This was a lesson in friendship
I stress in this sentence
Should women and men be friends first?
And then slip?
My pen drips as I scribble my thoughts on thin strips
What is the Friend-Zone? For all you cool kids out there, this is what UrbanDictionary says:
“A particularly aggravating metaphorical place that people end up in when someone they are interested in only wants to be friends. It is impossible to get over someone while in the friendzone, because, as friends, you still see them too often for them to be erased from your memory, and yet, you cannot be with them the way you want.”
The oh-so-dreaded “friend zone” is always spoken about in pop culture. Even in 2022, it’s still a thing. You can just Google, Friend Zone. There are tons of articles and think-pieces about how one can escape the zone of platonic terror or how problematic this thinking can be for men in general. Today I’m gonna be discussing the friend zone from a straight male perspective. As an elder millennial, I’m giving readers of this site more ‘sage‘ dating advice they didn’t ask for; well, too fucking bad. I’m about to dish it out! First off, the “friend zone” is made up. It’s all in your head. Yup, I said it. It’s a ridiculous idea that’s been kept alive by insecure people and shitty rom-coms like When Harry Met Sally. The friend zone ideology argues that men and women can’t be friends with each other. Periodt!
Apparently, society thinks heterosexual men can’t be genuine friends with a woman. People, women don’t magically appear from some membrane connected to another dimension. They’re human beings. It’s crazy I have to say this, but it’s true. Women poop, cry, eat pizza, drink beer, pray, and get mad at stupid shit like just us guys. Now, I can’t speak for all men. Also, I am not part of the LBGTQ community. But I’m sure inside the queer community, the silly ideal of the “friend zone” still rears its ugly head.
For my single fellas out there. You only score sometimes when it comes to the game of dating. Here are a few simple reasons why a lady would say, “let’s just be friends.” They’re not romantically interested in you. So they’re letting you down nicely since. Unfortunately, some men have reacted violently to rejection by a potential love interest. This is something women have to think about constantly concerning their safety. Dudes be tripping hard if they’re rejected by a woman they like. Men don’t take rejection personally, and it’s cowardly to diss a woman who you just tried to shoot your shot at because your fragile ego took a hit when they said, ‘not interested.’ Remember, attraction isn’t a choice, and you can’t win them all.
It could be the case that they genuinely want to be friends with you. You might be chill dude, they might have a romantic partner already, they might not be attracted to men at all, you all might have the same share interest, or they enjoy your company in a platonic way. Human relationships are complicated and complex. But it makes life interesting.
Friends are a good thing to have, especially as we grow older. Unfortunately, society and pop culture put familial and romantic relationships above every other type of relationship. That’s bull, and friendships can be rewarding and just as valuable. Hell, friends can become like family hence Friendsgiving, it’s like Thanksgiving without all the family drama and burnt food.
In my single days, I had a huge learning curve catching up in the game of love. For some dudes getting dates and girlfriends came easy; for others, it seemed almost impossible. For me, it was a lot of trial and error. You have to put yourself out there. You’ll feel uncomfortable and like a fool. But take rejection like an adult, and don’t disrespect a woman because she doesn’t want your penis near her. And yes, I had several women say, ‘let’s be friends.” It sucked at the time, but there was nothing I could do about it.
I’m a social worker these days and work in the non-profit field. It’s far different than the boys club that was the Armed Forces. I’ve ended up with a lot of women friends. Even as a married man, I’m still friends with many women. My wife trusts me, and I trust her (to have guy friends). I’ve learned so much from my friendships with men, women, nonbinary, and trans folk. In all honesty, I am a better man because I have women friends. I’ve learned to be more empathetic to the struggles women face.
The friend zone is garbage because it implies that men want to fuck every woman they meet no matter what. Implying the friend zone exists means that men can’t possibly have a real friendships with the opposite sex without the sex getting involved. At worse, the friend zone means that we men are entitled to fuck anyone we deem hot, and if they don’t want us, they’re assholes. As I said, you can’t win them all. Getting rejected isn’t the end of the world. If you’re a single guy dating in this crazy world, these are ways to navigate the game of love. Frist thing is to get past the outdated ideal of the ‘friend zone.’ Here are a few tips:
Be honest. If you have a romantic interest in someone, let them know. Don’t be a creeper and cosplay as their buddy when you have a secret agenda to get into their pants. Hell, the feeling might be mutual if you’re honest and upfront about things. Who knows what will happen? And if they’re not romantically interested, you can move on.
Don’t be someone’s friend to stroke their ego. This rarely happens, but it’s possible. If someone claims to want to be ‘just friends’ and only keeps you around because they know you’ll follow them around like a lost puppy or give them lots of compliments. Then you need to cut your losses fast. Getting rid of toxic friends is just as important as cutting toxic family members or romantic partners out of your life.
Be that person’s friend for real. No secret agenda, no lying, no secret crush. I’m not saying that sometimes friends don’t become lovers. Hell, that’s why there’s something called, ‘called friends with benefits.’ But if you’re just buddies, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Having a genuine friendship with a woman is a good thing. Sometimes they’ll see things from a perspective you won’t get from your beer, football, or video game bros. Also, your female friend will have other lady friends to introduce you to. They could even be your wing-woman and hook you up. Or it could be someone you do fun shit with, or they come to your improv show. If you are a cool and honest dude, there are endless possibilities when having opposite-sex friends.
You have a right to choose your friends. You can decide who you hang with or not. I’ve told women in the past who told me, let’s be friends, I said no. Not because I’m a jerk. It was because I was romantically interested in them, and I knew I’d be lying if I told them I wanted to be friends. Sometimes it’s best to let things go if you can’t get past a crush. It’s better for everyone involved. You don’t want to deal with crazy jealous boyfriends or hubbies who know you’re just waiting on the right opportunity to steal their boo from them. You don’t need that sorta drama in your life.
Finally, the truth about the friend zone is that no woman must fuck you just because you treat them with basic human dignity. I was single once, and I got rejected. It didn’t feel good at all. But it was only a temporary feeling of being down because that cute girl said she wasn’t interested. They’re plenty of fish in the sea, well with climate change, that may change. Seriously, they’re tons of fun and attractive women to meet in the world. If you live in small-town America. You’re probably like, “hell no, they aren’t, Lornett.” I’d suggest you check out the nearest big city in your state or country.
Being Mr. Nice Guy is creepy and can lead to you being Mr. Stalker, like an episode of You on Netflix. You don’t want to be that guy. Just be yourself and keep it real with the ladies in your life. The great thing about friends is that you can choose who you share your time and energy with. Unlike with family. You’re born into that shitshow, like it or not. Good friends make life more fun. So please don’t dwell on her putting you in the ‘friend zone’ because it doesn’t exist. I’ll answer the age-old question. Can men and women be friends? Yes, they can.