Let’s talk about the friendzone!

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Did you know that some of my most popular posts, and also some of my oldest posts, are about the friendzone? Seriously, my second post was about the friendzone (aptly titled “The Friendzone doesn’t exist”) and it’s in my top 20 most viewed posts, which is baffling to me because of the total number of posts I’ve published (This one will be post #606) and the quality of the writing (fun fact: if you write 606 posts over an almost 4 year period, your writing is probably going to improve!).

I saw a question on the dating advice reddit, and I won’t even dive into the question so much as post the subject of the question, which is:

In your opinion how do you hit on a girl and get a date, without landing on the friendzone?

 

It’s an innocent enough and well-meaning question, and I didn’t want to answer it so much as use it as a jumping off point to talk about the friendzone. I get questions about the friendzone a lot, and this question made me think of some points I’ve made in the past about the friendzone. That it doesn’t exist, that there is a distinct difference between having a friend and being in the friendzone, that it’s not so bad, and most importantly, you can always avoid the friendzone. Here’s a little refresher:

The friendzone doesn’t exist

Here’s where I might lose you, but I’m sticking to my guns here. The friendzone doesn’t exist, not really anyway. It can exist to you, but choosing to believe in it is a choice, and that choice determines it’s existence. It’s like anything that exists solely in the mind. If you choose to believe in it, it exists, if you choose not to believe in the friendzone, it doesn’t exist for you. Seriously, try it out. At it’s core, the idea of the friendzone is that there is an attraction to someone you’d consider a friend, that attraction is one-sided, and you’re dissatisfied with that combination. What if, one day, you decided that neither of those things would bother you? What if you woke up and decided that your being attracted to a friend who isn’t attracted to you doesn’t mean you’re in the friendzone, it just means that you’re attracted to a friend, they’re not attracted to you, and that’s that?

A naysayer might point to an example where someone is purposefully being led on, which I completely understand. The thing is, you can choose to be in a situation where you’re being taken advantage of, and choose to remove yourself from that same situation. I usually try to avoid focusing on specific genders and sexual orientations, but so many straight men point to examples in their own lives that sound like this:

I like her, she flirts but she’s made it clear we can’t be romantic, so we’re strictly friends.

Still, she always asks me to do favors for her, and I do them, but I feel taken advantage of.

 

If that sounds all too familiar to you, and it’s your point of contention that the friendzone does indeed exist, I’d like to remind you that you’re making choices that put you in the friendzone. You’re choosing to remain friends with this person and you’re choosing to do favors for them you clearly have a problem with. If you decided to stop doing both of those things, you’d realize that the friendzone doesn’t exist. If the situation was inverted, and it was a straight woman complaining to me about the straight guy she’s sleeping with who refuses to commit, I’d tell her the same thing. You’re making a choice, and if you don’t like the choice you’re making, stop making the same choice. You’re choosing to be just a casual fling, so if you’d like for that to end, choose to end them.

There’s a difference between the friendzone and being friends with someone

There is a very big difference between being friends with someone attractive, and being in the friendzone. One is a relationship status, the other is a state of dissatisfaction. I’m friends with plenty of women who are highly intelligent, very attractive, and very accomplished women. I would never, ever, consider myself to be in the friendzone with any of them because…they’re my friends. Whether or not I’d date them doesn’t matter, what matters is that I am not dissatisfied nor resentful of that fact that we’re just friend.  If you’re friends with someone who you’re attracted to, but don’t feel particularly dissatisfied or resentful that you’re only friends, you’ll never be in the friendzone.

The friendzone isn’t so bad

Even if you disagree with my first point and think that you can be in the friendzone regardless of your choices, and you also disagree that they’re is no difference between being in the friendzone and just being friends with someone who is the sex that you’re attracted to…how bad is it, really, to be friends with someone who is the sex you’re attracted to? If someone is friends with you, odds are good that they think you have some attractive or redeeming qualities. Odds are also good that, if they just so happen to have friends who you might be a match with, you’ve got dating options because of your friendship. I know that we tend to focus on online dating as THE way to meet people, but meeting people to date through friends remains a popular and valid  way to date. If someone has relegated you to friendship, and they are genuine about actually being your friend, you shouldn’t feel any sort of shame when you tell them “Cool, so do you think you know anyone who might be interested in dating me?”. That’s what friends are for, right?

You can avoid the friendzone but…

If you’re friends with someone and they’ve never viewed you as a romantic option, nor would they ever view you that way, there’s not much you can do to change that. What you can do to avoid being relegated to a platonic relationship by someone you might have a shot with is by being direct about your intentions. This part is pretty simple: Ask them out. On a date. Make it clear that it’s a date. If they reject you, accept it and move on.

Now, lot’s of people out there would disagree with me here, and that’s okay. If you disagree and think anyone can avoid the friendzone and as such, literally anyone can turn any rejection they receive into a romantic relations (LOLOLOLYOU’REBUGGINGLOLOLOLOL), here’s my counterpoint: Agree or disagree with me, we both can agree that attempting to convince someone takes up quite a bit of time. More time than it would take to meet someone new, someone who doesn’t need convincing of your value as a romantic partner. Why waste time trying to sell someone on your worth? Even if you do succeed, you poured a ton of time and energy into convincing someone to remotely consider your worth as a romantic partner that probably would have been better served just going out there and meeting someone new.


Whether it’s an active choice or a passive choice, being in the friendzone is a choice. If you feel like someone is using your attraction and friendship to take advantage of you, and choose to remain their friend, you’re putting yourself in the friendzone. 3 things you should know, if that’s a situation you’re currently in: First, they aren’t your friend. Second, that’s not the friendzone, that’s you choosing to be in a one-sided friendship. Third, you choose your friends, and you can choose to opt-out of that friendship at any time. There are no cancellation fees for friendships. Seriously, if this is a situation you’re in, why are you even still friends with this person? Whatever your answer, remember that you’re the one choosing to keep the friendship alive. If you feel like you’re in the friendzone because you like a friend, but they’re not into you, well I have two things to tell you. Firstly, and I say this with love, GET OVER IT. However great they are, they clearly don’t think that you’d be great together. Move on. Lastly, if being friends with an attractive friend bothers you to the point where it is a source of anxiety and/or sadness in your life, maybe you need to make the choice to not remain friends. Some people you just can’t let go of, until you REALLY let go. I’ve done it before, and it sucks in the short-term, but dealing with unrequited feelings on a daily basis are going to suck a whole lot more in the long-term.

Life’s all about choices, and being in the friendzone is a choice. I won’t tell you that you can turn any and every platonic connection into a romantic one, but I will tell you that you can always leave the friendzone if you want to. How you choose to leave it is a choice that is ultimately, up to you.

Good Luck Out There.

 

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

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