.
P6: Dependability. P2: Optimism.
P3: Romance, in the platonic way. He’s like a romantic guy!
P7: Keep me sharp and focused! P8: Criticism.
P6: An ear to complain to. P1: And healthy competition.
Julian: Since everybody was such a pro at talking about their needs, we had them take
a stab at telling us what the other person needs out of the friendship. P4: Won’t overthink it. I’ll just throw it
on there because I could keep reshuffling many many times.
Julian: Have you ever considered what it is that she might need out of the friendship
before or was this the first time. P1: This probably would be the first time.
[laughs] It’s kind of sad. Julian: Was it difficult to pick these five
out? P3: It was a little tougher.
P2: I feel like in friendships it’s this system of checks and balances where it’s like alright
I want to make sure that I’m getting my needs met and I’m not really thinking about if they’re
getting their needs met. So it was nice to be able to actually think about what Matt
does want from me in a friend, even if I totally ignore it. P3: I guess I never really thought about what he needs from me! I guess I’m just selfish!
Julian: Do you think most people only consider their own needs in a relationship?
P3: Well now I’m thinking that probably, yeah! Julain: Alright Jared, Jennifer, what we have
here is two venn diagrams. The one over here on the left is what each of you thinks the
other person needs and the one on the right is what you each said you yourselves need.
Julain: So looking over all this information seeing that you kind of seem to understand
what each other needs, how do you think that affects your relationship with each other?
P3: I think that’s probably why we’re such good friends and that’s why it’s easy being
friends! P1: That’s why we’re staying good friends!
Julian: Is there anything specific that you guys get out of male female relationships
that you don’t get out of relationships with members of the same sex.
P5: Yeah! P2: Just a different perspective, a different
point of view. P3: Because I really don’t know.
P1: We’ve had these conversations. P3: What’s going through dude’s brains and
I feel like Alex, what does this weird thing mean.
P5: In my female relationships I can be emotional and they get it whereas like I think of like
going out to lunch with my guy friends and they’re like “hm, what’s up man.”
Julian: Why do you think a lot of people seem to have difficulty with male female friendships?
P1: Sex! P3: Sex, yeah.
P6: Self-control. P2: Sex.
P8: Because hormones! P7: Hormones, yeah!
P6: Yeah, I think really it comes down to a matter of self-control and respecting the
other person so much. P8: You don’t need to try to stick your thing
in everything. P7: Thank you!
P8: It complicates things! P2: Just because one person might be attracted
to the other person, you know, doesn’t mean that you have to act on it, you know, if you
value their friendship enough. P6: That’s the big part is momentary pleasure,
does that defeat long-term rewarding fulfilling relationships.
Julian: What we found was really interesting. Not only did almost all of these cross-sex
friends feel some attraction towards each other, they had openly discussed it and then
opted to continue the friendship without moving into a romantic relationship. Why? Because
they realized the benefits of these particular friendships outweighed those of a relationship.
Julian: Are there benefits to just being friends that you don’t get out of a relationship?
P3: Yeah, because there’s less of a responsibility I guess.
P2: With boyfriends I feel like it’s always, the relationship lets talk about the relationship,
whats up with the relationship, the next level. With you it’s like whatever, it just is what
it is. There’s not a lot of maintenance that I have to do to maintain a friendship with
you besides just being myself. P5: I’m low-maintenance.
P4: In romantic relationships where there is sex involved a lot of times a lot of it
gets shifted and put heavily on sex. To where with Jennifer and I there’s no sex involved
there is so much focus on a lot of these things that we both pick because that is what we
share together and all of the intensity stays right there.
P2: I love that I don’t want to have sex with you. I wake up everyday “Thank god I don’t
want to have sex with you” so that we can keep being friends! And you’re able to fight
you’re attraction of me. P5: Yeah, I’m able to fight my attraction
to her that I can’t bare. P2: Are you attracted to me at all?
P5: Yeah! P2: Is this a question? I just want to know.
P5: I mean I think you’re attractive. Julian: Has there ever been an attraction
between you two? P3: I’m totally attracted to you, he’s like
a beautiful person! P6: Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean
you have to engage in it. P4: And we are open about it, like it’s not
something we try and act like doesn’t exist because any time you try and suppress any
emotion or anything you’re thinking it ends up just bubbling up and being even worse that
what it originally is. P7: I think just having trust and just being
open and just going with it, in todays time, you want a good friendship with the opposite
sex. Julian: Attraction only breaks a friendship
if you let it. Feeling attracted to somebody isn’t your choice, but addressing it is. The
key isn’t to repress it, but to acknowledge that it exists. Whether or not you confess
it to them, it’s totally your call, but so is letting it stop you from having friends
of the opposite sex. So figure out what you both need out of the friendship by considering
how it looks from the other person’s side. It’s worth it for you to understand what’s
in it for them. I’m Julian, and this has been the Science
of Love! SoulPancake,

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About the Author: John Markowski


  1. I have a male friend, I'm not attracted at all, and he talks all the time about his crush on some other girl. Most of his friends are girls in fact… I mean, I honestly don't understand people who don't think you can have a friendship???

  2. Step 1: Date Someone

    Step2: Befriend someone else as a backup incase breakup.

    Step3: repeat Step2 until you both realise you dont want to die alone.

  3. I hope the bald guy listened to everyone here and let the girl go..

    Hey buddy you're friendzoned, don't stuck upon her and move on

  4. There's two kinds of guys. The guy with a lot of female friends. And the guy with one female friend. The guy with lots of female friends has options. More than likely has also had something intimate with those friends too. there for, he cares less if a few girls don't like him intimately. He knows theres others that do. So he'll remain friends with them. The guy with one female friend cares way more. Because he doesn't have a lot of options. He will try harder to keep that one female friend. Either way you look at it. Guys can't be just friends with chicks. Unless they have a gf/wife. Or has got lots of options.

  5. People who say yes, should acknowledge that they also believe in hookups or meaningless casual sex. It happens a lot nowadays and contributes to broken families and the destruction of the nuclear family.

  6. Real talk, I have a problem with my husband trying to have female friends. I trust him and not trying to control him or anything, but it kinda kills me inside to know he has a friend of the opposite sex. I should be enough for him.

  7. Why is it so inconceivable that men and women can be just friends, get along without the slightest hint of attraction between them? Personally, when I stop and have a good think about it, I have about as many male close friends as female close friends, and I adore them all equally. But I am not attracted to them, and they are not attracted to me. So yes, men and women can be friends.

  8. I think the red haired woman and nose ring guy are the people who actually inspired me in this group. They’re completely intentional and honest about their relationship, and obviously have the most clearly-defined boundaries and self control. I’m trying to navigate a close friendship with a guy right now, and these two people give me a picture of how a coed friendship can be not just successful, but maybe essential to each other’s growth. You can hear it in the way they speak – they are very similarly articulate and precise. I bet

  9. Even if they are open about the one sided attraction, wouldn't it be selfish to continue said friendship…..load of crap

  10. "Soap and cake"?? glances back at video Oh… "SoulPancake"

    video was very well done. Great information and presented differently. Going to try out those venn diagrams with all of my friends now (by all, i mean "both").

  11. Putting on a labcoat and interviewing 4 pairs does not science make. Also, I'm not attracted to my male friends? I bet most people have many cross-gender relationships with brothers, fathers, sisters, mothers, teachers, cousins, colleagues etc that have nothing to do with sex and attraction. Why are people so convinced it has to be different for friendships? Is it really that difficult to imagine you can care about and respect people you don't want to have sex with?

  12. So… if I have a friend that I'm not sure why they want me as a friend, do I just ask them? I've had that question multiple times. "Why do you even like me?" I'm a little obsessive compulsive… with everything, not just people, not just work, not just with video games or movies. I obsess over everything. And if I find a person I really like, and we hang out and have a great time, I'm obsessed with trying to get that to happen again. Though in reality it might take weeks, months, or even years in some cases for me to have that same connection again… and it's really frustrating. I see people who are constantly around each other, or people who can just come and hang out whenever they feel like it. I've never had that. I wish I had. But I never made that transition from "Oh… we see each other a couple of times" to "I'm coming over and stealing all your Ramen!" You know? I want that kind of friendship. I feel like that happens more between girls but I've seen some guy relationships like that too. It's ….. it's really frustrating.

  13. I don’t why these men stay around torturing themselves. Barring a relationship with feeling involved most men find women boring and repetitive. Just leave an find some one else.

  14. I loved the introduction. We always think about what we want put of a friendship, but never what the other person's needs are.

  15. If you happen to have a very close gender opposite friend, and you are confuse of how you feel about him/her. Ask this question to yourself, what if he/she married another person than you? Answer that and you'll know your true feeling.

  16. Friendship is just friendship, gender does not matter. As long as they are good friends and feel like they are friends, yes. I have SEVERAL male friends and female friends. I just want good, nice people to be friends with. Romance is also romance, gender does not matter.

  17. I am a guy, and I think that men typically would be interested in romantic involvement IF they are attracted to their friend. However, if a man does not have a physical attraction to a woman, or if he simply respects boundaries, such as being friends with a male friend's wife, it is certainly possible to be platonic friends with a woman.

    For those who say that men and women can't be friends because of sexual desire, this paints men as brute animals without the capability to actually respect women and who are slaves to their carnal desires. That's a pretty scary picture for women. Most men may be able to control their desires, but what about the rapists and abusers who can't control their desires? No wonder women are mistrusting of men.

  18. I think boys and girls can easily be friends without feeling any romantic attraction towards each other. Sure, I've thought once or twice that my (male) friend is cute, but that's it. We both have never felt romantic attraction towards each other.

  19. Men and women should choose their friends of the opposite gender wisely and not choose friends based on physical/sexual attraction, pretend to be their friend and wait like hypocrites for the right moment to make a move like a lot of people do on both sides. With that being said, to assume that men specifically cannot be friends with women is to blatantly assume that every single man on Earth wants to have sex with every single woman on Earth all the time regardless of the situation. That's just complete bullshit.

  20. Bald guy is gonna go crazy after years of hearing her stories of dating loser after loser after loser and she never even considers him as an option.

  21. All betas in this video. I consider all my guy friends soldiers in my Army, just like evolution, guys hunt in packs or possibly alone. We see males as our support to survive and provide food for our females. Why would I include a female as a fellow soldier in my army?

  22. Man and women can't just be friends, I discovered this at an early age, around 16, women love attention from a man and sort of attention so they are willing to lead some guy they know really liked them but they don't like them him romantically along, cos that guy will always be willing to do things for her, I used to see it in high school all the time lol

  23. Answer, yes. Like 50 Year’s ago girls and boys would play together and stuff. Without people saying “OoOoOoOoOh”

  24. Sex is overated… why do people immediately think they're in that kind of relationship? It's completely possible and I wish people would stop pointlessly getting triggered over it…

  25. Friends will never work because sooner or later the intimacy will always happen. its the natural nature of humans. If anyone said's they are friends, and they have never thought of intimacy they are lying. Those who have admit it will later find out that it will not work when a new boyfriend, or girlfriend comes into the picture. You can try your best to justify it, but one day it will stop working because its human nature to have intimate thoughts with friends. And all girls will say they don't like it when there boyfriend is alone with another girl that is a friend. Guys feel the same way, but many try to hide it.

  26. Men and Women can not be just friends… Look from this angle, Would you let your Man or Woman hung out with someone of the opposite sex?…

  27. Overwhelmingly it is unlikely that a man will make friends with a woman and not expect/ desire more at some point. Especially if their “friend” is an attractive female.

    Even if physical attraction does not occur, the emotional bond formed in a one sided friendship can make the other seemingly more attractive over time, leading easily to physical attraction.

    In a committed relationship if your partner has many close opposite gender friends and thinks the friends have no desire for her/ him or will not ever develop such feelings, is unlikely thinking.

    If a committed boyfriend/ husband wanted to protect the marriage by having strong boundaries and limitations with friends of the opposite gender, many women and some men will think its because the boyfriend or husband is 1) insecure and has 2)trust issues.

    If trust is defined as confidence and reliability in or towards something, why would wanting to establish boundaries cancel a husband’s confidence and reliability in his wife? Why can’t trust and strong boundaries be co-existing and supplemental, rather than detracting?

    Trust by definition although thought of as a permanently set trait, can be highly variable according to different circumstances. If for example, the wife keeps close contact with guy friends and texts/ calls them often and her relationship with her husband is strong, then she will not accept the desire/ attraction that the guy friend may likely have/develop for her. However, if somewhere down the road the relationship becomes difficult between husband and wife, and the wife still maintains close and regular “platonic” contact with guy friends, then that boundary of trust she has can become very weak. And it will be easier for her to follow into another guys desire for her. Especially if one or both people in couple start to lose interest in the other by means of familiarity (seeing them everyday).

    Even the most trustworthy people can fall. It is naive to think that we couldn’t.

    Thus, in order to better protect a relationship with your significant other, it would be wise on both the male and female pair to limit interactions and regular communication with friends of the opposite gender.

    Sure, such a measure does not 100% guarantee that nothing will happen; but it increases the likelihood of fidelity by limiting the possibilities of unneccessary external influence.

    Metaphorically, if a relationship between man and woman is a house, and trust is represented by the locked doors and walls; the established boundaries/limitations would be represented by a surrounding gate/ fence. They are supplemental to each other. Not detractive.

    Even if the opposite gender friend to your significant other has attraction for her and your significant other doesn’t act on it, then she is still allowing her inner circle of friends to consist of people who may secretly desire her and advance if given the opportunity. Its like being surrounded by temptation. Let’s say an overweight person who enjoys sweets is on a diet. But if he constantly surrounds himself with chocolate cake, eventually he’ll reach out and grab a piece, or just taste it. Or at minimum, have a strong temptation to do so. Especially if its the holidays.

    Case in point: if you’re in a committed relationship, don’t allow close opposite gender friends to enter into the sacred bond that you have with your husband/ wife. That physical/ emotional/ spiritual bond is not something to be shared or allow for possibilities to be shared.

    May we all have stronger and longer relationships with strong boundaries and limitations, so that we can take steps towards reducing this absurd ~50% divorce rate that we have in this country.

  28. I don't really believe in the idea of just being friends with the opposite sex, because we really can't control our
    feelings to one another and for sure he/she will think that there might be a small of a chance for you guys to get attracted to each other.

  29. Yes and no. It really depends.

    I have (and had) female friends where there is zero interest between us whether it be physical/emotional or them having boyfriends. That's not a problem.

    On the other hand, there are situations like the bald guy in this video, where it is one-sided with only one showing clear interest in the other. That takes a ton of effort and pretty much eats you alive from the inside which is BRUTAL. I was in his situation a while ago where I befriended a girl because I liked her and wanted to get to know her more. Finally had the courage to ask her out after getting to know her for a few months and was rejected. Despite attempting to turn it into a friendship it came across fake and forced and decided the best decision was to cut off ties. It hurt, but I don't regret it.

  30. The problem with this whole video is take it one step farther. How will their friendship affect the feelings of someone they are dating? This is why society is having issues with relationships. To many hook ups and cheating and friends of the opposite sex.

  31. "In a platonic way, he's a very romantic guy"
    "I love that I don't want to have sex with you"
    F R I E N D Z O N E D F R I E N D Z O N E D
    R I E N D Z O N E D F R I E N D Z O N E D F
    I E N D Z O N E D F R I E N D Z O N E D F R
    E N D Z O N E D F R I E N D Z O N E D F R I
    N D Z O N E D F R I E N D Z O N E D F R I E
    D Z O N E D F R I E N D Z O N E D F R I E N
    Z O N E D F R I E N D Z O N E D F R I E N D
    O N E D F R I E N D Z O N E D F R I E N D Z
    N E D F R I E N D Z O N E D F R I E N D Z O
    E D F R I E N D Z O N E D F R I E N D Z O N
    D F R I E N D Z O N E D F R I E N D Z O N E

  32. As is clear as the words you are currently reading: each couple that we saw in this video, almost each guy here looks like he wants more, but has been placed in the "friend zone" with the exception of the guy with the cap, and the Black couple… those two couples, its the woman who looks to have been placed in the "friend zone. nonetheless,. all admitted that there are more feelings than just "friends" when asked if there has ever been an attraction. Its inevitable

  33. Call me old school, but I’m not for platonic opposite sex friendships, generally. Sometimes they can be fine, of course you can be nice and friendly with anyone. But spending ‘quality time’ with a friend of the opposite sex while in a marriage gets to be a complicated subject. Usually the guy will become attracted to the girl overtime, it’s embedded in our DNA. I’m single now and I’ve been okay with past girlfriends having guy friends. But, some guy friends have been on past dates with her and I know they secretly like her when all she wants is truly a friendship. And that bothers me because I know she probably doesn’t it see it from a male point of view. So it’s rare in a marriage that a platonic friendship with ‘quality time’ is acceptable. If you’re single sure, but be careful as it may effect future courting. Again, call me old school but I prefer simple, natural boundaries to eliminate trust issues. Maybe that’s why I’m single because every girl won’t sacrifice their ‘guy friends’ and submit to a spouse. And guys are sacrificing to their ‘girl friends’ and not to their spouse.

  34. I think it would be almost impossible to be in a relationship with the woman who's friends with that roided up guy

  35. Depends on the guy. If he's an average looking or ugly guy then he'll be the type to fall for a female friend since I'm guessing maybe it's easier for him to ask out a girl he is familiar with and feels comfortable around vs approaching a woman he barely knows to ask her out. There's greater potential for rejection when he doesn't know her well. Whereas handsome men know it's easy for them to get women since women are more open to dating attractive males regardless of their level of familiarity. Women are unlikely to want to date a guy she doesn't know well with the exception being that he is handsome.
    Ive personally never seen attractive men had to deal with this issue before. It's usually only average/not very good looking men that end up falling for their female friends.

  36. I would say around 90% of guys cant be ''just friends'' with girls and around 50% woman.
    Guys beeing with woman before guys for just friendship is rare. A guys need of being friends with a woman is because he will feel good about himself surrounded by woman. Or that he might have a chance someday to smash that. Or both. Woman are very ignorant about this stuff going on around them on a daily bases.

  37. The woman on 5:37 has enough sex appeal to bring Lazarus back from the grave, speaking of my Lazarus. 😛

  38. How can the people here feel an attraction for one another, but just completely ignore it? If two people are attracted to one another and they’re already friends, I don’t see how that’s not a strong basis for a relationship?

  39. I had a best friend who I found out from my friends that he liked me romantically. They told me I should give him chance so we ended up going on a few dates and guess what? I still don't like him that way and we're still friends. I'm sorry if this sounds bitchy but am I obligated to change my perception of our relationship to spare his feelings for me? Well I'm sorry, we went on a couple of dates, even tried being romantic and cuddle but I wasn't feeling it. I didn't want to give him false hope. Yes it broke his heart and I feel terrible but I shouldn't apologize for not liking him in that way, u can't force feelings. Am I in the wrong for not having feelings for someone I have no romantic interest in? I'm sorry.

  40. women dont have souls. women need to be without freedom and rights because they cant handle the responsibility.

  41. fun fact only the devil promotes "equality". the beginning of the end was assuming were all equal and giving women rights

  42. ppl who judge primarily based off of looks alone are disgusting individuals, and therefore most women are gross to me. women are vain souless creatures

  43. gays can still have sex with other genders! being gay doesnt stop them. it just makes them enjoy it less. wake up. dont ever trust a women around gays. Actually never trust a woman PERIOD. they all lie, all the time

  44. This is just about straight people. Little erasure there guys… the title's not great and here's why: gay men and lesbians are friends without any kind of attraction to each other ALL THE TIME.

  45. There's no advantage for a guy to have female friends. However, look at the endless advantages that females receive from having multiple guy "friends."

  46. as someone who let my attraction to my close guy friend ruin our friendship, this was beautiful to watch. it just sucks that it took losing him to figure what everyone in this video knows.

  47. Men are going MGTOW and they're not chasing women they're chasing their own Goals and Hobbies and Purposes in life they're not chasing women.

  48. If you're friend zoned keep that friend as a friend. There's more fish in the sea, find someone who wants you romantically. Don't spend your time bitter they're not marrying you!

  49. I'm semi friends with lots of good looking women, some i'v had sex with in the past, and some I haven't. I say semi friends because most I just keep up with by text, but some i will still go and see once every couple months or so. usually men who answer this question are sexually frustrated and will say no way…. If both the male and female are sexually satisfied it's possible. Reality is, most men will be fake nice and orbit around a woman for awhile waiting for the right time to ask her out, or wait till she tells him she is single etc. I hear this all the time from the women I talk to…

  50. The short answer is no. Thoughts will happen, then eventually things will happen.
    Every woman that has been a friend to me always eventually wanted sex

  51. EVERY guy I am ever "just friends" with is the guy I used to sleep with, want to sleep with or gay 🤫

  52. What I would like to know is how do people not feel bad for not wanting to be with their close opposite sex friend. I feel like people would be thinking "well whats wrong with me?" "Why am I a great friend but nothing more?" etc etc

  53. Who is it benfiting her or u frfr it helps the women she can go back and forth like a game while men like me be heartbroken that's why I stay single

  54. 7:00 She really likes to humiliate him and he just hangs in there like a loser. BOTH have real childhood issues. Maybe he was treated like a little princess by his parents and now he can't accept what he's getting just hanging in there waiting for a reward at the end. Poor guy… I can't even start with her…

  55. guys can juggles knives and flaming chainsaws, of course. but should they?

    the only female i need to be friends with is named Cece and she has 4 legs, paws, and a brain.

  56. This is surprisingly true. I have one guy friend who chose to stay my friend even though I refused him, he got into a relationship and we still continue to be good friends. Can't really say the same about anyone else though. I as a woman often feel like I'm attracted to my guy friends but they don't feel the same way so they stop talking to me completely. My best friend during teenage years (when I was in a relationship) was a guy. We talked about everything, including my relationship and his huge crush. We were very close. Then one day he moved away and now he won't even reply to my messages… So I guess some people can move on over the rejection but most can't.

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