ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (9): 1485-1495.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.01485

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Opposite-Sex Friendship from Multiple Perspectives

WU Baopei1; WU Jing2; HE Xiaona2; LI Lu1   

  1. (1 Department of Psychology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China) (2 Faculty of Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
  • Received:2014-01-09 Online:2014-09-15 Published:2014-09-15
  • Contact: WU Baopei, E-mail:


Opposite-sex friendship plays a crucial role in social interactions because individuals inevitably interact with either the same-sex or the opposite-sex friends in their ordinary life. However, research on friendship usually neglects the distinctive features between the same-sex and the opposite-sex friendships, and pays few attention to opposite-sex friendship specifically. The current review attempts to summarize studies on opposite-sex friendship from multiple domains and propose potential routes for future explorations. Among the limited investigations, developmental and social psychologists have examined the characteristics, consequences, and maintenance of opposite-sex friendship. Opposite-sex friends can exert negative influences on social adaptation of adolescents and college students, although the phenomena can also be shaped by cultures. Evolutionary psychologists propose three potential functions of opposite-sex friendship: 1) helping individuals to seek a long-term mate; 2) or short-term mates; and 3) providing trustworthy information about mating. These assertions have been confirmed by a few empirical studies, though many more studies are needed. The future research on opposite-sex friendship can be benefited from the following endeavors: 1) paying attention to new theories of friendship; 2) addressing the opposite-sex friendship in different life stages; and 3) considering individual differences such as sociosexuality orientation, the Dark Triad personality, and mating intelligence.

Key words: opposite-sex friendship, cross-sex friendship, opposite-friends, friends with benefits, social relationship, evolutionary psychology