A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

The “Friend Zone” is Total Fucking Bullshit

b03I know, I’m late to the party, but it’s my turn to chime in on the ubiquitous Friend Zone conversation/debate/debacle. And like many other sensible people, I’m here to tell you that this is a non-issue invented by dudes who don’t understand how attraction works and believe if a woman likes them well enough to be friends, that ought to be enough foundation for True Love to bloom. They believe that time spent with a woman is an investment, and when that investment doesn’t pay off, you’re not only in the Friend Zone, but you were obviously not man enough for the job.

As Erin Riordan points out in her post, The Friend Zone is a Sexist Myth, the movie Just Friends contains a scene that sums up the Friend Zone perfectly. It also does a great job of illustrating what some men believe it means to be (or not to be) friends with a woman:

Chris: What about Sheila? You making any headway?

Ray: We’ll see. I’m taking her to lunch today.

Chris: Oh, whoa, whoa whoa. Don’t – don’t do that. Okay? Don’t do lunch.

Ray: Why?

Chris: That’s like the express lane to the friend zone.

Ray: What the hell’s the friend zone?

Chris: See when a girl decides that you’re her friend, you’re no longer a dating option. You become this complete non-sexual entity in her eyes, like her brother, or a lamp.

Ray: I don’t want to be a lamp.

Chris: Yea well then don’t be her friend, okay? Take that guy for example…

[points to a clumsy guy and a gorgeous girl skating together]

Ray: You mean that couple?

Chris: No, I mean the guy that *wishes* they were a couple.

Ray: What is your point?

Chris: My point is – Call Sheila, Ray. Call her right now. Move your day date to tonight. Play the entire thing aloof and no matter what you do, kiss her at the end. ‘Cause friends don’t kiss.

Dude is confused.

Dude is confused.

See, dudes who think like this are confused. They think that there’s this window of opportunity with a woman, and that if they miss it, FRIENDSHIP will set in like an infection and all hope is lost. There are so many things wrong with this philosophy. For one, it assumes that once a man and woman are friends, there is no longer potential for sexual attraction. That is patently false: I know from (repeated) personal experience an attraction can spring up at any time between people for whom it just didn’t exist before. And because of its ignorance of this, it also ignores the fact that some of the best relationships start as friendships. It paints friendship between a man and a woman as a sad, pathetic thing that implies that the man wasn’t man enough to make it something more than that. (This, my friends, is one of the ways that patriarchy hurts us all.)

And that brings me to my next point: Choice. Let’s talk about the mistaken idea that a woman a) can choose to be sexually attracted to a person whom, for whatever reason, she currently isn’t, and b) that a woman should somehow be obligated to “choose” a man based on how much time he’s spent with her, how many favors he’s done for her, or any other such perceived “investment.” The former is about chemistry; the latter is about entitlement.

More on entitlement later. Let’s start with a science lesson, shall we?

Pretty chemicals!

You see, “attraction” and “liking” someone are two completely different things. I like my postal carrier, but I’m not attracted to him. Attraction is a physical thing that happens within people, and at the heart of it, it’s a chemical process. Person A’s chemicals and Person B’s chemicals are either compatible at any given time or they aren’t. No, I’m not a scientist, but I understand the basics and I think I’m right about this. The only thing I can figure is that the people who believe in the Friend Zone have never once had someone crush on them and not feel the same way back. (That or, sadly, they have never been in a relationship where attraction was reciprocal.)

Yes, I have been “guilty” of not being attracted to men who were attracted to me and really wanted me to return their feelings. And believe it or not, I (and many other women) have wished fervently for that attraction for a friend who meets so many other criteria. Sometimes we’ve even given in to the idea that you don’t have to feel an attraction for someone in order to be happy with them, and then we have learned the hard way that for many of us, that’s just not true. And ultimately, we’ve had to walk away not only from those relationships with people who were once friends, but from the friendships as well.

Though there seems to be some controversy over the actual meaning of the song “Everything You Want” by Vertical Horizon, for me it has always spoken to those times when a close friendship had everything but physical chemistry:

He’s everything you want
He’s everything you need
He’s everything inside of you
That you wish you could be
He says all the right things
At exactly the right time
But he means nothing to you
And you don’t know why

And I have been in the place they call the Friend Zone. I have been crazy about people who didn’t return my feelings. But it never once occurred to me to say “Guys only like women who mistreat them and do X, Y, and Z for them, and there’s no winning, waaaaa.” Because other times in my life, the attraction has been mutual. (And again, I’m sorry for anyone who hasn’t experienced that. But it doesn’t mean women are evil bitches who want rich bad boys who treat them like shit.) For the times it wasn’t, the second chorus of the above song was me all over:

I am everything you want
I am everything you need
I am everything inside of you
That you wish you could be
I say all the right things
At exactly the right time
But I mean nothing to you and I don’t know why…

Now let’s talk about entitlement.

People who believe in the Friend Zone seem to think that if a guy is nice enough to a woman for long enough, he’s entitled to something. (Spoiler: He’s not.) Again, this assumes an awful lot about a woman’s right to choose who the fuck she has a relationship with and pretty much anything else–in fact, it actually removes that right to choose and transforms it into the man’s right to be her boyfriend. In other words, a dude is entitled to a woman once he’s made a sufficient investment in her. If she disagrees, and heaven forbid if she’s interested in someone else, she’s a bitch–or worse, a slut.

Can you even imagine the situation in reverse?

jstfrnds

Chris: So, how’s it going with Sheila? Any progress?

Ray: She’s really nice, and I love hanging out with her. We’ve got a ton in common. But I’m just not attracted to her, you know? I like her as a friend.

Chris: But you’d still do her, right?

Ray: If I was a total asshole, yeah, sure, but I’m not, so…

Chris: Ok, glad we got that out of the way. Next question: you’ve been hanging out with her a lot, right?

Ray: Yeah…

Chris: And she made you dinner that one time, right?

Ray: Lasagna. It was really good. From scratch.

Chris: And she picked you up at the airport what, three times?

Ray: Four.

Chris: Dude. You’re in the Boyfriend Zone.

Ray: What? But I don’t want to be her boyfriend. I’m cool with things how they are. I mean, I wish there was something more there, but…

Chris: Doesn’t matter. She’s been super nice to you. You owe her.

Ray: I what? No I don’t. I just don’t feel that way about her. I wish I did, but I don’t. Besides, I met this other girl I really like. Lisa. I’m attracted to her. We’ve got a lot in common, too, and we’re going out tonight.

Chris: You can’t do that. If you do that, you’re a slut.

Ray: I’m a…WTF?

Chris: Sorry, dude. I don’t make the rules.

Poor Ray! He’s stuck in the BOYFRIEND ZONE. Now he has to have a relationship with someone he’s not attracted to (though he really does like her) just because she was nice to him! It doesn’t seem fair, does it?

But what about this poor guy, Rosie? And all the guys like him?

Sigh. Deep breath…

Yes, there are women who take advantage of good men just like there are men who take advantage of good women, so if you’re this guy and she doesn’t have a sprained ankle or something? Yeah, she’s not very nice and you’re not being very nice to yourself by letting her do that to you. But that’s about individuals with low self-esteem and inconsiderate assholes who take advantage of them, not some global phenomenon of women mistreating men.

The Friend Zone as described by the dudes who whine about it doesn’t exist. In reality, it’s just the place each and every one of us finds ourself when we get our hearts broken. And broken hearts are a global phenomenon. They’re the reason poetry gets written and songs get sung–or one of the big ones anyway. If you’ve got a broken heart, I feel for you. I really do.

But seriously? Quit with the Friend Zone bullshit.


Related:

We Need to Talk About the Friend Zone (Feminists-at-Large)

The Friend Zone is a Sexist Myth (Hello)

There’s No Such thing as Being “Friend-Zoned.” She Was Just Never Attracted to You. Get Over it. (People Are Dumb)


Respectful discussion is welcome and encouraged. When in doubt, see the Comment Policy.

217 responses

  1. Ben

    This article reads like a bunch of third wave, pseudo-feminist/post feminist, female misogynist rubbish imho.

    December 17, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    • This comment reads like a bunch of scripted MRA bullshit, IMHO.

      December 18, 2014 at 12:24 am

      • Anthea Brainhooke

        I love it when I’m accused of being post-feminist, like we’re finally in the post-patriarchy.

        December 18, 2014 at 2:48 am

    • Anthea Brainhooke

      Thank goodness you came by to let us know that, Ben. I’ll be able to sleep easy now I know how you feel about this post.

      December 18, 2014 at 2:47 am

  2. So, addressing the matter at hand. Long story short, I met a wonderful girl a year ago, we dated a couple of times, I tried to make my intentions evident as best as I could in a reasonable amount of time (one month or so) but since she wouldn’t respond one way or another I had to tell her about my feelings explicitly (it’s never easy) Sadly, she couldn’t accept me as anything more than friend, and ironically, the way she let me down made me love her in a way I had never experienced before. As it was, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated, for we were a perfect a match, we always enjoyed to be together, so it was just LOGICAL that I could be more than a friend, then why not? It seemed, as always, that it was just another cruel joke of destiny.
    Anyway, i think you missed that part, that we men are creatures of logic, and that is what compels us to think that by just being nice, we can get a women to love us. Of course, with her I learned better than that, I learned a lot about love. ( I liked this phrase of yours ” Love is not the storybook we’ve been sold”, so true! ) All by myself. It was very difficult to accept it all and still be friends with her (her, not able to love me back the way i do, and foremost watching her in the future love someone else),But she is truly worth it, it really makes me happy just to make her happy, and she has been really good to me all this time as well. It’s like all the bad stuff is just a small price to pay for the benefit of her friendship.
    Anyway, I say, why should I care about this “friendzone” a term other people coined? Why should I follow their rules? I know it is not the same with all women, I have as well, just left never to return some other times, but now I know there really are ecxeptions.

    Well I’d like to say much more, for this is a complex topic, but it will be some other time.
    And I know the “high patriarchy” would not approve of me but to hell with them, a real man acknowledges his feelings.

    December 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm

  3. Hey Rosie, I come across your article quite a bit late, it certainly would’ve helped me deal with recent experiencies, but still, I’d like to share my thoughts on the subject.
    I’d like to start with some of my own views about sexism. I think people should pursue Egalitarianism instead of “fighting” under the banners of one sex or the other, for we all should be treated equally of humans, and yet, one can’t deny the differences between men and women, each one has “benefits” and responsibilities uninque to them, thus we must work together to complete one another and achieve “balance” Alas, I am just one man and I know the world isn’t a place without ignorance and intolerance and don’t view women as the “beautiful and mysterious creatures” that are beyond our comprehension.

    December 8, 2014 at 12:08 pm

  4. Rick

    I agree, there is no friendzone. It’s really simple too: if a girl likes you enough to make her want to be your girl, she’ll show. If you have to try too hard she’s not interested.

    There is a mutual friendzone, where guys and gals are genuine friends and don’t do sexual stuff. Guys just think that because he bought her a drink she’ll suck his dick. Then they complain because it doesn’t happen.

    Alot of relationships come from friendships not because magic, but because the guy and girl already had a special feeling for eachother since day one. They just took it slow and fun (friendship) instead of acting the perfect boyfriend / girlfriend during forced classy dinners. Because the girl knows the guy since they were friends, had plenty of movienights, themeparks, Mcdonalds, they know what they can offer eachother. Thus a better and more real relationship exists.

    The whole hunting and dating thing is like getting a new job. You hunt for a job (in this case girl) and have forced conversations and dinners because else you are not interesting enough.

    So again: the friendzone isn’t real, she never had feelings for you, not like that at least.

    November 16, 2014 at 3:15 pm

  5. I love it when articles take one narrow-minded opinion on something that is so true and obvious, proven and experienced by thousands of men.

    The friend zone is as real as a metaphorical place can get, and it has more to do with psychology than with attraction. You can replace the word friend with anything.

    The longer someone is in a certain situation, the harder it will be for them to switch it up, and the least comfortable they will be with the switch, because they identify with the peron or situation a certain way and it is unlikely to change. It is kind of like a first impression.

    Here it is applied to the friend zone and other things:

    If you want to sleep with a girl, but you act like her friend, and then do “friend” type things for a long period of time, the chances of sleeping with her will dwindle with the amount of time that goes by, and end up in the friend zone.

    If you want to meet a girl from OKCupid in person, the longer you chat with her via messages for a long period of time, the chances of meeting her will dwindle with the amount of time that goes by, and fallen into the online buddy zone.

    If you meet a girl and get her number, and you want to hang out with her, if you text message with her for a long period of time, the chances of hanging out with her will dwindle with the amount of time that goes by– you will have become her text buddy, or fallen into the text zone.

    We could go further into it and talk about value and what the girl gets out of the relationship. If you are always super nice to her and give her a shoulder to cry on, become her therapist, etc. She may lose all those things if she starts dating you, by dating you. Even if she wouldn’t if something goes wrong she will lose everything.

    November 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    • Anthea Brainhooke

      Well thanks for coming by to ‘splain that to us, Alex. I can sleep easy now.

      November 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm

  6. Mogale

    Wow! A thorough insight into the “friend-zone” debacle. I must be honest, I never thought of it that way. Very profound, especially the detail. “Entitlement” for one.

    October 18, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    • Thanks! I’m glad it was helpful. :)

      October 20, 2014 at 8:12 am

  7. Mary

    One last thing: every “friendzoned” guy currently has several girls in his friendzone.

    October 16, 2014 at 3:13 am

  8. Mary

    Let’s be real here: 90% of guys are after 10% of women – namely the “super hot” ones. How is that supposed to work out. Why in the hell should a stunning women choose you over a stunning man?!
    The friendzone is a term invented by ugly guys who delude themselves into imagining some type of relationship with a girl, instead of just moving on. Male entitlement just can’t take a no, they have to come up with a word that still signals some type of relation to the hot girl, even though she probably couldn’t care less about you deciding to hover around her.

    October 16, 2014 at 3:07 am

    • Anthea Brainhooke

      There are plenty of apparently-hot guys out there with well-populated friend zones. Don’t assume a woman passes a guy over because he’s “ugly” on the outside. In my experience we’re more likely to pass a guy over because he’s “ugly” on the inside (such as having a sense of entitlement that should be on a leash). Or because he’s hovering around and creeping us out.

      October 16, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      • I heart you, AB.

        October 17, 2014 at 9:04 am

        • Anthea Brainhooke

          Back atcha, babe.

          October 17, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      • Mary

        Yes I know a lot of hot girls who date way below their league in order to have the so-called upper hand. But c’mon at some point socially awkward, lanky average Joe has to accept that he won’t have supermodels standing in line for him. It’s not even that girls put them in the friendzone, they decide to hang out there. But the “I’m just attracted to a specific type otherwise my penis won’t go up” excuse is a man’s privilege. Women are not allowed to have physical preferences, or else she’s a bitch.
        If “she has a nice personality” is a euphemism used by men to describe ugly women, why should “but I’m a nice guy” be an attractive trait in men?! Such a damn double standard.

        October 17, 2014 at 9:36 am

        • Anthea Brainhooke

          I don’t believe in “leagues.”

          As for “socially awkward, lanky average Joe” not having supermodels standing in line for him, that makes him no different from all but half a dozen men in the entire WORLD.

          The whole point of feminism is to get away from what women (or men for that matter) are “allowed.”

          And for the love of little green apples, it’s time for EVERYBODY to stop acting like somebody not being interested in them is the end of the frigging world.

          October 17, 2014 at 6:23 pm

        • Eddie

          You are so ignorant that it’s sickening. Guys are not after the super hot ones. Most guys just want a woman that’s good to him. Supermodels are a fantasy for guys the same way romance novels are a fantasy for women. Not realistic. You keep talking about men and privilege. There is no privilege here. Realizing that your feelings are not shared by someone you are interested in is not sexism. It’s painful. You need to accept that women have the privilege. If they did not, women would ask men out, pay for dates, jump through hoops for sex, propose marriage, walk on eggshells in relationships and risk their physical safety to keep men safe. You don’t do any of that do you? That is what privilege is. You all have so much power over men that you don’t realize the full scope of how deep it runs. Women are the gatekeepers when it comes to love and relationships. They decide who among the countless men hitting on them is worthy of affection. Having such power is foreign to men. You should have said 90 percent of women want 10 percent of men because that is the reality here. Women are the ones with lists of requirements for men ranging from height and ethnicity to career and penis size. Men have no such lists, we just want a woman who is nice to us, does not try to change us into a better version, indirectly indicating we are not good enough, and who loves us. She does not have to be a damn supermodel so please get that crap out of your head. I had feelings for a woman I worked with and she was a bit overweight. She made me feel better just being around her. I thought she was beautiful and we had so much in common. She was my boss though and I couldn’t let her know how I felt. The author mentioned that she has been turned down by guys and moved on, so therefore the zone is bullshit. Here is the problem with women acting like they understand men. Even on rare occasions when women are turned down they can have success with other guys very easily. When men talk of the friend zone, we are speaking of endless failure with women, not just SOME. We are talking about doing all the logically nice things to say hey I like you and then watching her date some guy who just got out of prison. It’s not about being entitled to sex or love due to investment of time or affection. It’s about realizing that women do not see nice guys as romantic interests, thus resulting in being written off as a friend. It’s hard for guys to figure out how to approach a woman, especially when most women say the want a nice guy and then date an asshole. On the primitive level pretty much any woman is good enough for a man because it’s a chance to spread his seed, but for women only a certain few men are worthy of mating with. These few are the alpha males. The friend zone concept is a manifestation of beta males realizing that they are unworthy of a woman. It is basically coming to the realization that you exist as a representation of what women should not desire. THAT is why men make a big deal out of it. I know I went deep with this but shit someone had to.

          October 30, 2014 at 12:28 am

          • mlaw85

            Everyone feels like they have “endless failure” with the opposite sex. That’s the nature of the game. Yes there are other men women could date, but they women aren’t attracted to them. There are plenty of other women the men could date, but the men aren’t attracted to them. That’s the whole chemistry issue. When women are in love with a guy who just wants to be friends, the women generally don’t blame the guy though, they’re more likely to blame themselves if anything. Men blame the women who don’t like them though. Women think, “I must not be enough,” while men think, “she must not see that I’m enough.” Neither is a good thought pattern, but both blame and hurt women and neither blames or hurts men.

            November 10, 2014 at 6:21 am

            • Eddie

              No, you seem to have completely missed my point. It does not matter that women are not attracted to the other guys that find them attractive. The point is that there ARE other men that find them attractive. Guys that get the friend treatment are usually considered unattractive by women in general, not just the one he likes. So no there are not plenty of other women to date. That is the explanation of my endless failure comment. Now, on to the blame thing. I don’t know why you assume men blame women while assuming women never blame men. I have seen women speak very ill of guys that rejected them. It’s as if they cannot comprehend how he could have the nerve to say no, so they act like complete bitches. I have never in all my days blamed women for rejecting me, not as a kid, not as an adult. I always asked myself what’s wrong with me. I’ve known guys that also questioned themselves. I worked with a guy who was an alpha type and most of the women there wanted to sleep with him. They openly admitted it. I would watch and try to understand how he had women eager to be close to him but I knew I couldn’t be him. It is not something you can learn, it’s like being good at basketball. You either have it or you don’t. He just had a way with women. He would touch them rather aggressively but they liked it. Personally I thought it crossed a line. I would ‘ve been charged with sexual harassment trying to do what he did. You said no one blames or hurts men? Sure they do. You just did when you said only men blame the opposite sex. That statement indicates that you believe that this is a bunch of nonsense that guys make up to avoid taking responsibility. You were dismissive of this reality that many men deal with. A reality I have dealt with. The fact that so many women think this is bullshit hurts. The fact that so many women hear a man voice a concern about something and respond with a dismissive attitude and say ”man up” hurts. It’s the kind of stuff that makes a man hide his emotions deep inside and not open up to a woman. What’s the point in exposing emotions to a woman if she just pisses on them?

              November 16, 2014 at 6:06 am

        • Bobbe

          Everyone here thinks waaaayyy too much about this topic. Chemistry is not a logical problem that can solved through brainstorming, it’s a feeling that TWO people feel together (not one). It can arise suddenly or die suddenly. It’s non-verbal. People need to learn how to feel and how to let those feelings arise naturally. Being in the friendzone or being one’s bed buddy doesn’t change the underlying chemistry two people have with each other. Mutual respect is key.

          November 5, 2014 at 9:15 am

  9. Great post! There is, however, another explanation for whatever is occurring in the picture of the (presumably cis-gendered) woman sitting on the shoulders of the (presumably cis-gendered) man. She could definitely be a Grade A asshole taking advantage of his low self esteem. They could also be BDSM practitioners involved in a consensual scene. BDSM is admittedly no more egalitarian than vanilla relationships even when a woman/femme person identifies as a top; people looking at the photo have no idea about the degree to which both parties are comfortable with this potential scene. Nonetheless, I think it is important to point out possible top women/femme persons and bottom men/masculine persons in relationships that disobey the gender norms so deeply embedded in popular conceptions of sexuality. The wider culture hardly even covers mildly top-like behavior when practiced by women/femme types (ex: holding men, asking them out, making the first sexual advances, etc.) with men, let alone with other women or gender nonconformists. Bottom men meanwhile are always portrayed as pathetic and unlovable creatures (especially if they are perceived as feminine/”unmanly”) everywhere except among gay BDSM practitioners. We need to recognize in a non-judgmental way the possibility of women/femme persons on the top spectrum and men/masculine persons on the bottom spectrum.

    October 12, 2014 at 2:15 am

    • Thank you!

      October 12, 2014 at 8:51 am

  10. Jack

    This post has made me so painfully angry.

    Why do people insist on perpetuating cries of sexism into everything?!

    The fact of the matter is, there are people who are in love with a member of the opposite sex, or the same sex for that matter, whose love is not reciprocated in the same way. It is often present in an intense friendship, and it is an incredibly difficult situation for one party. It just so happens that in the vast majority of cases, it is men that are in love with women.

    Alas, that is a fact. It’s not sexist. Nor is it the fault of women; but being in love with your best friend is one of the most painful and uncomfortable situations imaginable.

    You can’t end the friendship because that just isn’t fair, and you are forced to stay tantalisingly close to your deepest desire.

    FriendZone is just a stupid term, but it isn’t about ‘putting nice coins into her until sex comes out.’ It’s about wanting to share every fibre of your being with her.

    Now please think on before you ascend to your high horse and cry sexism.

    September 29, 2014 at 11:56 am

  11. Thou’st vague point be nil.
    Doth scene be portrayed.
    For dudes hath honor.
    Yet, still shrews complain.

    September 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    • Anthea Brainhooke

      Translation:

      Shut up, you silly woman. It’s not an issue because I say so.

      September 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm

  12. beefgoat

    I have mixed feelings when it comes to the “friendzone”. I see the situation as being two-fold; on the one hand, there are females fully capable, and willing, of manipulating supplicant males to make their lives more comfortable. On the other hand, said males would do well to be cognisant of when they are being used.

    June 27, 2014 at 8:56 pm

  13. Nick

    I like your article, but wouldn’t things be easier of everyone did have the entitlement? I don’t mean this in a sexist way, but if someone spends time with someone of the opposite sex and that person allows it, as long as both parties understand this social contract, wouldn’t that just make things easier, less confusing with less risk of heartache on both sides of the playing field? I mean it’s not a completely foreign concept, we have had arranged marriages that exist to this day, I haven’t done the research so I can’t be sure, but I think the success rate of non-let’s say-modern relationship introductions and the like are just as good as what we consider normal (once again just my opinion haven’t don’t the research). I remember reading poetry about one such arranged marriage in high school, (for the life of me can’t remember the author or the name), describing how (from the woman’s point of view) this man went from being a stranger to being the love of her life over time. See I don’t see the friendzone as this place filled with sexist douches, but rather mostly men and occasionally woman, who do have that connection, but not the attraction or timing or whatever reason for the relationship not going the romantic route, who hope that with time and being there as well as the “good friend” that the attraction could build, because in the end of the day it isn’t only chemistry that builds attraction, but also the feeling of companionship, stability and security. While I think if the “friendzoned” party makes their intentions clear after a certain amount of time and the relationship continues as is, there is a certain amount of entitlement that should be reciprocated. As a man who has been friendzoned and felt the sting of resigning oneself to being only a friend to someone you have enough attraction to where you would stick around despite the knowledge that those feelings will go unreturned, that this occurrence has a lot to do with miscommunication between the sexes about what people truthfully want.

    May 19, 2014 at 2:02 am

    • Anthea Brainhooke

      No, Nick. There is NO “entitlement” by men to women’s time, attention, or bodies.

      The “social contract” sucks for both men and women. It’s time to change it.

      May 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      • Nick

        First off I was talking about both men and women when it comes to entitlement and yes at certain points people have obligations to others, now I’m not saying that if you hang out a couple of times you should be entitled to a commitment of any kind, but I am saying that if one party, states their intentions clearly and the other accepts that and continues the relationship with that understanding then there is a level of entitlement. Now mind 2 points, this is irregardless of gender, it applies to all PEOPLE. Secondly nobody is forced to continue a relationship with anyone almost anytime, this if one chooses to continue a relationship with someone who clearly had romantic feelings it’s that person’s obligation to either clearly state their disinterest or continue down the romantic path, this is something that all PEOPLE are entitled to regardless of gender.

        You say it’s time to get rid of social contracts…I’m sorry that’s impossible without anarchy as even laws start off as social contracts and to say its time we get rid of them is like saying, “hey let’s disregard how people interact with each other.”

        May 20, 2014 at 1:35 am

        • Anthea Brainhooke

          The column was about what is largely men’s behaviour towards women, so that’s what I addressed.

          I did not say it’s time to “get rid of social contracts.” I said it’s time to CHANGE _this particular_ social contract that serves both men and women so badly.

          The problem is not that women do not clearly communicate that they do not want to be in a relationship with the man who thinks he’s just been put in the non-existent “friend zone.” The problem that this column addresses, that you appear to have missed, is how some men behave AFTER the woman has said that she’s not interested in a relationship.

          May 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm

          • Nick

            I disagree this not about what happens after, but going into and during. Which is why communication is key. Btw I dont see this as the case anymore, the problem with most social contracts are that they have already changed and what I think you missed is that they changed for the worse. Unfortunately these days a person is more like to string another person along because we’re taught to believe that we don’t owe anyone anything because they spent time with us, but this is entirely wrong, maybe we don’t owe said person a relationship, our bodies or minds, but we all do owe that person respect and honesty. This is what is missing, an honest exchange, which when you are left without it, it creates the “friend-zone” a limbo like place where a person is stuck between hope of being with that person and knowing that odds are it isn’t going to happen. The “friend-zone” is very real, but only in the sense that it’s just another word for te feeling people get when they kinda know where they stand with someone and yet feel like it can change in their favor regardless of whether that’s true.

            May 21, 2014 at 12:45 am

      • Mike

        Very much agreed, Anthea. I would add there’s no entitlement to friendship either. If the rejected party decides to politely walk away (please not I said “politely” and that’s important), then the rejector need not get bent out of shape either. I have seen this happen. I have seen other articles about the friend zone which so many people claim doesn’t exist stating that if the rejected party politely walks away, that person is not a good person, or not a mature person. I very much disagree with that.

        August 4, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    • Irene

      I think it’s quite the opposite. If the friend zoned party makes their intentions clear and the relationship goes on as is, meaning it continues as a friendship (the way it has been that whole time), then you can’t blame them because you chose to stay in that friendship. Furthermore, your situation doesn’t sound like a misunderstanding; you chose to maintain a friendship with that person despite knowing that it wouldn’t turn into anything more.

      I am a woman and I have told my male friends that I had feelings for them, which turned out to be unreciprocated. I stayed friends with them anyways, not acquaintances, friends, because when you care about someone, you want them to be happy even if it isn’t with you and you want them in your life, even if it hurts you (though it’s a different story if they’re hurting you on purpose, but that’s not what I’m referring to here). Besides, it may hurt, initially to always see them and know you’ll only be friends, but eventually you get over it and, although your attraction towards them may be gone, that doesn’t mean the friendship has to end.

      July 29, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      • Mike

        Irene, it is very possible to want someone to be happy even if it’s not with you and yet not desire to remain a part of their life for the very reason that you expressed; it hurt. If it hurts, I don’t believe it’s wisdom to remain. I actually advise people if it hurts to leave. This doesn’t mean you don’t care about the person, it just means you have no desire to prolong the hurt. Yes, you do eventually get over it, but not after needlessly prolonging the heartache. There are plenty of friends in the sea. Why not both parties go find one that doesn’t have the pain?

        August 4, 2014 at 6:51 pm

        • Irene

          I understand what you’re saying and, in retrospect, perhaps I phrased my comment inaccurately. When I said that it “hurt” I meant in a disappointing way, not in a heartaching way, and I think that, for me, at least, cutting off the relationship completely would’ve hurt more than staying their friend, and I find that confronting things that hurt you, rather than walking away from them, makes you become stronger. Maybe I am just able to get over things quickly, or I deal with these situations differently than some people, but I think that ending the friendship wouldn’t help my relationship with that person. It’s not like it would be easy to try to reconnect and pick up the friendship where it left off at some time in the future when the feelings are gone, even if I wanted to try that, so, personally, I would be willing to make that sacrifice and maintain the friendship at the time being, while I’m waiting for the feelings and the disappointment go away, which doesn’t take too long for me, but I understand that everyone deals with these things differently.

          August 9, 2014 at 11:20 am

  14. La Verdad

    Women complaining about “being used for sex” are the female version of a man whining about being friendzoned. A man does not owe a woman a romantic relationship just because she slept with him.

    May 2, 2014 at 7:06 am

    • Charlie

      I’m fairly sure most women who complain about this do so because in a way they’ve been ‘tricked’ into thinking it will lead further. I’ve known of examples from friends where guys have seemingly started dating them, going out to dinner etc. Yet once they have sex, the guy disappears. Would you not agree thats pretty shitty scumbag behavior? I don’t know any women who were disappointed never to hear back from a one night’s stand- for them, they got what they wanted, which was also what the guy wanted, sex no strings attached.

      But for a general response to the article, yes I really hate the friendzone. For the friendzone, I’ve never heard of a guy stating his intentions that he wants a relationship from the beginning with his friend, instead pretending to be friends while slowly trying to ‘trick’ her into having romantic feelings for him by doing a bunch of nice stuff for her. If there ever are any examples of him stating from the beginning that thats what he wants, and she turns him down cause she doesn’t feel the same way, then thats not what these whiney people are talking about- thats normal human interaction. I’ve known a couple of guys who were convinced they were in the friendzone, and talk such shit about the girl they apparently wanted to be with. They’d call her a bitch and a slut, all because they didn’t make their feelings clear and she didn’t feel the same way. But luckily I’ve also had a pretty good friend converted- he used to think like that, before he realised what a prat he was being and they didn’t owe him anything for simply being nice. So there is hope out there.

      So yeah, for the guys who trick women into thinking they’re having a relationship, for the girls who lead guys on (which is not the same as a friendzone as women in the so called friendzone aren’t aware till they’ve become friends that he wanted anything else) and for the guys who don’t make their romantic feelings clear, instead leading women to think they’re friends, and then bitching about her afterwards, please do humanity a favour and STOP. And here’s a hint- if you’re saying to yourself (and others), ‘I don’t understand why she doesn’t like me, I’m such a nice guy’ then you’re probably not.

      September 6, 2014 at 6:51 am

    • There is no “friendzone” for women if the man sleeps with her. The whole point of a friendzone is that there is ZERO sexual attraction. He/she is just a friend. He/she is like my brother/sister. So if he fucks her, he didn’t friendzone her EVEN IF he was using her for just the sex!

      September 14, 2014 at 10:34 am

      • Anthea Brainhooke

        So you don’t think friends can also fuck and still be friends?

        September 14, 2014 at 2:01 pm

        • Aaron

          Doesn’t that seem more like friends with benefits?… the friendzone literally means that anything more than hanging out/being an ordinary friend is not going to happen, kissing included. The friendzone is when you are told “I just don’t like you that way. You’re like a sibling to me.” Basically, the sexual relationship has hit a brick wall and as a result, the rest of the relationship is a no-go on one side. It won’t cash in, like a bounced cheque.

          September 14, 2014 at 3:38 pm

  15. Timothy

    We aren’t going to be just friends, ever. Thats a game that doesn’t exist. We’ll be enemies before we are just friends.

    April 22, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    • Bob

      I put women in the friend zone all the time, I have no idea what this article is talking about. Does this website realize there are TWO sexes or is everything just woman being beaten down no matter what?

      (friend zone definitely does exist, as a man, I have probably 20 women in mine, women who want to be with me, and make that clear, but I have to kindly remind them that I’m happily in a relationship and am not willing to hurt my partner like that : )

      April 30, 2014 at 10:33 am

      • B

        Did you just come to the comments section to brag?

        April 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    • The only reason you can’t be friends is because you’re not trying hard enough to be friends.

      I have been friend zoned before. I changed my feelings towards them, meaning that I stopped expecting anything to happen between us, but I didn’t change my relationship with them. We stayed friends, as we were before I told them how I felt.

      July 29, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      • Mike

        “The only reason you can’t be friends is because you’re not trying hard enough to be friends. ”

        Perhaps there’s another reason. The individual doesn’t want to prolong the pain which you admitted you felt. It does seem as though you’re suggesting “because it happened this way for me, it SHOULD happen this way for EVERYONE.” Or perhaps I’m misunderstanding you.

        Please understand I do think that it’s great you remained friends, but not everyone reacts to rejection the same (there’s evidence that brain chemistry, brain physiology, and personal history are all correlated with how much pain people feel about rejection). I begrudge no one for leaving a friendship or downgrading it to acquaintance, or at least taking some time away from the friendship to speed the recovery.

        August 4, 2014 at 6:58 pm

        • Irene

          Yes, you are misunderstanding me. I’m not saying it SHOULD, rather that it’s not impossible if you really want to maintain the friendship. Also, I was mainly responding to Timothy. It’s fine if you need some space for a few weeks or months, but it was Timothy’s quote “We’ll be enemies before we’re ever just friends” that bothered me. If you really care about them enough to want a romantic relationship with them, why would you give them that ultimatum that it’s either we’re dating or we’re enemies and how much did you ever really care about them if you’re more willing to be enemies than you are to at least try to stay friends?

          August 9, 2014 at 11:30 am

  16. Aaron

    If nothing else, you’ve reminded this guy that relationships are difficult enough without our biochemistry in the way and nearly arbitrary with it.

    I nearly began thinking there was a friendzone, but then I remembered when I was younger. There was a girl I really liked, named Sophia and we got along so well that everyone thought we were dating. She called me up out of the blue to invite me to a hockey game but I was really embarrassed because I liked her company but just didn’t feel attracted. In hindsight, I’ve been oblivious to more than a few romantically interested girls. It’s a bit sad how much control our biochemistry has, because I was dating a girl and nearly over night, the chemicals disappeared, she broke up with me, and I was left to deal with my remaining feelings for her.

    *sigh* I don’t know if marriage is courageous or futile. Anyways, I guess the thing to do is to keep my options open and be ready to love people who love me and who I love. Still, it makes love a really confusing thing considering it isn’t as predictable as other emotions.

    March 31, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    • It’s so confusing. And the chemistry can change even after years. Love is not the storybook we’ve been sold, and I think that’s the heartbreaking thing. That unpredictability goes against everything we’ve learned about love–that it moves mountains and conquers all and is the one thing you can count on. Those things are all true of love in general, but romantic love is like a wild creature that can save your life one moment and devour you the next. And yet, I know that some people find happiness with a partner at least for a while, and some endings are quiet and amiable. I guess that’s what keeps us hoping.

      April 1, 2014 at 9:16 am

  17. Insidious_Sid

    This is long. It’s an essay. I’m sorry. I was motivated. Call it good coffee.

    The author makes good points but misses a few “causes” of this dubious friend-zone.

    If the pursuer (hopeful) has a romantic intention for the pursued, and it is not welcomed, the friendzone can magically appear if you have two things happen:

    a) The pursuer is using a “nice” approach and not being direct about their romantic intentions. This is probably so they can avoid a direct answer, namely, rejection. It’s too bad, because eventually (if being direct) they would get the good answer! But the fear of rejection is more powerful.

    b) The pursued is also using a “nice” approach and even if they say “I’m not interested in your romantically”, they mess it up by softening, and thus confusing the language.

    “Gee, I am just not interested in you romantically right now, maybe we can just be friends?

    Does the pursed truly believe the pursuer can or will want to switch to plan B and have a friendship? Or is the pursuer just trying to avoid saying the following?f

    “Thanks for the dinner invite, but I am just not interested in you romantically and would not want to give you the wrong impression.”

    Ironically, the pursuers can have contempt for the pursued (such as bitter men who are ranting about the friend-zone) and now the pursued who are accused of being cruel (such as the female backlash against the friend zone) have contempt as well.

    The irony here is that for a friendzone situation to develop, you need BOTH parties – the pursuer and the pursued to use “softening” and “nice” techniques to make their intentions known.

    “Let’s hang out!” (no verbal or physical cues that interest is romantic)
    “Ok bud! sounds cool!” (no direct language that the romantic interest is not welcome)

    Women thing saying “Okay Bud!” is a definitive no, where a hopeful might choose to focus on the “sounds cool” part and chalk the “bud” part up to her particular vernacular. Some people are definitely better at taking hints than others, so why use a hint?

    Whether the friend zone situation is at hand or a person is beginning to make physical contact with a person, I totally agree with NO MEANS NO.

    But if you mean know, people, have some guts and say f*cking “NO!”.

    “No! Stop touching me that way now!”, not “Gee, I thought we were friends.”
    “No, I don’t want to date you in a romantic way”, not “Gee, let’s be friends”.

    You expect the pursuer to be direct, while you be indirect yourself… don’t be surprised if this ends up causing awkward psuedo-friendships or bad experiences on one or both sides.

    And yes, some guys are extremely creepy. Being “nice” and expecting someone to feel something for you or worse yet, DO something with you, or worse yet, DO something SEXUAL with you is juvenile and kind of scary really. It’s really manipulative, and it’s actually not very nice at all.

    “Want to have dinner with me Friday night?”

    “Yes!” It’s a date, might be a romantic interest (Pick her up at eight)
    “No – not tonight I am busy, but here is my number”. Possible romantic interest.
    “No – not tonight I am busy. Washing my…. cat”. Likely no romantic interest. Don’t ask again.
    “No.” No romantic interest. Don’t ask again.
    “Okay, but just as friends”. No romantic interest. Decline or suggest you go dutch. Do not start being “nice” to this person only to try and win their affection Only be friends if friendship is REALLY what you are willing to settle for.

    Now c’mon, that was a good response. Wanna be my girlfriend? NO? Okay. I’ll go away now. See, that was very very easy. Be direct ladies, real men will appreciate the honesty and immature “friendzone” whiner boys and man-children will have no excuse and can’t use subtle or nice (read:obscure) language against you.

    March 13, 2014 at 8:55 am

    • Paige

      Sid, that was a good response. And I agree, a LOT of times people end up in these situations because one or both parties isn’t being direct.

      Here’s the problem that I (a woman) have personally with this, though: For me, attraction tends to arise from friendship. I am rarely attracted to a guy sexually when I first meet him. Note this doesn’t mean that I can’t look at a guy and think “ooh he’s hot” but this doesn’t usually translate to me doing anything about it. That is, guys I think look hot don’t usually end up to be the ones I really want to be with. I have to spend time with a guy and develop some trust and friendship before I want to sleep with him. Trust and closeness are the hottest things going, to me.

      So if I say “Yes I’ll go out for a friendly dinner” it does NOT mean I’ve already decided I will never have any romantic feelings for the guy. It means I want to get to know him better and perhaps we’ll end up as friends, maybe something more. I usually genuinely have no idea. And most men simply do not understand this, because they’ve decided within 5 seconds whether they’d ever sleep with me or not, and if I don’t show definite interest they just assume I’m never going to.

      By the same token if it doesn’t end up that there’s a romantic attraction there, it’s not the end of the world – either we had very little in common in the first place and go our separate ways, or we become friends. Real friends. I do a lot of what might commonly be called “guy things” so I’ve always had a lot of male friends, since childhood. But in some people’s eyes wanting to be “just friends” makes a woman a bitch apparently. I have been on the other end of that scenario several times too – where I wanted to be more than friends with a guy who didn’t feel the same way. It hurts, sometimes a lot. But if he’s that good a person and important to me I’ve sucked it up and stayed friends with him and eventually I get over my other feelings, because I care about him as a person. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been that interested in him in the first place.

      I don’t think I’m the only woman who does this. And in fact I’ll point blank tell guys I go out with that this is how I am, which does help eliminate some confusion right off the bat of course – but it’s that gray area that comes later that is the problem.

      August 21, 2014 at 11:58 am

    • V

      Sometimes it’s about comunication, but many times it’s not. I’ll explain.

      While there may be some people who could entertain the idea of romantic feelings even if she said “let’s be friends” (Which for me it’s not ambigous, it’s clear, but anyway). Many times the problem is that some people think that “they would change their mind, and if they not change their minds and “keep dating someone beneath them” (translated as “not them”) it’s because they’re “seriusly broken” (translated as they know better than the object of their affections whats good for them and, of course, the only reason they are rejecting them it’s because there’s something wrong with them. So if “only” they can “fix” them…)

      So it really doesn’t matter how clear you are (to the point of “I felt no atraction to you”, literal), it doesn’t matter. Because they think that “if only they kiss you…” or, “with time it won’t matter that you don’t fell atracted to them…”.

      Now, I think I’m better off not being friends with people like that (that people would describe as “who don’t take a hint” even if what they don’t take is a NO). But sadly, many times some of that people have common friends, so you keep seeing them at social meetings and people keep pressuring you to “give them a chance, because he’s such a nice guy and do all that stuff for you (that you don’t want him to do and it’s even anoying), etc”. They intentionally use other people to force that “friend situation” on you. And at the same time, they complain of the friend zone. That’s manipulation.

      By the way, if confronted, they would deny everything, but at the same time, they’ll keep “droping hints” that they want something. Just in case you miss it the first forty times. And yes, they would claim misscomunication and that you weren’t clear enough/he didn’t listen what you told them. But they did, they just didn’t liked the answer.

      And if you’re dating someone who’s not them? They would spread lies about that person, highlighting their flaws and not giving credit to their good things. Since no one’s perfect, it’s easy to see how in their mind, you are always wrong. In fact, some of the perceived faults could not even been listed as faults from your point of view (i.e. how dare he let her go alone to that travel with her friends! That means he doesn’t care! When in fact could mean that he trust her to go with her friends).

      And since usually are the men that traditionally are the active part in romancing (meaning that they get to choose), usually social narrative and pressure to “give a chance” plays in these kind of men favor. Not that it doesn’t happen with women, but usually social expectations of being “demure” make easier to ignore most of the women’s advances. Though accusations of being gay could also being used as a pressure and that would be wrong (for many reasons including homophobia).

      So, no, comunication it’s just part of the problem.

      This article explain clearly that’s about power, not language or comunication.

      http://www.theguardian.com/books/2007/oct/02/gender.familyandrelationships?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

      September 15, 2014 at 7:36 am

  18. Pasc

    Friendzone =
    Heartbroken guy/girl who felt different than the target did. (unrecip. infatuation)
    =>
    unrequited feelings (people need to understand that feelings can’t be magically forced)
    Blame stupid medias view on how ‘attraction\feelings’ work.
    No wonder ppl are so confused.

    It might be awkward, but evolution itself has branded rejection to be painful.
    You can trace it back till stoneage.
    It however make you stronger.

    It can happen to anyone.

    The problem that girls/guys have trouble properly reject.
    A reject must be final.
    A ‘maybe, not now, just friends’ won’t work.
    If one had feelings and they aren’t reciprocated, then it is simply the targets duty to make that unmistakebly clear, no matter the circumstance.
    Few things are as energy draining about wasting energy on a guessing game:
    Does he/she like you ??? or not ?

    February 20, 2014 at 9:22 am

    • Anthea Brainhooke

      Rejection may be painful but a person doesn’t have to treat it like the end of the world.

      February 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      • Pascal

        Of course not, however keep in mind that the whole “friend zone” concept rides on this thought…

        February 20, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      • I think society does that when we fail to teach people that rejection is ok, that there really are more fish in the sea, that not everyone is attractive to the same people, etc.

        February 20, 2014 at 9:42 pm

      • Mike

        I recall hearing on NPR, I think it was Science Friday, that there’s some physiological evidence that some people are prone to take rejection harder than others. I’ve always suspected this, but perhaps I’m wrong.

        March 11, 2014 at 8:33 pm

  19. Simon

    I sometimes think there’s a call to arms on Reddit and 4chan every time some one publishes an article or blog about what bullshit the “Friend Zone” is.

    February 12, 2014 at 8:37 am

    • Ha. Yeah.

      February 12, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      • Simon

        It sort of brings to mind that one scene from 300; “They came from Reddit and 4chan! With fedoras and neckbeards! Whining that women only date jerk and not ‘nice guys’!”

        February 13, 2014 at 7:31 am

        • Ha! :)

          February 13, 2014 at 4:18 pm

        • Mike

          LOL!

          March 11, 2014 at 8:34 pm

  20. Mike

    Hi Rosie. Thank you for your article. Although it may seem we disagree more than we agree, that’s probably not the case. It just wouldn’t be fun to say, “Golly! You’re right about everything!” So here goes.

    I understand that you are sick and tired of whiny men complaining about the friendzone. I agree with you their whines are pointless. However, I’m getting sick and tired of the slew of articles saying the friendzone is b.s. Then the authors go on to say something along the lines of, “Yes, there’s unrequited love, but that’s not the friendzone I’m talking about” in the comments section. You call it unrequited love, I call it the friendzone for convenience’s sake. I also disagree with you that most men who are in the friendzone whine about it, or worse, go on to feel bitter and angry at women. I’m talking about in real life, not the internet. Perhaps I’m wrong, but this just doesn’t comport with my experience. Virtually all men I know personally who express pain about the friendzone do not go around blaming women or thinking there is an evil conspiracy. Women, too (and yes, they find themselves in the friendzone). One guy I knew twenty years ago insisted the woman was a bitch, but he did so for about a month and then wised up. He’s married now. Whereas I have heard men and women cut loose with a few choice expletives about the opposite sex when their feelings aren’t returned, I realize that’s more often than not the pain talking and I leave it at that. Be this perfectly clear; I am in no way denying there aren’t men and women who come away with a hostile attitude at finding themselves in the friendzone. However, I believe (and I’m the first to admit I could be wrong) they’re a minority, albeit a very loud and bitter one.

    Now, there are two aspects of the friendzone I would like to address. The first being that people put themselves in the friendzone. That is often true, but it’s not always true. Rosie, you make a solid point that most women don’t put men in the friendzone with evil intentions (I dislike friendzone as a verb for the very reason that it implies intent). Most men don’t put women there with evil intentions, either. Most don’t put them there at all. However, most people don’t intentionally put themselves in the friendzone. They find themselves there as the result of poor choices. Now, as a teacher, I have come to know that if you ridicule people for their poor choices, then they are unlikely to listen to the advice you give now matter how golden it might be(Rosie, you’re not ridiculing them, but some people in the comment section and the internet seem to be). Yes, they may have made bad choices but show compassion and, if possible, show them an alternative (and whereas that alternative can include “don’t whine about it and don’t badmouth the opposite sex,” perhaps there should be more said).

    The second thing I would like to address is that perhaps the compassionate thing to do, if you are the one rejecting, is to not be their friend. I don’t even understand why you would want to be friends with someone who you know will feel pain in your presence. They’ll get over it, yes, but not for some time and in being their friend you should consider that it may very well prolong the recovery process. Yes, good friendships can blossom in the friendzone, but I’ve found that its unfertile ground and difficult to cultivate. Pain and heartache are the likelier scenario. If a man or woman refuses your friendship because they love you yet you do not love them, then wish them all the best and part company. It’s not necessarily because they were never a good friend, their refusal is to spare their hearts from a lot of grief. If there is someone who loves you but you don’t return their feelings and he or she is the one who offers you friendship, perhaps the most compassionate thing is to refuse. Many men remain friends with a woman who loves them to boost their ego and/or to have sex with. They often make it clear in words that the sex doesn’t mean they love the woman. Rosie, you quite rightly point out that actions speak louder than words. These actions are despicable. I guess the female analog is a woman who cries on the shoulder of a man, cuddles with him when she’s feeling lonely, and wants his admiration when she’s feeling unattractive. These, too, are actions and they’re despicable. Don’t do it. In fact, as I’ve said, perhaps the most compassionate thing of all is not to be their friend. As for the rejectee, if you’re offered friendship, perhaps the wisest course of action is to become a friendly acquaintance. Stop texting, calling, and contacting them and moreover, refuse to answer their attempts at contacting you while being polite and civil when by chance you meet again. Chin up (even if you need a crane to lift it!), sincerely wish your love all the happiness he or she deserves, and walk away.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    • Mew

      While your comment was very well written and thought out, I felt it was really sad that you focused on probably the lesser issues within the article. Like people referring to someone negatively because their feelings weren’t returned. Where as the bigger issue is that men and women need to stop associating time, effort and feelings spent toward some entitlement to what you want.

      And I really didn’t see her post anywhere that men or women can’t refuse friendship because of their feelings. What I did see however is that it’s not impossible for two friends to move to a romantic stage, however guys or girls in the “friendzone” aren’t really friends. And that was more the point. If one person wants something and is feeling used or hurt because they aren’t getting it, then they’re not really focused on being a friend. Which is why the term “friendzone” and the idea that either A) being friends with women is bad because they’re only objects to date, or B) they did this too me, are both completely made up. It’s hard to learn yes, but really the “friendzone” if anything is a mental roadblock that some people create for themselves which are largely made up of sexist expectations of how the world should work. And unfortunately it usually casts women as doing something wrong when they really don’t owe the guy anything.

      Rosie also posted that yes there are women and men who hurt and abuse others feelings. But I think it’s fairly safe to say that’s also a minority, just like the verbally abusive.

      Overall though I think you missed all the feminist commentary and simply read into the article some sort of guide for dating, which it is not.

      January 25, 2014 at 11:46 am

      • Mike

        With respects, Mew, I *do* understand the feminist commentary. I didn’t miss it. I think it’s just boring to reply, “Wow! Awesome! I understand and agree with all of it!”

        I agreed with most of what Rosie said. Everything you just wrote about, Mew, didn’t educate me because I already knew it and understood it, though I don’t agree with all of it. Indeed, Rosie never said men and women can’t reject friendship. That is precisely why I did say it, because I felt it needed to be said.

        Now, these “the friend zone is B.S.” articles are becoming a dime a dozen. What I have never once seen on *any* of them is the suggestion that perhaps the wisest course of action, even the most compassionate course of action for the person who is rejecting, is to not offer friendship at all. Now, I know that’s not what Rosie article is focused on. However, I’m focusing on it because I feel it needs to be said.

        Now, where I think I have a specific disagreement with you is when you say, “If one person wants something and is feeling used or hurt because they aren’t getting it, then they’re not really focused on being a friend.” I agree with you about the “feeling used” part, but strongly disagree that a person, man or woman, who is feeling hurt because they were rejected is not really focused on being a friend. Being hurt is just about inevitable when one is rejected. It doesn’t mean you’re sexist, or a bad person, or a bad friend. However, how you act on that hurt can make you sexist, or a bad person, or a bad friend depending on what that action is. Feeling hurt doesn’t make you a bad friend, but taking it out on the rejecter does. I think you would agree with that, wouldn’t you?

        What I think needs to be considered, and as I’ve said I’ve read dozens of articles like Rosie’s, is that the rejecter and rejectee should try and take the wisest course of action that will lead to the least amount of pain. In many cases, that course is not one that leads to being friends. I agree with much of what Rosie said about the rejectee ditching feelings of entitlement and taking responsibility, but what Rosie didn’t say, nor was it said in the dozens of articles about the friend zone that I’ve read, was perhaps the rejecter should consider saying, “I don’t think being friends is a good idea if you’re hurting. I don’t want to stretch your pain out any longer than it has to be. Take care.”

        March 11, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    • Paige

      Mike, I would say that everybody handles rejection differently and it’s impossible to have a one-size-fits-all prescription for how to act. I’ve certainly had my heart broken from unrequited love, but only in one case did I really want to stop all contact for the reasons you mention (that it would just hurt me too much to be around him). In the other cases I’d have been far more heartbroken had we NOT stayed friends. There’s nothing wrong with either approach, it just depends on the people involved. Sometimes you have to cease contact for a time while you “reset.” No one should feel bad about however they choose to handle it. People who’ve been rejected should do whatever they need to do to take care of *themselves* and ideally the person doing the rejecting should honor that, as long as the rejected person isn’t being a jerk about it.

      August 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm

  21. Michael C

    I agree that the friend zone is baloney, but it has nothing to do with sexism.

    Its just something that guys like to say to shield themselves from the pain of rejection. When a girl rejects you, its easier to say “I got friendzoned” then, “she just doesn’t want anything to do with me” or “she doesn’t find me attractive in the least.”

    I’m a guy who has been rejected plenty of times, and I don’t blame it on “being in the friend zone.” There is no need to cushion it.

    By the same token I have PLENTY of female friends who I could hook up with at any time.

    Being a “friend” with someone doesn’t mean it can’t turn into something passionate or romantic.

    The “friend zone” concept might be baloney, but its not about sexism, its just men looking for an explanation as to why they’ve been rejected and finding a convenient, gentle, and self esteem preserving alternative to the reality.

    December 5, 2013 at 6:38 am

  22. Joe

    Also, Rosie I have some more questions for you.

    1. Do you listen to your male platonic friends the same way they listen to you? If not, I’d say that friendship is very one-sided.

    2. Do you acknowledge your male platonic friend when he comes to you with a problem? Do you sympathize the way he does with you? Or do you tell him to “man up”? Also, very one-sided. The reason I mention this is because men are not generally recognized as being allowed to have feelings, or at least not show them, because it’s considered “unmanly”.

    3. If your platonic male friend buys you a present, do you consider getting him a present as well? Doesn’t have to be flashy, even something as simple as an 10$ ITunes Gift Card would help help show that your friendship isn’t a one sided thing.

    4. Have you ever taken time out of YOUR schedule to hang out with a platonic male friend? You expect that out of us.

    November 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    • 1. Yes.

      2. I have never told anyone to “man up” in my life and I encourage all men to express their feelings.

      3. As I said, my friendships are reciprocal. I buy gifts for platonic male friends as often as I receive them.

      4. Yes.

      November 28, 2013 at 5:16 pm

  23. Joe

    You’re absolutely right Rosie, women don’t owe men relationships.

    However, by that same logic men don’t owe women friendship either. Let’s be honest here, your male friends treat you a heck of a lot better than your female friends. This is the main reason women prefer to have platonic male friends. It is because we validate you, compliment and put up with your bull. Your women friends would never treat you as well as a man. But, we don’t owe you friendship. So I will acknowledge the friend zone is bull as soon as you admit that men don’t owe you anything.

    November 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    • I don’t require your acknowledgement, Joe, and my women friends treat me very well, thanks. All my friendships are reciprocal. And no, men don’t owe me anything.

      November 28, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    • Anthea Brainhooke

      If you really believe that women are all catty to each other and do nothing but tear each other down and backstab, you need to stop watching tv and movies and go out into the real world.

      November 28, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      • Paige

        Seriously. This is ridiculous.

        Also, I treat my platonic male friends AT LEAST as well as they treat me. It sounds like this guy meets a lot of women who are just entitled and spoiled.

        September 6, 2014 at 10:34 am

  24. Dan Murphey

    Nobody ‘whines’ about being friend zoned. People get upset when someone they like doesn’t like them back. Then they tend to get over it after a while. I’ve never met this entitled moron that this article describes. I have never met any man (who doesn’t consist entirely of straw) who thinks that a girl they like owes them a relationship for whatever reason.

    The “f*** her/him” reaction after a rejection is really quite an important one when it comes to maintaining self-esteem at your egos lowest point. The perceived meaning of a rejection is often “you’re not good enough,” and a person’s negative reaction to this shouldn’t really colour your view of them. If transferring the problem onto the person that isn’t all bummed out stops you from jumping in front of a bus then its probably fine to indulge in it for a bit, so long as you don’t start posting them any drawings or clippings or anything.

    Also, why has “patriarchy” been dropped into this with no explanation as to how it relates to the FZ concept? Just dropped in like ‘obvs it can be taken as read that this is part of patriarchy’. In what demonstrable way is the notion guys and girls can’t be mates a result of male authority?

    November 20, 2013 at 6:37 pm

  25. Sam

    I have been “Friendzoned” and I’ve “frienzoned” people. In that the attraction was not mutual. The first time I felt ‘friendzoned’ when I told someone I liked them and they didn’t reciprocate, I was angry I wasn’t allowed to move it to a more romantic level, I thought about how much I’d done for them–but then I realized. I’m there friend,and a friend is a great position of honor, and if I couldn’t accept their decision, then I was a really shitty friend and would be a really shitty partner, so I needed to get over it and evaluate my emotions without putting my anger on the other person. As my mother told me ‘No one owes you anything’.

    November 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm

  26. Jordan

    Hah, I’m sorry but this just reeks of being written by a woman who’s never had the experience of being completely used and romantically-misled by a man who never wanted to have sex with them in the first place. Oh wait, that’s cause that rarely ever happens. Trust me, the inverse happens a lot more than this article makes it out. It’s not just the faults of men with low-self-esteem. Until you’ve been flirted with, used, oh let’s go get some dinner together tonight! oh when we get to your place let’s go drink your alcohol and smoke your smokables, eat your food, being flirty all the way along, etc, etc, then a week later go and fuck your friend who they just met and knew for a day, you don’t understand what it’s about. The worst are the overly-flirty hippy types who just lead you on and claim they are just nice people in the end and thought you were just being a “good friend” the whole time. Usually they want to keep being friends even after they turn you down, because they just somehow expected it to be normal for someone to go that far out of the way for them JUST TO BE FRIENDS and they actually expect you to keep being like that to them. Yeah, it’s FUCKED up when it happens to you. Cause you know, good friends do all this romantic crap and just expect nothing of it all the time. This is written as if all men who’ve been treated this way were somehow feeling entitled to sex? Bullshit. Women use men. Don’t tell me these women were so blind to not know what they were doing. It happens. Feminism doesn’t make that not exist. This article seems to justify it as just some rare extreme cases of men with low-self-esteem, and heartless women or what not, but the women who’ve done this to me the most are always the most self-righteous hippy dippy types, cause apparently to them it’s all free love and what not, just never with me. Haha. I’m happily married now, and I’m glad to say my wife was never like that with me – there was always an obvious attraction and we both made it known. However, there are people who make all the motions but don’t actually back it up with the words and actions, and that’s what the friendzone is truly about. Maybe it’s from past abuse, maybe it’s just cause they’re mean people, who the hell knows. All I know is that this shit happens and you can’t justify it away as a feminist issue, cause it’s not.

    November 20, 2013 at 11:07 am

    • V

      One simple question. Did this “hippy women” do the same things for you? Make you dinner, offer their alcohol for you to drink, reciprocicate? Because maybe the things you read as “flirty” are just friendly for them. Not only that, if you have a problem being “just friends” and doing that kind of thing for them, just told them. Or stop being friends with them.

      Funny how reciprocicating could be seeing as “flirty”. And to be honest, you sound resentful. Sure, some people take advantage of others, but it seems that what bothers you it’s that you expected to get something different in return for your attention.

      So no, we don’t expect that anyone pay for dinner, give us alcohol or whatever. But we also don’t belive we owe sex if someone does that things. What you should look for it’s that they reciprocicate and offer the same kind of things (limited to the resources they have. Not all people have money). That work for friends of both genders*.

      *Not sure if I should use another word to be more inclusive. English is not my language.

      September 15, 2014 at 9:14 am

  27. Your article makes perfect sense when you assume that the minds of men and women work in exactly the same way. The truth is: they don’t.
    For instance, you will NEVER hear a man say something like this – “she’s really attractive, has a good education, adventurous, and witty. But she’s just TOO nice.” Sorry, but that’s something a WOMAN would say about a GUY!

    Guys think more logically and are less influenced by their emotions than women are. Guys also won’t go for a girl just because all the other guys think she’s hot; like what women will do with guys. For example, Mick Jagger gets a lot p***y not just because he’s a rock star, but because a lot of women “have collectively decided” that he’s sexy. And that in turn influences other women to want him too. It doesn’t work that way with guys though.

    If there were a female artist who was butt ugly, but famous; I don’t care how many guys were throwing themselves at her. That would not make me curious about her in the least. But that’s not the case with women. Women tend to be more influenced by the opinions of other women, and women are less sure of exactly what they want for themselves. How often would you hear a guy use this phrase : “I’m just so confused right now.” But you hear that sh*t from women all the time. (I’m talking almost exclusively about women younger than 27 years of age. Older women who are more seasoned, and have gone through life’s bumps and bruises, tend to start thinking more logically- like men do.)

    Once women have decided that a man is attractive, that makes other women become interested in that SAME man. This is why you will find one guy sleeping with multiple women, while other guys remain single and lonely. Women decide collectively that a particular guy is attractive, and then completely ignore his obvious flaws as a human being. They ignore the fact that the guy sleeps around, until they get to the point where the guy cheats on THEM. Then they proceed to make general statements like “all men are dogs”. When the real problem is all the men that THEY choose are dogs! Women are completely oblivious to the guys who are decent, OR they have them in the “The Friend Zone”! This isn’t just an imagined phenomena, it is VERY real! Girls will make excuses for dating the jerk and give him the benefit of the doubt, despite the mountain of evidence stacked against him. But they will make up excuses to NOT date the nice guy. That has nothing to do with chemicals. What are the odds that all the hot girls just “happen to be” chemically attracted to all the jerks? This is why movies are constantly made about these types of issues, because movies are made to mimic real world phenomena.

    My new motto is this: “If you’re not going to give me what i want, then leave me the f*ck alone!” I don’t play games with women and i don’t go overboard for them either. I’m straight up with them. You either like what you see or you don’t. Take it or leave it.

    There was an old 1980s song performed by the late Gregory Isaacs with lyrics that went something like this:

    “Days of wine and roses, are no longer around, strictly ragamuffin, just a rule up the town” That song is more relevant in today’s society than it ever was!

    November 18, 2013 at 1:37 am

    • For someone who decries generalizations, you certainly make a lot of them here.

      November 18, 2013 at 8:15 am

    • Lady Yui

      Wow…whatever would we have done if we didn’t have you here to mansplain everything to us. /facepalm

      November 19, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    • Dana D

      Actually, a guy WOULD say that. Only, he might use different words that perhaps more accurately describe the very same phenomenon at play. He would say, “She’s too available.”

      You have a lot of misconceptions, but a lot of them can be solved with your own insights! You say of women, “They proceed to make general statements like ‘all men are dogs’. When the real problem is all the men that THEY choose are dogs!”
      Here, you’re generalizing women the way you think all women generalize men. Broaden those insights, dude, and you’re golden.

      For example, this conversation about ‘friend zone’ is a discussion about female vs male dynamics but doesn’t have to be females against males (although sometimes the tone of feminist articles can lean that way; mistake of the author, not how all women feel and not necessarily reflective of the issue they’re discussing).

      As a P.S. I’d recommend not using rom-coms as a basis of how human beings actually think about relationships or life in general. They’re almost exclusively based on sexist social scripts that are problematic for both men and women.

      November 20, 2013 at 12:21 am

    • If you believe that men think more logically than women, hear this from a really logical man: The premise of your post is that men and women’s mind do not always function in the same way, and this is true. You then use this basis as proof of difference in (what we will pretend passes for) further analysis.

      However, it is also true that two health men’s minds do not always function in the same way. Therefore to base your assertions on a claim of defined difference is incredibly irrational. This is an ‘unwarranted assumption’ logical fallacy, mixed with the ‘reductio absurdum’ fallacy.

      I can only conclude that you are unable to identify your own irrationality because of some unresolved emotional issues. Keep trying man, but your ‘reasoning’ needs some serious work.

      November 20, 2013 at 2:42 am

  28. bulbastre

    Ok. After a bazillion years I think I get to understand the FriendZone thingy, thanks enourmously to this post and the comments. However, there’s some aspect I never seem to understand:

    “””Ray: She’s really nice, and I love hanging out with her. We’ve got a ton in common. But I’m just not attracted to her, you know? I like her as a friend.

    Chris: But you’d still do her, right?

    Ray: If I was a total asshole, yeah, sure, but I’m not, so…”””

    Why would Ray be an asshole here?
    Many thanks,

    November 6, 2013 at 5:18 am

    • That’s assuming that the girl is interested in Ray in a romantic way–she wants him to not just have sex with her but also to be her boyfriend. If Ray had casual sex with her, without making it clear that he was just having sex and not interested in a relationship, knowing that she DID want a relationship, that would be a jerk move. However, if he made it clear that he just wanted a night or two of casual sex, and she was okay with that, then it would be fine.

      Clear?

      November 19, 2013 at 5:04 pm

  29. Hi, kudos on the post:
    It’s the most mind calming thing about the FriendZone I’ve ever read. The FriendZone is one of these things I’ve never come to terms with, and this post helped me a lot.
    What slips through my understanding is this:

    “””Chris: So, how’s it going with Sheila? Any progress?

    Ray: She’s really nice, and I love hanging out with her. We’ve got a ton in common. But I’m just not attracted to her, you know? I like her as a friend.

    Chris: But you’d still do her, right?

    Ray: If I was a total asshole, yeah, sure, but I’m not, so…”””

    Why Ray would be an asshole if he slept with her? I simply don’t get it.

    November 6, 2013 at 4:03 am

    • I’m glad you got something out of the post! :)

      In my opinion Ray would be an asshole if he had sex with Sheila knowing she wants to be more than friends even though he doesn’t (and isn’t even attracted to her) because having sex with someone who is falling for you when you’re not falling for them is a great way to break someone’s heart, for starters. It’s how you get closer to someone–not how you keep them at a distance, and when one person has all the power in a relationship (as Ray does in this one) the other person with less power is often stuck in a situation of interpreting mixed signals. Add sex to the mix, and you create a situation where the powerful person has just told the less-powerful person in physical actions that he wants to be closer while in words perhaps he’s saying things like “I can’t be in a relationship right now,” or “I can’t be what you want me to be.” They say actions speak louder than words, and in a case like this, I think that’s especially true. Chris’s phrasing–and timing–of the question provides the context: Ray doesn’t want to be with this woman, but he’d still “do her” right? He’d still go ahead and use her for sex because she’s female and maybe willing, even though he doesn’t feel any attraction for her or want to be her lover. In a word? Ew. She might as well be a blowup doll in that scenario because she’s not a person with feelings and needs.

      I hope that helps. :)

      November 6, 2013 at 8:34 am

  30. Sam

    I do generally agree with this article, especially it’s position on the friend-zone existing but not being what it says it it, but not quite on all the guys moaning about it being giant dicks or whatever.

    About two years ago, I started talking to a girl who attended my old school (I was 15 and she was 16 at the time) once more. She was loud, rude, incredibly tomboyish, silly, kinda stupid, and weird. And I’ve never loved somebody more in my (admittedly short) life, even to this day. She had a series of emotionally abusive boyfriends – they’d insult her, shout, scream, argue, and the most recent tried to cheat (which she still vehemently denies). I spent months staying up all night, balancing school and her, helping her to deal with her feelings and tears and self-harm and eating disorders. Maybe it was just inevitable that I fell for her, but after she and her boyfriend had ignored eachother for a week, I thought it’d be a great time to tell her how I felt.

    I’d planned to do it when we met up, after school and college, but she was incredibly upset – crying about him again. I decided to put it off till the next day, so she had a chance to calm down and it wouldn’t just add to the fire. I told her I loved her about 20 seconds before she told me her boyfriend proposed and she accepted.

    I tried to make the ‘just friends’ thing work, I really did. I still stayed up all night texting her, how she was so happy about her ring and how it was beautiful and perfect in every way. In the end though, I couldn’t do it. We’d decided to meet up for the first time after my confession (which hadn’t been mentioned since), and it went great. Until I noticed her ring, that is. I couldn’t stop staring at it, and when she left, I just broke on that street as her bus turned the corner.

    We don’t really talk much now – how can we? Everyone says that I should treasure that friendship, that it’s great and just as good as a relationship, but it’s like being trapped in a cage with the most perfect thing on this planet being just out of arm’s reach, in the arms of another guy who screams abuse at her every few days. She’s not evil for ‘friend zoning’ me, I just wasn’t really her type, I guess. That doesn’t make it any less painful though for the guy or girl experiencing it. If anything, it’s worse – I can’t just blame someone else for not being good enough, it falls to me. And that hits a lot harder than “oh she’s a bitch.”

    October 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    • I’m not saying that guys who get hurt because the person they love just wants to be friends and complain about the state of things are dicks. I’m specifically talking about guys whose definition of the “friend zone” makes villains of women who don’t return their affections. What you’re saying is that you couldn’t deal with just being friends–there’s nothing wrong with that. And I get that it’s painful. I’ve been there. But you also get that she’s not “evil” because she didn’t return your feelings. I appreciate your sharing your story here.

      October 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    • Mike

      Some people might think, “Well, he doesn’t think women are evil so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!” You are quite right to think that a woman who rejects you isn’t evil. However, the mission isn’t fully accomplished, young man. You’re young I take it, so take it from one who has lived more years. Be up front with your romantic feelings from the start, not because there is a magic window of opportunity, but you will spare the both of you a lot of heartache and wasted energy. If it causes you pain to be around someone who doesn’t return your feelings, then I suggest you put your chin up (which can be as difficult as summiting Everest in those circumstances), wish her all the happiness she deserves, and do an about face and walk away. There’s plenty of fish in the sea, but there’s also plenty of friends in the sea too that she can seek support from, many of whom won’t feel a stab of pain listening to her. If she texts you, calls you, or tries to contact you, be polite and be civil, but tell her that this continued friendship is painful so you’ve decided to move on…AND DO SO. She is now a friendly acquaintance and you are out of the friendzone which Rosie says doesn’t exist but then says well it kind of does exist but that’s not the friendzone she’s talking about in her article.

      Now, perhaps you can examine yourself and see what you can work on to be more attractive to the next lady who comes into your life. Can you improve your physical appearance? Don’t gimme the looks don’t matter crap. In heaven perhaps we love people based solely on character, but we don’t live in heaven. It’s not shallow, either. It’s human. Besides, things that improve your appearance have the added side benefit of making you healthier. Focus like a laser on obtaining a kick ass career. It shows people you can accomplish great things, and rumor has it women dig that. This has the added benefit that you’ll have money and a good life. By the way, it’s something of a mystery to me why women who appreciate a man for his wealth are considered shallow. I might be wrong, but I don’t see it that way. Next, BE INTERESTING! That has the added benefit of, well, being interesting. Oh, I almost forgot to mention. STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM P.U.A.s (pick up artists). They seem to be the merriest bands of idiots and douchebags I’ve encountered.

      Will you be rejected? I promise you will. But you’ll always miss the shots you never take. Fire away, young man! And keep doing so until you hit. If she offers you friendship, perhaps the wisest course of action is to politely decline. You say your friends told you that you should cherish the friendship you had with this previous woman? That it’s just as good as a relationship? I’m skeptical, and furthermore I think you don’t believe it either. Do some great friendships blossom from the friendzone which Rosie denies the existence of but then says it exists but that’s not what she’s talking about in the article? Absolutely. Sometimes even romance does blossom. However, it’s been my experience that such cases are rare. Perhaps it’s wise just to look at the odds and politely refuse the friendship so that you don’t miss the next pair of eyelashes batting right at you.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    • V

      “I can’t just blame someone else for not being good enough, it falls to me. And that hits a lot harder than “oh she’s a bitch.””

      I want to comment on this. You are good enough, but it’s not about being good enough it’s about mutual atraction or if it’s more clear, about “fitting”. One piece of lego it’s not better than other, but only fit with other specific pieces.

      All the things that you could do to improve yourself would increase your chances to met someone you can fall with and who fells the same. But you still need some luck to met that person.

      So don’t blame yourself, neither her. If you need time or stop being friends, do it. Try to do new things and met more people. That would work in the long term. (or short if you are really lucky ;)).

      September 15, 2014 at 9:33 am

  31. How many guys in the Friend Zone does it take to change a lightbulb? The world may never know because they just compliment it and whine when it doesn’t screw.

    Yeah the Friend Zone is total BS! The only thing I can think of that is almost a female equivalent is when a girl thinks that another girl is a slut because the guy she likes is into her but that’s slut-shaming. From my own experiences and those of my friends girls are more likely to think that someone doesn’t like them because they’re not good enough.

    I once explained to a “girls only like douche bags” whiner baby that girls are socialized to think that boys who are mean to them “just like them” and boys are socialized to think that girls should reward them for being nice. Both of these are completely problematic and re direct results of patriarchy.

    October 15, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    • Ha! Great point about girls being taught that boys who are mean “just like them.” And the flipside of the coin, too. Soraya Chemaly wrote about her daughter getting harassed by a boy in her class and the parents, when she finally had to talk to them about it, begging her to make her daughter write a letter to the boy (replying to the several he’d sent her) because it would be “nice.” These kids were eight years old, and the boy was being taught that he had a right to pursue this little girl regardless of her wishes, and that he was entitled to a “nice” response. ARGH.

      October 16, 2013 at 10:58 am

      • A little over a year ago I asked a guy if he wanted to go on a date with me, he declined, I was a little disappointed, and my mother told me to “stop taking it so hard and get over it.” A couple months later I went on two dates with a guy who I didn’t know very well, he made some deal-breakingly condescending comments on the second, I told my mother that I did not wish to continue seeing him, she insisted that I needed to give him more of a chance, I made up excuses to avoid spending time alone with him but tried to generally remain civil until eventually he didn’t get the hint and I told him off, my mother told me that I should have been nicer about it.

        October 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm

        • Ugh. You had no obligation to be “nice.” He pushed his luck until it collapsed. Go you.

          October 17, 2013 at 8:03 am

        • So you ignored and didn’t tell him what was going on, basically gave him the cold shoulder or am I missing something? Of course he will bug you if you ignore him, because it’s a poor thing to do because there’s no closure to it. Letting them know thanks, but no thanks is far better. You don’t even have to say it nicely, just let them know it’s over and not to bother trying to contact you but it is good to at least let them know why it failed so they can adjust their behaviour in future.

          October 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm

  32. Seriously dear, This is an amazing article, good in humor, direct & brutally to the point, it made me 1 feel better about things and 2 changed me a bit :). I too was getting worried about “Friend zone” because i have met MANY women who go for a guy who clearly will not treat them right. I clearly have the wrong chemicals i guess…. for THESE girls but maybe i will have the right chemistry with some lady out there. Thanks for the article and you are AWESOME.

    October 6, 2013 at 8:00 am

    • I’m so glad you found your way here! Thanks so much for the kind words and I’m glad you got something positive out of my rant. :)

      October 16, 2013 at 4:18 pm

  33. Thomas

    I think the the whole “Friend Zone” concept happens when the girl isn’t sexually attracted to the guy. She just sees him like any of her other girl friends. If she is attracted to him there would be a difference in attitude from her part to him. If she is in a relationship she would try to avoid the attractive guy. But on the part of the non attractive guy she would still be friends with him as she isn’t attracted and the guy would just assume she likes him.

    In conclusion, to make things more precise, nice guys are just ugly guys acting nice at the moment thinking that niceness would entitle them to get a girl. Bad boys are just attractive men who are a bit too aggressive and since the women like them so much they don’t wanna leave that relationship any time soon because women naturally have more self-esteem problems than men.

    August 30, 2013 at 6:14 am

    • Don’t confuse entitlement with frustration though. I’d say most “nice guys” are frustrated at being single continually, having no luck. An issue is that “nice” is a term used by many women, and especially dating/romance movies as a term that pretty much means VERY SEXY to her but when the guy who is nice realizes that it isn’t helping his chances, he’ll get frustrated thinking the people were lying to him about what is attractive.

      August 30, 2013 at 6:03 pm

  34. I think there are 2 forms of friendzone discussed often, one exists. First form is as you say, and is based off this idea of a universal desire amongst men or women, and is the myth.

    The second is the friendship in which the other person DELIBERATELY flirts, is affectionate and the line between friendship and dating/or the early stage of getting to the point of dating n courtship. For example when she is very touchy touchy to you, tells you intimate details about herself that others do not get to know, strings the guy along for attention but when he RIGHTLY thinks she wants him and asks her out she drops the just friends line. This guy has every right to be pissed because he’s been strung along, happens to girls too (though from what I understand it’s probably more common for girls to experience the sex with a relationship hinted at, strung along but never getting to date).

    Myself and other guys I’ve known have experienced that part of being strung alone, it’s annoying, these women will treat you differently to how the average female treats her friends, especially other male friends. When intimacy and affection are reached but the relationship does not progress into being the “bf/gf” or it being a relationship without sex and kissing whilst one is led to believe that is where it’s heading then I call that friendzone. People who do that should be kicked out of your life, they usually do have issues and crave attention, they tend to make shitty friends as they’re often selfish, expect you to be there for them but they aren’t there for you and they use sexuality and hint at the possibility of dating to keep your attention.

    Some women probably do this without really meaning to, usually young people still learning how to interact will have these issues to deal with but there are some women who do it willingly, they SHOULD be quite rare although some folk are quite unlucky and get a few in a row who do it. It’s a very quick way to grow a misogynist in people whom are young and bittered by the experience. Luckily I grew past it and had some kick ass friendships with females to undo the damage from my earlier female friendships, one which was friendzone in that stopfuckingwithmyfeelings type way, not the iwishyoufellforme way. The Iwishyoufellforme way is just good ol frustration, annoying, happens to both genders often, usually affects love-shy people more deeply (since they often don’t have the courage to ask someone out directly). That’s my take on the situation.

    August 28, 2013 at 5:28 pm

  35. John

    Don’t ever listen to dating advice from a woman. They don’t even know what they want, so how in the hell could they tell you what they want?

    The Friend Zone is really and thriving, and women will never admit it.

    August 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    • Lady Yui

      Dear asshole,

      If a woman tells you that she doesn’t know what she wants, what she actually means is that she knows she doesn’t want YOU. But we can’t just flat out say that….no, society has taught us to be “nice” and “polite” about it…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because men in general are bigger than us, stronger than us, and more violent than us (especially when they aren’t getting their way)….so we have learned to deflect you from getting pissed off because we don’t want you and play it off as there being something wrong with US instead of there being something wrong with YOU.

      And based on your comment above, it is very much a case of there being something wrong with YOU.

      November 19, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      • So you respond by calling some anonymous person on the Internet an asshole, yet HE is the problem?!

        November 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm

        • Anthea Brainhooke

          Aw, did your widdle fee-fees get hurt?

          Here’s 50c, go call somebody who cares.

          November 19, 2013 at 8:59 pm

          • Why is snark so popular online? All it does is drive good people away and make them not want to listen to any decent points you may have.

            November 19, 2013 at 9:59 pm

            • Anthea Brainhooke

              Yeah, why do you wimmens have to be so snarky? Why can’t you just be NICE while a man tells you how things really are?

              November 19, 2013 at 11:33 pm

              • It’s not about wimminz being snarky, it’s about PEOPLE being snarky. I wanna know why it’s so common and popular? Do people just enjoy being assholes to each other a lot online?

                November 20, 2013 at 9:37 am

      • Mike

        Dear Lady Yui,
        I am a male and I’m assuming you’re a female, therefore I am probably bigger than you and stronger than you. However, I’m not more violent than you.

        December 9, 2013 at 3:05 pm

  36. thatguy

    Look guys and girls, this all boils down to expectations. Call it what you want, but when one party expects friendship and the other expect love, a “friendzone” forms. So, either the first has to love, or the other has to befriend.

    My preference?

    In dating, and in life, stop expecting things. Like the author said, you’re not entitled to anything. But you know what…you’re worthy of everything. So chill the F out, clear your head of these rom-com narratives, and let things happen! Never dismiss an opportunity to get what you’re worth. Every relationship between human beings has infinite potential, but only if everyone involved sees it. Guess what? Sometimes a friend will introduce you to a future love. And vice versa. There’s never a reason to dismiss another person.

    At the end of the day, if you follow the way without expectations, no “zone” in the world will stop you from what’s meant to be.

    July 29, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    • In dating, and in life, stop expecting things. Like the author said, you’re not entitled to anything.”

      If one has no expectations, one can never be disappointed.

      July 29, 2013 at 1:05 pm

  37. Dave

    Have to agree here.

    I don’t really believe in all this ‘treat ‘em mean to keep ‘em keen’ nonsense. I wouldn’t want to end up with someone so shallow. And this ‘friend zone’ stuff; actually serves only to marginalise the intelligence of the male and the female.

    I personally prefer relationships which are slow burning, in which we can take our time and get to know one another – rather than just a quick road into bed. Sex is good, but so much better when it is saved and savoured.

    The consistent ‘alpha male’ dating advice which is doled out on the internet sites is a mechanism to prey on the insecurities of countless young men.

    July 26, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    • bulbastre

      Which begs the question: does slow burning work as much as the other option? Is it riskful in the way you can get ‘friendzoned’ more often?

      November 6, 2013 at 4:21 am

      • Dana D

        People don’t get “friendzoned…” the way you’ve phrased it here as a verb makes it seem like there is one agent (girl) enforcing it on another person (guy.) In truth, what you’re talking about is unrequited romantic interest.
        Obviously it’s understandable to not want to continuously be in a position of emotionally investing yourself in someone that does not return your affections in the same way. There is one and only one solution to prevent this: Tell the person your feelings early on. Make it clear that you’re interested–that doesn’t mean just being nice to her or being intimate with her. Friends are nice and intimate. You need to actually TELL her you’re interested. If she says she’s not interested that way, you can then decide whether or not you want to continue your relationship with her in a platonic fashion, or spend your time pursuing someone else.
        She will likely be just as hurt that you want to cut off your friendship as you are by the fact that she doesn’t want to be with you romantically. But that’s life. It’s heartbreaking and messy and people get hurt, and no one owes anyone anything, except maybe kindness and honesty.

        November 20, 2013 at 12:49 am

        • ArchDuke

          Dana. This. So much this. Thank you. Why is this so difficult to grasp?

          Look. The Friend Zone isn’t real. It only exists in a person’s mind–much like the relationship they want with someone but never get to have with them, likely because they never bring it up.

          If you want to be romantic, sexual, or both with a certain individual, you have to let them know. Tell them how you feel. Don’t “fall into the trap” of becoming friends with someone you’re attracted to and then let those feelings of attraction fester while this person “uses” you as a friend, because they’re not actually using you, they’re just being a friend because that’s all they think of you as–you’re the one masking your true intentions. You’re the one whose harboring unspoken feelings about where you’d like this friendship to go. So take off the mask and be honest.

          If you aren’t honest, and this other person doesn’t know how you feel, but you’re still holding on to the hope that there might be something more…well, then there’s the fact that you’re not even being a real friend in the first place, are you? You’re being a sleeper agent for love. You’re positioning yourself to get close to this person, investing yourself in them while they invest in you, in the hopes of turning them over to your side. That’s not something friend’s do. That’s something spies do. Don’t be a spy.

          That’s why dating exists. Dating exists not just for you to find people to love, but also to weed out people you shouldn’t love. You meet someone for the first time. You have a physical, chemical attraction to them, and you speak to them for maybe 10 minutes and you realize you have a lot in common with this person or that they’re just terribly fascinating and this makes you want to get to know them more. So sometime during this meeting you ask for their number, and you say something along the lines of, “Would you mind if I called you so we could go out sometime?”

          This is a test. This is THE test. If they say sure, odds are there is definitely more than a little physical attraction between you two. If they say no, then they’re probably not that attracted to you, and that’s also a clear sign for you to move on. At least for those romantic and sexual feelings.

          Now if you think you can shoulder the fact that this other person isn’t attracted to you sexually or romantically, and you can still be around them and enjoy their presence on a purely platonic level, then kudos for being emotionally mature and open-minded to new experiences. But that can sometimes be really difficult and if it makes you uneasy to see this other person being happy and you’re not the cause of it, that’s fine, too. Just be honest with yourself, and say, “Hey, I don’t want to have to deal with these confusing and conflicting feelings of being a good friend to someone while also being attracted to someone who doesn’t derive that same feeling from me.” It’s a little selfish, but it’s more about self-preservation than anything.

          You shouldn’t ever put yourself in a position where someone else’s happiness is painful for you to watch. It’s not healthy for you, and you’re doing both yourself and this other person a disservice by being there. Get out. Stop seeing this person. Avoid them at all costs for awhile. Get yourself to a better place, and then maybe, MAYBE, if you end up in a better place and you have your emotional needs being taken care of, and it really doesn’t bother you who this other person is with, then you can come back and actually be friends with this person.

          I feel like, at the crux of it all, there is this emotional immaturity that many of us have. Probably most of us have it at some point in our lives. Some people never grow out of it. And it can be really difficult to tame, especially at first. Everyone wants to be wanted. But life being what it is, you’re not going to be able to please everyone, and not everyone is going to please you. It is thus inevitable that you’re going to cross paths with someone that you want, but who does not reciprocate those feelings, and then there will also come a time when someone wants you but you have no desire to be with them.

          The Friend-Zone developed out of unrequited feelings for something more, and yes, a sense of entitlement. You just have to remember that the world owes you nothing. People don’t, either. But the best people meet you half-way–not because they have to, but because they want to. Your friends return the favor and have your back. And the people who love you reciprocate those feelings. You just have to find those people. It’s difficult, but if it were easy, it wouldn’t mean as much as it does.

          November 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm

          • Mike

            Archduke, bravo! Well said! Much of what you said I whole heartedly agree. I would like to clarify where you and I disagree. First of all, what you call the friendzone, I call unwise (or something more crass if I don’t restrain myself). What I call the friendzone, you call unrequited love. I use the term because it’s easier and that’s what my friends call it (and they too mean it the same way I do, what you call unrequited love).

            For some people, letting the other know they’re romantically interested is painfully difficult because they are under a Mt. Everest of shyness. Ridiculing them as so many do (and you’re not ridiculing them, but there are many in this world who do, particularly on the internet) is so utterly counterproductive. You and I want these people to come out from under Mt. Shyness. I also understand that there is scientific evidence that how hard a person takes rejection may be hardwired. They have found that people who reportedly took rejection in life very harshly have certain anatomical differences in their limbic brain when they are scanned. That some people take rejection harder than others might not be so much due to emotional immaturity. This comports with my experience with others. Some people I’ve known, emotionally mature in all other respects, deal with romantic rejection very much more harshly than others. In fact, many people I’ve known who are emotionally immature in many other aspects don’t seem to care much at all when they’re romantically rejected. Now, for the unwise in love, I would prefer showing them alternatives, as you have, without resorting to calling them emotionally immature or self entitled misogynists or man haters or worse…much worse as I have encountered on the internet.

            Permit me to tell you my experience with someone you would call in the friendzone and someone I would call unwise. She was my friend for about a year. One evening at a party she pulled me aside as things wound down and told me how she really felt. I felt so sad for her that I couldn’t feel the same way and that she never had the courage to tell me so. She had felt that way almost from the time we first met. If she asked could we be friends, I would have told her that I didn’t think that’s a good idea. I didn’t have to, however. She explained that she couldn’t go on being my friend, and I told her that’s OK. I never once felt betrayed, or that she wasn’t a good friend, or that her friendship was really just an elaborate ploy to get me into a relationship. She said she just didn’t have the courage and I believed her. Don’t confuse lack of courage with dishonesty. Now, you and I both agree I think that she needs to be up front in the future in spite of her shyness, but I think if I were to tell her, “You’ve not been honest with me. You’re not a real friend. You’ve been wearing a mask this entire time,” I doubt she would have listened. She was, I think, a real friend who just couldn’t get out from under Mt. Shyness. I never felt like I’d been played or used by her. She did the right thing in walking away from me, and if she didn’t I would have done it for her. As far as I could tell, she didn’t feel entitled to me at any time.

            My only two excursions into the friendzone, or unrequited love as you like to call it, were the result of my crushes getting into a relationship with my friends. I had to be friendly with them or I wouldn’t see my friends! It was hell (actually, that might be unfair to hell ;-D ), but it had to be done. In both cases I told the women I liked them within a week or so of meeting them. Both said no thanks. I would have shrugged and walked away (perhaps with a tear on my cheek while my back was turned) but I soon found out I couldn’t if I wanted to continue being friends with my friends. I didn’t feel entitled to sex, before, during, or after the whole incident.

            Oh, men and women most certainly *do* on occasion use someone in their friendzone. Men use them for booty call, and according to my female friends, women use them for someone to support and cuddle them and act as a placeholder for whatever other man their fantasizing about. I have an acquaintance, not really a friend and if he were I would set him straight, who is being used by another female acquaintance of mine for this very purpose. It’s sad to see her sit on his lap and get all cozy with him when others in the party have rejected her. Incidentally, she knows very well he likes her. This I believe is precisely why she goes to his lap and no one else’s when she can’t leave the party with the guy she wants.

            So, to sum it up, I think it won’t get you far in getting people who are unwise in love to understand you if you say they aren’t true friends, they’re spies, their sleeper agents, etc. More than likely they’ll just recoil from what you say. I would prefer just to tell these people that they must stop being shy for their own sake and be up front no matter what (and that’s where you and I agree thoroughly). If that seems too difficult, perhaps some time with a good therapist might be profitable (choose wisely, many therapists are quacks…and this is confirmed from OTHER THERAPISTS). I don’t think the friendzone, in the way either of us mean it, always develops from a sense of entitlement. The people of the world do owe you something, by the way, if you are a kind and decent person. They owe you kindness and decency in return. They don’t owe you romantic love or sex.

            December 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm

        • The thing is, women DO friendzone. Unrequited love is NOT the same thing. If a woman is completely up front with not being attracted to someone, that is NOT the friend zone. The friend zone is when a woman knows someone is interested in her for a relationship, and proceeds to use those feelings as a weapon to manipulate the individual who is romantically interested and string them along to get things they want from them.

          January 9, 2014 at 6:35 am

  38. lalala

    haha great article. sooo true. this is another good one: http://peeplerdum.tumblr.com/post/56375127624/theres-no-such-thing-as-being-friend-zoned-she-was

    July 24, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    • I love this. Thank you.

      July 29, 2013 at 12:41 pm

  39. Just found your blog. This post was AMAZING. I could not agree more. Please don’t friend zone me, because I might be in love with you!

    (That last bit may have been too snarky. Whoops.)

    July 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    • Haha! Not at all! <3

      July 23, 2013 at 7:53 pm

  40. The Duke

    The problem with this is that you mistake our wanting to be in a relationship with our wanting sex. While true most guys have at least had the thought cross their mind, it doesn’t mean we don’t care on a deeper emotional level. While undoubtably there are creeps out there where all they can think about is sex, there are just as many genuine nice guys who are ‘trying’ to be your friend while simultaneously being attracted. And that my fiends is the apperent bs that is the friend zone. Problem is that initial feeling of rejection when we are turned down and how different guys deal with it. On the lower end are the creeps that can’t accept it at all and stalk/harrass the woman, after that are the cretins who get mad and bad mouth the women behind their backs, after that are the guys like me who are only slightly better. Our ego gets damaged but we know deep down we don’t have a right to be mad… And that makes us mad. So we try to pretend we never liked the girl in question and never stick around, we don’t bad mouth them, we just try to forget them. Above that are the guys I’m talking about- … The guys who genuinely like the girl and hang out in the friend zone. They are better men than I because they try. The rejection hurt but they do want to be your friend. The key word here is ‘want’ however, they know they still think of you in a romantic way and until they don’t they will never be your friend. And above them are the guys who accepted the rejection, still like you as a person and have managed to suppress or exterminate all romantic feelings so that the two of you can enjoy a mutual healthy friendship without any one sided feelings or expectations… And as far as I know such men do not exist. Look I’m not saying I understand what it’s like to be a woman, but you don’t understand what it’s like to be a man. Just as us men will never know the pain of giving birth, you too will never know the pain of pushing a kidney stone out of your penis.(FYI it is not designed to stretch and the stone is often spiky and much bigger than the hole). Seeings how I’m a guy and cannot say this without bias I’m going to put the metaphorical foot in my mouth and say… Give type 4 a chance, as long as your certain he isn’t the creepy stalker guy or the misogynist woman hater a date couldn’t hurt. And I mean a date. If it doesn’t work out don’t try to spare his feelings with lines like “value our friendship” or “better as friends” as we will only resent the friend zone even more. As I said most of us know we can’t we can’t be your friend and you aren’t doing us any favors. I know it’s not nice but the truth seldom is. A real friend(you) wouldn’t let a guy go on like that.

    July 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

  41. “For one, it assumes that once a man and woman are friends, there is no longer potential for sexual attraction.I know from (repeated) personal experience an attraction can spring up at any time between people for whom it just didn’t exist before. ” I can’t agree more…My fiance and I were close friends before I ever like him and when I started liking him Sex didn’t enter my mind until we reconnect 2 years later.

    I think the whole idea of the friend zone is stupid. IMO Lovers should be friends.

    July 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm

  42. thedate091712

    I just got put in the friend zone, officially for the first time, today. And the ironic part is, this guy has been HANDS DOWN my biggest supporter for the last year, through the end of my divorce, through a couple random crazies I dates — through everything, with no expectations. I always knew he was a catch, but I had closed my heart off to everyone for the last 9 months, when suddenly I had a moment where I realized I really liked him… a lot.

    I have made it a point during this time to also be a good friend to him. Yes, he’s picked me up in the middle of the night from bad situations, but I’ve made him dinner, supported him through his own breakup, helped him build business connections that have borne fruit , etc. I’ve always really cared a lot for him. And then recently, out of the blue, he made a move, and we made out. A few times, actually. And my feelings started to grow stronger and stronger, and he told me he’d wanted to kiss me for some time, and I realized I was unable to hide my feelings any longer.

    So I told him I had feelings, and that I was confused about where we stood in the relationship. And his reply was that he “cares a lot about me, and what we have is wonderful, and he wouldn’t want to hurt our friendship by changing it.” ***

    Heart. Drop.

    Well, I thought it was already changing? You don’t tell a woman you’ve wanted to kiss her and then act on it and proceed to have 3-hour long makeout sessions after 9 years of nothing physical, a truly platonic relationship. (Uh, I might have been really drunk during one session and said “I want to be with you,” which I shouldn’t have said, but a person could interpret that several different ways, and all he did was kiss me more afterwards, so that’s confusing, too.) I thought the relationship was in an awkward purgatory-like state? I mean, FRIENDS DON’T KISS. I talk to this guy all day via text, we have a blast when we’re together. I see him 3-5 times a week, he’s seen me change clothes and I’ve driven him home when he’s completely wasted… there’s no holds barred. I can always be myself with him, we laugh so hard that we cry. People are always asking me if we’re dating, and why we aren’t. I just say that he’s an amazing man, and I’m lucky to have him in my life. This is the healthiest relationship I’ve ever had with a man. And, for the record, he’s a totally normal Joe-type. If you didn’t know him, he’d just be some average guy. But he has the most loving, giving heart and magnetic personality. He’s considerate and very funny, he’s very confident and polite, cultured and smart. He’s just wonderful. Women are addicted to him, there’s something about him that women adore. He dated several of my friends back in college, and one of his best qualities is that when he and a woman stop dating, he treats her with a lot of respect and does it with class. I don’t know a woman who is *not* a fan of his post-breakup. How does he do it?! I DON’T KNOW.

    So I don’t get it. I think what he was saying to me *** is that he doesn’t like me. I don’t know. And I know he isn’t dating anyone, we spend more time with each other than we do with anyone else — he said so himself. He’s not afraid of commitment, he’s been in a few longterm relationships. So I don’t understand. What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t he want more? I’m not good enough for him? Maybe I’m not sexy enough? He doesn’t objectify women, but maybe he just finds me… gross. I don’t ever act like “one of the guys” when it comes to guy friends, I’m always a girly girl. But I’ve never felt this way about a guy friend before, so should I change the way I act and see if he finds that more attractive? I feel pretty shitty about myself right now. I’m a successful, attractive 29 year old woman who gets asked out all the time. Never have I been in this situation. Hell, I’ve never had a guy tell me they don’t like me (in return). WTF?!

    June 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    • The Duke

      A truly interesting case. The best view I could put forward is that he feels very strongly for you and is uncfortable with that. I know you said he had been in a few long term relation ships but that was past tense. Right now I would say you are in a painful relationship purgatory and you have to decide whether or not you like him. If you do give him the ultimatum, “all or nothing” but give him time to answer. If you don’t like him, tell him not to be your friend as he will only confuse you. It may hurt but trust me, the feeling of what “could have been” will be far worse if you don’t get a definitive answer.

      July 20, 2013 at 12:43 am

    • thedate091712

      Update: We are now dating. I think he was scared. I just quietly dropped off the face of the planet right after the post I made (above), and after 4 days of almost no contact, he asked me to meet him at our bar, and he came clean. Best thing that has ever happened.

      Maybe putting it all out there and being honest — and then walking away (even when I was upset) was the best thing I could have done for myself? Perhaps I gave him space and room to think without expectations? I’m not sure.

      July 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      • Thanks so much for the follow-up! So glad things are working out. :)

        July 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm

  43. Twenty years ago, she let me have it my way: she was not really attracted to me but she thought I was a good, love deserving guy after all, so why not give me a chance? The result was a complete and real disaster. None of us had what the other one wanted and we both would have been better off as friends. In hindsight I realize she made a good effort to reciprocate my feelings and attraction towards her. But understandably she just couldn’t change her feelings and didn’t say anything because she felt sorry for me. Eventually it became too obvious she was unhappy and not fulfilled, and it all led to misery, hostility and grief between us. We broke up and never talked to each other again, even though we don’t live hundreds of miles away. Nowadays we are both married to other people and as far as I know the two of us are doing well in life. But we don’t even say hi to each other if we meet somewhere in town. It’s as if we were total strangers.

    When I met my wife sixteen years ago (three after the break up) I finally understood the difference between being loved and being given a chance and how much pain I would have saved my former girlfriend and myself if I had just accepted her initial rejection gracefully instead of making her reconsider dating me.

    June 14, 2013 at 2:59 am

    • Thanks, Trevor. This is a brilliant illustration of how love works (and doesn’t).

      June 14, 2013 at 6:50 am

    • The Duke

      But accepting that you two were not a good pair and being strangers to each other is a better alternative to one of you pining over the other. I think the trial run was good and healthier in the long run.

      July 20, 2013 at 12:33 am

  44. P

    I think EVERYONE has taken rejection in a whiny, entitled way at some point. Unfortunately one of those life experiences where you have to do it a bunch before you realize how to accept it somewhat gracefully. I think in some cases, guys and gals are left wondering what they did/didn’t do to elicit a so-called “friend-zoning.” It could very well be just dumb luck, or pheromones, but I think most men like to think of themselves as problem-solvers, they have identified a “problem” with themselves due to the rejection, but they have no access to the why of the rejection. We live in a society that places succeeding in high regard. To men taught to value success, “That’s just the way it is” is an unsatisfying conclusion to things not working out. They can’t or won’t ask the lady for the information, because the guy is trying to save face/they don’t want to seem clingy to the woman who just rejected them. Saying something like, “the chemistry just wasnt there” sounds like a platitude more than a reason. That and the dating scorecard feedback system will take years to get up and running (some countries insist on using metric, it’s complicated). I’m not trying to make excuses for the d-bags, I’m just trying to present some alternatives to thoughts of entitlement from men. So, sadly the d-bags aren’t going anywhere- hopefully they’ll eventually become well-adjusted men & women.

    June 9, 2013 at 7:48 am

    • “That’s just the way it is” equates to “That’s just the way I am.” And there the problems begin.

      June 13, 2013 at 1:35 am

  45. P

    I personally don’t think the “friend zone” is BS, it’s just a way of quantifying when a man or woman just isn’t interested in you for a relationship. In my own life, I have been friend-zoned on numerous occasions- I don’t feel entitled to a relationship just because I spent X amount of time with a woman. Both of us have rights & feelings of equal importance. In my own past, I think friend-zonings stem from people not wanting to disappoint someone else. One person just isn’t interested in the other, and I think the “but I would like us to be friends” is often added to the rejection as an olive branch to soften the blow. In some cases, the woman truly wants to be friends, but in most, she doesn’t really. Rejection is just an awkward situation she doesn’t like doing, she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, lets get this over with quickly: “can we still be friends?” While there are definitely some guys who get all whiny online with a sense of entitlement to a relationship because they have spent time with a woman, I think there are also a lot of women who have a sense of entitlement to a friendship. When I have been rejected in the past, unless I think she’s really cool, I make it a policy to express something I like about the woman, thank her for the time spent together & then to pass on further friendship. In a lot of cases, the woman has gotten angry or expressed disbelief that I don’t want to be friends. The thing is, while she has every right to not want a relationship, I have every right to reject a friendship too. It could have been a wonderful friendship, but there are leftover feelings of attraction on my end & its just not worth the effort to salvage a friendship out of the thing. My efforts are better spent elsewhere & I’ve already got a lot of friends. There’s nothing wrong with her actions or mine, I’m just cutting my losses. So, to me, the friend zone is not BS. I’m not complaining about its existence or my (and everyone else’s) frequent visits to the zone. The key is to walk away if you don’t want to be there. I think your insistence that the “friend zone” is manufactured bullshit does make some good points, but also lumps some decent guys in with the entitled d-bags out there.

    June 9, 2013 at 5:11 am

    • Thanks, P. You and others have made great points about my hyperbolic headline. I qualified in the article and in comments that I am speaking specifically of the friend zone as described by those entitled d-bags, and that I understand as well as anyone the phenomenon of finding a relationship you wanted to be true love relegated to friendship. Personally, I don’t ever hear/see anyone use the term who isn’t doing it in a whiny, entitled way, and I’m honestly pretty tired of it. I think it would be nice if everyone could realize that sometimes love doesn’t work out and you haven’t been “put” anywhere or gotten “stuck” somewhere–it’s just what happens when the stars and chemicals don’t align.

      Anyway, thanks for your thoughtful comment, and for reading.

      June 9, 2013 at 6:43 am

    • The Duke

      I too am one of the fellows who walk away. In future meetings I am always polite and cordial, if not terse but that is just a facet of my personality, but I have no interest in friendship. On paper it doesn’t seem like the nice thing to do buy deep down it really is for both parties.

      July 20, 2013 at 12:29 am

  46. Joseph

    Hi, I really liked the post and thought it was extremely well written.
    But making myself extremely unpopular, I’d still say there is such thing as a friend zone – even if the term has been widely mis-/overused – that feeling, having always been too slow to act when a girl was actually interested in me, when I realized she’s disappointed I haven’t done anything yet, gives up the idea of being involved with me romantically or sexually, and starts seeing me as a friend. Then the sexual tension is gone and it’s hard to get back in that place, although sometimes, it does happen.
    This is just my view and my experience, and I do however agree the term friend zone has been massively used by whiny guys who think they can get any woman to sleep with them if they act fast enough. And some of them will, which I’d say has more to do with alcohol/heat of the moment/vulnerability than with anything else – for both sides, with the difference that most guys will brag about it later while most girls will be ashamed and try to hide it – again, just my personal experience and what I know from close friends, male and female.
    By the way, I’m happily married now and I write this based on my pre-serious relationship experience which ended a few years ago.

    June 7, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    • I’d say that if the sexual tension disappears because you didn’t notice it, there’s a good chance it was going to disappear regardless. I can tell you many stories of crushes that went on for years under the same circumstances. I just don’t believe there’s a magical time limit–unless of course your aim is simply to have sex, in which case yeah, if you wait long enough for the initial infatuation to wear off, a person might realize they aren’t ultimately interested and you might miss that window. But people like that are exactly who I’m describing above as using “friend zoned” to mean “I didn’t get what I had coming to me.”

      Glad to hear you’re happily married! I wish you all good fortune. :)

      June 9, 2013 at 6:47 am

      • Joseph

        Well, we could discuss back and forth forever, I don’t necessarily agree and I should maybe mention that I’m not in or from the US and even though this term has been exported to pretty much everywhere, it’s probably not used in the exact same way there as in other places.
        Anyway, interesting blog. You have a new reader.

        June 9, 2013 at 10:54 pm

  47. ” It’s not something you can force. And it’s not that person’s fault they don’t love you back.”

    Well said. Back when I was young and single, way before computers and social networks and the so called “friendzone”, there was simply success of failure when approaching a young woman at a single’s bar. In those days I got shot down in flames so much. I was surprised when a young woman gave me the time of day. I think we can all agree that really good looking people, both men and women have opportunities layed at their feet daily, while the rest of us really have to work hard at getting a date.

    May 31, 2013 at 9:43 am

    • Yeah, what I think some people don’t realize is that love and attraction are difficult for most of us.

      June 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm

  48. Drake Hellsing

    When your love feelings are repeateadly dismissed to the: “let’s be just friends” talk, anger is but a natural feeling.

    May 29, 2013 at 11:59 am

    • Feelings happen. Yes, they’re very natural. But “When your love feelings are repeateadly dismissed to the: “let’s be just friends” talk,” then the object of your affections doesn’t return your feelings. It’s not something you can force. And it’s not that person’s fault they don’t love you back.

      May 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      • Falcon

        I think Drake was talking about being constantly rejected by DIFFERENT people, i.e. no one ever returns your feelings. Even if you fully understand that none of those people are at fault, repeated failure does tend to get you down.

        June 1, 2013 at 12:35 am

        • I get it. I’ve been there. It does get you down. And anger is a valid response to an unhappy event. What you do with that anger–where you direct it, for example, is a ultimately a choice, I think.

          June 1, 2013 at 6:16 am

          • Falcon

            When a recent attempt of mine didn’t work out the way I had hoped, it was tough, but I honestly didn’t hate the woman in question. I also realised that if it weren’t for a lack of opportunities, it would bother me a lot less, since it would be much easier to move on.

            Even though I wished it hadn’t happened, I feel the whole incident may have been a small step forward for me. I can only hope things work out in the end. I’d say “watch this space,” but I don’t really intend to bore everyone with a detailed account of my life. :-D

            June 1, 2013 at 4:26 pm

          • Falcon

            One question – if no one is ever attracted to you, do you think it’s possible that there is some fundamental problem with you?

            Those who complain about the “friend zone” or get fixated on one person would probably not do so if they felt that they might actually meet someone one day, however, their experience makes them believe otherwise.

            I think this is an important issue to address if you want to break through the “friend zone” myth.

            July 7, 2013 at 11:24 pm

            • I don’t think that if a person’s experience is “no one is ever attracted to me” that it indicates a problem with them, no. Certainly not a fundamental one.

              Getting fixated on one person is part of the problem, I think, because it limits one’s ability to see all the other possibilites around them (including whether someone is looking at them the way they’re looking at the object of their affection).

              As with everything in life, I think one big challenge is living long enough to have some of your assumptions blown away. As you say, if you don’t have hope, it’s difficult to believe something good might happen, but over time you learn that relationships can be a lot like trains at some points in your life: If this one doesn’t work out, step back and wait for the next one.

              I wish I could say that one day we will all magically meet the person meant for us. I used to believe that. I just don’t know anymore.

              July 8, 2013 at 8:00 am

              • Mike

                Rosie, I think that if no one is attracted to you, it might be very profitable to examine yourself and see if there is something fundamentally wrong either in your ability to attract the opposite sex or in the way you’ve gone about doing it. Yes, relationships can be like waiting for the train, but if you continuously miss the train, perhaps you *should* start to ask why, rather than just “step back and wait for the next one,” and if there is a fundamental problem, fix it as best as possible.

                Falcon, I don’t know how old you are, but perhaps it’s time you do ask yourself if there is a fundamental problem, or rather ask intellectually honest people who you trust, perhaps of the opposite sex. By all means wait for another train, but also by all means see if you can increase your erotic capital.

                December 9, 2013 at 3:24 pm

  49. Pingback: The Friendzone | defiant dolly

  50. Jake

    As a 16 year old guy I agree with your article, and think that it’s unfair to call a girl a bitch/slut just because they don’t feel the same way about you.

    However I think that one exception is when said girl acknowledges her attraction to you and then rejects you in favour of the popular bad boy. In my case I was very close to a girl in my year. She was in the popular crowd, whilst I was a lone wolf sort, not unpopular but not in any real group. We both took an extra GCSE (just the two of us in a class with a teacher) after school, and that was where we really got to know each other.

    After about a year of getting on really well, I plucked up the courage to ask her out whilst we were walking home from our lesson. She said yes, and that she really liked me too. I was overjoyed, for about 30 seconds. After about 50 metres she said “Actually, I’m really sorry, but no. You’re not popular enough.” Then she said, “Can we just be friends, I don’t think of you that way?”

    Now, to me that just sounded like she was too worried about what everyone else would think to go out with me, and that she did actually reciprocate the attraction. I was really pissed off, and as such tried to speak to her as little as possible. After a week of blanking she was trying really hard to get me to act like before, and has continued to try and pretend like nothing happened.

    Am I being unreasonable? In this case I got put in the friendzone, but I don’t think that this is my fault?

    May 11, 2013 at 5:26 am

    • Yeah, that was total BS, especially the part about you not being “popular enough.” Thanks for sharing this, as it does indeed seem to be a case of a girl deciding you were not boyfriend material based on bullshit criteria. Yeah, you’re right to be pissed (feelings are always valid because they’re real, but I’m saying I would be, too). Again, I feel like this is a case of an inconsiderate, thoughtless, very self-centered, and probably also very insecure person treating another person badly.

      I confess I have a tendency toward hyperbole when I write headlines, but I try to lay out my entire case in my posts, and then allow my position to evolve in the comments section as needed. In this case I hope I’ve been clear that I understand what people mean when they describe the Friend Zone, and my primary goal here was to point out that a LOT of angry young men on the Internet would have us believe that all women want rich bad boys and Nice Guys might as well just give up. That, I still hold, is BS. But your case illustrates why some people might get this impression, and I’m glad you shared it.

      Thank you! And no, in case I didn’t say it above, it’s not your fault. You just happened to fall for a girl who lacks the courage of her convictions. As you mature, they will, too. Hold out for a good one.

      May 11, 2013 at 8:11 am

    • The Duke

      Solidarity

      July 20, 2013 at 12:21 am

  51. NateW

    ‘Friend zone’ is an excuse boys use when their crushes don’t reciprocate feelings they did not know how to interpret in the first place. I feel like its a very ‘high school’ type of relationship to have with a girl, and that most people grow up enough after then to properly express their interest in each other. If not, well, you are destined to be in the ‘friend zone’ as you aren’t willing to put yourself on the line with anyone.

    I spent 2 years in the mythical friend zone during high school waiting for the day my crush (who was also my best friend) showed a physical attraction to me. Eventually I realized how much of my own time I was wasting and heartbreak I was putting myself through, told her that I liked her but I understood she wasn’t interested and it would help me to spend less time with her. At first I was peeved feeling like she had taken advantage of my interest, but it was obvious I was the mastermind behind my own unhappiness and she had no idea how I felt.

    A month later I’m dating a girl who actually likes me, we end up going out for the next 7 years and she was my rock through more than I care to remember. The real mind bender came a little further down the road when the girl I had originally pined over told me she had ‘fallen for me’ and wanted us to be together now…

    May 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm

  52. Pingback: Wednesday Recommendations: On Friendzones | The Chosen Blogger: A Blog About Books and Stuff

  53. Good post

    May 7, 2013 at 5:27 am

  54. Nick Vasko

    The Friend Zone exists. It exists with men as well as women. I’ve had plenty of conversations where girls have been friend zoned and vice versa. In reference to your last paragraph, I believe the Friend Zone happens LONG before someone’s heart gets broken. One false move early on in the relationship and it’s over! Like lunch with a girl where you listen to her complain about boy problems. You’ve been friend zoned. Typically a guy will know when this has happened and he’ll either A.) stop talking to the girl, or B.) accept that this has happened and keep trying. The latter is when people’s hearts get broken, but that’s their own fault. This is almost precisely why the friend zone exists; to let the guy/girl know where you stand before everyone goes breaking hearts. This is a conscious decision by everyone. I don’t think people take being friend zoned too seriously, unless the person is still too young or immature to grasp the ‘plenty of fish in the sea’ concept.

    Everything I’ve said here is based on getting ‘friend zoned’ before love takes place, because that’s when I think it happens.

    May 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm

  55. Ok… did not read enough of your responses to others.

    I think we are on the same page… sort of. The whine of the “nice guy” always getting put there and blames other for this is bullshit. That personality type is going to be treated like a door mat by all of society. Many times these are also the guys that will try to mold thier personalities to fit their mate (hmmm…Brad Pitt?) in an attempt tpo be more attractive to them.

    Chive on…

    May 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    • Nick Vasko

      KCCO

      May 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm

  56. Agreed on nearly all points, but I think the entitlement is a separate issue that just indicates someone is an arse. The base problem is that concept that you’ve got to be in a rush to accomplish something (having a girlfriend/boyfriend being the goal here) and that if you’re not succeeding at every turn, you’re a failure. That’s not a formula that works for *anything*, whether you’re doing business, making a friendship, making a relationship work, or trying to invent the hoverboard.

    Having been on all sides of this (yes, it’s gender-slanted, but not 100% so), what I say to myself and others with regards to unrequited affection from a close friend: So you have a friend you’re probably not going to shag? GOOD. You’re going to want a lot more of those in your life than the other. And you can make the friendship even closer by gracefully accepting it.

    May 6, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    • The Duke

      Unless you can’t.

      July 20, 2013 at 12:15 am

  57. The “Friend Zone” is just the Internet meme way to refer to something that “nice guys” (some really were nice, to be fair) have been complaining about since I was in college — it was BS then, and it’s BS now. Don’t most people date from their pool of friends in the first place? And why would you ever want to date somebody you don’t like enough to be friends with?

    I’ve probably had male friends who would have complained on the internet about me putting them in the “friend zone,” if that was a thing when I was in college, but it’s not like there was some strategy they could have employed that would have made things turn out differently. Usually, it was guys I simply wasn’t attracted to for whatever reason, even if I liked hanging out with them.

    Was there a thing they could have done that would have made them more attractive to me? Unlikely. Usually, they were in the “not datable” category for reasons like “wrong pheremones” that nobody can really control. But I have no idea how I would have responded to things like, better physical shape, better dress sense, better grooming, or better posture. I do think many people can probably improve their voices and body language through training, but there are no guarantees.

    Sometimes there was a possibility for dating that existed at a certain point in the relationship, but the window of opportunity closed — not because of some esoteric “friend zoning” process, but because I GOT TO KNOW THEM WELL ENOUGH TO KNOW I DIDN’T WANT TO DATE THEM.

    I think the “friend zone” idea is a kind of ego protection, similar to some of the myths rejected writers like to tell themselves (it was too radical for the market, everybody wants a different kind of story than what I like to write, etc.)

    With writers, you can say, don’t obsess over what you could have done differently with that particular story and that particular market. Instead, keep trying to improve as a writer, and diversify the markets you apply to. Whatever you do, don’t start nurturing resentment and grudges toward the editors and publishers in a position to give you what you want — it can only hurt your chances, and eventually turns you into a nasty little ball of impotent rage.

    I think the analogy holds for dating.

    May 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    • That’s an EXCELLENT analogy! And I heart every word of this comment. Thanks, Julie!

      May 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    • The Duke

      Yet you are still thinking we don’t have a right to be upset.

      July 20, 2013 at 12:14 am

      • I never once asserted “you” (assuming you mean men who feel friend zoned) have no right to be upset. In fact, I said that I sympathise with the feelings associated with unrequited love. You certainly have a right to whatever feelings you have.

        July 30, 2013 at 11:01 am

  58. Had to make a comment on this blog. I agree with the title, but, probably not for what you want me to. I feel you do not really understand the dating and courting process from a practical point of view. You seem to want the guy to stick around and maybe eventually the girl might just come along to be attracted. And then turn the coin over and says that you should not expect to crush on someone and have them like you in return? Confusing…

    Reality is that courting another person is the same way the sales process goes. The pursuer is the salesman (or woman). There are 4 ways a potential dating relationship or a sale can conclude; win fast, win slow, lose fast, and lose slow.

    And what is the proper order of things? Put the order of priority in your mind and then move down to the next paragraph.

    Obviously, win fast is first. Made the presentation, negotiated, and closed with success. Now we can move on to the relationship. Small investment of time and you now have what you wanted.

    The second is lose fast. A great number of people will say win slow. Here is where you are wrong; time spent in the pursuit of a potential is time spent away from your actual goal or finding the right deal to close. Make your best pitch, hope for the best, and learn to take no for an answer.

    The next two are win slow and lose slow in that order. And here is the “Friend Zone”. And it is “total fucking bullshit” that you end up here. I am sorry that you ever get to this point in a relationship or a sales deal. You are now sitting at a poker table feeling like you have too many chip in to fold your hand. You think that you may be able to pull it off in the end. Well you just might. But, is it worth sticking around to find out?

    The lesson here is that you did a poor job in selling. You either did not find out what the customer wanted or needed. Or you did not show why you had what they truly desired. Or even worse, you failed to ask for the business.

    If you find yourself here, quit. Fold the hand. Cease trying to sell them. Stop investing your time or money in a possibility and go find a win. If they come back around at some point, great. If you genuinely like the person, be a friend and stop hoping that there might be more. Deal with it…. you’re in the total fucking bullshit friend zone. ;)

    May 5, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    • “You seem to want the guy to stick around and maybe eventually the girl might just come along to be attracted.”

      Not at all. I was just making the point that sometimes attraction crops up where it didn’t exist before. I don’t believe a guy should hang out pretend to be a friend and wait for that to happen. Guys who do that are actually kind of creepy.

      Take my friend B, for example. He always made it very clear he was attracted to me, and I always made it very clear that I wasn’t attracted to him back. So he said he wanted to be my friend. And yet he continued to behave as though it was really just a matter of time. In fact, one time he even said to me, “Well, even if we were just friends…”

      Be wasn’t being a friend, and we don’t hang out anymore.

      As for your sales analogy, practical as it might be, it seems to me to make my point quite handily. You see the process as a sale you either closed or didn’t close, and the fault lies with your ability to close the deal. What if she’s just not attracted to you, but thinks you’re interesting and fun to hang out with? Sometimes there’s honestly nothing you can do to “close the deal,” and you’re absolutely right–it’s time to cut your losses and go find someone who wants you the way you want them. But what about this person you thought was all that five minutes ago? Well, dammit, you might have to be her friend. Or not…that’s your choice. As far as I’m concerned, if she was good enough to date, she must be good enough to be friends with, but as my old ex pal S said to me once: “I’ve got enough friends.”

      Maybe you’re like S. You don’t want to be friends–you want something more. So don’t be friends. I’ve certainly left behind friendships that were too painful to continue because my “beyond friendship” feelings weren’t reciprocated.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      • B probably got tired of trying to win you over because you put him in the friend zone. Perfect way to prove my point. You put him there, he did not like it, and now your “friendship” is no more. It was never a friendship for him.

        Most people do not want friendships with someone that they were interested in dating in the first place. They feel they need, and always will want, something more. It gets worse when you cannot have it. Makes the desire that much stronger

        I have to say at least S came right out and told you.

        So, is your point that there is no such thing as the “friend zone” or that it does exist and that it is a crock of shit to get put there?

        “and the fault lies with your ability to close the deal.”

        Ahhh… Not entirely. If the pursuer failed to get up and talk to the other person, obviously , yes. If the pursuer failed to understand what the other person wanted and had the ability to fill the needs, yes. If the pursuer did not meet the needs of the object of their desire, no. But the problem a lot of guys have with this is that they suddenly see a glimmer of hope and think they can turn that ember into a raging fire if they work at it long enough.

        Furthermore, it is not a sexist view either. Women do not have the monopoly on this. I have been on the other side and put women in the “friend zone”. I have criteria that I am looking for in a relationship. If they are not met or I hit a deal breaker, I am done. Several of them did not take it very well either. In fact, I have even said it to them in person, from time to time. “I am putting you in the friend zone” makes it perfectly clear where the relationship stands.

        The first time I did this it was pretty liberating. That was short lived as she called the police and I had some explaining to do. Thank goodness we had witnesses. :) Guess I was right in nipping that one in the bud.

        “What if (s)he’s just not attracted to you, but thinks you’re interesting and fun to hang out with?” or “But what about this person you thought was all that five minutes ago? ”

        So, you’re saying that you ran a potential mate through your litmus and it came up negative for dating, yet positive for friendship, we could be friends? Is that not moving from the dating zone to the friend zone?

        If you decide that the other person does not meet your standards either, then, maybe you can be friends. Or if you can come to terms with the fact there is nothing you can possibly do to reverse the tables, possibly. It is a tough call every once in a great while, but, I am sticking to my guns; if your attraction to that other person is more than just friendship and it is not reciprocal, the friendship will likely never work.

        May 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm

        • “B probably got tired of trying to win you over because you put him in the friend zone. Perfect way to prove my point. You put him there, he did not like it, and now your “friendship” is no more. It was never a friendship for him.”

          Ugh. I did not “put him” anywhere. I told him from the start what I did and did not want and he chose to interpret it as a challenge. And as far as I’m concerned, if a guy can’t be a friend, I certainly don’t want him in my bed.

          May 6, 2013 at 4:54 pm

          • Mike

            Perhaps it was unwise to say yes when B offered friendship. When a woman I’m not attracted to says she wants to be my friend, I remain friendly, but for her sake I don’t become her friend because I know full well the heartache that she will feel in my presence. Can men and women be friends when one of them is attracted to the other but the feelings aren’t returned? Yes. However, it’s been my experience that it’s rare. When a woman I’m smitten with doesn’t return my feelings, I am polite and I am civil and I am friendly, but I am not their friend and I walk away. No, I don’t think she’s a bitch, and I certainly don’t think it’s a conspiracy amongst women to friendzone men, but it is probably the wisest choice. Similarly, when a woman is smitten with me and I don’t feel the same way, I don’t offer friendship to her and I don’t accept friendship if she offers it to me (and I certainly don’t go the “friends with benefits” route). I do this FOR HER SAKE. It is precisely BECAUSE I care about her that I do not pursue friendship with her. I feel awful that she feels heartache for me and I want her to go on to a better frame of heart (get it? frame of mind, frame of heart?). I truly hope she finds a better man than I, but I understand my continued friendship with her can (not always, but often) make that a bigger challenge than it should be. I am never nasty or impolite, but I tell them that friendship is probably not a good idea. Is the friendship ruined? Yes, but biology ruined it, not the two of us, and it’s probably for the best.

            Matt Buck, your salesmanship analogy is spot on. When a salesman tries to sell me something and I don’t want it, I say “No, thank you.” and keep walking. Not more than two seconds of his or her time is wasted. With romantic relationships, a lot worse than time can get wasted. A heart can be wasted. I have no desire to waste someone’s heart, even if after much heartache they really could be my friend. A woman rejects me and offers friendship, I walk away. I reject a woman and she wants to hang around? I walk away for her, not because she annoys me or creeps me out (well, some of them have), but because I care about her as a human being and want her pain to end as quickly as possible. Friendship, more often than not, prolongs the suffering.

            Rosie, I think I know the answer is yes, but I’ll ask anyways. Can we both agree that a man can disagree strongly with certain aspects of your article and not be a misogynist? I think the friendzone does exist. I think the friendzone as you describe it is common to a loud minority of bloggers on the internet or its portrayed stupidly by movies in Hollywood, but not a single one of my male friends thinks that women in general intentionally put them in the friendzone. Not one. I don’t think I’m just lucky to know a bunch of decent and honest guys, I think the men (and some women) who do believe they’re entitled to romance because they’ve invested so much time and energy in a person are a minority.

            December 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm

            • I can’t imagine branding someone “misogynist” for disagreeing with me, so yeah, we agree. :)

              December 10, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    • It’s a relationship, not a freaking Fuller Brush.

      I notice that in the general social discourse there is not an iota of sympathy for a woman who crushes on a man but is never, ever noticed in That Way by him.

      And I quit going to the dating sites because I was fed up with the way everyone seemed to be shopping for a product, and you better believe they had the specs too.

      I know about unrequited crushes. I’m not a supermodel, so I’ve had lots of them. The last one I had went on for over a year. I finally got so frustrated that I told myself, “I wish I could find someone who liked me, and it was his idea first.” Not a month later, my current fella found me.

      As for the guy who was my crush, he still barely manages to say Hi to me. You think the Friend Zone sucks? Try having a pretty good idea that you could have been good friends with them *at the minimum* but knowing they won’t even open up far enough to go have lunch together. Now *that* is sad.

      May 22, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    • Anthea Brainhooke

      Women are not vending machines that you put friendship coins into until sex falls out.

      September 4, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      • Men are not vending machines you put sex coins into until money n attention falls out.

        September 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm

  59. Obviously I’m not claiming that the “Friend Zone” doesn’t exist as a concept. I’ve also stated that I understand what some people mean when they refer to it. However, I’ll say it again: I think the “Friend Zone” as described by immature dudes on the Internet is imagined. The idea that women “place” Nice Guys in this “Friend Zone” and mistreat them is, I believe, a myth perpetuated by angry men who will tell you in the same breath that they’re Nice Guys and that women are heartless bitches because they keep getting “Friend Zoned.” I’m not buying it. Yes, there are people out there who take advantage of other people, and yes there are people who allow themselves to be treated like dirt. These are dysfunctional relationships. But this misogynistic “women don’t want nice guys who treat them well, they want bad boys who abuse them” thing is BS, and in case I haven’t said it enough, I’m sick of hearing about it. I’ve been hearing it in one form or another all my life, and I’ve just had it.

    May 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    • Is this what you’re talking about?

      June 13, 2013 at 1:27 am

      • The Duke

        I like how she thought she understood everything because us men have no right to feel hurt. Seriously, people le that are where the “bitch/slut” Ditchotomy come frome. She basically just stated his point and called him boring without any of us having knowledge of the situation. And we’re supposed to root for her and shot “amen sistah”? I don’t think so.

        July 20, 2013 at 12:03 am

  60. J Neff

    The whole “friend zone” issue, regardless of your feelings on it, has some validity in the way a stereotype has validity… somewhere in the concept is a grain of truth. How sizable a grain can be debated until everyone is blue in the face. Also, it not something that is going to go away unfortunately, at least, not by attacking it directly. There is a greater global phenomenon that has been underway for quite some time, particularly within the US, to make men and women insecure and unsure of themselves.
    In the US, the message is subtly and consistently: “You aren’t Woman enough or Man enough (Or aren’t a worthwhile human being) if you don’t purchase -insert random product here-” or “do -random event here-”. These adds are pervasive and invade any and all forms of media and entertainment… all in an effort to manipulate us into spending that almighty dollar. Bottom line? “Friend zone” is a symptom… not the problem.
    You have mass media marketing to blame for the vast majority of this. As long as we don’t stand up against these sorts of advertisements and other forms of media entertainment that mimic these behaviors, Nothing will change. Oh the term “Friend zone” might go away… but it will just get replaced by another term designed to perpetuate the problem. I’ll say it again as it really does bear repeating: “friend zone” is a symptom… not the problem.
    Re-education and training is everything when it comes to fighting against this sort of societal programming. We should all hold ourselves, our society and our government to higher standards. We will fail, at least initially, but we cant make progress if we don’t try.

    May 5, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    • Agreed!

      May 5, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      • But relationships, in the here and now, can only happen inside that societal programming. As far as attraction between people, it’s all we’ve got. I’m not saying it doesn’t grow beyond that when 2 people click. But it has to begin in that world of man-enough, woman-enough, do-this, buy-that. If you want to change the game, you have to play it just as well as those who don’t.

        June 13, 2013 at 1:24 am

    • The Duke

      The government should never be held to a higher standard, it will only dissapoint

      July 19, 2013 at 11:55 pm

  61. I don’t think the “Friend Zone” is bullshit. I think it exists…and when it does, it’s a sign that one or both of the people involved are badly damaged, and may have some serious boundary issues that need work.

    Not going to launch into a big rant about it here, but Friend Zone is certainly an issue in my own life, and in the lives of a lot of men and women. Generally speaking when it exists at all, it’s a sign that one or both parties involved need to do some serious work on their self-esteem, communication, and ability to be emotionally honest–with themselves and others.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    • Sans “rant” explaining your position, I’m not sure how to respond except to say that I still believe that the “Friend Zone” as described by angry guys on the Internet is a lie. I said everything else above, and without anything further to respond to, that’s all I’ve got.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:33 pm

  62. I agree with most of this, but not with the result that a guy regards a woman who rejects him as a bitch/slut. That’s rarely true in my experience. Most guys I know who are aware of their friend zone status still pine away for the girl, and usually fault themselves (as you’ve pointed out.)

    I have one friend in particular whom I once adored, and who once set me aside in order to “play the field” and I moved on. He has since been playing the field without good results, and waaay overuses the friend zone phrase and every other dating cliche. He put “all of his eggs in one basket” with the last girl that put him in the friend zone. It annoys the crap out of me and I’m glad I’m not involved with him anymore.

    Bizarrely, he claims that the reason he hasn’t had good results is because of the way he treated me in the past. Now that I’ve forgiven him, he somehow thinks that his friend zone karma will change– meaning he will no longer find himself in the zone and will magically get all the chicks he wants.
    I haven’t quite found the words to explain to him the flaws in his thinking. There are multiple issues– the most disturbing one for me being that I’m regarded as a dude’s trinket to help him complete his ultimate mission on the planet: to extricate himself forever from the dreaded friend zone.

    Anyway, I think the real problem is that these kinds of guys take rejection personally and internalize it. They start to think of themselves as the sum of the rejections they’ve received, especially when they are interacting with women. Then they unload all that crap back on each and every woman they set their sights on.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:58 am

    • I agree that not every guy who believes in the friend zone resorts to the “bitch/slut” thing, but it is out there in force on the Internet–that and much, much worse.

      Take this page, for example (trigger warnings for rape and probably other stuff):

      http://www.thechobble.com/2011/12/friend-zone-is-like-job-21-photos.html

      May 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      • Wow.

        Haven’t seen those. “Rape Zone” WTF??
        But I have seen the meme in this post. From the guy that I mentioned.

        May 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    • You are right about men like that seeing themselves as the sum of the rejections they’ve received, at least in my experience. It got to the point where I’d say “Why bother?” when I found a woman I’d like to message on OKC or POF, because I knew either A) she wouldn’t reply B) she would and it would fizzle out C) we would date once or twice, and three weeks later she’d find someone else she was interested in.

      I’m not saying that is ALWAYS what happened (the last one does happen remarkably often though, haha), but that is what I thought would happen, so I would talk myself out of taking the chance. It becomes a sort of learned helplessness. Like I said in my comment above, men who think like this want an idiot proof equation for “getting” women. They feel like they are on the outside, looking in, and like people are keeping some sort of great “secret” from them for finding the woman of their dreams. It is frustrating and pretty terrible all around. It’s also tough to get out of that way of thinking because it draws a lot of sympathy from people; you get a little shot of dopamine every time you go on a vent and someone shows you a lot of sympathy or takes your side. I’m not saying it’s pleasureful or makes you happy by any means; rather, it’s a bit like someone who turns to Hostess Snack cakes as comfort food and feels awful afterwards. If done in moderation it’s fine, but it can become an extremely destructive habit if you let things go too far.

      May 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      • I agree with a lot of what you’ve said. It does seem like a lot of these guys are more interested in the “equation” rather than the subtle testing of differences from person to person.

        In reality, most women and girls in the dating game are experiencing similar awkwardness and heartache from time to time. It’s strange how the languishing of young men seems to be a much bigger cultural meme (and more directed at the opposite sex). Plus, I don’t remember any Hostess Cakes from my time in the zone.

        May 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    • We are all the sum of our rejections minus confidence in ourselves. And that can’t be found, taken, or asked for, only freely given by the world. And you have to be fully open for that world to say no, or you will never hear it when it says yes.

      June 13, 2013 at 1:19 am

  63. Reblogged this on FEMBORG.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:47 am

  64. As for the chemical attraction part. In other animals, pheromones are chemical signals of willingness to mate, etc. In humans, there is only one known pheromone, and it isn’t quite clear how it pertains to mating. The thought is that pheromones in humans help women and men to pick mates who have immunity complexes opposite of their parents, to promote the best chance of a viable offspring and to prevent inbreeding. Now, there is some evidence that this may not be the case (in mice, anyway), so really the jury is still out.

    I used to believe in the Friend Zone, and recently realized that it was a bunch of self serving bull shit (mainly on my own, but a helpful feminist friend of mine also further panned the idea out). I think my problem was (and it is with a lot of guys) that we are taught to think in straight lines. As in, “You do this, you get this output”. It’s the cultural norm that men are more “logical” or “rational” than women (lemme tell you first hand that people, regardless of sex, are irrational creatures. Myself included). Point being, that type of guy doesn’t like it when things fall into predictable patterns. They want an equation, an idiot proof formula for “getting” women, because realizing how messy and unpredictable romantic relationships are makes them feel out of control, like they have no power.

    And that’s the heart of it, I think. Men often feel powerless. They see sex (because it’s always about sex, another damaging part of the patriarchy when it comes to male identity, but I digress) as a scarce resource, doled out by women like royal favors. To them, women have it easy because they could just say “hey I wanna get laid!” and have a dozen guys line up, eager to have a go (Yeah it’s silly, but bear with me.) They feel that women have all the control when it comes to relationships (ie sex), which leads to resentment, anger, and even hatred.

    From first hand experience, I tell you that it is a sucky way to live. To walk around with a chip on your shoulder like that. If you’ll permit me to interject some religion, the Buddha taught that we burn with desires, and that is really what it is like. A smoldering, simmering resentment. Usually based on completely wrong headed premises, but that doesn’t change how it feels. Which of course is no excuse for being a dick, but it does explain a lot. Thought I’d lend some first hand perspective from a reformed “nice guy”, haha

    May 5, 2013 at 6:48 am

    • Thank you so much for this. You rock. <3

      May 5, 2013 at 9:18 am

      • You’re welcome! Glad my own bad experiences can be helpful to at least a few people out there, haha

        May 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm

  65. Djudj

    Yop !
    I believe there’s a kind of misunderstanding in every body’s mind. Girls (or boys) do not set you in the “Friend Zone” … you get stuck in that shit all by yourself.
    It’s only because we do not dare to express our feelings, because we do not know how to show the attraction we feel and manage to attract the other the same way.

    Friend zoners are people who just hope somethnig to happens without even trying to make it happen. So they always are disappointed with love.

    If you don’t express any kind of love, don’t expect to get some in return.

    May 5, 2013 at 5:16 am

  66. I think you’ve completely missed the point of ‘She only dates assholes’ mentality. You’re right that it’s bullshit, but it’s a defensive mechanism used ignore ones own short comings, (like a lack of confidence) it’s not a ‘deny her freewill’ campaign. News flash: Chicks have defensive mechanisms too.

    May 5, 2013 at 4:18 am

    • I’m sorry if you think I didn’t cover the point adequately, but I didn’t miss it at all. I get that this is a defense mechanism, but it’s one that paints women who don’t “come through” as heartless bitches, and I’m really fucking sick of hearing about it. I don’t believe it’s a campaign, however “she only dates assholes” is another way of saying “she didn’t choose correctly.” The choice is hers.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:21 am

      • the issue is that they will often repeatedly “choose incorrectly” and then whoever they have “in the friend zone” is the one that has to keep dealing with the aftermath all the while knowing that they wouldn’t be like that. Which does make it seem that the woman WANTS to be treated badly. There are non asshat options available, literally right there, ready to go, and yet they continue to choose something that has repeatedly proven to be a bad choice for them.

        Its like if you like vanilla ice cream, and right in front of you is a tub of vanilla and a tub of chocolate. You proceed to select chocolate 100% of the time. You then complain to the tub of vanilla (just kind of glaze over the talking to ice cream thing lol) that you hate chocolate, and wonder why you can never find any vanilla ice cream. It is completely and utterly bewildering.

        January 9, 2014 at 8:15 am

    • Our defensive mechanisms usually result in the guy we’re defending from, laughing us off and writing us off as insignificant and getting on with their lives.

      You don’t have the entire freaking culture looking down on you and yelling at you for failing yet again to live up to yet another arbitrary yet unknown standard.

      Quit acting like it’s all the same because guess what? Not even close.

      May 22, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      • Actually both genders have that just as bad. With women it tends to be based around physical appearance and “manners”. With men, it is often based around success with women and being an emotional automoton.

        The difference is, we women have pretty much complete control over how well we live up to standards. Men however, partially rely on women. You can’t force a relationship, which means men have limited control over actually living up to the standards of society (not no control, they can try to do better, but that often leads to turning into a pickup artist because that is the easiest way to meet the standards for men.)

        January 9, 2014 at 8:22 am

  67. I enjoyed this. I agree with the chemical attraction part completely. As creepy as this may sound, I love the way my boyfriend smells. I thought it was weird at first and he said he loved the way I smell. So I did some research and the whole pheromones thing came up. I believe you almost have to be chemically attracted to someone for it work out long term. There were guys I had dated before, but it never worked out….and I didn’t ever feel as chemically attracted to them as I do to my boyfriend. They smelled good with cologne on…..but when it got down to the nitty gritty….They smelled terrible.

    And that was probably more than anyone wanted to know about my boyfriend…..but you’re totally right. Chemistry is real and science does play a role. Awesome :)

    May 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    • Yes! I know exactly what you mean. I’m glad he smells good. ;)

      May 5, 2013 at 9:42 am

    • josie

      The smell thing means your a biologically good match. Its always good to have that.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:40 pm

  68. Oh God!!! This is brilliant and you have hit the nail on the head with the song. I need to listen to that song right now.

    May 4, 2013 at 9:54 pm

  69. Asmira

    Hahaha …….. I have never heard this expressed so well before ……. I am going to share this with many guys who don’t seem to understand this!!! :)

    May 4, 2013 at 7:52 pm

  70. Paul O'Neal

    “My point is – Call Sheila, Ray. Call her right now. Move your day date to tonight. Play the entire thing aloof and no matter what you do, kiss her at the end. ‘Cause friends don’t kiss.”

    But this is absolutely true. Quck story. I worked with a younger woman several years ago who would come visit me at night, hang out, watch movies, and so on. I was not looking for any romantic relationship at the time, but I have had very few women actually find me cool enough to want to spend time with me. Over time, my attraction grew, and as I heard about her dating troubles my heart went out to her and I began to fall in love. She was a friend, but one who I was in love with. I began to think, “Maybe I should make my feelings known.” Like a fool, I waited. She ended up having an affair with a married friend of mine and got pregnant. I was stunned, but still in love with her. Af few months after ster she gave birth, I let her know my feelings. She did not feel the same way. I was heartbroken. Part of me hated her because of how much that hurt me. But more of me knew that she was still a good friend who had been through a lot. I stayed friends with her, but it wasn’t quite the same. We spent less time together, about as much as I do with many of my guy friends. She eventually found the love of her life, and went on to be happy. I am glad for her.

    What I am not glad about is the time I spent pining over her, when I could and should have been out looking for someone who felt that way about me back. Never once did I feel that she “owed” me anything for my “investment” of time, but I also realized “Hey, I could have found the love of my life during the time I was going out to dinner with her, talking on the phone with her, watching movies with her,” and so on. I spent more time with her than with my closest guy friends, and it was enjoyable. But if I could have had that with someone who loved me back, it would have been magical.

    Since then, I don’t waste time. I let a woman know that I am interested in her in a romantic fashion. If she doesn’t feel it, hey, no problem. She doesn’t “owe” me anything. If she wants to be friends, great. Who doesn’t like having more friends? But I won’t spend any more time with her than I would any other friend. I believe I am as deserving of love as anyone else out there. I hope to one day be lucky enough to find that special person. But I am not going to waste my time or anyone else’s by being that loser in the “Friend Zone.” Because I also learned that all of the guys in the so-called “Friend Zone” put themselves there.

    May 4, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    • I agree completely! I’ve wasted so much time crushing on people and misreading signals when I could have just said, “Hey, what do you think? Do you like the way I smell?” and then moved on when it wasn’t quite right. And the longer you wait, the more it hurts when you learn it’s not going where you want it to.

      Thanks for taking the time to write this!

      May 5, 2013 at 9:46 am

    • Nathan

      Holy shit that’s really opened my eyes…thanks

      July 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      • Betina

        I couldn’t have replied any better.

        November 19, 2013 at 7:18 am

  71. I like it. Great job pointing out that most horrible of all given birthrights, free will choice. Often overlooked but very important. And good job calling an excuse an excuse :)

    May 4, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    • Thank you! And thanks for reading. :)

      May 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm

  72. I always summarize it for others as: all friendship IS on some level an attraction, and when it’s right it’s right.

    May 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    • Yes!

      May 4, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    • Paul O'Neal

      But you also can’t get your hope that “someday it will be the right time” confused with the reality of the situaion. That way lies heartbreak. Accept friendship for what it is, but do not wait (or worse, force) it to become romance. Set out to look for romance if that is what you are after, with clear intentions.

      May 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      • Yes, absolutely.

        May 5, 2013 at 9:43 am

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