The Friend Zone

One topic which has been ripping its way across Social Media recently is the issue of “The Friend Zone”, which is a hard concept to explain because there are are so many definitions of it out there. The one which is making the rounds on social media, however, looks like this:

  1. Person A likes Person B.
  2. Person B thinks Person A is a nice person, but not relationship material for them.
  3. Person A does lots of nice things for Person B to try and get them into a relationship.
  4. Person A eventually gets frustrated when Person B still isn’t interested, despite their efforts.
  5. Person A declares that Person B has “friend zoned” them and blames them for Person A not getting what they want.

(If you want a slightly more colourful version, check out Chuck Wendig’s blog entry here.)

I have to say I’m torn on the whole Friend-Zone issue. People and relationships are complicated things, and simple absolute terms rarely apply across all situations. Yeah, being nice to someone because you want something from them (money, help, or sex) is a selfish and prickish thing to do, and if you use the whole “friend-zone” thing as an excuse to blame them for not doing what you want you’re definitely a jerk. On the other hand, people often (but not always) do know (consciously or unconsciously) of another’s intentions and then string them along to get what THEY want by giving hints but never promising anything.

So that’s (one) of the issues with the whole “friend-zone” thing- sometimes the person complaining really was a jerk, sometimes they were a victim, and sometimes both people were jerks. (And note, women do this crap all the time too, even if men all-too-often are the ones you hear complaining about it, so it’s mostly a male thing.)



2 thoughts on “The Friend Zone

  1. The little comic that everyone finds so “enlightening” is particularly vexing for me. I think its because in today’s day and age when dating is a nightmare with mixed messages, there’s a certain arrogance that goes on. that now people have to be afraid that if they feel hurt because someone has denied their hopes for a relationship by “friendzoning” them, that they are suddenly assholes for that too.
    Relationships are too complicated, and suddenly the person who puts themselves out there as vulnerable (male or female) is the the aggressor and the person who has all the power in the situation in the first place is the victim.
    Pretty sick world we’re in when that happens.

  2. I have never heard of friend-zone being applied to help or money – indeed anything other than relationships seems to make no sense to me.

    To me, the hallmark of the friend-zone is that, though you SEEM closer (more friendliness) to getting what you want (sex), you are in fact farther away than even a stranger would be.

    Think of trying to cross a moat with your goal at the centre. From the outer shore you leap, but fall into the moat. You have gotten closer to your goal, but you will never get closer than that. A complete stranger, still on the outer shore, actually stands a better chance than you of crossing the moat (by leap or by draw bridge) and reaching the goal.
    There’s no equivalent in terns of money (or anything else) because there’s no closer-yet-farther moat/zone.

    Nor have I heard of anyone seriously complaining or being jerky. Usually, the besotted has the choice of staying in the moat or crawling back to the outer shore. Often they will choose to stay in the moat, just to be closer to the goal. But either way, s/he still has the choice of staying or leaving – so not much to get jerky about.

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