The Friend Zone’s Non-Existence

Is there really a friend zone or is it something we make ourselves by not acting on our feelings when we should? New staff writer Stephany Salinas discusses the composition and psychology of this hated place. Have you ever been in the friend zone?

Ah, the infamous “Friend Zone”.

For the few of you who may not know what the definition of the “Friend Zone” is, Ryan Reynolds lays it out for you in “Just Friends”;

“See, when a girl decides that you’re her friend, you’re no longer a dating option. You become this complete non-sexual entity in her eyes, like her brother, or a lamp”.

Men are almost always the ones I hear talking about the torturous “Friend Zone”. As a girl in my mid 20’s, I’ve been accused of being a serial “Friend Zoner” by multiple guy friends. Today, I’m here to tell you that it’s all bull. The “Friend Zone” may exist, but it’s existence is dependent on and created by the sorry bastard that chooses to be there.

Why on Earth would a male (or female in some cases) CHOOSE to be in this “Friend Zone”? I’m glad you asked.

The typical woman waits for a male to approach her, whether it be at a bar, or whatever social gathering you happen to be at. In the years I’ve spent in the dating scene, I’ve noticed that it’s not very common for a male to randomly approach me and start up a conversation. I’m not hideous, and I clean up rather well, so what gives? I took it upon myself to ask my male friends, and got the same answer repeatedly.

Rejection. Fear of rejection. Google rejecting, and the first definition to pop up is, “Dismiss as inadequate, inappropriate, or not to one’s taste”. Well, that just sounds awful, which is why I think this whole “Friend Zone” shenanigan started with fear of rejection.

The Rejection Theory:

So how does rejection play into the whole “Friend Zone” topic? Easy. When a guy first starts talking to you, his intentions of being attracted to you are either crystal clear, or pretty hazy. The latter tends to be the majority, and you assume he’s just not that into you. There’s a good portion of men out there who will refuse to throw themselves and their intentions out there because they don’t want
to feel that rejection. Better safe that sorry, right? WRONG. Your unclear intentions send mixed signals. Women don’t do well with mixed signals. We over-analyze, indulge in ice cream, watch chick flicks, and convince ourselves that you don’t want to pursue anything further. That’s just how women are programmed. It’s rare to find a women who is strong and confident enough to get what she wants. Probably because the term “Stage Five Clinger” comes to mind? This will lead to categorizing.

Categorizing:

When you first meet a man, you put him into a category. Date-able, or not. For me, I used to take the “innocent until proven guilty” approach into dating. Every guy was an option until I found out
something that was a turn off. That changed after a few shaky relationships, and I realized I should change something about the techniques I was using. But that’s a whole other topic. Regardless, every man in a girl’s life is categorized, and once you’re in one, there’s a good chance you’re there for life. Where she categorizes you is dependent on YOUR actions upon meeting this girl. Did you ask her on a date, or did you ask her to “hang out”? Did you make it clear you were attracted to her, or did you get nervous and talk about the Bears game? If you don’t show interest, she’ll assume it’s not there, and it’s on to the next one. So man up, and show her you’re interested. And no, I don’t mean sit her down and have a talk, or write her a song excessively displaying your love for her. That’s weird, and she’ll probably wonder if you have a fever. There’s ways show you’re interested, and here’s a fantastic video with a few tips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOzK_ywD0Ac. Doing this will help you reach a verdict.

The Verdict:
If you (a stranger, acquaintance, or established friend) have made it clear that you wants to date this woman, the ball is now in her court and it’s up to her to decide whether she’s into it or not. Yes or no. NO “maybe’s”. That’s rude. Once the choice is made, the ball is passed and it’s now up to you to decide whether or not you’re going to be or continue to be friends with the potential “Friend Zone-r”, the girl. This is assuming that she has made is PERFECTLY clear to you that she is NOT interested in any sort of romantic relationship. (Leading someone on is just mean, so if you’re doing that, grow up and knock it off.)

The Aftermath:
If you choose to stay friends with a girl after she’s rejected you, that’s on you. If you truly value her friendship after she’s made it clear she doesn’t want to take it any further, then accept it. Accept that this girl doesn’t, and may never want a relationship with you. This isn’t a Hollywood romantic comedy, and there’s a very very slim chance she’s going to come to the realization that you’re her soul mate after years of you being patient. Sorry to burst your bubble.

There’s PLENTY of other girls out there. Have her be your wing woman. Hey, maybe her seeing you attract other women will change her views on you. Whatever you do, don’t sit there and feel sorry for yourself, and invent this “Friend Zone” limbo just so you can put yourself in a category.

The “Friend Zone” won’t exist as long as you don’t let it.

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3 thoughts on “The Friend Zone’s Non-Existence

  1. Hey Stephany,

    Our mutual friend Maddie drove my clicks to this post from FB (you can thank her for the traffic). I wanted to first say congrats on getting this piece published here, I’ve been blogging for over a year now on my employer’s blog and it is always exciting/challenging.

    As for your post, I agree with almost all of what you said; the onus is on the man (or shall I say, the one being “friended”) as to whether to continue the relationship or not. However, I do have one issue – why is 100% of the onus on the man to do the approaching? Dating has evolved in so many ways in this modern world, however, it seems that many women still feel as though it is 100% the man’s responsibility to make the initial step (I say “many” because it is not “all” – there are women who step out on the ledge as well).

    Relationships are just that – relationships. They evolve and change, and ultimately a friendship is a great thing for two people to have. If a man isn’t happy with that, then they can do as you said – no bubble bursting here.

    Thanks,
    Kevin

  2. Kevin,

    Thank you for your comment. I love hearing other people’s opinions and feedback on these kinds of topics!

    Honestly, I agree with you as far as the approaching. It’s absolutely okay for a female to approach a man, but as a female, I can honestly say I rarely ever do. While the dating world has evolved, and both sexes are being treated more as equals, there is still something about a man approaching us that makes us feel sexy and feminine. And we all know women could use that confidence boost. Not to say that men don’t need it also, but women often feel more vulnerable when put into scenarios like that. Maybe it’s because the parents of our generation were those who came from a time where men picked us up, opened the door, and grabbed the check. Things are different these days, but a lot of us were raised and taught to wait for the man to approach you.

    This is also something I’ve been meaning to write about. How the routine of men approaching women is nearly lost among men in their 20’s. I’m more likely to get hit on by a 40-something year old man than someone my age.

    That being said, it’s quite unfortunate that so much responsibility is put on the male to make the first move, but it shows initiative and confidence, which is something we instinctively look for.

    I hope I answered your question adequately! Thank you again so much 🙂

    -Stephany

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