Think about specific examples of times that you’ve experienced feelings of love. There are ways you can figure this out without risking the friendship.If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, it may explain at least one of their shared beliefs: Men and women can't be real friends.

It's not terrorism, economic recession, global warming or gasoline prices that could hit $10 per gallon by the time you're done reading this.

These things might worry you, but something else makes your palms sweat and your pulse hit triple digits: asking someone out on a date.

That's because asking someone out involves potential pain. Worst of all, you engage in the most banal and abysmal of non-dates-going to coffee.

If the object of your affection becomes aware of your intentions, he or she might not reciprocate, and that's going to hurt. Instead of asking someone out on a date and being bold in their intentions, they turn to the soggy milquetoast alternative to dating: "hanging out."Here's how it works: you like someone but you're afraid to let him or her know. It has the trappings of a date—a cozy ambiance, comforting beverages, atmospheric music—while allowing everyone involved to disavow the actual occurrence of a date.

Sometimes it might be hard to tell the difference between platonic friendship and a different kind of love.

If you’re feeling confused, take some time to examine your relationship. Do you want to try to take the relationship to the next level?

We explored new neighborhoods, meandered through parks, and people-watched out of a coffee shop’s balcony.

The next week, I hosted a board game night and invited her so she could meet some of my friends.

We have rules for how to act in romantic relationships (flirt, date, get married, have kids) and even same-sex friendships (boys relate by doing activities together, girls by talking and sharing). "Almost every time you see a male-female friendship, it winds up turning into romance," Monsour noted. These cultural images are hard to overcome, he said. D., at the University of Cincinnati-Raymond Walters College, published a landmark study in the journal on the top impediments to cross-sex friendship.

But there are so few platonic male-female friendships on display that we're at a loss to even define these relationships. A certain classic film starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal convinced a nation of moviegoers that sex always comes between men and women, making true friendship impossible. It's no wonder we expect that men and women are always on the road to romance. "I started my research because one of my best friends is a woman," said O'Meara.

"She said, 'Do you think anyone else has the incredible friendship we do?