This week marks the one year anniversary of Paging Dr. NerdLove, which I’m finding absolutely astounding. And I can only say “thank you” to everybody who’s been with me so far and who’s just joined me. I can’t do it without you all.
Since it is the first anniversary of the blog, I thought that it might be a good time to devote a week to one of the topics I get the most requests to return to: the Friend Zone.
Now, as I’ve said before, The Friend Zone is a myth. As much as people like to make a fuss out of it and how horrible the Friend Zone is, the hard and fast truth is that ultimately it comes down to the fact that the person you’re interested in just doesn’t want to sleep with you.
And to be perfectly frank, 99.9999% of the time, that’s your fault. Women don’t put you in the Friend Zone. You put yourself in the Friend Zone.
Getting the Let’s Just Be Friends speech means that ultimately, you fucked up somewhere along the line. You don’t want to be relegated to the Friend Zone? You need to know how people get stuck in there in the first place… and how to avoid it.
Exile in the Friend Zone
Before we get started: yes, this is a topic I’ve covered before – but it’s one that, in my experience deserves to be refined and expanded upon. If you’ve been keeping up with the basics, but you’re still finding yourself stuck in the Friend Zone, then you need to take some time to reflect on how you ended up there; after all, there are many paths that lead to the friend zone… and different zones entirely.
Yup. There is, in fact, more than one Friend Zone.
Stick with me here.
The Different Friend Zones
Friend Zone v. 1: Let’s Just Be Friends
This version of the Friend Zone is, frankly, born out of generations of socialization that teaches women to always be concerned about a man’s feelings and take care to not cause offense. It can be difficult for women to tell a guy directly that she just isn’t interested in him romantically or sexually, especially to his face , when you don’t want to hurt his feelings. Giving him the Let’s Just Be Friends speech (LJBF) is a – theoretically – gentler way of saying”look, I don’t want to date you/sleep with you”.
Sometimes this happens because the recipient pushed too hard, too fast and ended up ruining the chance of a sexual attraction building naturally. Sometimes, this is intended as a brush-off – the one giving the LJBF speech is hoping that the person on the recieving end will take the hint and leave. Other times, they are being entirely honest: they really would prefer to be friends. They may think that sex ruins friendships or they may be interested in somebody else. The reasons may differ but the end result is the same: you’re not going to progress beyond “friend”. If that.
Friend Zone v.2 : The Big Lie From a Nice Guy
The second form of the Friend Zone involves being in a relationship under false pretenses. This is, surprisingly enough, the most common form; it’s the end result of the Platonic Friend Backdoor Gambit, wherein a person – almost always a man – pretends to only be interested in a platonic friendship with the hope that he can weasel his way into her heart and/or panties, given enough time. It’s the move by men who ultimately fear rejection and would rather submit themselves to the Friend Zone than risk losing the fantasy. This is fundementally dishonest and a complete dick move; the pretender is trading on somebody’s willingness to believe him when he insists that he doesn’t have ulterior motives in trying to be friends with her. Ironically, the men who find themselves in this form of the Friend Zone have the hardest time recognizing the harm they’re doing – both to themselves and to the women that they claim to care about.
Friend Zone v.3: The Mistaken Intentions
This form of the Friend Zone is similar to the Big Lie in that it is often the result of being too shy or afraid of rejection to come out and specifically state one’s intentions. However, while the Big Lie entails active deception on the part of the person who finds themselves stuck in the Friend Zone, The Mistaken Intentions is the result of someone making an approach, but not making it very clear from the jump that he or she was interested in a date, not just hanging out as friends… and as a result, ending up being considered as a friend rather than a potential romantic partner. Interestingly, this is one of the most common forms of the Friend Zone for women to find themselves stuck in – also known as The Bro-Zone.
Friend Zone v.4: The Genuine Friend
This form of the Friend Zone tends to arrive out of nowhere – it entails becoming attracted to somebody that you were already genuinely friends with. Sometimes it’s a matter of realizing that your childhood friend is actually shockingly hot. Sometimes it’s a case of a crush striking out of the clear blue sky and making things complicated. Occasionally it’s a matter of bringing feelings that have been simmering undetected to the surface and unable to be ignored.
This form of the Friend Zone can be one of the most pernicious and hardest to avoid as it often seems to come on suddenly and out of nowhere. It is also one of the hardest to escape from; since these tend to occur in friendships of long-standing, it can be difficult to reframe the situation.