Relational maintenance in cross-sex friendships characterized by different types of romantic intent: An exploratory study

Laura Guerrero, Alana M. Chavez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigates whether perceptions of maintenance behavior in cross-sex friendships vary as a function of romantic intent, biological sex, and uncertainty. Individuals recalled the maintenance behaviors they had used over the past month in a cross-sex friendship characterized by one of the following situations: mutual romance (i.e., both partners want the friendship to turn romantic), strictly platonic (i.e., neither partner wants the friendship to turn romantic), desires romance (i.e., the individual wants romance but fears the friend does not), or rejects romance (i.e., the individual does not want romance but thinks the friend does). Individuals in the mutual romance situation generally reported the most maintenance behavior. Those in the rejects romance and strictly platonic situations reported less routine contact and activity, less flirtation, and more talk about outside romance. Individuals in the rejects romance and mutual romance situations reported the most relationship talk. Sex differences were also found. Finally, individuals who were uncertain about the status of their cross-sex friendship were less likely to report using some types of relational maintenance. These findings underscore the dynamic nature of relational maintenance in cross-sex friendships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-358
Number of pages20
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Volume69
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005

Keywords

  • Cross-Sex Friendships
  • Maintenance Behavior
  • Opposite-Sex Friendships
  • Relational Maintenance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication

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