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So You’ve Been “Friend-Zoned”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Poly chapter.

Friend-zoned. Friend-zoning. The Friend Zone. These are common terms I hear everyday. It’s mostly something that is said by a member of the male sex, but I’ve heard females say it too. So, what is this strange phenomenon all about?

Here’s the Urban Dictionary definition of “the friendzone.”

What you attain after you fail to impress a woman you’re attracted to. Usually initiated by the woman saying, “You’re such a good friend.” Usually associated with long days of suffering and watching your love interest hop from one bad relationship to another.

If we’re going off of that definition, I got friend zoned a couple months ago. You know the story: you like someone, flirt around with them for a week or two, maybe three, and when you go to make a move, they inform you that your feelings are one sided. They only think of you two as friends. Bam. Friend zoned.

I’m going to stop myself right there. I didn’t get friend zoned. You didn’t get friend zoned. We both got rejected, plain and simple. Just because I’m a girl does not mean that this guy has to have a thing for me. He does not have to want to sleep with me, date me, or take me to meet his mom, because he’s simply not obligated to do so.               

However, there’s another, far more negative side to this term, as depicted by another Urban Dictionary definition:

A term often used in bitterness by men when women make the choice to not f*** someone.

Wait, what?

If we look at that definition, we’ve seen that, too. I have met several men who, upon meeting me for the first time, made passes at me. The attraction wasn’t there, so I was careful to avoid giving any signs that I was interested. Instead of shrugging it off, some became downright hostile.

Suddenly, I felt as though I were being looked at as an object that wasn’t performing how it should. Did these men think that just because they’d deigned to show interest in me, that I had to respond in kind? Did the fact that they were only meant to be my friends mean that I suddenly wasn’t worthy of their time at all?

We can take this same kind of situation and apply it to a dorm setting, for the sake of another example. You’ve been living in the dorms for a couple months and there’s a guy who you think is really cool in the room down the hall. You love hanging out, grabbing dinner, and chatting with him but… the spark just isn’t there. He, on the other hand, is into you. Finally he confesses his crush, but you politely have to tell him that you’re not interested. You like being his friend, and that’s it.

For the literal meaning of the term, this is friend zoning. He made a move, you said no, and he’s been relegated to your pool of friends. But in recent months, this negative connotation that’s being attributed to friend zoning has grown. Instead of just taking the rejection and moving on, people are becoming outraged. Girls in particular are being made to look like the villain because they “can’t see how great this guy is.” Guys are looking at the months spent chasing the girl and wondering why they wasted so much time. What about the fact that you just spent months cultivating a great friendship? And who doesn’t need (or want) good friends?

I’ll be honest. The term “friendzone” itself isn’t necessarily inaccurate. The connotation, however, is what’s ruining it. So – ladies, gents, stop using this ridiculous term altogether and we’ll all be happier for it.

Kayla is living the dream as a senior at Cal Poly. When she's not writing for Hercampus or catching up on her readings for English class, you might find her at the rec pool, sipping on bottomless mimosas, or combing Urban Outfitters for a new cat shirt. She believes in the power of women, dancing in the rain, Ryan Gosling and the occasional caramel frappacino. You might recognize her by her brunette pixie cut or the cute Kappa Kappa Gamma tee, but don't be fooled: there's more than meets the eye with this sorority girl.
Hannah is a sophomore at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. Besides writing, she loves running, Thai food and making ridiculously unaffordable collections on Wanelo. Hannah is obsessed with The Walking Dead, old Disney movies, Ed Sheeran and wasting time on Photoshop. She'd like to point out that she can't sing or dance, but will, because that's when it's the most fun, especially when the songs are from "Les Miserables." Follow her on Twitter @joslin_hannah and Instagram @hannahmichele8