Now, Scientific American has written an article describing an actual study conducted that heavily indicates that men and women have very different perspectives on how these relationships function, including whether opportunities for romance exist, and if there is some level of physical attraction or not.
In short, men statistically look for the possibility of furthering the relationship romantically, tend to be far more physically attracted to their female friends, and also make the often unsupported assumption that the attraction is mutual. Women are far better at maintaining the viewpoint of keeping things strictly friendly as well as being able to be close friends with someone they are admittedly not attracted to.
|She's just laughing, but what is HE thinking about? And where is he looking, mmm?|
Image source: http://www.sodahead.com/fun/can-guys-and-gals-ever-be-just-friends/question-2833827/
I think this is simply how guys, on the majority (since there are always exceptions) seem to function.
I'm not here to preach about the evils of being friends with someone of the opposite gender, since I myself greatly benefited from such friendships at times in my life when I needed the advice, support, or encouragement that I felt only a female friend could provide (and none of those things have to do with anything physical whatsoever). I was always one who felt, and probably was, more mature than the majority of my male peers, and I tended to mentally and emotionally connect more to either adults or the girls my age who were probably farther along in their brain development than the guys.
At any rate, I do think this study should give some food for thought for those who are fairly haphazard with their opposite gender friendships. Certainly girls should be aware of the potential issue of their guy friend feeling attracted, and if the feeling isn't mutual, to not give any indication otherwise. Guys should also be more mindful not to have an agenda with such friendships, nor believe that any feelings of attraction are automatically shared by both parties.