Can Men and Women Just be Friends?

The Friend Zone. It's the Twilight Zone of today, a place haunted by broken hearts and the spirits of unrequited love – or so many of its residents would have us believe. Coined by Friends lothario Joey Tribbiani (who else?) way back in 1994, the idea of an unavoidable gulf between male and female concepts of friendship and love has become a popular trope in media and field in psychology, in which scientists try to unearth the nature of human interaction.

But is there any truth to the idea that men and women can't just be friends? Is it possible for a long-time relationship to blossom into romance? Or is the Friend Zone just the internet's version of a coping mechanism for the lovelorn? Join us for a good chat and a bingo game at Wink Bingo, and let us lead you through the loveless aisles of this mysterious place. A quick disclaimer here though: there may actually be no exit at all.

The Science of Opposite-Sex Friendships

Dating site MeetMe found that half of people polled had thought about venturing into some-sort of relationship with an opposite-sex friend, while a similar figure (40%) had passed that point. Put another way, if you don't see your best friend 'in that way', there's a good chance he or she likes you. However, self-styled 'Attraction Doctor' Dr. Jeremy Nicholson, of Psychology Today, indicates that attitudes to roles, motivations, and goals in opposite-sex friendships and relationships vary too much to permit truly platonic pairings.

As with many things in life, and while it might sound a little mechanical, friendships can be a question of cost vs. benefit. For example, the same Psychology Today source notes that women are more likely to view a male friend paying for things as a benefit, while men report it as a cost. Women also enjoy networking though male friends which, again, men can view as costly. Opposite-sex friendships that do not lead to romance were also more likely to leave both parties feeling either awkward or used.

In brief, though, men and women are opposites in terms of what the other views as a cost or benefit. Oxford University's Prof. Richard Dunbar also notes that, while women are more likely to consider friendships in terms such as 'soulmate' or 'sister', men can be much more utilitarian when it comes to keeping their mates around, with interactions such as phone calls and Facebook messages having no effect on the strength of some relationships.

The evidence might all suggest that men are colder than women where friendships are concerned but, as these relationships can be more difficult to maintain, men simply have less energy to expend on keeping lots of male friends around.

Finding your Way Out

In Wink Bingo's recent blog post, How to Decode Body Language on a Date, we discuss signs that he or she is truly into you. However, as male and female friendships can be a little difficult, we're going to flip the script a little bit on this one, and teach you how to avoid the Friend Zone in the first place. After all, nobody truly wants to spend eternity with Ross Geller. It's all a question of openness, receptivity, and not returning clear romantic gestures.

Your body language, the gestures you make that can give away your feelings or emotional state, can easily suggest romantic interest – whether you intend it to or not. For instance, for women, motions like hair twirling, looking from a person's eyes to their lips and back again ('flicking') and maintaining eye contact are often considered part of a courtship display, whereas men might display openness by standing with their legs apart and utilising posture to exaggerate their height.

Noticing or avoiding this type of body language is an easy way to try to keep things platonic or, conversely, make sure that your opposite is aware that you're romantically interested in them long before things get embarrassing. For the ladies, simply folding your arms or crossing your legs can be a great way to prevent suitors from escaping the Friend Zone, while men simply have to be less receptive to regular outings like dinner dates and other activities.

Mend a Broken Heart

So, in summary, opposite-sex friendships tend to be episodic, a little rocky and, almost inevitably, contain at least a little unrequited emotion. Fortunately, for the unlucky in love, Wink Bingo knows how to pick up a slow Friday night. Our romance-orientated slot games Mega Love, Love Island Bonus, and Doctor Love are the perfect salve for a broken heart and can be played with our 400% Bonus Bundle, which gives up to £100 per bonus to new players.

Alternatively, platonic friendships are always available in our fully-moderated free bingo chat rooms and forums. You can even team up with like-minded players and join Wink online bingo Buddy Chat games or test your knowledge in Trivia Chat Games.

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