The Perfectly Logical Reason Behind Lamar Odom and Blac Chyna's Viral Photo

July 28th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

A picture of Lamar Odom and Angela "Blac Chyna" White is making waves on the internet, but what very few people actually realize is that it reveals the truth about dating friends.

While Khloe Kardashian's ex-husband and Rob Kardashian's ex-girlfriend likely could have simply been attending the same event and just posed for a picture together, some people on Twitter thought the photo implied that the two were dating.

The Kardashian and Jenner family, along with the people they date, often exchange exes, creating a "web of love" as some have called it, and an overlapping group of friends and associates.

Whether the former NBA star and social media celebrity are actually dating or not, the photo shouldn't be that surprising.

There are a plentiful number of think pieces warning people not to date their close friends or avoid dating in the same friend group. However, even though we may know dating a friend can result in some messy drama and the loss of friendship, many of us have a hidden desire to do it anyway.

A 2012 study from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire called platonic male and female friendship a "historically recent phenomenon," finding that in a significant number of friendships with heterosexual people, at least one person had hidden romantic feelings. The study followed 88 pairs of "cross-sex" friends who all attended a public university in the United States. Men reported more attraction to women than women reported to men, and men consistently overestimated their female friend's attraction to them. Women, on the other hand, tended to underestimate their male friends attraction to them.

"Perhaps the young women were less inclined than men were to admit attraction to a cross-sex friend, but our findings coincide with a variety of other studies that have documented sex differences in attraction toward friends," wrote the authors of the study.

Scientific American's Adrian F. Ward wrote that the study implies men have a particularly hard time being platonic friends with women.

"This is not just a bit of confirmation for stereotypes about sex-hungry males and naïve females; it is direct proof that two people can experience the exact same relationship in radically different ways," wrote Ward. "Men seem to see myriad opportunities for romance in their supposedly platonic opposite-sex friendships. The women in these friendships, however, seem to have a completely different orientation — one that is actually platonic."

Dr. Fredric Neauman wrote a 2013 article in Psychology Today about the risk of dating friends, after several of his patients expressed their fears.

"I think what they meant was that the romantic relationship, if they entered into it, would end up at some point badly — as sometimes happens — with one of them bitter and neither one speaking to the other," he wrote. "Such things do happen, but not always."

He advised that people who want to date their friends have to weigh whether the risk is worth it, writing:

"Whether it is wise to risk a friendship this way or not depends to some extent on the nature of the friendship and to a considerable extent on the romantic relationship that is likely to grow out of it."

RELATED: Controversial Article Proves the Concept of the 'Friend Zone' Is Harmful to Everyone