Under the Hood

Here’s How Thinking You Are Attractive Can Put You In ‘Friend Zone’

Many people have been wondering why they landed on the friend zone despite all their efforts and, yes, attractiveness. According to one study, it may be because of how you look at yourself and how you read signs of sexual interest. 

Once you get into the friend zone, you have to plan the best escape plan since it will be hard to get out. But before you examine all possible routes, you have to know what put you there in the first place, which may also be your way out. 

Researchers said friend zone is a problem mostly for men since they become attracted to opposite-sex friends than women do. Men are also the ones who make more mistakes when making a move on a friend, the BBC reported Wednesday

In the study that asked people to rate their attractiveness and their counterpart, male participants overestimated how attractive they were to women. However, their female partners gave them lower ratings. 

Researchers said the participants who rated themselves as highly attractive have higher chances of misreading a friend’s sexual interest. This gives them confidence and encourages them to take risks, which increases their risk of being in the friend zone. 

“Once we expect something we tend to see it,” Antonia Abbey, a social psychologist from Wayne State University, said. “If you think someone is sexually attracted to you, you watch for it more. Like when a person leans forward or laughs, or whatever – they view [that] as a sexual sign. They might not notice that when they leaned in the other person backed off.”

To confirm their initial findings, the researchers gathered another random group to observe the first participants during a conversation and to rate both men and women. 

Male observers agreed with men who believed they were attractive while female observers agreed with women who felt less attraction during the conversation. The researchers said men and women shared different ideas potentially because of gender stereotypes. 

Men and women both have natural dating “scripts.” These help them define their roles during an exchange and observe events heading to pursuits of romance. 

“Context really matters in interactions like this,” Abbey said. “Men might be looking for signs of attraction more than women because traditional gender roles suggest men take the initiative.”

The same scripts are also being used by lesbian and gay couples. Researchers said lesbians focus on intimacy while gay men seek the idea of sex. 

Meanwhile, bisexuals appear relying on traditional scripts. Bisexual women still act as heterosexual woman during a date, who avoid romantic initiation.

But Abbey said people could escape the friend zone. Changing one’s attitudes to friends might help romantic interest build over time.

Couple A study found that misreading signs of sexual interest may increase your chances of being in the "friend zone." Pixabay

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