Friend Zone vs. The “End Zone”


Why do people put good potential significant others in the “Friend Zone”? Is is fear of losing the friendship if the relationship fails? Is it you just don’t connect with that person on the most important levels? Maybe a little bit of both? It’s very complicated in a heterosexual situation, but the biggest issue that people always bring up in Friend Zone debates is S.E.X. And the context is usually about a woman zoning a man (even though I do think it works both ways).

The reason sexual relations is so important to this debate is because most people assume that two people are not in a relationship if they don’t have sex with each other (before or within marriage). What makes the issue more complex is the intent behind those relations. Some people use others to get sex (i.e. the relationship is the means for sex). Others use sex to get into a relationship (i.e. see sex as the physical/emotional/spiritual starting point of a relationship). But the mix-up occurs, I think, when we automatically assume that men are more likely to be the former type, and women the latter.

The biggest critique of the term “friend-zone” (at least when it comes to a woman zoning a man) is that it implies that men don’t want to be close friends with women they want to have a sexual relationship with. A part of me TOTALLY buys that, because I can’t sit here and lie as if I have never had those feelings. But another part of me disagrees, in the sense that ironically, the type of guys who get “friend-zoned” or at least the more likely situation, are usually with guys who want to be more than friends, and see sex as not JUST a desire, but the tool to get the girl.

bane-friendzone-9gag-7612I think the critique overlooks the premise that a woman (as much as man) would not want a relationship with a man she is not sexually attracted too. Both men and women are sexual beings, and to suggest that one could be with the other without being attracted to them sexually seems a bit farfetched.

So if a guy is mad about being in the Friend Zone, yes, it could mean he is mad that he can’t get the drawers. But it doesn’t necessarily mean he is mad in a “I just wanna smash that, but she wont let me” type of way. That frustration could be more rooted in the fact that the guy wants to be with the girl, but the reason she doesn’t want to be with him is she is not sexually attracted to him.

What other conclusion could he reach? One person tells their friend they are looking for someone who is funny, passionate, caring, loving, sensitive, intelligent, etc. If the friend is just that, but not the boy/girlfriend even though they connect spiritually and mentally, what is the last part of the equation? It may be safe to surmise that the last ingredient is the beast with two backs.

This assumption is reinforced time and time again, especially if social cues show the friend (who compassionate, caring, sensitive, there-when-you-need-me) why he/she  is the friend and not the lover (someone who seems to have less of these traits, but is more attractive to the friendzoner).

I said all this because the Friend Zone can be way more simple than critiques reduce it to. But I don’t want to dismiss the immense complexity that most of these situations i-keep-getting-friendzonedhave. In my lifetime, I’ve been the one zoned and the one who zoned. I’ve resented some instances where I was placed there, but most of the time I got over it, and understood that it was for the best. I also regretted placing woman there. Sometimes I felt bad about not being sexual attracted to an otherwise amazing catch. Other times, I’ve regretted not taking the chance because I overanalyzed. In these situations, I was too slow decide whether I wanted to risk losing a friend for a lover, since it’s possible things won’t work out, but also to make sure I wasn’t making a decision solely based off sexual tension you could cut with a knife.

Crazy man. Mais c’est la vie. The Friend Zone is something most of us with go through, but whatever the outcome, I’m sure it makes us better people. At worst, it leaves us hurt, resentful, or wondering, but we learn to get over it. At best, it’s the tough mountain you have to climb, but at the top is the beautiful thing called a relationship. And the best relationships start off as best friends, so the Friend Zone can’t be all that bad right?

……But then again, that shit sucks sometimes. What can we do about the Friend Zone? Is it really the “End Zone” if we can’t get in the End Zone?

Tell me what you think and we can have a great discussion.

We Out Here,

Josh A

(P.S. Check out this funny web comic about the friend zone lol.)

Categories: JoshArticles, ThisBoyGirlStuff


  1. Man I’m loving this just from the meme… now I will read and get back to you on my thoughts.

  2. I agree that typically sexual attraction plays a big role in the zoning.
    I also agree that a man being disappointed to find himself in the friend zone does not mean he was only interested in having sex. For some (many?) knowing someone s/he is interested in does not return that interest sexually/physically is a clear red flag. Why begin the race if you are assured ahead of time that you will not complete it?
    I am not saying a man needs to know up front if he will be able to have sex with a woman. But knowing definitively “no” before things even begin… You see my point?

    I would just add that such an attraction is not always physical.
    Even with someone you find “externally” appealing, there can be something about said person “internally” that still keeps the sexual attraction from developing.
    What’s more, even when the sexual (and other levels of) attraction are there, some other influence can prove to be more powerful. For example, I know that men have tended to “friend zone” women out of concerns that she may not match up with the ideal of who he thinks he should (or is expected to by others) end up with.
    At this stage in my life I think that is a ridiculous reason to not see where things go with someone, but it still happens. It has for me. I remember not dating a girl in the seventh grade because I was concerned about what people (not even my friends necessarily, just people) would think.

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