In Defense of the Friend Zone

“You can’t blame him for trying,” said a male friend recently. That sentiment should take the sting out of a mutual friend attempting the faithful leap out of the friend zone and into the boyfriend lane with an unsolicited kiss, but it just infuriates me more. It’s as if my friendship is a mere stepping-stone and not terra firma.

What’s wrong with just being my pal?

I ask because I have been in this situation too many times and frankly, I’m sick of it. Sick and tired of finding out that I’m a friend’s unrealized crush; frustratingly over having “the talk” after a misguided romantic gesture and having to make sure everything is back to normal, and heartbroken over having to be the bad guy, the letter-downer, and/or the mad rejecter to a dear friend.

The friend zone is portrayed as the worst possible place to be for either sex, like a cruel punishment for the lack of romantic interest from a prospective partner; however, that is not the case for me. So far, boyfriends don’t last more than a few months, I rarely keep in touch with former flames, and prefer to keep the past in the past, as too much has happened to be friends after the loss of a romantic connection. I just don’t have the emotional capacity for the dinginess of a love gone wrong when I want to be squarely in the present. Simply put, being my friend is a higher honor than being my boyfriend.

Surely romance can blossom from a friendship, just not for me. The possibility of that space being occupied by a close male friend is slim to none. Not to be cruel or unjust but if I liked you, I’d be with you or at least, make it known. It’s as simple as that. Why wouldn’t you bestow the same courtesy?

Perhaps I should be more appreciative and flattered by such male attention, although, I find this apparent sort of plotting and scheming as a form of betrayal. Why feign friendship when you want something more? Why not be upfront from the start? Trust me, I can handle the truth! Let’s have fun and hang out, but don’t try to drunkenly kiss me and think I’m going to forget we’re just friends. Don’t invite me to a wedding under false pretense. Don’t ask for a pity fuck in an inebriated state. Don’t be a shitty friend. After all, there is nothing wrong with the friend zone.



  1. Joseph Feudman · April 30, 2013

    I’m about a few weeks into getting friendzoned by a woman I was seeing. We started off flirting for a while as I’d see her most days in the deli where she works. I eventually told her I liked her and got her number.

    A day into what would become months of us hanging out and getting romantically involved she’d hit me with the bomb that she was recently-ish divorced and not looking to date anyone but we could still hang and anything that happens happens. The term friends with benefits was bandied about.

    So off we go. We’re at each other’s houses constantly, she gives me the keys to her place. We progress from hugs to kisses to full on making out to heavy petting to… a screeching halt. Every time we really get into it she puts the brakes on going past certain points. The cut off point constantly changes though so one day we can do a certain act and then the next doing the same thing is forbidden but then the next day we go farther and the next its back to light petting and so on.

    I endured this for about a month and a half before one day we’re kissing and I realize she’s not even using her tongue anymore. She’s initiating kisses and then holding way back during the actual kissing. It was the WTF that broke the camel’s back. So its clearly time for a “talk”.

    During this talk I learn that she’s not really into sex or getting physical and has been celibate for a really long time. She’d been forcing herself to be sexual with me because she’s sure I wouldn’t just want to be her platonic friend and she wants me in her life just not romanitcly or sexually. I tell her I want her in my life in any capacity she cares to occupy, if it must be platonic then bring it. I tell her I’ve definitely developed feelings for her but screw those feelings, I’ll get over it. Y’know the basic man up, rub some dirt in the wound and keep it moving type of thing.

    Since then I’ve been plunged into a nightmare world of intimate physical and mental proximity to the woman of my dreams who wants nothing to do with me romanticly. Last night we jammed together (we both play instruments) and we were sitting close looking into each other eyes alot and so on. In short, torture. Never would have thought torture could include things like fun and laughter til this whole experience.

    She wants to do the same thing tonight and of course I said yes. I love hanging out with her but having the whole romantic side of the relationship yanked out from under me has left me stranded in this situation where I’m sorta stuck pining for a girl who’ll only have me as a friend. Can’t stop being her friend because I meant it when I said I want her in my life in any way she’s ok with. I’d be a truly crappy friend if I hung our relationship on whether she’s willing to be something more than friends. On top of that I can tell she really cares for me, just not the way I’d like.

    I’ve had struggles with depression in the past and this situation is just pushing that old button. I’ve started feeling like crap, low energy, people asking me what’s wrong alot. I just tell them I’m tired. The only time I perk up now is when I’m with this girl, and that’s just plain old unhealthy. To top it off I know I’m going to fall in love with her if I keep seeing her. Its invitable, I know how I get when I’m around a girl I’m feeling that way about so I see the writing on the wall.

    Anyway, sorry for the ramble/rant all over your blog. Kinda just googled “Friendzone Kill Myself” (not because I’m suicidal, just feels that way) and found this post. Never been friendzoned before, now I understand why so many people say they’d rather die than be in the friendzone.

  2. jtrumb · April 30, 2013

    Hey Joseph,

    Consider this Alain de Botton quote, “One of the best protections against disappointment is to have a lot going on.” Same applies to depression. Keep yourself busy and don’t worry about someone who isn’t available.

    Be well,

  3. Pingback: Florida Stories: A Soundtrack (part 2) | Cute but Single for a Reason

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