Romantically Involved or Just Friends? : Accuracy and Consensus in Judgments of Male-Female Dyads
Lockington, Ronnie J.
Bleske-Rechek, April L.
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A unique challenge for opposite-sex friends is convincing others of the platonic nature of their relationship. One reason for this challenge may be that opposite-sex friendships are often not clearly platonic. Male-female friendships sometimes transition from being platonic to romantic. Heterosexual young adults tend to report low-to-moderate levels of attraction to their opposite-sex friends. For some young adults, involvement in opposite-sex friendships is motivated by sexual attraction. In the current study, we aimed to determine whether outside observers could reliably distinguish male-female friends from male-female dating couples. We hypothesized that use of a clear coding scheme would enable naive, independent observers to agree in their judgments of male-female dyads as romantically involved or just friends. However, because romantic attraction is common among friends and that attraction might leak through in dyads’ behaviors (such as attentiveness and smiling), we also hypothesized that observers’ judgments would be inaccurate in that they would over-infer romantic involvement among male-female dyads who are actually just friends.
Color poster with text, charts, and graphs.