Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Friend Zone Re-Imagined

Today, I read an article that brought into question something that I hadn't really considered in a long time: the idea of the friend zone. Before you start rolling your eyes, let me explain. This isn't one of my "woe is me" rants about my bad luck with women. This is about the whole idea of "the friend zone" itself. Apparently, I've been out of touch because the article I read presented the idea that "the friend zone" as a misogynistic idea. I've linked to the article so you can read it yourself, but here's a quote:

[The friend zone is] the outdated, consistently refuted notion that people, usually women, somehow owe their friends, usually men, romantic or physical intimacy for the time and energy invested into the friendship. The “friend zone” also implies some sort of entrapment executed by women, as well as resentment held by the men “stuck” in such a zone and unable to express their feelings without being rejected. 
In other words, the friend zone is a total myth implying that women are to be valued for what they can offer men, instead of for who they are as people.

In a million years, I would have NEVER believed the above statement could be said about the friend zone.

I've always believed that there's always a chance for a romantic connection with with any woman I meet. Granted, there are some women with whom I would prefer a romantic connection more than others, but there's always a chance. When a woman turns me down romantically, but still chooses to spend time with me, I feel like I was "friend zoned". This means she feels that I am someone she can have fun spending time with, but there's no romantic chemistry.

I tried, and she said no. Any residual emotion is mine to handle and not the purview of the woman in question. I could choose to continue to spend time with her and become a good friend with no further promise of anything romantic, which I have done; or I could choose to separate myself from her and continue with my life, which I have also done.

There is no entrapment, and the women I usually feel this with are people that I value MORE than average. Hence why I would attempt to initiate a romantic relationship with them. And why it would sting when they don't feel the same way.

And by the way, I've always thought of the Friend Zone as a unisex concept. There are TONS of examples of women being "friend zoned" by the people with whom they want to be in a romantic relationship. Granted, in the media, it's displayed mostly as men being friend zoned by women, but the media also mostly displays men as romantic/sexual initiators as well so perhaps it's a "per capita" kind of thing.

I'm someone who tries to keep a flexible mind. There are concepts that I think are absolute and unshakable, but I remain open to challenge and re-examine those ideas. This helps me grow as a person as well as gain deeper understanding of the concepts with which I build my world view. Now, that world view has no bearing on anyone else, but in communicating with people that world view becomes more sophisticated allowing me to navigate the challenges of life more effectively. It also helps me be a better person and friend to those I care about.

I care about women, both in general, and specifically those in my life. In this era of shifting definitions and roles, I find it disturbing that I could be promoting a misogynistic idea. However, I don't believe this article to be correct. But I could be wrong. Sound off in the comments below!

What do you think of the friend zone?


  1. I've been friend zoned before . . . once. And I've actually friend zoned a couple of women, apparently, without me even realizing it. Ok, ok -- one I *did* know I was doing that to, and in hindsight I regret not being more direct with her.

    Usually, though, I don't find out I friend zoned a female friend until way after the fact when she confesses to me years later--or one of her friends does--that she had a thing for me. See, up until that revelation, I assumed we were just friends and that the lack of romantic feelings was mutual.

    Examining these scenarios further, as a man, it sheds some light on how women must feel about being accused of "Friend Zoning" their male friends. I realize that I knew right from the get-go upon meeting these women that I was not romantically attracted to them, but that they were awesome people whom I really wanted to be friends with. And because I'm usually clueless to these things, I had no inkling at all that they might be attracted to me as someone more than just a friend to them.

    They wanted to hang around me, and I wanted to hang out with them, and the mistake here is that I assumed without question that our friendship was mutually platonic. I usually always assume this with women who choose to be friends with me, in fact. It's not my default to assume that a woman is being my friend because she wants to "get" with me.

    However, in that last part I think the same might not be true in reverse. You're arguing that it is the same, I think . . . but in my experience, I've noticed that more guys *do* assume a romantic motive whenever a woman wants to be their friend.

    It's more of a stigma against men, true. But like you pointed out yourself, women are also guilty of these assumptions as well. And I realize now, too, that I'm guilty of assuming the opposite stereotype of women -- that they just want to be friends at face value, and could never possibly have romantic or sexual underlying motives the way we men can.

    That kind of assuming or stereotyping can be equally damaging, albeit coming from the opposite end of things.

    Gee, I hope any of this makes sense. LOL!

    Anyway, good blog post! Glad to see you back, Rodney. :)

  2. Welcome back,Rodney. Have missed your blogging aka communication.

    Friend zone. I have been on both sides of the zone. Does not always feel right but that is often what life or destiny leads people to.

    Sometimes people are in a friend zone because it is safer or they have been hurt in the past. The age factor sometimes rears its head as well. I don't mean children. I mean adults . Often a guy wants to be with a younger woman but is satisfied just to be in her life as her friend. Rarely does a man seek an older woman." It's okay to be friends"

    But on the other hand, an older woman might seek a relationship with a younger or older man. There is a stigma with either one. The men , in those cases, might prefer to be friends only, for their own personal reasons.

    Sometimes I see the friend zone as a border-less wall put there until someone cares enough to chisel away.