It’s being spoken about all the time but does the friendzone exist and is it really that bad? According to some, the concept itself is quite detrimental because of the underlying assumptions.
What Exactly is the Friendzone?
This term refers to a friendship (usually between a man and a woman), in which one of the parties begins developing a romantic interest for the other one. Most often, men are perceived as the ones being friendzoned.
Friendzone refers to the fact that the other person is either unaware of the romantic interest or not interested in pursuing it. Hence, an individual is being stuck in the friendzone without having a chance to move to boyfriend/girlfriend territory.
Is It an Offensive Term?
Many believe that the term is offensive and that it should go extinct as soon as possible. Several reasons stand behind the problems linked to the friendzone:
- A sexist term: the term is almost always referring to men who are being friendzoned by women. Saying that women aren’t being friendzoned by men is simply wrong and it also enforces the assumption that men are interested in sex anywhere, any time and with anyone. Women are quite often conditioned to refrain from showing the world their sexual desires, which means that a friend of theirs isn’t going to be aware of the romantic interest.
- Escape from responsibility: many individuals believe that they have ended in the friendzone as a result of the sole actions of the other person or some “divine intervention.” Saying that one has been friendzoned is quite indicative of a failure to accept responsibility or understand what went wrong. Instead, higher forces are at play here and individual contributions to the situation are rendered irrelevant.
- Enforcing a dangerous stereotype: the term enforces the destructive idea that men and women can’t be friends without sex being involved. If sex isn’t happening, chances are that one of the parties is friendzoning the other. The use of the term friendzone makes it seem that platonic relationships based on friendship and mutual respect are simply impossible.
- Every relationship between men and women will sooner or later end with sex: another dangerous stereotype, this one suggests that every friendship is sooner or later bound to become sexual. This isn’t the case but often, people start having unrealistic expectations because of it.
Anyone who’s experiencing romantic feelings for a friend but can’t seem to go beyond the platonic phase can attribute the lack of interest to several key reasons.
The reason for being friendzoned is most often a really simple one – the other party isn’t aware of see the romantic interest. Feelings of romantic nature and friendship can be confused with each other. If someone doesn’t come out to make a clear statement about it, chances are that the other person isn’t going to understand the nature of the desire.
Hesitation, mixed messages and low self-esteem will also work against someone that would like to pursue a romantic relationship with someone else. These insecurities don’t stand in the way of starting a friendship but they may interfere with beginning a relationship.
People who are being friendzoned, as already mentioned, tend to blame external factors for the situation. If you’re going through these problems, you may want to take a deeper look at yourself. Your attitude towards other people, communication style and ability to flirt could be standing in the way.
Finally, there’s a genuine possibility that the other person is simply looking for a quality, deep friendship. They may have whatsoever no romantic interest. If a conversation about the topic doesn’t take place, however, it will be incredibly difficult to find out what’s going on.
Avoiding and/or Escaping the Friendzone
You’re experiencing romantic feelings for your best friend. What’s next? How can you take it to the next step without fearing rejection or the risk of losing a person that you’re emotionally attached to?
- Don’t be passive: tell your friend how you feel. A passive approach and lacking the courage to admit your feelings will most definitely deprive you of the opportunity to potentially be in a relationship. If you’re such good friends, you’ll most definitely be capable of working it out.
- Control yourself: if you appear to be way too interested and available, there will be no challenge for the other person. Anything that isn’t challenging and worth fighting for will sooner or later become boring. Don’t shower your friend with love and affection and don’t be available 24/7. If the other person contributes to spending quality time together and finding you, chances are that the right emotional connection will be built sooner or later.
- Be realistic about your expectations: are the two of you a good romantic match? Can you have a meaningful relationship that’s mutually-beneficial. Take a critical look at your intentions. The desire may be stemming from the emotional proximity rather than from the fact that the two of you are a good match.
- Improve yourself: the person that you have a romantic interest in may not respond because of the faults that you still have to deal with. Accept responsibility for your contribution to being friendzoned and work on improving yourself. It could be your confidence level, your communication style and even the fact that you aren’t taking good care of your body (as shallow as this may seem). Remember that we’re talking about your friend here. You know this person well and you’re aware of what they like. Use this information to your advantage.
By Couples Clinic