The (Un)Friend Zone

I apologise for my absence – it was my birthday a few days ago. Let me make it up to you!

I’m going to tell you a story. It goes like so:

Once upon a time, there was a 15 year old girl called Laura, who had a really close male friend. She thought the world of him – even though everyone else found him quite irritating and selfish. She just never saw that side of him. She was really glad to have him as a friend.

One day, Laura and her friend – let’s call him “Ben” – went for a walk in the local area. Ben decided, for some reason, he wanted to go to the grave yard (yeah, creepy, right?) because there was something in there he wanted Laura to see. So she obliged, and off they went. He took her to a patch of grass and sat down… then turned to her and asked her to freakin’ marry him

Laura was shocked – she had no idea he felt that way, and she never wanted to get married, and, well, Ben just wasn’t her type. He was her close friend, and she liked it that way; she didn’t want anything more. So Laura decided to do the right thing, and tell him the truth. He nodded, she gave him a sympathetic hug, and they both went home. As soon as she got through the front door of her house, she received a message from Ben. He called her a total bitch, and said it would be her fault if he went to kill himself that night. Laura was devastated and broke into tears. She told her family, who called him a git. She told her friends.. who sided with Ben, because she’d totally “friend-zoned” him and she was ‘cruel’.

As I’m sure you can tell, this actually happened to me when I was 15. It was seriously scary and upsetting. But you’ll be glad to know he didn’t kill himself at all. Still, the subject of the “friend zone” is one that touches a nerve with me, naturally. So you can only imagine how I felt when on my news feed this morning, I found this:

Yeah, seriously. This exists.
Yeah, seriously. This exists.

I’ve had enough of this shit too. I have a personal policy when it comes to people who insist upon the friend-zone being a real thing, something which is increasingly well known. I UNFRIEND YOUR ASS.

You read that right. You talk about how you, or someone you know, has been “friend-zoned” and, context permitting, I will cease to be your friend. Some people think this is rather dramatic, but I totally disagree. Allow me to explain this policy.

You see, bleating about the friend zone actually says a lot about a person and how they view their friendship and relationships, stuff that probably influences the way they act. People that believe in the friend zone are looking at friendships and intimate relationships from a particular angle – the ‘slot machine’ angle. It works like this:

Exhibit A.
Exhibit A. 

Friendship is a slot machine – you put “niceness” chips in, and you expect eventually the “machine” will put out in a particular way. You’ve been nice to it, you’ve given it your time and all your niceness chips. You deserve a reward. So when the machine doesn’t put out, you’re upset. You maybe shake the machine, demand to know why it isn’t working, and walk away from it to find a machine that does work like that.

One error these people make is that friendships just don’t work that way. In fact, they might look a little more like this:

Yeah, those 'niceness chips' really get around, buddy.
Exhibit B. Yeah, those ‘niceness chips’ really get around…

Let’s say each of those people are the female’s friend, and the arrows are the famous ‘niceness’ chips. Some of them might be interested in relationships with one of those ladies… but judging by the diagram, niceness chips alone doesn’t quite cut it. They both have plenty of niceness chips, and they’re giving plenty of them back. Friendships, much like relationships, are reciprocal – you give something, they give something too.

Plus, the other point about friendships is the reason why you are being nice to someone. Most people are nice to their friends because they enjoy their company, and they want to keep these people happy because dang, these people are awesome to hang out with. If you are being nice to someone simply because you expect something particular in return – like some sweet, sweet lovin’ – you might be a manipulative selfish butthole. Your niceness does not entitle you to any special favours – it is the cornerstone of a good friendship, and a good friend is all that it entitles you to. That’s it. Nothing else.

I was nice to her, so that totally means I can steal her stuff, right?
I was nice to her, so that totally means I can steal her stuff, right?

When relationships do form out of friendships, it’s because that person offers something else on top of niceness coins – like they find them physically attractive, or they share the same sense of humour or something. So if they don’t accept your offer for a relationship, it simply means you were missing that magical ingredient at that time. It sucks for you, but deal with it. Life isn’t a fucking fairy tale. Do not reject their choice entirely and tell them you’re a ‘nice person’ who totally just got shoved into a ‘friend-zone’ by someone who totally only wants to date ‘losers’ or ‘assholes’. (Acting like an asshole isn’t going to make them jump into your arms.) Try respecting their choice as an adult of reasonable intelligence who is fully capable of making their own damn life decisions.

So when I say I will not be your buddy if you talk to me about the damn friend-zone, what I mean is just this – I am convinced that you will only see me in terms of what I can do for you, and not as a real person with real feelings, who makes legitimate choices about my own life, or as a person you might like to have around just because we have fun. I don’t want a friendship based on manipulation and bullshit, thanks. Welcome to the unfriend-zone.

The (Un)Friend Zone

12 thoughts on “The (Un)Friend Zone

  1. So, that “rape zone” meme was something one of my female friends sent to me because I used to get accused of this frequently. I love your post, because you are 100% right on target. I used to think something was wrong with me when these guys would get mad that I didn’t want them, but now I learning to think like a self-respecting individual and get that it is the guys that are thinking messed up!

    Just seeing from some of your other post titles, we would get along great. I found your blog by searching for the zerotohero tag, and for today’s assignment I am going to share your page! I don’t expect the same in return I just wanted to reach out and let you know 🙂 Good luck with it!

    1. The rape zone meme is so gross, I’m amazed it actually exists :/

      I’m sorry you get accused of friend-zoning people! It’s the worst. I used to think it was my fault too, and that I should have liked those guys in that way. It takes you a while to realize you aren’t the one in the wrong when everyone is telling you otherwise. Really glad though that things are improving and you don’t blame yourself! 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to chat to me, I really appreciate it and I love to hear people’s opinions on my blog. I’ll happily check yours out for you too! 😀

  2. YES. so much yes.
    i can’t believe that rape meme exists.
    it used to bother me, but then i just had to accept that people who think friend-zoning is legitimate are also people i probably don’t want to be friends with. can’t have everything in life, i guess.

    1. I know right, it’s so horrible! Who would think that’s okay?!

      It’s sad, but you’re right, ultimately. They just aren’t that great people to have around. Life is short – it’s better to spend it with nice people who appreciate you for you, and not what they can get from you 🙂

  3. Well said. In college I was in love with a guy and we were good friends. I confessed my feelings, he said thank you but no. I went home and cried, felt like shit for two months, and then moved on with my life.

    Do you know what I didn’t do? Call him an ass and berated him to my friends, or felt like IT WAS MY RIGHT to be with him because I had put in the “emotional time.” Even at 19 I realized that attraction is a tricky beast with many layers, not a Sim’s Game.

    Yeah, the Friend’s Zone has got to go.

  4. Well said! This type of entitled thinking (and the concept of a relationship as a transaction) has got to change, and talking about it is the best way to make that happen. Thanks for adding your voice. 🙂

  5. I’ve been in the (we’ll just call it the FZ to maintain the possibly future blogger friendship) before. I agree with you, it wasn’t her. Well it was, she was awesome, beautiful, friendly, understanding and all the other stuff I might look for in a woman. However it’s not going to work out. I used to get upset with her “leading me to the FZ”, now I realize all she did was become a friend. I was the one with different expectations (delusions?) I am happy to be in her FZ, cause she’s an awesome friend! (3rd camping trip coming this June..)

    The most dangerous part of the FZ is communication. There are those I’m sure that either intentionally or by mistake do lead others to think there is a chance at something more. I think more often than not, the person in the FZ put themselves there. So as long as you are not being used, guess what! You’ve got a new friend, isn’t that a good thing?

    1. I actually think it was really brave of you to admit to that on this thread, just saying 😛

      You’re right though, while some people do intentionally lead others on, those are few and far between – for most I think it’s an accidental thing, that just happens as part of their friendship. The person in the ‘FZ’ put themselves there most of the time, and the more we talk about it as though it’s a real thing, the more we perpetuate this idea that being decent to someone entitles you to something more than decency in return.

      Anyway, I’m glad that you still have a great friendship with that person! 🙂

  6. SG says:

    I love your writing and totally agree with you! I found this post through google images and that disgusting meme. I rejected a man and two weeks later he raped me. So yeah belief in the “friendzone” and self proclaimed “nice guys” send up huge red flags for me.

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