The Harmful Concept of Friendzoning

“Dude! You just got friendzoned.”

How many of you have heard this statement (or something similar)? Probably a lot of you. It’s become really popular these days. Urban Dictionary defines the term as, “A state of being where a male inadvertently becomes a ‘platonic friend’ of an attractive female  with whom he was trying to intitate a romantic relationship.” Seems harmless, right? It’s what happens when the girl you are interested in rejects you, and instead says she thinks of you as a friend.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem harmless. The problem begins when you delve into why males feel they got put in the friendzone. When one listens to guys talk, they often say that they were “so nice” to this girl they were interested in, and she still rejected them. What this reveals is that men feel that they should be entitled to a woman’s romantic and sexual interest, simply because they were nice to her, or spoke to her, or spent money on her. Know what this sounds like? Male Entitlement.

Male entitlement is the belief that a man is owed something, just because he decides that he should have it. By believing that they are entitled to a woman’s interest simply because they did x, y, and z, they are taking away a woman’s status as an autonomous being, with the ability to make her own decision about whether she is interested in this guy or not. Instead of realizing that the girl might just simply not be interested, or that he could have done something that put her off, the male blames the woman for not accepting his advances. He cannot understand why he cannot have a woman simply because he has decided he wants her.

Furthermore, this entitlement is also a part of rape culture. When a male feels entitled to a woman’s body, regardless of her rejections of his advances, it can lead to sexual assault. Teaching men that they should expect a relationship (sexual, romantic, or both) after spending time with or giving attention to a woman reinforces the belief that men are owed something for simply being good people.

The concept of the “friend zone” is dangerous. It creates a sense of male entitlement, in turn contributing to rape culture by teaching men that women inherently owe them sexual/romantic relationships simply for acting the way a decent person would. Instead of blaming a woman for “friendzoning”  you, simply accept that she is not interested in a romantic relationship with you, for whatever reason, and turn your attention elsewhere.

**This article uses he/she language, often saying the woman is the one doing the friendzoning and the male is the one getting friendzoned, simply for convenience. The author is aware that both males and females can do both: be friendzoned and do the friendzoning.

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