• Tue, Aug 20 - 5:45 pm ET

Why Every One Of Us Needs A Guy Like This In Our “Friend Zone”

When one of my coworkers sent me this video, I was a little stunned. We often hear men bemoan the much-stigmatized “friend zone” that theoretically lies somewhere between “buddy” and “lover.” It’s a ridiculous notion because, in reality, all it really means is, “You want to be more than friends but aren’t, so you’re just friends.” While disappointing, it’s absurd to get annoyed over something as simple and wonderful as actively participating in somebody’s life as a trusted confidant, a companion, an advisor, a discourse partner — all because there’s not sex or romance involved.

We have all experienced being “just friends” with somebody; I, in fact, am “just friends” with just about all of my friends! So what could be so awful about being “just friends”? That’s exactly the dilemma poet Dylan Garity ponders in this piece read at a Button Poetry event. The poem, which has been making its rounds on the Internet today though it was filmed earlier this year, questions what it means to be a friend to a woman.

He not only discusses why this magical, mystical land of the “friend zone” is not actually a negative thing, he also touches on something incredibly important regarding sex: nobody owes it to anybody else. Garity recounts how his first girlfriend broke up with him, then slept with somebody for the first time in her next relationship, and he “thought of this as a betrayal, not her choice, as if she owed me something.” That’s when the poem gets f’ing brilliant.

“A newspaper column once defined the “friend zone” as follows: ‘She discusses her love life with him and has the audacity to ask his advice on it. He performs favors for her, he does everything a boyfriend would do, but gets no benefits,’ as if the only reason to be a good friend or a decent fucking human is if you get something in exchange.

The problem is, when I start thinking of myself as a savior, I start thinking of myself as a savior with a salary.”

Just watch the whole thing; it is fantastic. Garity, a College National Poetry Slam Champion, is clearly destined to go places and, obviously, be an amazing fellow while doing so. Personally, I hope every person — regardless of gender — should have a friend just like this guy.

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  • Andrea Dunlop

    Am I the only one who wants to put him in the more-than-friends zone? He is adorable.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      The original title of this piece was “I need a guy like this in my friend zone” and then I was all SAM DO NOT POST THAT THAT SOUNDS VERY WEIRD.

  • Amy

    I love how it’s all light-hearted and self-deprecating and then in the end you see how he’s drawn this perfect parallel between the connotations surrounding a term like ‘friend zone’ and rape culture – the idea that sex is something women ‘owe’ in return for a guy being nice to them. Perfectly done.

    • GI Joe

      that you are connecting a guy wanting to have sex with his female friend, and a guy raping a woman, shows just how backwards your thought process is. Most guys dont view it as a woman owing them sex just because they do nice things.. what guys (and people) expect is honesty and straight forwardness. For example, if im going to be around and doing nice things and caring about you, be honest with your intentions. Dont pretend to care for me and then sleep around and hide and lie about it. Everyone can choose to do what they want and who they want to be with, but dishonesty in an attempt to get the best of both worlds (ie. sex with the man you want to fuck, and attention from the guy you dont when nobody else is around to give it to you) is just wrong and obviously will lead to issues when manifested.

    • Amy

      Really?! I’m not sure if you’re just trolling or if you actually wrote that and were serious. Basically, you are either in a romatic relationship with a woman or you’re not. If you can’t be honest and ask a woman out on a date or tell her that you want a romantic relationship with her, and instead you hang around ‘doing nice things’ and hoping that one day she’ll just fall into a relationship with you, all the while getting angry because she dares to sleep with other people, then you’re just a passive agressive asshole.
      If a woman isn’t in an exclusive, romantic relationship with you she can sleep with whomever she wants and she’s not obligated to tell you anything. A lot of women don’t talk about sex with their male friends – it’s part of keeping the relationship on a friends level rather than taking it to a sexual place. Also, a lot of women (and people in general) feel that sex is a private matter that they keep to themselves.
      Friends do nice things for one another and care for one another. They don’t sleep together. If you want to be in an adult intimate relationship then grow up and be honest and behave with integrity. It’s perfectly reasonable for a woman to assume you’re doing nice things and caring about her because you’re her friend, not because you’re some creep who only does things in return for sexual credit. You’re the one that’s being a dishonest sleaze in that situation. If you help a mate fix his car do you think that he should assume it’s because you want to be in a romantic and sexual relationship with him? And that he should only let you help him fix his car if he’s prepared to have sex with you? Or would that just be fucking ridiculous?

  • GI Joe

    You are missing the point, and clearly the male perspective. When put in the “friend zone”, it implies that you either have feelings for or at least a physical desire for the person, who in fact does not see you the same way. It’s not about “expecting sex,” (typical female point of view). Many times, knowing that a man feels this way, a woman will take advantage of the situation (its nice to have someone around who will listen and run errands for you). She knows what the man wants, and knows that she does not and will not give it to him, but still acts in a way that does not rule it out, giving the man hope so he will continue to do nice things. And yes, everyone “should” do nice things out of the goodness of their heart; Also, children SHOULD not ever have to go hungry, and wars SHOULD not happen. We can live in fairy tale land or in the real world. When someone is interested in someone or cares about them, they are more likely to do nice things for that person; this SHOULD be fairly obvious, even if not ideal. In the worst cases the woman even leads the man on because she enjoys the attention and being wanted by someone. And usually, the woman is interested in another guy, who does not feel the same way. Like a dysfunctional love triangle. Ive been there, many of us have, and in my case it was not the desire for sex that drove me, it was the desire to care for and be around a woman who was using my for attention until something better came along.

    Not all men are evil. Women are not all saints. We are all just people.

  • James

    self fulfilling prophecy