Men also consistently and mistakenly assumed that their women friends were harboring a secret sexual crush of their own.
A new study suggests that—no matter how platonic you imagine a relationship may be—every man you know but aren’t related to is trying to sleep with you. And what’s worse, they think you’re trying to sleep with them right back.
According to the research, reported on by Scientific American, which looked at 80 man-woman platonic relationships in “emergent adulthood” (read: twenty-somethings), men were more attracted to women than vice versa. Men also consistently and mistakenly assumed that their women friends were harboring a secret sexual crush of their own. The best part? The men surveyed didn’t care if the woman was involved in a relationship; their feelings and assumptions didn’t change.
And while this unique insight into the male brain is troubling for male-female friendships around the world—including your insistence that you “stay friends” with all of your exes—the findings are much more disturbing when put into the context of the workplace. What about the platonic relationships you have with your male colleagues? Do male supervisors believe their female subordinates are in love with them? How does that shape corporate culture, the assessment of female employees and women’s advancement in the office?
My gut tells me this: “Not well.”
We propose that, because cross-sex friendships are a historically recent phenomenon, men’s and women’s evolved mating strategies impinge on their friendship experiences. In our first study involving pairs of friends, emerging adult males reported more attraction to their friend than emerging adult females did, regardless of their own or their friend’s current relationship status.
Now. If we accept this as true, that guys in their late 20s (and, increasingly, early 30s) are incapable of respecting platonic relationships, the scenario could play out something like this. You’ve worked your tail off all year, meeting quotas and volunteering for projects to prove your commitment to the team. You’ve worked late nights and even weekends to show your supervisor he can count on you. But your boss hasn’t gotten the message; instead, he’s filed those nights and weekends under “romantic pursuit” and your hard-work as pleas for his attention.
Stay with me. Because your boss believes you’ve been working for the last 12 months not to, say, score a plum promotion, but to get into his pants, he’s not going to be thinking about your career, and how big of a role his review plays in your long-term advancement. Not at all. Instead, he’s downplaying your accomplishments and deciding whether or not he should sleep with you. (Because remember, he already believes you’re into it).
And that, dear readers, could be the very reason you didn’t get your last raise.
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