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Both men and women were equally attracted to romantically involved opposite-sex friends and those who were single; “hot” friends were hot and “not” friends were not, regardless of their relationship status.
However, men and women differed in the extent to which they saw attached friends as potential romantic partners.
Although women seem to be genuine in their belief that opposite-sex friendships are platonic, men seem unable to turn off their desire for something more. But if we all thought like men, we’d probably be facing a serious overpopulation crisis.
Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa.
Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them—a clearly misguided belief.
Privacy was paramount—for example, imagine the fallout if two friends learned that one—and only one—had unspoken romantic feelings for the other throughout their relationship.
In order to ensure honest responses, the researchers not only followed standard protocols regarding anonymity and confidentiality, but also required both friends to agree—verbally, and in front of each other—to refrain from discussing the study, even after they had left the testing facility.