• Mon, Jan 7 2013

‘The Friend Zone’ Is Why I Have So Few Straight Male Friends

Friendzone

Fuck you.

There’s been quite a lot of online anger flung around the concept of “the friend zone” lately, as precipitated by the (MOSTLY ON POINT, IMO) Nice Guy shaming blog “Nice Guys Of Ok Cupid.” Some people think it is mean, as these are real human beings with feelings who are being shamed here (no matter the fact that they have completely fucked up ideas about women, friendship, and the degree to which anyone ever “owes” another person love or sex.) Yet others think it is fine, because the need to collectively reject and expose the worldview of the “nice guy” supersedes any momentary pain that may be inflicted on these feminism-challenged emotional dullards. I’m not going to rehash all of the feminist (and just plain human decency-related) reasons why it is totally messed up for any man to think a woman should reciprocate his affections just because he is her “friend”(I use scare quotes because these men and I have different definitions of friendship), as I think they are self evident to most readers of The Gloss. But I will speak a bit about how the concept of “the friend zone” has hurt me personally.

Here is something you should know about me: once upon a time, I was a young person very badly in need of some solid friends. I didn’t fit in at high school, or college either. Who would hang out and watch movies and eat food and talk shit and take in musical performances with me? There were times when it seemed like the answer was “no one.” More than once, I started hanging out with a male person who seemed to want to be my friend, only to discover that male person had “feelings” (romantic or otherwise) for me. At which point, things didn’t go so well.

I’ve been burned more than once by dudes who dropped me like a hot potato once they realized I wasn’t going to fuck them. Do you know how that made me feel? Like someone who was appealing for my female parts only, and boring in every other way imaginable. It made me feel, quite frankly, like shit, and only contributed to my semi-low self esteem at that point in time. And one of the worst mistakes of my life was partly the result of someone  using the concept of “the torturous friendzone” to manipulate me into doing things I didn’t really want to do. “If you don’t start dating me, I might withold my friendship, which you need,” was basically how my “friend”‘s line went.

As a result, I began to reject straight male friendship completely. Rather than risk having that horrid thing happen again, I sought out friendships with women and gay men only (yes, some women are attracted to other women, but the queer women I know do not generally try to fuck straight girls), and eventually I built up a pretty solid friend group sans straight males. To be honest, I didn’t miss them at all.

Of course, there’s something to be said for having a diverse group of friends, and I’ve been lucky enough to acquire a few solid straight dude buddies since then. Of my decently close hetero male friends (say, people I wouldn’t feel weird hanging out with one-on-one), one is someone I used to date. Several came to me by way of frequent (and I mean frequent) group hangs. Some are former roommates. Some are friends of my boyfriend, or boyfriends of my friends. But virtually zero of them are the result of the type of one-on-one platonic “friend dates” I like to go on when I’m getting to know a woman, because those still terrify me when straight men are involved. (Less so now that I have a boyfriend, but still a little bit. No, I was not friends with him first.)

Is this whole thing my fault for being a terrible judge of character to the point that I opened myself to emotionally scarring experiences? Maybe. But maybe the concept of “the friend zone” is also entrenched in our culture to the point where some otherwise decent men fail at being good friends to women. Food for thought, at the very least.

And lest you think that I’m some kind of friendship fascist who’s opposed to all romantic overtures on the part of platonic friends, I am not. Plenty of people have met their SOs that way. You just can’t be a dick about it. In my opinion, when you are attracted to a friend, you are allowed to make it known to your friend once, and only once. If that friend doesn’t feel the same way, you are not allowed to bring it up again, because it will make your friend fairly uncomfortable, and that’s not what friends do to each other. If you drop your friend because she won’t fuck and/or date you, you were never her friend to begin with, and she is totally justified in applying the “Nice Guy” label to you. If it hurts you too much to be around her, you can take a little time to mope, but if you really like her as a friend, you’ll get over it. (Also: you will start going on dates with other people.) I think that’s more than fair.

Commence the dumping of men’s rights haterade upon me!

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  • http://helloalle.com/ Alle

    I can’t think of anything else to say except “YEPPPPP” and “perfect” to this whole thing, and also that I cannot WAIT for the creepy mansplainers to come out and tell all the authors/commenters why their thoughts/feelings/experiences are WRONG WRONG WRONG.

  • Kate

    Totally agree with you. I’m getting really annoyed with this constant whining from men about this awful trick we’re apparently playing on them all.
    How about they take some ownership and be upfront about their intentions. They moan about how awful it is to be left in the friendzone, but as you said, it’s much more insulting to be dropped as a friend because you wont put out.

  • Laura

    The third paragraph is one of the more clear and concise explanation of the ‘nice guy’ and ‘friendzone’ situation I’ve read lately. I too had men, who I considered to be really great friends, drop me or openly mock me to our general friend group when I refused their romantic advances. It sucks.

  • Jay

    I definitely agree with this. Good relationships coming from friendship is probably true in a lot of cases. But in all the cases I’ve seen, the couple were genuinely platonic first and their attraction was confusing and worrying since they didn’t want to make things awkward if not reciprocated, or start a relationship and maybe lose a friend down the line. Know what it wasn’t? The man secretly pining after the girl for years, then her turning round one day and going “Want to shag?” and the guy jumping her.

    This whole “a moment of silence for our comrades in the friendzone” thing the internet goes on about is bull. Oh my days, you’re too cowardly to ask a girl out, so now you’ve wormed your way into her affections as a friend, and she has no desire to bang you? Poor darling, how you’re suffering. Nevermind the girl who thought she had a great friend, and finds out she was merely a sex toy. She’s clearly just a manipulative bitch who KNEW you liked her despite you never telling her, and damn her for expecting you to treat her nicely without giving you any in return.

    Most women I know have very few close straight male friends. If they do, it’s usually friends of their boyfriends, so the sex thing is clearly off the table.

  • Lastango

    “Commence the dumping of men’s rights haterade upon me!”

    ==========

    I’d pitch in on that, but I don’t have time at the moment to get my hate on. (Sorry for the lapse — I’ll try to be more helpful next time. As an aside, does “men’s rights” have anything to do with friendzoning? Somehow, I had the impression the MRM was about issues like getting equal justice in family court.)

    Best I can do is report, second-hand, one objection I’ve read about the friend zone: that all too often it’s just the woman having her cake and eating it. She gets to keep him around as a sympathetic ear for her personal soap opera. (One blogger called this serving her as her “emotional tampon”.) The guy gets basically nothing, because her “friendship” is pretty much just a bunch of talking, which he doesn’t often need from any friendship — with either women or men.

    http://rationalmale.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/playing-friends/

    I take it that what cheezes off the guys who think the friend zone is bullshit is when the woman says some version of “let’s just be friends” instead of squaring her shoulders and issuing an outright rejection that clears the air.

    The hard-edged advice I recall is that the guy ought to recognize the friend-zoning as being not an actual offer of friendship, but for what it truly is: a form of socially-acceptable rejection that has an upside for only her. When he sees that reality, he ought to call it a day and move on. From that point of view, he isn’t discarding her friendship because there was never any real friendship there to discard. If he lets the rejection upset him, or if he hangs around, pressuring her, and beating his head against the wall, he’s being a fool and probably a jerk, and deserves the extra frustration and misery. Friend-zone-rejecting guys seem to have no sympathy at all for any man stupid enough to hang around in the friend zone.

    I hear Jamie saying it’s possible for women to have men as real, platonic friends, and I’m guessing even the friendzone-rejecting guys would probably buy that — as long as there never was a romantic interest, so no one got friend-zoned. But I’d also guess the friendzone-rejectors would say the reason the woman will treat the guy as a real friend in that situation is because she has no choice; she has no leverage, so she can’t exploit him. Unless he’s a complete beta-orbiter, he’s not going to come running like a puppy dog when she calls, and she knows it. (Friend-zone rejectors don’t seem to trust women to be unselfish or respect any rules of fair play. Perhaps that’s why some of them think they have to manage women with “game”.)

    Anyway, that’s how I recall the general case for rejecting the friend zone. If I’ve summed up some of it wrong, maybe the in-the-know types from the manosphere will come by to correct your humble reporter and fill in the gaps.

    Now I’m off to make some popcorn. ;~0

    • bexrayspex

      I tuned out at “just a bunch of talking.” Oh yeah, I totally know how it is, with all those friends I care so much about as people just talking away at me all the time, why won’t they just go away or, you know, do something other than talking? I’m such a great friend, why won’t they STFU?

      (Although I did stop reading, I scanned down a bit and “beta-” jumped out. Way to red-flag yourself, dude).

    • Mark Alexander

      I’m a 42 year old man and I love the talking. I got to the point where I realised she didn’t want a romantic relationship and then I decided to stay for the best conversations I’ve ever had.

    • Moxie

      You and Sassylassie need to get together sometime. Common interests include: vitriol, misanthropy, and frequenting internet comment sections. Why, she’s practically your alter-ego!

      http://disqus.com/remote-domain-d84210a75448034bcc4947005695c306/

  • V

    I’ve been in multiple situations where a guy swears they “just want to be friends”, and then would ask me out, or get horribly jealous if I began dating someone and stop talking to me. The last time it happened, I confronted the guy (a 30+ year old fire fighter), and basically called him a liar and explained how his behavior was ridiculous and attempting to be manipulative and awful. We don’t talk anymore, but at the time I think I saw a visible “oh shit, she’s right” expression. I don’t know. I’m in a long term relationship now, so usually those guys stop trying to get to know me as soon as I mention my boyfriend, so I haven’t had to deal with it much in a while. I miss having straight, male friends though.

  • A nice guy

    Even as a guy I’ll say the article had some good points. No one should use anyone for anything male or female. However, I think you destroyed the positive points in this post with one line “If you drop your friend because she won’t fuck and/or date you, you were never her friend to begin with, and she is totally justified in applying the “Nice Guy” label to you.”

    What is that supposed to mean? First of all what’s wrong with being a “nice guy” and what’s with the suggestion that being labeled “nice guy” is suddenly some form of punishment ? Not sure exactly what is trying to be communicated there but it comes off as semi manipulativ.

  • Kristofski

    Yes, totally. I’ve always hated the concept of “friend zoning” as it implies that women aren’t worth being friends with, which is clearly rubbish. Also I think it’s completely possible to be attracted to someone and still be genuine friends, I even have a few female friends who I really liked “in that way” when I first met them, I told them and they weren’t interested, so we stayed friends. Because hey, the things about them that made me want to date them also made me want to just be around them. Is that such a bizzare concept for everyone else?

  • G

    Interestingly, I have never had any problem with making guy friends when I’ve had a boyfriend. The “not available” tag seems to create a filter to separate people who want actually want to be friends from this kind of rubbish even when I became single later.

  • SAD TRUTHTELLER

    People should just fuck more. All of the haughty Hottentots putting dudes in the friend zone probably aren’t half the Megan Fox they think they are. Do you see guys tortured and wrought up because…oh…God…all right…I GUESS I’ll fuck you? It’s not exactly arm-twisting for a guy, if you’re not 400 pounds and have one tooth. I am so weary of faghags. This is exactly what creates the war between the sexes. And to the writer who says “Don’t want my friendship? What am I, a sex toy?” the answer is: yes. You are a sex toy. Guys may dig you for lots of highfalutin reasons but the bottom line is that men have an overweening sex drive and the be-all-and-end-all of their relationship to girls is: sex. Period. That’s just how God made the world, kids. Get used to it. Their interest in you is genital. And it will remain that way–until you get married and become boring sexless business and brat-raising partners, followed by codependent old people with diseases. PSYCH!

    • Mark Alexander

      And that’s why you’re single.