Been Friendzoned? Why You Need To Ditch The Friendzone Myth
Heard of the friendzone? Perhaps you’ve been friendzoned, or friendzoned someone else. I’ve most heard the term amongst men, but a few women have referred to it as well.
Being ‘friendzoned’ is when you want to be with someone romantically but the other person displays that you’re ‘just’ a friend – not a romantic or sexual partner. I have a few issues with the term friendzone.
Firstly, stating that you’ve been ‘friendzoned’ assumes that there was, at some point, the potential for you to get what you want. ie. to become a romantic and/or sexual partner of the other person. But from the other person’s point of view, they may never have even considered it an option.
When the other person doesn’t show any romantic or sexual attraction back, friendship isn’t wanted or welcomed by the one calling ‘friendzoned’. Instead, the pursuer deflects their sense of rejection back to the object of their affection or lust.
It’s almost like the term friendzone is another way of saying, oh damn, they made a mistake. They took the wrong path. They accidentally want to be ‘just’ friends rather than accept my -exceedingly flattering- offer of becoming my romantic or sexual partner.
Shouldn’t both romantic or sexual partners get equal choice about pursuing any type of relationship together? Is it right to use the term friendzone negatively towards someone who decides not to go ahead and become your partner or sexual conquest? To deride someone over their ability to communicate clearly, to actively consent (or not), by slinging round a term which has become associated with the douchebro ilk?
I don’t think so.
Secondly, what’s wrong with being friends? Sure, you fancy the pants off them. Or maybe they’re the love of your life, and you’re hurt that the feelings aren’t reciprocated. But when someone clearly shows you (whether by words or actions) that they’re just not into you that way, all you can do is accept that. There’s no need to label it up as anything – it’s simply a grown person making a conscious decision based on their feelings.
Friendship has a value of its own. It’s not the consolation prize. Don’t view it as, “Well, I guess if I get to hang round with you still then I suppose we can be just friends.”
I hate that: just friends. There’s no just about it. Friends are hugely important. They’re your support network. They’re who you turn to in times of need (just not for your sexual needs, in this case!).
And for those who think that a man and woman can’t have a successful platonic friendship? You’re so very wrong. Ok, in some circumstances boundaries may need to be set, and then (of course) respected. It wouldn’t be realistic to imagine that every hetero man/woman friendship out there is going to have strictly platonic feelings on both sides. Sometimes one friend does develop romantic/sexual feelings for the other.
It’s how you deal with it when it happens that counts. And chalking it up as being ‘friendzoned’, minimising the value of your friendship with that person by deriding the relationship in that way, insulting them by making it clear you were only friends in order to reach some sort of next level, isn’t the way.
The friendzone myth is persistent, annoying and yes, insulting. It also seems to be a stubborn fixture in (particularly hetero) culture.
If your friend doesn’t want to become your girlfriend (or boyfriend, for that matter), if they don’t respond positively to your sexual advances, don’t be that guy. Don’t whinge about being friendzoned to your mates, making out like your friend is some non-consensual tease and denial bitch. They’ve made a choice which your actions possibly moved them communicate quite clearly, they’ve told you their feelings – now it’s time to deal with it.
Does this person have value to you as a friend, or were you only ever pursuing them for sex or a romantic relationship? Have a think about it – but before you do that, please erase the term friendzone from your vocabulary.
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