The big debate: Is being “friend-zoned” even a thing? It’s been getting more and more heated with time, getting to the point where an off-handed remark between (usually) men is taken as meaning the one making it is a complete desperate loser. Yes, this is about the evil term “friend-zone”, defined by worthless guys who are complete garbage. Right? Let’s explore that a bit, since it feels a little like a one-sided thing.
First, I want to cut off the head before it becomes too big: Yes, there are losers who whine about being in the “friend zone” when the reality is that they’ve never even out the offer out there to be shot down, or chase meekly after women who are already in relationships. That’s absolutely a real thing, and these guys need to learn that what they’re doing and how they see this “relationship” is idiotic. That said, this is being broadly thrown at guys who aren’t in that category.
Classically, the “friend-zone” comes about when one person in an interpersonal relationship has romantic feelings for the other which are unrequited or simply shut down. The problem often arises due to a lack of understanding of the differences in relationship dynamics between romantic couples and pairs of people who could reasonably become romantically involved. To simplify because I don’t want to dance around the gay/straight/trans issue, I’m going to be using the most common examples in the world: straight people. One man and one woman. And for the purposes of these demonstrations, I’m going to use men as the “friend-zoned” people, but it’s definitely something that happens to women. Just not as often due to the statistical differences inherent between the sexes. Sorry folks, that’s just how things go.
It begins in a very nice way. Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy tries to woo girl due to romantic attraction, girl is uninterested but likes the attention, the money, or the companionship but doesn’t feel romantically attracted to boy. Girl asks boy if they can just be friends. Boy agrees because he wants to still pursue the relationship, recognizing that girls like to play hard to get. Boy gets deeper in, while girl flirts and generally acts like they’re a couple, while still holding no romantic feelings for boy. Boy continues, stuck in that nebulous grey area where there are feelings involved but girl doesn’t share them. Boy slowly becomes embittered due to devoting much of his time, money, and effort to someone who isn’t actually interested, but still continues to show signs of romantic interest.
This is what a “friend-zone” looks like. It always sounds stupid, but romantic feelings are stupid. I’m not saying that they’re bad in any way, but they destroy cognitive thought and ruin logic completely. So what is the boy supposed to do here? There are a few options, but none of them are a net positive for both people. Option 1: Break contact from the girl, because she will never love you the way you love her, and you will never be the friend she really wants because there’s a very different emotional attachment you have compared to what she has. Option 2: Relent and try to be friends, despite not being capable of changing the way you feel about someone. This basically makes you subservient to her, and not in the fun “whips and chains” way. Option 3: Create a fantasy and ignore all signs that you’re being rejected, letting yourself live in a world where you’re actually romantically involved, right up to the point where she gets an actual lover, become completely heartbroken and feel like she’s now cheating on you, despite never being in a relationship beyond “friends”.
As someone who’s been through all three options, trust me: Option 1 is always the best one. You cannot be “just friends” with someone you have romantic feelings for. This goes for men and women alike, by the way. Again, keep in mind that I’m simplifying to cut down on redundant verbiage.
But here’s where things get tricky, because there are plenty who ask the question “why can’t we just be friends?” As I’ve alluded to already, this is damn-near impossible. You can be friends with an ex. You can be friends with someone you’re not attracted to. You can even be friends with someone who has rejected you, but there has to be some kind of event that triggers an emotional “dump”. You have to be cleansed of the romantic attraction to the person you were once into, and that’s not easy.
So is every person who claims to be stuck in the “friend-zone” a good person at heart? Not necessarily. There are plenty of idiots who just don’t get that you just need to move on, but there are probably 10:1 who have fallen in love and started doing stupid things in the vain hope of something more. Picking on a 16-year-old who is clinging to that insurmountable difference is just messed-up. Talk to them, as a friend, as a colleague, or just as a wiser, more experienced person. Give them hope that there’s something better if they can just break away from that fog. Is there someone for everyone? Hell no, especially not these days. People, both men and women, need to realize that they might not find someone who fits their desires perfectly. A little leeway must be given, but at the same time, compromising your entire self in the desperate chance to find someone who will appreciate you is just as bad.
The friend-zone is a real thing, and it has been abused hundreds of thousands of times over by disgusting people who fully-realize the one-sided attraction. These people are scum, and need to be left to their own personal Hell while the rest of us go about our lives trying to interact with love and compassion. Always give a little, but never give enough that you’re not you anymore.