If you do a Google Image Search for 'friendzone' you'll find thousands of images like this one - by "nice guys", for "nice guys."
I gave “nice guys” their due on Wednesday, but I’m only half done. A generation of “nice guys” has ensured that “nice guy” terminology has found its way into the mainstream, and so long as I’ve got my angry pants on I may as well throw cold water on something else a lot of other young men spend a lot of time obsessing over: The fabled “friendzone.”
The greatest fear of “nice guys” and regular guys alike is winding up in their unrequited love’s “friendzone,” a platonic prison from which supposedly nobody can escape. I hear guys roughly my age griping all the time about painstakingly getting close to the object of their affections only for her to think of him as a buddy instead of a boyfriend, at which point she tortures him by confiding in him about all of her relationships with guys who live outside the zone.
The “friendzone” is so frequently discussed that it even has a verb now – “friendzoned” – which I hear in one permutation or another just about every week, usually from a mopey guy working his way through his third $9 Coors:
“Well, fiddlesticks. I really thought Sloan and I were going to be an item, but she friendzoned me faster then a flapper dancing the jitterbug! Okay, but seriously, what decade are these examples coming from?”
Look at that phrasing – “she friendzoned me.” It’s stupid for two reasons: 1) It makes a woman’s friendship sound like some malicious attack, and 2) It operates under the assumption that the woman had any choice in the matter – that she just decided not to go out with you as casually as she would order a side salad instead of fries.
I’m far from a relationship expert, but what little I do know is that relationships require a lot of time, energy, sacrifice, compromise, and painful control of flatulence. I certainly wouldn’t want to subject myself to all of that unless the other person was somebody I really cared about and wanted to be with – and just like last week, I’m inclined to believe that women behave more or less the same way.
So she didn’t choose to put you in the “friendzone” – if you’re in the “friendzone” she just doesn’t like you enough to date you. Ouch, right? Sorry.
The reason very few guys ever “break out” of the “friendzone”? It’s not because women are fickle creatures with some unspoken code about never dating a guy they’re friends with; it’s because if a woman doesn’t have a romantic interest in you right off the bat it’s pretty difficult to convince her to develop one.
I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m shitting on my own gender, because I’m not trying to. I’ve lived all of this – over the course of my life I’ve spent so much time in the so-called “friendzone” that I’m probably eligible for jury duty and in-state tuition there by now. It’s an unpleasant, frustrating, extremely emo place to be – and the whole reason it exists is so men can blame women for putting them there.
I view the “friendzone” in the same way I view religion – it’s a narrative created by men to answer questions they couldn’t answer themselves. In this case, the question was, “I like this woman and she’s being nice to me – why doesn’t she want to fuck me?” The real answer, “She doesn’t like you like that,” is a tough pill to swallow and it begets a lot of other unhealthy questions like, “Why doesn’t she like me like that?”, “What’s wrong with me?”, and worst of all, “How can I change to make her like me?” To save face, men came up with, “She’s a thoughtless bitch who misinterpreted your signals as signs of platonic friendship and put you in the friendzone, all through no fault of your own. Now go read a Tucker Max book.”
Unlike religion, which when used in moderation can bring people joy and foster a sense of community, the notion of a “friendzone” isn’t helping anyone. Right now we have a nation full of young men who honestly believe that if they aren’t careful the woman of their dreams could decide to target them for platonic friendship at any moment. Men who are in the “friendzone” subject themselves to emotional torture trying to figure out what made the woman decide to put them there, and how they can possibly break out.
The world is full of women, and no matter who you are there are always going to be women who don’t want to be with you, and it's profoundly unfair to try and fault them for that. It's not their fault and it's not your fault - it just is. Fortunately, there are also always going to be women who do want to be with you.
When you get spurned by a woman who doesn't want you, you've got a choice to make: You can either concoct a story about a mystical zone of friendship and lock yourself inside of it to be miserable, or you can accept the fact that she doesn't like you (alcohol makes that easier) and go find someone who does.
Truman Capps has-
Oh, I almost forgot – ladies? Hi there. I’ve been passing out advice to guys for the past two updates and I’m scared it might look like I’m throwing my gender under the bus to score points, so I wanted to give you all a protip as well:
When you make plans to go out with a guy, you really need to take punctuality a little bit more seriously. Yeah, I know, you’re putting on makeup – maybe try putting your makeup on sooner or scheduling your dates later so that the guy doesn’t wind up sitting in the bar alone for 45 minutes getting sidelong glances from the bartender while you text updates like, “ok leaving now!!!” or “arrgh i can never find parking in hollywood :/”
Men might construct elaborate misogynistic excuses to explain why women won’t fuck them, but at least we show up on time.
Also! Ladies! Lip rings: Don’t get them. Seriously; eww.
Truman Capps has no doubt made an enemy of every plus-sized male fedora owner in America at this point.