What is the “friend zone?”   6 comments

I was going to write a big portion of this as a response to another post on Facebook who brought up “friend zone,” but I felt it would just fall on deaf ears from single-minded, militant characters.

Can we agree that the act we refer to as “friend zoning” (or whatever you wanna call it) is something that both men/women can do to people who like them whom they don’t want to have an intimate relationship or to date?

It’s a term (“friend zoned” – a verb) born out of pop culture that puts the focus on the person who does not return the affection. The intended characterization of this act is that you’re not really friends, with sarcastic intonation (a heavy dose of double air quotes for emphasis). I can’t stress enough the fact that when this was made popular in the show Friends, “friend zone” wasn’t an act. It wasn’t a verb. It was a metaphorical place inhabited by it’s tall geeky mayor, Ross. Rachel really had no idea about Ross’ feelings towards her. The only way for Ross to get out of the “friend zone” is to ask her out or he’ll be stuck there forever.

Just laying the ground work, inching just a little bit closer to priesthood.


They also used the term in Scrubs. Elliot and J.D. start flirting as if on a date. She acts like she wanted to kiss J.D., and he’s confused on whether she was joking or if he should really kiss her. He leans in for the kiss before being interrupted by Dr. Cox, breaking the mood. This puts J.D. under pressure because he only has 48 hours before they both start over-thinking things, Elliot getting invested in the idea of him as a friend, and him getting stuck in the “friend zone.”

It’s the packaged term for “unrequited love,” the other term that puts the focus on the person who can’t accept only friendship. Over the years, people have dropped the sarcasm and started using it as an ACTUAL thing, over-analyzed the playful term and put too much meaning behind it.

At the end of the day, it should boil down to these:

  1. If people are really genuine about just wanting to be friends with someone who likes them, “friend zone” (modern terminology) doesn’t really apply. It’s the literal friendship.
  2. If you don’t want to date them because they are not your type (too ugly, too fat, too skinny, too deformed, eyebrows, etc) and don’t care about being friends with them, it’s still not “friend zoning.” That’s just preference.
  3. If you’re doing #2 and lying about what you really feel (“You’re a nice guy/girl, but…”) because you don’t want to directly reject them and hurt their feelings for various rational/irrational reasons (which are valid for self preservation), such as fear of these people retaliating in some way or spreading true/false rumors about you, it’s still just preference, but that’s also the “friend zoning” act.

In the right (or wrong?) context, “friend zone” is a misogynistic term. The fact that it usually comes up from guys describing the act done to them by girls is bad enough. It’s completely lost its original intended meaning. I just think it’s a presumptuous term from the forlorn individual. I don’t really agree with the men’s rights activist and feminist angles on “friend zone.” The term exists, whether we like it or not and both men and women do it to people they have no attraction to. I know, because I did it. The term is also used as an excuse to make yourself feel better about rejection, be it real, perceived or assumed. Since you have no clear evidence for #3, your deduction of being placed in the “friend zone” is just fantasy.

We can’t read people’s minds. Objectively, people really care about what others think of them despite what they say to the contrary. They also fear for what people might do in face of rejection, more often projecting what they themselves would do in that situation. So they lie about the real reasons when asked (“Why don’t you like me?”). Reiterating my point, since people also fear rejection, they would rather hear a lie than the actual truth.

  • “You were not fired, you were let go.” Correct.
  • “It’s not you, it’s me.” Correct (but could also be bullshit)
  • “You’re a nice guy/girl, but you’re not my type.” Also correct, but risky.
  • “I just want us to be friends.” Correct (whether you really want to be friends or just letting them down easy), but some people are stupid and think they still have a shot (“unrequited love”). Might as well sever it with…
  • “I don’t feel the same way about you. And I can’t be friends with you if you feel that way about me. I just can’t keep pretending like nothing has changed.”

Brutal, but honest. You’ll lose a friend. If you still care about what that person thinks of you, the focus is back on you. Grow up. You can’t get ’em all. Write a blog post about it. It well help you sleep better. As far as our current understanding of the term is concerned, you put them in the “friend zone.”

If you’re in the “friend zone,” it’s not that bad. Maybe you are not meant to be together with this person. Maybe you’ll end up being BFFs and whatnot. Maybe you’ll end up imprinting on their kid and be their protector/savior/lover when they age faster than normal humans. Maybe you still harbor feelings for this person and still think you could end up together. Who knows. It could happen, but the focus is back on you.

I’m done.

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6 responses to “What is the “friend zone?”

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  1. Hi stranger –**waves at you**– How’s life treating you?

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