What Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet can teach us about male-female friendships

Just because you spend a lot of time with someone of the opposite sex, it doesn't mean you have to be romantically involved.
Feb 27, 2016

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  • Much of the discussion leading up to the 2016 Oscars has surrounded Leonardo DiCaprio. But it's not just about whether or not he'll take home the Best Actor award that has long alluded him.

  • Rather, there's been some talk about DiCaprio's BFF friendship with actress Kate Winslet, who is up for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Steve Jobs."

  • The two are such close friends that they may be an example of how successful male-female friendships can be, even when some experts warn against it.

  • DiCaprio and Winslet have long been best buds since they played star-crossed lovers Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater in the Oscar-winning "Titanic."

  • "Ever since these two shot Titanic in 1996, they've been supporting each other and making fans' hearts melt with public declarations of (platonic) love," Mashable reported. "From the late '90s — when hair was spikier — to the present, they've had each other's backs. More than Rose had Jack's, for sure. Losing an Oscar kind of seems worth it for that Winslet consolation hug."

  • But the two's relationship extends way beyond the Oscars. They also filmed "Revolutionary Road" together, and will often attend award shows together as friends.

  • "In a lot of ways, Kate and I have, we've really grown up in this industry together," DiCaprio told Oprah Winfrey in 2009. "We've been a support mechanism for each other for such a long period of time and we've been there for each other and helped guide each other."

  • So, yeah. DiCaprio and Winslet may just be the definition of friendship goals. They're there for each other after they don't win awards or even when they do and are a clear example of men and women getting along as friends, even if some warn against it.

  • Experts say that male-female friendships can be tricky. There are, after all, some preconceived notions that men and women can only get along romantically. Recent research has found that for some there's always romantic interest lingering between male and female friends, according to Scientific American.

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  • A study looked at 88 opposite-sex friends and asked them how they felt about their buddy. In most cases, men showed more levels of attraction towards their female counterparts, which indicated to researchers that men may have a tougher time developing friendships with the opposite sex than women.

  • Relationship expert Linda Sapadin told Psychology Today that this idea was created back when men and women only spent time together in a romantic sense, before women entered the workplace in droves.

  • Now, though, women and men socialize at work, play sports together and even grab lunch together without fear of a romantic relationship, Psychology Today explained. This has been an especially popular notion among today's millennial generation, too.

  • This shift has led experts to feel that men and women can feel a platonic form of love, freeing them from any sexual or romantic tension.

  • "This cultural shift has encouraged psychologists, sociologists and communications experts to put forth a new message: Though it may be tricky, men and women can successfully become close friends," according to Psychology Today. "What's more, there are good reasons for them to do so."

  • The benefits apply to both men and women, according to Jessica Ciencin Henriquez of The Huffington Post. Male and female friends can help set each other up with potential romantic partners, giving each other advice about how to treat the opposite sex so that they can build their own proper relationships.

  • For women, these friendships can bring honest compliments, too. Since men are less likely to give compliments for compliment sake, a man's nice words will often be honest, Henriquez wrote.

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  • And, like DiCaprio and Winslet, male and female friends can be platonic dates for each other in situations when they find themselves a few minutes away from going stag, Henriquez wrote.

  • "I agree that when you build a friendship that works seamlessly," she wrote, "no romantic relationship can hold a candle to it."

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Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

Website: https://twitter.com/HerbScribner

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