Costs and Benefits of Friendship


Friends do not share copies of our genes, nor do we generally reproduce with our friends. Around the world, however, people form friendships that last for days, years, and even a lifetime. One of the complexities of friendship is that some characteristics of friendship are perceived as both beneficial and costly. The friendship literature, for example, is inconsistent on the role of sexuality in opposite-sex friendship. More than half of men and some women report sexual attraction to their friends (Kaplan & Keys, 1997), and both sexes experience ambiguity about the sexual boundaries in their opposite-sex friendships (Swain 1992). The Cost and Benefit of Friendship Scale identifies the range of benefits and costs that men and women perceive as important in their same-sex and opposite-sex friendships.


For psychometrics, see article: Bleske, A., & Buss, D.M. (2000). Can men and women just be friends? Personal Relationships, 7, 131-151.

Author of Tool:

Bleske, A.L., & Buss, D.M.

Key references:

Bleske, A., & Buss, D.M. (2000). Can men and women just be friends? Personal Relationships, 7, 131-151.

Primary use / Purpose:

A 116 item scale which aims to assess the costs and benefits of friendship.

Costs and Benefits of Friendship Instrument

Costs/Benefits of Friendships (7 point scale, Not at all to Somewhat to Very)

How How Beneficial? Costly?

  1. He introduced me to his friends.
  2. I spent a lot of money on him.
  3. He was condescending towards me.
  4. He walked me to my car at night.
  5. He could tell me anything.
  6. People thought I was a bad person because I hung out with him.
  7. I didn’t get to have sex with him.
  8. He made me feel good about myself by complimenting me.
  9. I made his girlfriend jealous.
  10. Others disliked me because I hung out with him.
  11. I felt like I had no control over who he had sex with.
  12. He protected me.
  13. I could not discuss other women with him for fear of losing him.
  14. I felt safer in dangerous situations when I was with him.
  15. We had sexual intercourse.
  16. He took care of me when another girl was being too sexually aggressive towards me.
  17. He gave me flowers and cards.
  18. He let me have sex with him.
  19. He bought me things.
  20. He got drunk and had sex with my friends.
  21. He told me if I deserved someone better than the girl I was with.
  22. I wanted to date him but didn’t know how he felt about me.
  23. He owned an expensive car.
  24. I prevented him from having sex with someone else.
  25. Our friendship demanded a lot of my time.
  26. He took advantage of my girlfriend while I was away.
  27. I gave up my time to help him, no matter how busy I was.
  28. He went out to dinner with me.
  29. There was the possibility of a future relationship beyond friendship.
  30. My self-esteem went down when I was with him because he was so physically attractive.
  31. He saw me as “just a friend.”
  32. I had a say in who he had sex with.
  33. He gave me sexual pleasure if I was stressed.
  34. He paid for me when we went out.
  35. He had sex with a lot of girls.
  36. I loaned him money.
  37. He gave me good advice about girls. He denied me sex.
  38. He wanted to date me, but I didn’t want to date him.
  39. He had a girlfriend.
  40. He told me if I was not good enough for a certain girl.
  41. He helped me understand the opposite sex.
  42. I paid for him when we went places.
  43. My lust for him interfered with my ability to be friends with him.
  44. He told me what women want and like in a romantic partner.
  45. I discouraged him from having sex with other girls.
  46. He didn’t want to be my girlfriend.
  47. He gave me advice on how to attract women.
  48. We are confused about our feelings for one another.
  49. I got an idea of what girls want by hanging out with him.
  50. He made public jokes at my expense.
  51. He made my girlfriend jealous.
  52. I was in love with him, but he was not in love with me.
  53. He use to flirt with my girlfriend.
  54. I was jealous of the other girls in his life.
  55. He talked about other girls to make me jealous.
  56. I felt like I had to hide our friendship from my girlfriend.
  57. He helped me meet other girls.
  58. My pressuring him for sex led to a lessening of our friendship.
  59. My girlfriend tried to compete with him.
  60. He set me up with women.
  61. I didn’t let him have sex with other women.
  62. It was hard to determine whether we were going to stay friends or move on to a romantic relationship.
  63. He would have made a great girlfriend if we had decided to date.
  64. He dated a girl that I liked.
  65. He ran errands for me.
  66. He didn’t see me as more than “one of the guys.”
  67. He scared away other girls from talking to me.
  68. He made me feel wanted by the opposite sex.
  69. I felt bad talking to other girls when I was around him.
  70. He told me which women I could and could not attract.
  71. I could tell him everything, even things I couldn’t tell my girlfriends.
  72. He had sexual intercourse with my friends.
  73. People treated me with respect because I was his friend.
  74. It was harder for me to meet new girls when he was around.
  75. He was popular.
  76. I could not reciprocate the feelings he had for me.
  77. He was respected by other people.
  78. He was a ready-made date.
  79. It annoyed me that he wouldn’t have sex with me.
  80. Others liked me because I hung out with him.
  81. He was everything I could ask for in a girlfriend.
  82. He belittled me in front of others.
  83. It was difficult to meet his friends because others thought I was dating him.
  84. He made fun of me in public.
  85. He boosted my self-esteem.
  86. I kept him from having sex with anyone but me.
  87. He boosted my ego.
  88. His girlfriend got jealous of the time I spend with him.
  89. We competed to attract women.
  90. He helped my feel more confident in romantic relationships.
  91. We talked about the details of each other’s sex life.
  92. He wouldn’t allow me to date his friends.
  93. He made me feel attractive to the opposite sex.
  94. I felt unattractive in comparison to him.
  95. His girlfriend paid more attention to him when I spent a lot of time with him.
  96. He made me feel insecure about my worth.
  97. He was somebody that I used sexually.
  98. He liked the same women that I did.
  99. I wanted to date him, but he didn’t like me in that way.
  100. I felt guilty if I talked about other women around him.
  101. I got confused over the status of our relationship.
  102. He watched over me in any situation.
  103. We went out together to meet women.
  104. He had sex with too many girls.
  105. He told me which women would like me or not.
  106. He ignored me when I said I didn’t want to date him.
  107. He did not want to be more than friends.
  108. I could talk to him about anything.
  109. We had sexual intercourse.
  110. He was clean-cut, respectable to hang out with.
  111. He could talk about everything and anything with me.
  112. Our feelings for each other got in the way of the friendship.
  113. He arranged for me to go on dates with his friends.
  114. He told me when my girlfriends weren’t good enough for me.
  115. He looked down on me.