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Society may not be entirely ready for friendships between men and women that have no sexual subtext.People with close friends of the opposite sex are often barraged with nudging, winking and skepticism: "Are you really just friends?Called "voluntary gender segregation," it continues into adulthood. "Men go off to one corner, and women go to another." These obstacles may seem numerous and formidable, but male-female friendship is becoming not only a possibility but also a necessity.
According to Rosemary Blieszner, at Virginia Tech and author of There are proven—and apparent—distinct differences between female friendship and male friendship.To that end, social scientists like Sapadin, Monsour and O'Meara have studied how to do just that.The field of research is still in its infancy, but they are now beginning to understand some basic truths about male-female friendship: Not until high school does puberty really draw boys and girls together, which then continues into college.What they reported liking most was talking and relating to women—something they can't do with their buddies.Meanwhile, women rated their same-sex friendships higher on all these counts.