What's Wrong With Being in Someone's "Friend Zone"?
What's Wrong With Being in Someone's "Friend Zone"?
By Samuel Granger / medium.com
Aug 24, 2016

I once read a Dear Abby column responding to a letter from a girl who, as I recall, was in middle school. She was asking for advice about an awkward incident that happened to her at school: a boy asked her out with her peers watching, and she turned him down. She was subsequently told by her peers that she was cruel for rejecting his advances.

In modern terms, the girl of this boy’s affection placed him in the “friend zone.” In a nutshell, “friend-zoning” somebody is basically not reciprocating their romantic feelings. This places them in a “zone” of people who will never be more than friends to them, which apparently is this dreaded place where they are of no value to the object of their affection.

I have never had a romantic relationship or even asked a girl out, so I’m not a dating expert. However, I find the concept of the “friend zone” to be a misguided approach for a number of reasons.

Interestingly enough, the concept of the “friend zone” actually originated from an episode of the sitcom Friends, and though the definition seems to be gender-neutral at its core, it is most often applied to the scenario of a woman not reciprocating a man’s feelings. That gender-specific way in which the concept manifests itself is problematic, not only because it perpetuates many misogynistic ideas that are widely accepted in American society, but the implications of it can be chillingly dark.

For example, it contributes to the idea that a woman can’t say “no,” and that a woman who doesn’t reciprocate a man’s interest in her, whether for a relationship or sex, is cruel and heartless, as the girl from the Dear Abby column was told. This places an unhealthy amount of pressure on women, and I suspect it to be a factor in the prevalent fear among many women of rejecting a man’s advances and the man retaliating with violence.

I’ve seen it argued that the “friend zone” idea perpetuates rape culture, and I think that’s an accurate assessment--the idea that a woman can’t say “no” is the epitome of rape culture. Romantic relationships and sex require consent, and sexual consent is a basic human right, so it is vital that comfort zones and consent are respected. Therefore, the notion that a woman is cruel and heartless, or a “bitch,” for simply exercising her right to consensual relationships or sex is inherently rapey, and quite sexist as well.

Beyond that, there are other harmful attitudes at play. Our culture at large tends to put romantic love on a pedestal, and within that is this tendency to take offense when someone says they’re not romantically interested, as if that is an insult to one’s character or ego. Again, the lovestruck one is often a man and his romantic interest a woman, and this attitude is often accompanied by bemoaning the prospect of being considered “just a friend” by the crush.

But what’s wrong with that? Why is being “just a friend” a bad thing? At least you still have contact with the person, and you can have some sort of relationship with them and be valued by them, even if it’s not in a romantic way.

That’s the beauty of platonic friendships. I have many friendships with women where there is no romantic interest involved, and I highly value those friendships. Without the romantic aspect, there is less awkwardness and complication, and these friendships flourish on simply enjoying each other’s company and relating to one another through our shared hobbies and interests. I don’t see myself ever being romantically interested in some of these women, and that’s okay. It’s also fine if they never feel that way about me.

Honestly, the “friend zone” sounds great to me. It’s better than the alternatives: the “I never want to see you again” zone, or if the guy really can’t take rejection, the “restraining order” zone.

It’s important that people learn to value platonic friendships, and learn to relate to the people of the opposite sex as comrades and friends. Some in my generation have this problem of viewing anyone of the opposite sex as a potential romantic partner, and for men in particular, I think there is an objectification factor within that, and an inability to see women as comrades and friends, or anything more than sex objects. That, I think, contributes to the lack of value placed on consent, or a woman’s say in the matter.

Other times, the inability to take rejection results simply from unhealthy emotional attachment from building your crush up in your head too much. And I totally get it. I had some unreciprocated crushes in high school myself, and being rejected is not pleasant. If you have a romantic interest in somebody and want to ask them out, go for it. If they don’t return your affections, it’s fine to feel disappointed, at least for the moment.

But keep this in mind: you are not entitled to a romantic relationship with anyone. You are not even entitled to a friendship with anyone. Everyone is free to choose who they want in their lives, and some people might decide that you are not worth their time, for whatever reason. That’s just a reality of life, and it’s important to develop a bit of a thick skin in this area, and learn not to take offense when someone says they are just not interested. If that is the case, respect this individual’s ability to consent and move on.
If somebody lets you into their friend zone, that means they value you as a person and consider you worth their time. So savor it, and be thankful that you are valued.

3.3 ·
8
Trending Today
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 8,900 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Trump Is a Symptom of a Sickness That Is Raging All Across The World
1 min · 7,068 views today · This is why we are here. And this is what we need to remember. 
Looking Forward to the Day That Nationalism Is as Reviled as Racism
Tim Hjersted · 4,942 views today · Nationalism is a form of geographical racism that makes some lives matter more than others, and explicitly justifies that logic without apology. While today, not even lying...
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 3,804 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
What Is My Activism Really About? to Love, Serve and Remember
Tim Hjersted · 3,326 views today · I have made a promise to this world that I will carry with me to my last days. It is my vow to lessen the suffering of the world while I am here - it is to ensure that every...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 2,628 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Escape! From the Cult of Materialism (2016)
50 min · 2,399 views today · Does the philosophy of materialism work to destroy our identities, experience, and environment? Join narrator Daphne Ellis on a radical romp through the evidence and decide for...
Supporters 'Ecstatic' After Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence
Nika Knight · 2,300 views today · Whistleblower to be released from military prison in May
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 887 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves
Yasha Levine · 624 views today · “…everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.” —Arthur Young; 1771 Our popular economic wisdom says that...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 609 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Stunning Photos By Alexander Semenov Showcase The Alien Beauty Of Jellyfish
Earth Porm · 601 views today · Jellyfish appear like beautiful aliens in Alexander Semenov’s photography, calling a new attraction to a magical species of marine life. Alexander Semenov is a marine...
Coping With Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the White House
N Ziehl · 504 views today · I want to talk a little about narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve unfortunately had a great deal of experience with it, and I’m feeling badly for those of you who are...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 496 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
The Greening of the Self: The Most Important Development of Modern Times
Joanna Macy · 407 views today · Something important is happening in our world that you are not going to read about in the newspapers. I consider it the most fascinating and hopeful development of our time...
Before He Was Assassinated, MLK Jr. Was Advocating For An End To Income Inequality
10 min · 326 views today · We can honor MLK Jr. by pursuing the causes he was advocating for before he was killed.  ​​ Part 2: The Basic Income, A New Human Right (3 minutes) MLK's idea of a basic...
One "Piece of the Oppressor" That I Have Discovered Within Myself
Tim Hjersted · 318 views today · One "piece of the oppressor" that I have found in myself during my inner activist journeys is my use of shame as a method of engaging with the world's problems. Having learned...
90 Inspiring and Visionary Films That Will Change How You See the World in Profound Ways
Tim Hjersted · 302 views today · The world today is in crisis. Everybody knows that. But what is driving this crisis? It's a story, a story that is destroying the world. It's a story about our relationship to...
Watch How Europeans Carved Up African Land They Never Owned
56 min · 263 views today · Watch how Europeans gave away African land they never owned, then expressed anger when Africans resisted. The film is called Africa: A Voyage of Discovery, Episode 6: The...
This Woman Gets No Applause...Why? They Are Too Creeped Out...
7 min · 257 views today · Think you aren't being fooled by advertising tricks? Take a look at this so-called expert revealing food marketing's secret weapon. No amount of marketing makes factory farming...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
What's Wrong With Being in Someone's "Friend Zone"?