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The evolutionary psychology approach to human development has led to the theory of Dunbar's number, proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar.
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But there are so few platonic male-female friendships on display that we're at a loss to even define these relationships. A certain classic film starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal convinced a nation of moviegoers that sex always comes between men and women, making true friendship impossible. It's no wonder we expect that men and women are always on the road to romance. "I started my research because one of my best friends is a woman," said O'Meara.
"She said, 'Do you think anyone else has the incredible friendship we do?
'" He decided to find out, and after reviewing the scant existing research, O'Meara identified the following challenges to male-female friendship: defining it, dealing with sexual attraction, seeing each other as equals, facing people's responses to the relationship and meeting in the first place. In it, Heidi Reeder, at Boise State University, confirmed that "friendship attraction" or a connection devoid of lust, is a bona fide type of bond that people experience.
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