think about it
Your cart is empty
Visit The Shop

why the friend-zone is a con

We’ve all heard people whinge about getting stuck in the “friend-zone”. Basically, they have fancied someone who does not return their feelings. The object of their longing has either knowingly or not placed them in the friend-zone. The zone of no escape. The zone of perpetual no-sex. They might even be, God forbid, “like a sibling”.

Well, I’m here to tell you that the friend-zone is a con. It’s an idea that is designed to make people feel guilty about not living up to other people’s expectations. First up, I’d like to admit that I have been on both sides of the friend-zone relationship. I have also researched the phenomenon rigorously*. What I have come to discover is that the people who claim to continuously get stuck in the friend-zone have some common factors. I’d like to go into these factors in detail to show you why you don’t need to feel guilty if you only want to be friends with someone.

I hate to generalise, but the vast majority of people I hear complaining about the friend-zone are men. The story is always the same. If you haven’t been involved yourself, you’ve probably heard it in some form on Facebook or a preferred social media site. A boy is in love with a girl. Aww. She is so sweet and funny and everything he’s ever dreamed of in a woman. She is pretty much the perfect woman. But oh no! She has a flaw. She only seems to go out with jerks. The boy is adamant that he is always there for her, ready with a shoulder for her to cry on should she need it. He’ll go shopping with her, make her mix CD’s, and listen to her complain about her boyfriend, all the while dreaming of the day that she realises that he is the man she has been wanting.

Eventually, he’ll get to breaking point. He might post an ambiguous status on Facebook. He might start awkwardly flirting with her friends. Or he might start telling people how she has friend-zoned him. The first two are harmless, if embarrassing for him. But the last implies a few nasty things about his supposedly perfect girl. It assumes that she doesn’t actually know what she wants. She thinks she wants to date a certain type of man, but what she actually wants is a nice, caring guy like him. Because all women want the exact same things; i.e. things that he is able to give.

It also assumes that getting her to care about him is as simple as completing a set of steps. Because he has done all the right things based on some preconception of the perfect relationship, he deserves her love and affection. Well, unfortunately, not all relationships are the same and most importantly, no-one is obliged to feel a certain way about someone else.

Being attractive to someone isn’t something that is earned by putting on a display of boyfriend-y-ness. The way you feel and how you should feel is something only you can determine, and no amount of racking up boyfriend points has the right to decide that for you.

If you happen to be in the unfortunate place on the other side of the coin, and the person you are interested in has politely declined your advances while still wanting to be a friend, then you have two options. Let’s assume that your friend genuinely wants to be your friend, and is not using you for emotional gratification or some planned organ harvesting scheme. That is not a friend, and so is not counted in this advice.

The first option you have is to accept that this is not going to go anywhere, and be their friend only. Don’t pretend to be their friend and just stay around waiting for them to see how wonderful you are. Appreciate their friendship and enjoy being their mate.

The other option is to let them go. If trying to be their friend is too hard, it might just be because there is no real friendship there. It’s not worth your time or theirs to try and make yourself fit into a friendship mould that isn’t natural. Even if you do think there is a real friendship there, when seeing them hurts you, it’s not healthy. That just isn’t a friendship that is going to benefit you. And you come first.

So whether you are trying to be friends with someone who is harbouring a not-so-secret love for you or desperately keeping your love wrapped in a veil of friendship, let’s just try to not feel guilty about how we feel, or make someone else feel guilty. Let’s choose happy instead. Hooray for happy!

*Reddit mostly

By Amy Sincock

Image Credit

5 thoughts on “why the friend-zone is a con

  1. For guys who tell me they’ve been “friend zoned”, I say “Excuse me but women aren’t some vending machine that you can put ‘nice’ coins in and sex comes out”

  2. For me, I think the “friend zone” doesn’t even exist. People always talk about the zone in the sense that, when you meet someone, you have a window of time in which to become romantically involved with them or else you’ll only ever be friends with them. I think that’s just not true. Personally, I see people as friends or possible lovers right from the start. I put them into those two categories and rarely change my mind later. Maybe I’m more rigid than others, but for me, you’re either (a) only ever going to be my friend and nothing more, or (b) only ever going to be romantically involved with me, or nothing. (a)’s a pretty rigid category. (b)’s a little more flexible, in the sense that if it doesn’t turn into a relationship, a friendship might still result, but at 23 I find that I’m not really interested in having “guy friends” anymore. I have my girl friends for that, hahaha.
    But yeh, bottom line, I think the whole “friendship zone” idea creates too much stress for people and doesn’t help anyone understand anything. Barring a drunken kiss or a particular desire for intimacy one night, friends are friends and nothing else and people should accept that and get on with it, rather than worrying about making a move at the right time. If it’s right, it’ll happen no matter how long it takes – Jim and Pam in The Office, anyone?

  3. based on my high school experience of being in the “friend zone” with someone i had a crush on, I think these insinuations are pretty unfair – that a guy will arrogantly assume the girl just doesn’t know he’s perfect for her. just as likely, is that a guy will be friends with a girl he likes and never admit his true feelings for her because he’s sure he’d be turned down. doesn’t mean that it’s not worth being friends, but also doesn’t mean he can’t continue to harbor feelings for her while not putting her in an awkward position (if he liked her enough, he wouldn’t *want* to put her in an awkward position where she has to turn him down). therefore there doesn’t have to be a dichotomy between either not liking her and not being her friend.

    i feel like both the author and the above commenter have only had experience with the sorts of guys who vocally express their misgivings and sense of assumed entitlement (obviously they would, because these are the guys who would tell everyone about it) and are, subsequently, demonising every guy who has ever been in the friend zone.

  4. I know a guy who ‘secretly’ loved his gal pal for YEARS!! And it took that long for her to come to realise/decide that yes, she was ready and willing to give things a go with him! And now they’re ultra sweet and it’s nice because their relationship is founded in years of friendship. So I think sometimes the ‘friend-zone’ is a result of people just being unsure and trying to make things happen for the right reasons at the right time. (of course this is only the happy/rare kind of story) good article :)

  5. Hehe yeah, that’s true. I like the idea of relationships based on friendships, but I suppose it’s just hard to create them, and for me they’ve rarely happened organically. I used to try to be friends with guys I liked first but then found that they’d often turn around a month or so later and have a girlfriend, even though we had been “heading towards” a relationship ourselves (in my mind).
    Demonising people has never been my intention and never will be. In fact, I’ve made these categories clear (to myself and I hope to guys around me) specifically to AVOID demonising them. I think that being friends with someone with the hope of getting with them one day is just heartbreaking, and I would never want to string a guy along like that. From my experience I’ve seen it happen a lot, when the girl or guy either doesn’t realise the extent of or cruelly abuses the existence of their “friend”‘s affection. In my case it has sometimes led to cutting friendships off earlier than they needed to be, but I guess that’s a different story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>