There Is No Friendzone, There Is Only Zuul

friend-zoneThe ‘Friendzone’ is a fabled zone into which women place men whose friendship has become more valuable than any potential relationship; when men become too close to women to be considered viable dating material, when they become more like brothers than potential boyfriends, when they overstep the thin line between romance and ‘you’re just like one of my girl-friends!’.

The ‘Friendzone’ does not exist.

Maybe you should let that sink in a moment. Got it? Ok, let’s continue.

Romantic love is a wonderful thing. As some famous bard once said, ‘Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove’.  It’s all-encompassing, both simple and incredibly complex, joyous and painful, unconditional. It’s also based firmly on two things – friendship (and everything that goes with), and attraction.

Friendship is absolute key. If you want a good, strong, healthy loving relationship that knows no bounds, you need to be friends with your partner. This isn’t some special love-only kind of friendship that’s different to the normal kind of friendship. It’s just plain old simple ‘let’s be friends’. It covers trust, honesty, support, companionship – all the stuff friendship usually contains. The concept of friendship houses all of the core components necessary for love to blossom. The spark is attraction. If you’re going to be in a romantic relationship with someone, that spark is what will kick it off and keep it fun. Sexual attraction, the desire to make like bunnies, fuels any strong relationship and weathers it through many a storm.

Again, the ‘friendzone’ is a place where women place men whose friendship has become more valuable to them than any potential relationship. This implies two things; firstly, that friendships and relationships are mutually exclusive. If you believe this, and you’re looking for love, you’re doing it wrong. Secondly, that the woman IS attracted to the man she also happens to be great friends with but for some mysterious reason, doesn’t want a relationship and THAT, my friends, is bullshit. 

Men – You know a woman. You like her. She has nice hair and a cute laugh. You get to know her, you strike up a friendship. You think things are going well, you make your move and she rebuffs it. She HAS NOT ‘friendzoned’ you so don’t even use that as an excuse. It probably means she’s not attracted to you. Yes, it happens, even though you truly believe you’re the personification of Adonis and no woman in her right mind would ever turn you down. Don’t make it something it isn’t. Don’t invent this ‘thing’ that conveniently absolves you of being at all to blame, that works as a scapegoat from considering the fact that she Just Doesn’t Like You Like That. You’ll do yourself, and your ego, a favour by admitting to yourself that she’s probably just not attracted to you in that way. That, or she’s got other things going on that you don’t know about – maybe she’s pining over someone else. Maybe she’s just out of a bad breakup and needs some space. These things are also feasible explanations of why she’d turn you down and they really are good enough excuses and you really don’t have to invent the ‘friendzone’ and dump yourself there. Be considerate.

Women – You know a man. You like him. He’s got delicious eyes and smells like yummy things. You get to know him, you strike up a friendship, and you realise that you don’t really have that much in common and maybe even his moral compass is in direct conflict with yours. Maybe he’s a bit of an ass, maybe you just can’t make that friendship ‘click’. He makes a move on you, and you’re just not interested any more. This is where you employ honesty. Don’t fall back on easy excuses like ‘I don’t want to ruin our friendship by bringing sex into the mix’ – don’t say ANYTHING that will make him think you’ve put him in the ‘friendzone’; that’s perpetuating the problem. Just tell him you’re not that attracted to him. Apologise, if you wish, for any potential ‘leading on’ that you might have done while you were still fawning over his man-smell and hadn’t yet realised that he picks his nose in public or is a closet Scientologist. Tell him you don’t feel any friendship between you – it might hurt, but the truth is always an honourable pursuit and avoids stupid things like ‘friendzones’ from being created.

Can we put an end to this silly fad now and instead discuss the real issues at hand? Let’s not forget we’re all human, and we didn’t get to this rung of the species-ladder by scratching our butts in public and beating each other over the heads with clubs. Not exclusively, anyway. We are capable of rational thought, tact and empathy. Let’s do ourselves justice and employ those skills for the greater benefit of incurable romantics everywhere.

  • Deto

    Hmm.. The concept of “friendzone” is miscommunication, but it’s more about desperation and lack of respect than anything else. It indeed doesn’t exist as such, it is not a concrete thing that you can touch or smell. As a concept however it comes from a male or female who is unable to give up or control their feelings and feel like they have been personally offended because the person they expected to be interested in them is not. OR keep on believing that they will eventually conquer the person by whatever actions they keep on doing while not respecting the needs and desires of the other. It is one sided ACCUSATION thrown at a person.

    You (Not you really) have friendzoned me because what? Your mind wasn’t forced to think and feel the same way towards me as I do towards you, even if I kept on trying, now the fault is yours! If I am not able to process the thought “This person will not date me, they only desire friendship” then I am faulty, not the person who said they only wish to be friends. It is my duty to either move on and accept friendship, or in turn tell them “I am unable to at this point. I am sorry. My feelings are in the way, but I hope they will soon settle” or something similar. It is my fault IF I say, act and think you will become attracted to me if I throw more flowers at you, it is an abomination I have created… not you, with your simple words.

    And then there’s the actual thing behind it. Benefiting from a person’s feelings knowingly, but it’s not really about “friendzoning”. It happens in relationships, friendships, everything, but I don’t think it fits this topic as it’s not really related to it.

    But to pull an example out of my hat; If I was to rob a bank where you work. You told me to get the hell out or you’ll call the cops but I still proceed to steal the money. It is your fault? No. It is purely mine.

    • Yeah – it’s a bad thing to say you’re friendzoning someone without giving them the full explanation, and it’s a bad thing to SAY you’ve been friendzoned if you can’t actually process what’s actually happened. Either way, both parties on both sides will benefit from looking deeper.

      • Deto

        Well, just telling you want only want to be friends is in my opinion just fine as long as you mean it. Of course knowing reasoning behind it is more than helpful. But those screaming “friendzoning” are really the only people to blame. They have been told the other person is not interested in them, else they wouldn’t know about this “friendzoning” -thing at all.

  • PatheticBarrel

    What about the ladies at work I’ve friendzoned because they don’t know what this circular strip of tungsten on my left hand means?

    • Heheh. That’s not ‘friendzoning’. That’s ‘fuck off, I’m married’. 😀

    • Tungsten carbide, unless you’re a lightbulb.

  • Carla

    Hey! And what about the women doing the first moves?

    • And the guy places her in the ‘friendzone’? Just read the ‘Men’ paragraph with roles reversed ;p

      • Carla

        Oh, I understood it wrong then… Howeverm, great blog post 😀

  • Pstonie

    You propose a situation in your paragraph “Men – You know a woman.” The woman likes being friends with the man, but does not want to enter a relationship with him. As you say, the reasons could be many. Let’s even assume it’s always because of the man’s shortcomings or just bad timing. What shall we call this state that has manifested because of these reasons, if not the friend zone? “The zone of friends but in a good way”? “Definitely-not-the-friend-zone”?

    I also don’t see how it implies mutual (but suppressed) attraction, as you allege. The term simply means that someone has been on the receiving end of “Let’s just be friends”. It implies nothing about the the causes, it is a description of the result.

    The truth is that a state exists where men or women decide that they want to keep the relationship with someone who more than likes them strictly platonic. Pretending it doesn’t exist because the term has uncomfortable connotations does not help the discourse.

    • The situation exists, of course – but not in the way attributed to the term ‘friendzone’. There are always reasons that both parties should, I feel, be aware of for benefit to both as a matter of trust and principle. I don’t think it’s ever as simple as ‘our friendship has progressed to the point where I no longer consider you a prospective dating partner’. That’s what ‘friendzone’ is – not a description of any situation where someone decides they want a relationship to remain platonic.

      • Pstonie

        The term simply means that someone will never be allowed to be more than friends with someone they care about. That fits the description of “any situation where someone decides they want a relationship to remain platonic”. The term has cultural connotations, many of which are true, IMO, but they are not part of the term itself. Otherwise, that would be like saying the term “dog” means “man’s best friend”. The word describes a discrete type of mammal, it does not imply anything about it’s personality, even if behaviour that is generally associated with the word is true most of the time.

        • Then we disagree with what Friendzone means. 🙂

          • Pstonie

            And on the use of nouns. 😀 Luckily this is one of those words, like “sentient”, where the meaning is defined by experience. Good luck with adonis. Say “lol” to his other girlfriends for me 😉

          • Heh. Been with my Adonis about five years now. No other girlfriends to worry about.

          • Pstonie

            And it’s the misconception that women could be attracted to anything less that creates so much unhappiness and confusion, not that we’re allowed to use the description of “friend zone”. We don’t think we’re the personification of adonis, we just don’t understand what women are attracted to and assume that we could become more than friends because we are tolerated as friends. I would be happy with the term friend zone if I were you. Surely “gaggle zone” would replace it, were “friend zone” to become verboten. http://the-gaggle.com/what-is-the-gaggle/

          • “and assume that we could become more than friends because we are tolerated as friends” – and if you can’t, there’s a reason for it. It’s not because you’ve overstepped some invisible boundary between ‘date’ and ‘friend’ as my interpretation of the term ‘friend zone’ implies – there is no such boundary and forming a friendship from a date is a natural part of building a relationship. Again, though, we seem to be at odds to how and why people use the term ‘friend zone’ to begin with so I feel any further discourse is moot.

      • Albert Balbastre

        ‘our friendship has progressed to the point where I no longer consider you a prospective dating partner’

        Hi. How would you call that? Also, why does it happen? I’ve been rejected of a sexual relationship because ‘I would have slept with you if you asked me a few months ago, but now it’s too late because we’re (too) close friends’.
        What-how-why.

        • My personal take on that is there’s something more to it that they either don’t want to tell you or don’t know how to even explain themselves. They might be afraid that sleeping with you will ruin your friendship – that’s a common one. If the sex and the ‘relationshippy’ parts don’t work out, sometimes it’s difficult going back to just being friends with that extra baggage hanging around. On the other hand, they could be throwing away what *could* turn out to be a great relationship because they’re too afraid to try. But it might not be fear at all – it might be something completely different. Maybe now that they know you better they just don’t see you as a partner; when they knew you less, there was more mystery and their imagination could fill in the blanks to fit what they wanted you to be and now that they know you, they know that you’re not that person. Maybe they’re only looking for casual sex with no strings, and your friendship prevents that. If they’re looking for a close, loving relationship, if they’re physically attracted to you, and if there’s a budding friendship present, then there’s rarely any good reason NOT to take it further (if you’re both available, of course).

          If you ever find out, I’d love to know. 🙂

          • Albert Balbastre

            Well, I don’t think I’ll ever find out because from them on I chose to reduce my friendlist, and walk away if I’m rejected instead of staying around. Not the best option, but the best for both parties and the best I can afford, knowing that I tend to be bitter and my bitterness tends to acumulate, explode and damage anyone in a radium of 30 miles.

            I guess I get and accept the fact that people gets to know you better and become uninterested. It happens all the time. That’s how boy/girlfriend relationships end, that’s how lots of friendships end.
            But the possibility that someone could be preventing a great relationship out of fear burns me alive. In one occasion, a friend of mine asked me advice about someone she like, and started with all the ‘well, he’s a friend and I’m afraid to spoil our friendship if I tell him how I feel’. Silly me, I didn’t notice *that friend* was me (I was totally uninterested), and pushed her to make a move, because I don’t think friendship has to be spoiled (unless you’re an angry anxious bastard, which she was clearly not), and even if it is, missing out on the possibility of a great romance is not worth it. She went ahead that very evening and confessed her love to me. Boy, did I ever feel so stupid.
            She had a horrible time for a whole year because of me rejecting her, duh, but I never regretted that we came clean on that and we certainly didn’t spoil our friendship.

            I’ve been taking care of children around 14 and I’ve also been a private teacher. It seems quite clear to me that most girls come hardwired to believe “romance spoils friendship. Period” They might don’t know who they are, they might not know they are gay until a few years later, they might not now anything about themselves. But that thing is engraved in fire. ¿Group pressure? ¿Rom-coms? ¿Is their brain wired that way since 10? Beats me.
            On a conversation with adults (my parents, who are teachers, and some of their work colleagues) they were surprised girls nowadays systematically refused having affairs with friends, even if the sexual attraction was there (when you’re a professor, you read children like an open book). Just like that. I don’t think that’s a good value, where and how are they learning that?

            On another occasion, am acquaintance confessed she was in love with a work colleague, who was also best friends with, and was quite convinced she loved her back. This acquaintance was thirty-something. She longed for her colleague but was too afraid to make a move because of a possible spoiling. After a few seconds of staring the void, she snapped and said: ‘Fuck it, we’re adults. If anything goes wrong, we’ll work around it.’
            Jesus Christ, that was refreshing. It took her 30 something years to get to that conclusion.

            Also, on the other hand, I’ve met a couple of women who would shamelessly admit they had sex with their friends, and that they didn’t understand other women’s perspective about that. The funny thing is that both of these women were sexual tornados, true forces of nature, the kind of women that noone would call sluts even with all prejudice floating around because they were simply bold and clear and had no trouble managing ‘attachment’ or ‘baggage’.
            From this I guess most people don’t fuck their friends because the sexual desire for them has faded away. If it’s still there, I don’t see why ‘baggage’ is such an important matter. Sex among friends has been proved to streghten the friendship, as it streghtened my friendship with one of the aforementioned girls, with no melodrama nor strings further than friendship.

  • Cesario

    Do we really NEED labels to describe *normal* one-sided idealization? Or does it refer to the inability or a lack of willing desire to learn and change? I hate to hark on Social Feminist theory in a sense that Women want sex, too; some times just as much as men do. But that doesn’t mean any one side is entitled to it or even necessarily places an expectation on sex being the center of all romantic or intimate relationships. I think the conceptualized “Friend Zone” from either party just glorifies the immature culture that if you develop *feelz* for someone, that automatically not only means you wanna have lots and lots of sexy times, OR that either side or both sides are emotionally immature and inexperienced enough to know what Emotional, Spiritual, Moral, whatever-attachment is. This is coming from a guy who has called girls out on friend-zone bullshit. And maybe even believed it. This is also coming from a guy who walked away from a girl without a really good explanation why because he was too anxious to just say “this is happening way too fast… i can’t deal with it.”

    My point is… life and love are almost always a lot more complex than just saying “he friend-zoned her.” or “she friend-zoned him” blah blah blah… or even when you see a pretty personal walking down the street and all you can think about is what they look like without any clothes on. Yea passion and romance gets the initial attention; keeping interest is a key part of any relationship. But what happens when passion subsides? What happens when both parties need to grow up and make some guarantees about emotions? Love, and I mean sustaining love, requires limits and boundaries and conditions. The point is learning and developing the *right* ones for the right reasons and are meet-able.

    *rant aside; I just really hate easy terms to describe complex situations between people.*

  • Leandro A. Pezzente

    I think it would be prefferable for a girl to be honest and just say “Look , I am not attracted to you if what you are looking for is more than a friendship , then I am sorry to dissapoint you , let’s just part ways” than say something than “I only want you as a friend”. It would mean this girl can actually put herself in a man’s shoes and act in an honorable way.