Why the term is more backwards then you think.
Friend-zoned.; we’ve all heard of the term. Maybe even used it ourselves once or twice because of how we felt about situations in our lives (i.e. I am forever in the friend zone!). But what does that really mean; to be friend-zoned? Is it a legitimate problem, or is it an excuse we use when someone we care deeply about doesn’t care about us in the same way? And why are there so many negative connotations attached to it? My thoughts are as follows…
As far as I have seen, the context of the term friend-zoned can be broken up into 2 basic categories:
1. A guy/girl who feels unnoticed or rejected because they are to close, to nice, or to unattractive to someone
2. A guy/girl who feels rejected sexual pleasure because they are viewed only as a friend to someone.
At this point you are probably thinking “I understand why you would be upset about the second one, but come on Shelby, the first one is totally understandable”, but I’d have to disagree. If we look closely at each category given above, no matter how far we break them down, we can see not a difference but a distinct resemblance in the two. Both are implying labor exerted and an expectation of reward. i.e. “I was there for you, I treated you well, and I deserve a chance at relationship and/or sex with you”. Both are undoubtedly wrong and completely self-centered ideas. Some of you have heard me use the metaphor “Friend-zoned is the idea a women is a machine you put nice coins into until sex falls out”, this doesn’t just mean the expectation of our human vending machine(which in this case happens to be female) is sex, but can also be replaced with the expectation of a relationship. Either one of these expectations is completely objectifying to both men and women alike.
Let’s take a moment to look at the definition of the term friend. There are two requirements for there to be a “friendship”; some level of trust, and love. To trust is to have confidence in someone you can rely on, i.e. someone supportive & dependable. To love is to care for, guard,& protect. Love is a selfless act of kindness and is to will the good of another.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth.” -1 Cor. 13:4-7
I understand not all of you may believe in the bible but I think we can agree this is a pretty universal definition of what it means to love. Now that we’ve defined loved and that it is now a requirement for there to be friendship, the term “friend-zoned” can no longer be used in the negative connotation listed above because in friendship one does not seek his/her own end. Now we have turned the term ‘friend-zoned’ not into something to be despised and avoided, but desired and honorable. If you take a look at history, maybe yours or some of the people around you, you can see that the lasting relationships are those based on friendship. You meet someone, you become friend, and you both go for the next step, and then are you no longer friends, but what have you become? If we take a look at the term boyfriend/girlfriend the definitions are the same as that of friendship; the difference being a level of commitment and romance(for lack of a better term) then in your other friendships, but the underlined understanding and requirement of friend stay the same- hence the term boyfriend / girlfriend. This makes a committed relationship not different from a friendship but a different kind of friendship, which is why so many people regard their spouse as their best friend.
What is the bottom line? The bottom line is that used in the context given above, ‘friend-zoned” is no longer a proper term because you cannot be considered a friend if you’ve expected something out of the relationship. The truth is, no one owes you anything because you were nice or there for them. You should be that anyway. There could be a million reasons as to why the person does not feel a relationship is right and they aren’t going to give you those reasons under normal circumstances. Face it, we’ve all fallen for that someone whose standards are lower than the ground and have no idea of what it means to treat someone with respect and dignity- it happens(that’s not to say some people, women & men alike, don’t do this intentionally); but this doesn’t mean just because you are a good guy or a good girl that that the person who has turned you down is now the ‘friend-zone” Nazi. It means, that for whatever reason they don’t feel the same as you do and that’s O.K., not everyone you like is going to be the one for you. Maybe they can see that right now, but you can’t. You pick up and move on because they have done nothing wrong, and neither have you. I’m not saying being turned down doesn’t suck, because it does, I’m saying this idea of being “friend-zoned’ is completely backward. The day you walk down that aisle and say your vows is the day you will be “forever friend-zoned”, not the day your best friend turns down your invitation to a relationship.