Challenges confronting cross-sex friendships: “Much ado about nothing?”

Abstract

This research was an investigation into four challenges purported to confront cross-sex friends. One hundred and thirty eight individuals (females = 86, males = 52) completed two surveys designed to explore the extent to which the “sexual,” “emotional bond,” “audience,” and “equality” challenges were present in their cross-sex friendships. Over 98% of the participants were heterosexual, 99% were Caucasian, and approximately 5% were Hispanic. Data gathered from the first survey were analyzed using a three-way analysis of variance, with gender, type of friendship, and romantic status as the independent variables, and three of the four challenges as the dependent variables. The first survey also included open-ended questions designed to explore the nature and existence of the challenges. The second survey was in a diary format. Respondents kept a frequency count for three weeks of discussions they had with their cross-sex friend concerning the challenges, and thoughts that they had as individuals concerning those challenges. Results from both surveys indicate that though the challenges exist and have powerful effects on a small percentage of individuals in cross-sex friendships, for the majority of participants the challenges are not perceived as salient.

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Monsour, M., Harris, B., Kurzweil, N. et al. Challenges confronting cross-sex friendships: “Much ado about nothing?”. Sex Roles 31, 55–77 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01560277

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Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Frequency Count
  • Powerful Effect
  • Emotional Bond
  • Diary Format