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Why We Should Seriously Stop Using the Term “Friendzone”

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

Let’s break down what the “friendzone” actually is.

It is a reference to the emotional space that a person is placed in when the object of their affections only sees them as a friend, with no possibility of their relationship ever becoming romantic. Generally speaking, this term is used most often to refer to men who have been “friendzoned” by women.

Here is the problem with this term:

It doesn’t make any sense. The term “friendzone” places the blame of the unrequited affections on the woman, as if it were her job to please the man and fulfill his wishes.

Let me straighten this out right now. Ladies, your job is not to stroke a man’s ego. Your job is to make yourself happy. Everyone’s job is to make themselves happy, but instead of encouraging a man to please himself and find someone who will actually like him, we let him moan and groan about how, “Girls never date nice guys.”

How often have you seen this comment online?

“Let us take a moment of silence for our brother in the friendzone…”

This boy’s club sense of camaraderie is annoying. They take a comical moment of silence but don’t actually help their friend work through his emotions. Either help him to be realistic and feel better or shut up because you aren’t helping. You’re only serving to justify his inflated sense of  privilege and giving him the go-ahead to lash out because he isn’t getting what he thinks he deserves.

One of the most common comebacks when someone is complaining about their circumstances is, “Life isn’t fair.” Yet somehow, that doesn’t apply to guys in the “friendzone.” Here is some advice for men who complain about being in the “friendzone”:

No woman owes you sex or a romantic relationship or anything except basic human kindness.

Women are not machines that you put kindness into until sex falls out. You don’t automatically get a reward for being nice because you should always be nice to everyone; not only when you want something in return. Doing something and expecting something back is a business transaction, not friendship.

Bonus points: If you are nice until she tells you that she just want to be friends, and then you turn into a jerk, you were never a nice guy or her friend. You were just a manipulative creep.

We don’t have time for your precious egos. How are women supposed to get anything done when they are constantly stepping on eggshells so that they don’t piss off these “nice guys?”

What about when a girl gets “friendzoned,” you ask?

One of the weirdest aspects of the discourse surrounding the “friendzone” is that you rarely hear a woman complaining about being there. Yet somehow, a woman is always blamed for the one-sided affair. If she likes a man, but he doesn’t like her back, then she’s pathetic and needs to move on. If a man likes her, but she isn’t into him, she’s putting that poor guy in the “friendzone” and needs to get off her high horse. Frankly, female existence is exhausting, and this is just one of the reasons why.

I’m not saying that I don’t feel sympathy for anyone who feels unrequited love. We’ve all been there, and it sucks and it hurts and it can be truly upsetting. But you can’t bully or manipulate someone into being with you.

Tolerating this comically large sense of entitlement that some men have perpetuates the myth that women owe them. That they should “give them a chance” and if they don’t they are stuck-up bitches.

“I don’t find you attractive,” is a perfectly acceptable reason to not date someone. That does not make you shallow. You have every right to say “no.” Something that we forget is, “No” is a complete sentence and doesn’t require an explanation.

Using the word “friendzone” just heaps the blame for a man’s unhappiness on a woman who is in no way responsible for fixing it. Take charge of your own happiness and don’t expect anyone to do it for you.

So there it is, the invisible, sexist hand of the “friendzone,” demystified. Seriously, stop using it. It’s gross.

Stephanie is a senior at Cal Poly State University who dreams of going to law school (soon!). She is majoring in English, minoring in Linguistics, and also earning the TESL certificate. When she isn't writing, she can be found browsing Pinterest, hanging out with friends, and watching Netflix. Her special skills include level 3 procrastination and baking.