Laura W. Boyd

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Randy Young

Degree Award Date

Spring 2003


Attraction, Flirtation, Opposite Gender Pairs, Platonic Friends, When Harry Met Sally, survey, Big Five Personality Scale, Flirtation Scale


Gender and Sexuality | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology


Based on Goffman's (1967) concepts of impression management, I predicted that women would be more discriminating in their flirtatious behavior towards opposite-gender platonic friends than men. The research of David Buss (1999) and evolutionary psychology agree that men are more aggressive in their mating strategies than women; I predicted the same would be true in the context of opposite gender friendships. Pairs of friends discussed and assessed the motivations for and benefits of their friendships as prompted by pertinent scenes from "When Harry Met Sally." For Phase I of the study, Participants were given a general survey consisting of general background information, the Big Five Personality Scale, a Flirtation Scale, a listing of the subject's top three friends of the opposite gender and scaled questions about attraction and attractiveness of the friend. Participants were asked to identify their top three closest friends of the opposite gender and their self-rated attraction to each. Friends were paired according to mutual friendship rankings. For Phase II of the study, (the social interaction phase), each pair of friends watched several movie clips from the movie "When Harry Met Sally." Following each clip, the pair was given several discussion questions related to issues raised in the movie concerning opposite-gender friendships. Participants completed a post-discussion survey with scaled questions about the state of their relationship and about emotions felt during the interaction.