Social Question

seawulf575's avatar

Can we talk about the Friend Zone?

Asked by seawulf575 (16649points) 1 month ago

Friend Zone is a relational situation where one person wants to get romantic or sexual and the other doesn’t, but wants that person around them still. The one seeking romance/sex is said to be in the Friend Zone.

This brings up all sorts of questions. Have you ever been Friend Zoned? Have you ever Friend Zoned any one? If you have Friend Zoned someone, why did you do it? Did you even know that person wanted more than just friendship? If you’ve been Friend Zoned, how did you deal with it? Is it possible or even healthy to be in a Friend Zone relationship with someone for a long period? Is the Friend Zone different from having friends of the opposite sex that as friends? Have you ever had friends of the opposite sex for a long period?

Most of this applies to people in an uncommitted relationship.

This is in social, but let’s keep somewhat on topic. This is not political, don’t drift into that.

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42 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

No I’ve only been in the friend zone once. I told her that I loved her, and she ghosted me. I contacted her online, and she told me to get counseling, and I got indignant. She then called the cops, and that was it. It get complicated after that.

seawulf575's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 That doesn’t sound like you got Friend Zoned as she didn’t want you as a friend. That sounded more like unrequited love. Sorry to hear you went through it, though.

janbb's avatar

I was friend zoned by a guy I was close to after my marriage ended. It was very painful.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Friendzone is a bullshit term.

The person who decides you’re in the friend zone (it is usually a one-sided decision) is a coward, who doesn’t have the balls to say “it’s over” – so they put you (in their minds) in some murky semi-friendly status.

Basically the person wants to keep you on a string just in case their new relationship goes bad, sort of a backup first-baseman.

It’s really cowardice on the part of the friend-zone causer.

My history: if someone says “I just want to be friends” – I have no interest in ever seeing them again.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

^^ You say it’s a B.S. term then go on to explain it perfectly. There are some people who IMO, take it a step further. Once they know a person fancies them, they use that person by whatever means they wish. They become a resource to be used when needed.

Zaku's avatar

I think it’s a problematic term, because it carries several assumptions that are not necessarily true.

But it is certainly true that someone one person wants an intimate relationship and another doesn’t but would still like to remain friends.

It doesn’t have to be dysfunctional.

I’ve been in such a situation (they wanted a romantic relationship, I didn’t, but I was happy to be friends), and by clear communication, it wasn’t difficult (for me), we’re still good friends, and they moved on romantically. We never referred to the idea “friend zone”.

I’ve been in the other direction too, and have seen cases where it doesn’t work out because the amorous one doesn’t move on, and one or both people do suffer with it.

seawulf575's avatar

@Zaku I’m with you that it doesn’t have to end badly. But I believe it is rare to end okay. Someone is going to be hurt, someone gets used, someone interferes with the amorous interactions of the other….many issues can arise. Things just get complicated. Matters of the heart are rarely clean cut.

I got Friend Zoned once, before the term came about, but that’s what it was. I knew a girl. I had asked her out a number of times. She always declined, even telling me I was too nice. One evening I met her at the bar and she was a wreck. She had just gotten done breaking up (again) with the idiot she was clinging to because he beat her ass (again). She was telling me how she hated guys like that and just needed a nice guy. ??? I told her that she was lying to herself. She craved the bad boys and wasn’t really upset about the beatings. If she didn’t crave them and was really upset about being a punching bag, she’d have not gone back to this guy repeatedly (I think this was time number 6 for her with this guy). I told her she always said I was too nice…the kind of guy she now said she wanted…but that she turned me down for several dates. I urged her to seek help to get her head on straight. She was shocked but ended up admitting I was right.

On the other hand, I have had several women that were always just friends and remain so to this day. I’ve had girls I dated that, after it ended, we remained good with each other.

janbb's avatar

@elbanditoroso I interpet it differently than you are describing. I don’t see it as someone who has broken up with someone after a romantic attachment. I see it the way wulfie described it – one person wants a romantic relationship and the other wants a platonic relationship. I see it as two people wanting legitimate things but they’re not the same. And it’s also true that some people can breakup and remain friends if they are both ok with it.

“There are more things in Heaven and Earth….”

Dutchess_III's avatar

I put tons of guys in the friend zone. I liked them, liked talking to them, but had no interest in getting intimate with them.

kritiper's avatar

I have been “friend zoned.”
The thing to realize is that if you really like this person, then you might stay with him/her. If not, one needs to realize that it is time to move on.
One can break out of the “friend zone” by putting it to the person in question like this: “Look, I really like you but I would like to get more romantically involved. But if you can or won’t do this, then I’ll say goodbye and leave you alone.” The other person may think this over for a time, or not, and you may hear back from them, or not. If you do, decide on what you want to do next, or, if not, find somebody new.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Friend-zoning someone is a crappy thing to do. It is women who do it more. I don’t think they all mean to, I think many do it without realizing. There have been several women I would have like to be romantically involved with but I valued their friendship more. Making the desire known, destroys that dynamic and the friendship usually dies

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Blackwater_Park
...it’s just another tool a woman can use to fend off unwanted advances. Hopefully without pissing the guy off.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Except it’s not fending them off. It puts them in this insidious grey area. It’s much better if a woman is blunt and says she is not interested.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III What often happens when a guy gets put into the Friend Zone is that he is treated like a paramour when it comes to going out, buying dinner, drinks, etc. but not when it comes to intimacy. And the relationship is all one sided. His feelings are cut out at the beginning so only the woman’s feelings are considered. I’m with @Blackwater_Park that it is far better to just be blunt and not string the guy along.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Being blunt can get you hurt, guys. So many men have this idea that a woman should be flattered by their obvious sexual interest in them, then get pissy and angry when that obvious interest is rejected.
What is wrong with just wanting to be friends?

Blackwater_Park's avatar

It’s fine if it’s genuine but it’s usually not. You can also decline someone’s advances and be polite about it. Let me be blunt now, if a man is interested in being more than friends, he likely will never see you as just that and it’s wrong to put him in the grey area. This applies when a man has to reject a woman also. If you friendzone someone, you’re really using them in a way.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Accepting dates and letting the guy pay is not putting them in the friend zone. It is using them.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Yes it is. That is what the friendzone means. It means you continue to accept the fringe benefits of them pursuing you without any intention of having a relationship with them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^Well, that’s just wrong then.
But that’s not what it means to me.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I get that, it’s what it means to people who say “I was friend-zoned” people have less sinister ideas about what it means but that’s not really it though.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You have been friend zoned @Blackwater_Park due to confusing the he’ll out of me!

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Lol. Sorry. It is confusing. Relationships are complicated.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think maybe it means different things to women than to men.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III Being blunt is a fact of life for guys. You should try being a guy sometime. Norah Vincent did this. Scan down to where she talks about trying to pick up women as a man. She got a real eye opener. And when she did set up dates on the internet she found the women didn’t like the soft, open, caring guy…it was a turn off for them. They wanted the stoic, masculine men. She wrote the book A Self Made Man that chronicled her year long experiment.

syz's avatar

I find the term pretty offensive. So you don’t want to be around me unless I fuck you?

seawulf575's avatar

@syz If someone approaches you with the idea of getting into a romantic relationship with you, to tell them no or to fuck off is entirely your choice. The Friend Zone is when you keep them around, knowing they want a romantic relationship, but you have no intention of ever giving it to them. Of the two options, I would see it as less cruel to tell them to fuck off.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow. So a guy can’t simply enoy a woman’s personality unless she let’s him fuck her? I’m with @syz.
I told you it meant different things to women than to men.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I don’t know why this is so hard to understand. That’s not it at all. Sometimes the negative lens some women see men through creeps me the fuck out. This friend zoning stuff works the other way too but, if we are being honest, women do it more than men because it’s more often men pursuing women. Friend zoning shows a lack of respect by keeping someone in this semi-hopeful grey area. They get used as a backup or worse, just a resource. This is not genuine friendship.

syz's avatar

@seawulf575 That has not been my experience. Not at all.

Every time I’ve been accused of “friend zoning”, it’s been someone that I clearly expressed no romantic interest in but was someone I considered a friend. It’s extraordinarily demoralizing to realize that someone I thought a friend only hung out with me in hopes of getting in my pants.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@syz Not speaking for @seawulf575 but if you were clear in expressing no interest, it was a baseless accusation to say you friend-zoned someone.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well if a guy allows himself to be used, all in the hopes of simply getting into her pants, then bad on them.

syz's avatar

“You’re smart and funny and I enjoy spending time with you, but I just don’t feel that kind of chemistry and I don’t want to date you” is about as clear as I can get, but on more than one occasion the response was a sullen, nasty tone accusing me of friend zoning.

WOMEN. DO. NOT. OWE. MEN. SEX.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Some guys just get angry at the idea that we have 0 interest in the penis they are so proud of!

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@Dutchess_III Agreed
@syz, that shows insecurity/immaturity on their part, not your fault.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III Of course a man can enjoy a woman as a friend. As I said, I’ve had several. But there is a difference in desire between wanting just to be friends and wanting a romantic relationship. The romantic relationship is looking for something deeper than just friends, physically and emotionally. If a guy lets a girl know that is what he is after and she uses all the buzz words to say no without really saying no (which is what happens), she is effectively stringing him along. If she says “No, I’m not interested in you that way” the guy can then move on without harboring some weird hope. And if he doesn’t want to settle for just a friend that is his option as well.

seawulf575's avatar

@syz, Being direct is perfectly acceptable and not Friend Zoning. But as a guy, I can tell you there aren’t as many women out there doing that as you think. Every guy has approached a girl in some public place to ask her out and been greeted with cold stares and flat “No” answers. That isn’t friend zoning either. That is just saying no. If the guy continues to push, that is irritating and stalkish in my book. But I know quite a few guys who are not told flat out “No” but not really told yes either. They are strung along. The guy thinks if he works a little harder she’ll change that maybe to a yes. That is where the Friend Zoning comes into play. Example: “You’re a great guy and I like you a lot. But right now I’m working through some things and don’t want to date seriously.” Yes, the guy was turned down, but he was told he was a great guy and it was really just “right now” that wasn’t good. She likes him but doesn’t.

syz's avatar

@seawulf575 See, if I got that response, I would walk away – that’s a no. “Call me if you find yourself in a better place”, maybe, but to hang around hoping for a romantic relationship…at some point, the guy has to take some responsibility.

Keep in mind, many of us have had life experiences that have influenced how we interact with men. I had a stalker (to the point of almost losing my job and my apartment because of him). I’ve had men call me a “frigid, ugly bitch” because I said no thanks. I’ve been sexually assaulted multiple times (starting at 12 years old). There are plenty of times that women don’t feel safe being direct.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Same here @syz. I’ve managed to avoid getting flat out raped once by telling him I was on my period!

My sister, our dad and I were at a night club once. A guy asked my sister to dance. She politely declined.
The guy leaned over and hissed “Bitch!!” in her face.
My dad came back to the table, saw the stricken look on her face and asked what was wrong.
She told him, and he asked her to point him out. She did.
Dad goes over to the guy, who was sitting down, and said “That girl is my daughter and I think you and I need to step outside.”
The guy jumped up, ready to rumble….but my Dad was 6’5. The guy couldn’t apologize fast enough! He tripped all over his dick apologizing.

seawulf575's avatar

@syz Most guys that have a lot of self respect would walk away. And not look back. Not even a “call me when you get to a better place”. And I agree that guys that put themselves into that position sort of deserve it. But let me ask: if you said something like that to some guy and he continued to hang around, hinting at getting more romantic (because that is what he really wants), wouldn’t you just tell him to bug off? I know I would. I had to do that to a couple girls over the years. Thanks but no thanks. Pushing me on it is pushing me away.

And the problem is that there are many women that will play the guy. Letting him take her out on dates, but not letting it develop into anything. Getting the free meals and dates but not actually wanting to say it is a date. Because if it was a date it’d be getting romantic. No, they are just going out as friends. But he’s paying for everything.

That’s the thing about this question: it goes into so many aspects of this phenomenon.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yep, there are plenty of assholes out there. In both sexes. That isn’t what the question was about.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I quickly learned to never accept a drink from a guy and to never slow dance with someone I wasn’t dating. Guys always want to be paid back in sex. Its ALL about sex with men. Women are more into the relationship aspect.
It’s the men with no self respect that stick in our minds.

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