The Friend Zone: Can Men and Women Just Be Friends?
The Friend Zone, as defined by the famed Urban Dictionary, is “a term often used in bitterness by men when women make the choice not to fuck someone. Often used by douchebags or people with ‘Nice Guys Syndrome.’”
This definition implies that the only real value in a romantic relationship is sex, which in and of itself is completely absurd. This gives the Friend Zone a negative connotation in daily life. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.
One point of discussion is whether or not women and men can be friends. While the concept of being Friend Zoned can apply to relationships between couples of every sexual orientation, it is most commonly an issue between heterosexual men and women. Most people believe that there has to be some sort of sexual tension between them. If you put them together, something is bound to happen.
The idea that men and women can’t be friends is a widely accepted belief that has no place in modern society. This belief stems from a society in which a woman’s only job was to stay home to keep house and care for the children while men went out to work and did “masculine things.” Men and women weren’t friends because they lived in separate worlds. The only reason men and women would be together in any form of a relationship was to make babies and perpetuate the human lifecycle—hence, the idea that friendships will eventually become a sexual relationship. Nowadays, men and women have more in common, and there is more room for true friendship because men and women spend more time together than in the past. Why, then, do we still think that a friendship must turn into a relationship?
The answer, my friends, lies on your television screen. Hollywood has helped perpetuate the idea that friendship must turn into romance. In almost every film or TV show in which men and women are friends, in the end, their friendship blossoms into a beautiful, perfect relationship. For example, shows like Friends, where (SPOILER ALERTS) they all end up dating their friends at one point or another. Or the famous tale of friendship turned romance, “When Harry Met Sally,” where, after spending time together, the two eventually fall in love. Time and time again, we’ve seen friendship turn into romantic love. However, in real life this doesn’t always happen. According to Psychology Today, research has proven that there is indeed no real physicochemical reason that guys and girls can’t be friends.
It makes sense that you would think that a friendship turned relationship is the perfect scenario. You already get along really well, you already know everything about each other, and you already have a connection. But the fact of the matter is, if one person isn’t on board, it’s probably not a good idea. So stop complaining. If one person isn’t on board at first, chances are it’s not going to change. Nine times out of 10, it’s the female friend that places her male friends into the Friend Zone, which is made obvious by the lack of physical intimacy. However, men do indeed place women in the Friend Zone. But unlike when women place men in the Friend Zone, it is much less clear. According to Damon Young, a man who has placed a girl in the Friend Zone “can sleep with and even be in a relationship with a woman he’s placed there.” Which makes things much more complicated than they need to be, but that’s a story for another day.
Now, let’s address why exactly the Friend Zone is amazing. As my favorite slam poets, Desiree Dallagiacomo and Justin Lamb, say in their poem, “The Friend Zone:” “Who the fuck complains about being placed in something called the friend zone, it sounds awesome!” If you aren’t getting a romantic relationship out of it, you’re getting a friendship out of it. And who doesn’t like friends?
Friendship is a very unique kind of relationship that should be valued and honored. Friendship is the kind of relationship you can always fall back on. Friends will be there for you, even when romantic relationships end, and provide comfort, company, and someone to talk to no matter what. Also, having a friend of a different gender is pretty darn awesome. While friendship in romantic relationships is essential, friendships are amazing. So if you find yourself “stuck in The Friend Zone,” rethink that complaint about to come out of your mouth. Consider friendship, and if that doesn’t seem good for you, then being in a relationship with that person is a terrible, horrible, please-don’t-do-it idea. It is possible for men and women to be friends.