Trying to Start Some Drama? Grab Lunch With an Ex

A new study found that eating a meal with an ex causes more jealousy than a simple cup of coffee
Couple Eating Lunch
Thinkstock/Hemera

Looks like "just lunch" is often seen as more than that, a new study finds. Researchers at Cornell University studied undergraduates' views on meeting up with exes, asking them how they would feel if their significant others chatted with an ex for an hour (through email, on the phone, over coffee, or eating a meal together).

Researchers asked subjects to rank how they would feel on a scale from "not at all jealous" to "very jealous." Turns out, emailing was considered the least provocative (naturally), while getting a meal caused more jealousy.

"Given the tradition and fashion of food sharing among co-workers, family members, and friends, our findings are notably consistent with the idea that eating together has importance beyond nutritional factors, " researcher Kevin Kniffin told Business Insider.

Of course, there are different implications to the time of day and type of meal. Late-morning coffee was less controversial than late-afternoon coffee. Lunch sparked more drama than coffee, but dinner brought out the most jealousy.

Kniffin suggests that the phrase, "It's just lunch," instead be changed to "It's just coffee," "since people seem to view drinking coffee during the day as relatively more platonic." But of course, is it ever "just coffee" when you're seeing an ex?

Jessica Chou is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @jesschou.