I will admit, I have knowingly put men who confessed feelings towards me into the dreaded “friend zone.” Have I done this with malice, manipulation, or spite in mind? Potentially. But I’m not alone in this. I don’t believe anyone could say they have always had positive experience in relationships and in a generation that promotes a casual approach to dating, the friend zone is necessary. Sometimes we have to put people in the friend zone in order to maintain any type of communication with the other person, because we genuinely want to continue the friendship.
There are many more positives to the friend zone than people realize, for instance, being labelled as “just a friend” can prevent you from jumping too hastily into a relationship, especially with the wrong person. Would anyone really want to begin dating someone who has difficulty seeing them as more than a friend? That doesn’t sound like a very healthy way to begin a relationship and resentment and spite can build very quickly.
The friend zone is actually a very helpful tool. Honestly, would anyone want to be with someone just out of pity? That would be a lot more cruel than outright rejecting someone. People should not be expected to give someone a chance when they really, genuinely do not want to. People should also not be judged for keeping someone as a friend. It’s often categorized as manipulative or cruel behaviour. The person doing the friend-zoning is still reaping the benefits of a friendship, but that is not true. Why should someone be expected to sever all ties because the other developed feelings, something that is very much out of their control?
Being able to put someone in the friend zone is beneficial, because rather than having to complicate things with the added pressure of a relationship, you can enjoy a genuine friendship and with honesty and respect. In my experience, the person in the friend zone is the one that wants to continue communication. This makes it easier to develop a closer friendship, because you lay out the groundwork at the beginning and don’t have to find out down the road that this person had or has feelings for you, causing you to question the validity of the friendship.
A friend is also going to feel more comfortable around you and won’t try hard to impress you. They will be more supportive and become a confidant. Being close with someone of the gender you are pursuing is a good way to develop your communication skills and ultimately improve your abilities to have a romantic relationship with someone else.
A positive thing
It’s not a bad thing to want a friend over a relationship. Friendship with someone you reject may seem awkward or messy but they’ll end up feeling closer to you once they are aware of how you really feel. It’s less awkward after the feelings have been talked through and allows both parties to pursue someone they are actually romantically interested in later on.
In the end, it is clear the friend zone exists and is not an evil or depressing place to be. It is a positive thing, for both parties. The rewards? A solid friendship, and the avoidance of a pressured and poor relationship.
– Emily Keller
The idea of a friend zone, while I’m not entirely sure how to start this, should be discussed by starting with the end. It doesn’t exist! Period! The end! OK, actually it is probably not that simple and it may in fact be a feeling that some individuals legitimately believe they have. However, this is an overused and antiquated socially constructed coping mechanism. That might have been a super convoluted way of explaining it, but I think it gets my point across. For some men, and even some women, acts of friendship or helpfulness can be taken as a sign of mutual attraction. When this discontinuity of perception is discovered, the individual may become hostile. It’s merely a reaction to failed reciprocation and a way to protect one’s ego.
Some people may say they have “friend-zoned” an individual, backing up their choice to not date them. However, I believe that this is an unnecessary choice someone has to make. If feelings are not mutual in the way one party is perceiving a relationship, why is it necessary to put them in a friend zone? If a person changes the initial way they feel for someone they had previously put in the friend zone, are they no longer allowed to like them due to the category they put this individual in? I don’t think so; hence, I think attraction is ultimately a fluid emotion. Therefore it is not necessary to put someone in a friend zone and not necessary to have a friend zone.
I feel as if the term friend zone devalues the very thing it’s supposed to stand for, which is friendship. Real friendships are hard to come by and the thought of ruining the chances of having one just because you want something that isn’t reciprocated is ignorant. Often the term is used when one individual believes that the other person is attracted for the wrong reason, for example, in a physical aspect. The view that one person needs to have a physical aspect in a relationship suggests that platonic friendships are some sort of penalty box, rather than a relationship one should be grateful to have.
Feeling of captivity
If you’re a “nice person” to whoever you are interested in, up until you realize they don’t want to date you and then go on about how they friend-zoned you, nobody is going to want a piece of that pie. Ultimately you’ll come off as a passive aggressive individual, with an internal victim complex. Furthermore, the term “zone” creates a feeling of captivity in which the individual has absolutely no chance of getting out.
I don’t believe this to be the case; as mentioned beforehand, attraction can be a fluid emotion that evolves over time. For certain individuals, the way they feel one day may not be the same way they feel the next. Letting each individual have the right to feel however they want, is the key to getting over the stigma of the friend zone. For each person to have whatever feelings they want and to interact in a socially and societally respectable way, there would be no need for these labels.
However, this often is not the case and for these outlines to be upheld takes work from both parties. Ultimately the friend zone doesn’t exist but rather it is a mere blip in time for which certain feelings are either felt or not felt.
– Tyler Dziwenko