Why The Friend Zone is a Myth Used to Guilt Women

 

The friend zone: a term used to describe when a potential romantic interests thwarts your proposition of a relationship with the preference of remaining just friends. 

It has been used across decades of popular media (Ross and Rachel anyone?), cited as the only barrier of countless crushes and is the product of hurt male ego.

 

Where did this term come from? 

 

Funnily enough, it actually does come from Friends. First appearing in “The One With The Blackout” Joey jokingly declares Ross the “mayor of the friend zone” as Rachel, once again, denied having similar feelings of attraction. 

 

Since this moment, men everywhere have adopted the term in droves to help soften the blow of rejection. 

 

And why wouldn’t they? 

 

In Friends the mayor of friend zone himself, Ross, actually defeats it. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work out like a nineties sitcom. This coping mechanism for unrequited attraction has taken on a dangerous culture in 2019, with its main users being men aged fifteen through twenty-five blame friendship for being the “real” reason they were rejected. 

 

It has become a way for the word “no” to not be the final say in if a relationship could succeed. 

Here’s why that’s dangerous.

 

If someone’s initial answer to being asked out is “no,” or “I’d rather just stay friends,” or “I value our friendship too much to pursue this further” then that should be enough of an answer to stop attempting to woo them. Instead the word friend has taken on the meaning that the no was simply a soft no and the possibility for a relationship could still arise. 

 

It completely derails the woman’s original answer and devalues how she feels about the situation. 

 

While it may seem innocent enough, it helps foster an environment that romanticizes unrequited love and obsessional pursuing (think about how many times we saw Ross ask out Rachel before she begrudgingly said yes.) 

 

Both of these are also the groundwork of rape culture in modern society. 

 

The friend zone is a trap used to make women feel guilty about their choice. It frames the men in the situation as victims for not getting what they desire and villainizes women for rejecting “such a nice guy,” when she never had feelings for him in the first place. 

 

The real problem with this lies in the self-imposed victimization men place upon themselves after rejection. With more and more cases appearing in the news of women being beaten, stalked and murdered, because of rejection, the innocence men find in their actions is dangerous. 

 

In 2016 a Wisconsin woman was gunned down after rejecting a coworker, and in 2015 a Californian woman had her jaw broken after rebuffing a romantic advanced. In both situations their only crime was saying no. 

 

Yet through media and public pressure, the friend zone is supposed to be viewed as this conquerable barrier for men to be able to beat. Those who are able to surpass it are seen as heroic by their peers. Even the word “friend” in friend zone is meant to imply that the person being rejected in question is nice enough to be a friend and therefore should qualify as a romantic interests as well. 

 

In all reality, the friend zone isn’t even real. If the only way you can view relationships worthy is if they want to be romantic or have sex with you, then maybe you need to re-evaluate your own morals. 

 

Of course the argument also exists that women equally can be friendzoned as much as men can and this simply is not true. How often in media do you see a woman continuously pursue a man without being labeled as crazy? How often is a man injured because he rejected a woman? 

 

What the friend zone does at its root is minimize the worth of the rejection of women, which is a universally dangerous thing. The way out of this is for men to mature and learn how to value a woman’s no.