Written by Chad Echakowitz
"‘So there’s this girl right, she’s super pretty, really funny and we get along really well. I knowshe’s single because I’ve brought it up in conversation before, but for some reason I can’t get out of the Friend Zone.’"
How many times have you heard this, or something similar to this? A person, either male or female, who is so frustrated that they cannot take their relationship with another person to the next level because they have been placed in this magical prison that prevents them from achieving a heightened level of intimacy: The Friend Zone. This is a zone for the haplessly frustrated underdog who can’t seem to catch a break. Society has regarded these Friend Zoned people as the victims; our unsung heroes. But that’s not the reality. These people are actually the worst of humanity, and if you use the phrase ‘Friend Zone’, you probably deserve to be there. Here’s why.
1. There is No such Thing as the Friend Zone
So he/she doesn’t want to take the relationship to the next level. They haven’t said it outright, but they say things like, ‘you’re my best friend’, or ‘I love you as a friend’, or even ‘I wish I could find someone like you’. You know there’s no chance of taking the relationship to the next level - so what do you do? You immediately create this mystical place called the Friend Zone to which you have been relegated because someone does not feel the way about you that you feel about them. Well it’s a myth and you need to get over it.
You are a friend. That’s not a bad thing. It’s not a category or a file or a zone in which you are compartmentalized just because your advances have been rejected. It is more than likely you have always been considered a friend and there is no extended feeling beyond platonic love for you because of the friendship foundation on which the relationship is built. Being a friend is not some back cupboard in which lost things are kept: it is a legitimate relationship on which many deep bonds are built, and just because you were rejected does not mean that your friendship is a second hand prize. The Friend Zone exacerbates a feeling of failure which is unwarranted given the other person’s feelings. They love you as a friend. Many people never even get to feel that love. It is not a bad thing and it should never be portrayed as such. The Friend Zone does this. It only exists to make one feel worse about being rejected. If you forget about it, you’ll realize that being a friend isn’t a bad thing, and if there was no higher level of intimacy before, you haven’t actually lost anything.
2. You’re Selfish
You say you love this person. That you care for them so much, you want to take the relationship to the next level. They then, unfortunately and for whatever reason, reject you and send you back to the “Friend Zone”. What you have done is make yourself out to be the victim. You put yourself out there, you were rejected, and now you belong to the island of lost toys, where sadness reigns and unsung heroes can wallow in unhappiness. Well, no – you’re a selfish asshole.
By making yourself the victim you are undermining the other person’s choice to not take the relationship further. You’re saying that what you want (a more intimate relationship) is more important than what they want (a friendship). They did not want what you wanted and now you are the victim. By prioritizing your feelings and being upset, hurt and offended by their reaction, you are showing that you never actually loved them because you have no consideration for how they feel and you are not willing to take that into account and respect it. It is a selfish attitude which shows your true colours. I’m not surprised they rejected you.
Everyone has the right to make a choice when it comes to who they enter a relationship with. By being upset and playing the victim because their choice did not agree with what you wanted, you are disrespecting that person and their choice. Because you clearly have no respect for them, you clearly do not love them. The attraction you feel is not on a higher level than physical attraction at best, and even if it were deeper, you still prioritize yourself. All of these are massive warning signs which prove that the person was right to reject you.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be upset. Being rejected sucks. Countless girls have made the decision to keep my relationship with them strictly platonic and for weeks afterwards I struggled to feel happy again. But I did not play the victim. You are not the victim here. It is their choice and you should respect it as an adult. Be sad – don’t be a victim.
3. You’re a Child
You got rejected by the person you have feelings for. Now you put yourself in this mystical zone of sadness. Well, wake up, buddy. This is real life – we don’t always get what we want. If you believe in the Friend Zone, it is more than likely that you get whatever you want and when you don’t, you get all sulky. You’ve made up this zone where you are the good guy and the person who rejected you is the big meany who is a stinky poopy head and you’re going to tell your mummy. Sorry, I decided to get on your level there, and act like a child, because, essentially, that is what you are. You’re acting like a spoiled child who hasn’t had their way and now you’re going to act out. Anyone who says no to you is the bad guy and you’re always the good guy. Their rejection was unfounded and you cannot possibly see why you have been put in the Friend Zone.
Stop it. Please just stop it. You are not a child. You are a rational adult who should understand that everyone has choice and preferences and affinities and sometimes you just don’t fit into those preferences, regardless of how you feel. Life is full of rejections and if you can’t handle it, you need to have a good hard look at yourself and realize, that’s probably one of the reasons you were rejected in the first place.
4. You Compartmentalize
If you believe in a Friend Zone, you probably scale your relationships according to certain values, such as whether you have sex with a person, whether you hug or handshake, or whether you share intimate details with them. Either the person is an acquaintance, a friend, a best friend, or a girlfriend or boyfriend. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this necessarily, but you are missing the point. Life isn’t so simple. Relationships aren’t black and white. They have multiple hues of grey which make up the spectrum of human interaction. We have friends that we like more than other friends, we also have friends that we only like, and others that we love. We also have ex-lovers who we now hate and others who we are still friends with. The point is, relationships are messy and complicated.
The Friend Zone misses this concept completely. It infers that if you love someone and they don’t love you back in the same way, then you are only a friend. This may not necessarily be true. People can feel things on different levels. A person can still ‘love you as a friend’ but not be in love with you. If you cannot understand that, or see that relationships can be complex in this way, then you don’t have the emotional understanding yet to engage in a relationship beyond friendship. The other person does not deserve to be mistreated by someone who cannot see that relationships are not made out of zones, but are rather like oceans, that mix together but keep their basic structure intact.
There you have it. I hope for your sake that you turn your life around. Everyone deserves love, to feel the kind and gentle touch of someone who cares so deeply about you and just you. But everyone deserves to choose who they love, and if it’s not you, you need to be okay with that. It hurts, but you’ll get over it. There is no Friend Zone, there is only life in its infinite complexity. We as humans have been graced with a higher level of cognition which allows us to understand the nuances of love and affinity. If you can’t realize that, then maybe you belong in your imaginary Friend Zone.