Thursday, 6 June 2013

Friendzone v Girlfriend zone

You know how it is, right, ladies? You know a guy for a while. You hang out with him. You do fun things with him—play video games, watch movies, go hiking, go to concerts. You invite him to your parties. You listen to his problems. You do all this because you think he wants to be your friend.

But then, then comes the fateful moment where you find out that all this time, he’s only seen you as a potential girlfriend. And then if you turn him down, he may never speak to you again. This has happened to me time after time: I hit it off with a guy, and, for all that I’ve been burned in the past, I start to think that this one might actually care about me as a person. And then he asks me on a date.

I tell him how much I enjoy his company, how much I value his friendship. I tell him that I really want to be his friend and to continue hanging out with him and talking about our favorite books or exploring new restaurants or making fun of avant-garde theatre productions. But he rejects me. He doesn’t answer my calls or e-mails; if we’d been making plans to do something before this fateful incident, these plans mysteriously fail to materialize. (This is why I never did get around to seeing the Hunger Games movie. Not to name any names, but thanks a lot, Tom.) Later, when I run into him at social events, our conversations are awkward and lukewarm. This is because the moment we met, he put me in the girlfriend-zone, and now he can’t see me as friend material.

I must say that I find this really unfair. I mean, I’m a nice girl. I have a lot to offer as a friend, like not being a douchebag and stuff. But males just don’t want to be friends with nice girls like me. They can’t help it, I guess; it’s just how they’re wired, biologically. Evolution conditioned our male hominid ancestors to seek nice girls as mates and form friendship bonds only with the other dudes that they hunted mammoths with. It’s true—I know this because I studied hominids in my fifth-grade science class.

So what’s the answer? Should I take up mammoth-hunting in an attempt to appeal to the friendship centers of men’s primal lizardbrains? Should I keep making guy “friends” and then prevent them from making a move on me by subtly undermining their self-confidence? Should I just give up on those manipulative, game-playing, two-faced bastards once and for all? I don’t know. I mean, I’d really like to have a true friendship with a guy someday, but it’s so hard to trust and respect them when they never say what they mean—and you never know when you might be relegated to the girlfriend-zone.


  1. Hi! I don't think we've ever met, but you commented on one of my blog posts so I thought I'd come return the favour! Pleased to meet you :) I'm OJ! How did you manage to find my blog?! I haven't even touched that thing in MONTHS!

    For this topic in particular, I feel that the following video is relevant:

    Truth of the matter is, guys around your age probably can't differentiate between wanting a girlfriend and wanting a friend who's a girl. Chances are, their social environment teaches them not to examine or discuss their feelings in any great depth. That means that, just when they hit this great period of social experimentation, they're also the least equipped to deal with it. Guys lack emotional maturity, generally speaking. We suck. But if you can hold on for five years, or ten, we might just surprise you.

  2. Doh! I've only just noticed the link you included at the start, my bad! One of the responses to that video was that asking college-age men if they can be friends with women was a bit like asking Jews if they like the taste of bacon; they don't know any better, so they can't respond any better. Generally speaking, guys tend to focus more on what they don't have rather than what they do have; for example, "I don't have a girlfriend" as opposed to "I have a great female friend". Maybe that's just the inner cynic coming out, but it's not often that you find a guy who's able to value their female friends as being, well, friends. Those that buck the trend are, in my experience, either gay, or are devoutly religious - and even then, not always, or even commonly, but just at a higher rate than the general male population.

    Also, I don't see how the two definitions of friendzone that you've provided in any way contradict. One, the latter, is a process, and the "girls are such bitches etc." is a response to that process. This also assumes, of course, that girls are only open to being more than friends for a particular phase in any social relationship, beyond which the only possible recourse is friendship, which is patently untrue. I dislike the term 'friendzone' because it implies stagnation, and a good social relationship never stagnates. If it does, chances are, any relationship would not have lasted very long.

    Sounds like someone's been doing some Facebook snooping! Haha yes, I know Alice, that's cool! Did not know any other blogs actually linked to mine, though...hmm, maybe I should start writing again. My dedication to my blog has never been more than intermittent. Maybe after exams.

  3. Hm it's true - the definitions aren't mutually exclusive. I guess I should have elaborated. What I meant to emphasise is the shift of blame, which is really the key point here (by the way, I'm just repeating a lot of the things I've read from other people - similar to

    The latter one implies that a man concedes his fate and accepts that the woman doesn't like him as more than just a friend - perhaps resulting in the man's continued feelings of unrequited love or regret at not having asked earlier. This is a pretty normal reaction for any guy or girl who gets rejected and is the acceptable definition of friendzone.

    This contrasts with the former use of the term, which justifies sentiments like "girls are so difficult/complicated/frustrating, she rejected me because I'm too nice and you know what they say - nice guys finish last" and so friendzone becomes a pejorative term that blames a woman for doing the 'wrong thing' and making the guy feel like shit. It's like me going up to a guy, asking him out, getting rejected, and then I get pissed off at HIM for rejecting me and I say to everyone "yeah he totally friendzoned me, maybe cos I'm too bubbly grrrrr I feel so shit cos he can't recognise what a great person I am". yeah, it's annoying and arrogant. That's the sort of connotation that goes with the term now because apparently, a lot of men are using it like that. And of course, it ties in with the expectation that women are supposed to say yes.

    But anyway. You raise a good point - I wouldn't want to say that all girls are only open to being more than just friends early on in a relationship. I think it's just the fact that I've seen so many of my male friends suddenly ask their female friends out - friends that they've known for a loooooooonggg time. Maybe this relates to what you said about guys our age going through this period of 'social experimentation'.

    Okay. I think I'm writing way too much. Also, I did not facebook stalk you haha! I stalked some of the blogs that Alice linked on her own blog, and I probably got around one or two other ones before landing on yours. Keep posting things up! I enjoy reading yours :)

  4. I don't know, the second definition of friendzone you've explained isn't quite how I interpret the word. To me, 'friendzoning' in a negative sense is used when a guy doesn't understand why he's been rejected. In a sense, those guys feel that being told that "I think of you more as a friend" is a cover for some other inadequacy, and if they were actually told why they were being rejected, they'd be able to fix that inadequacy and maybe have a real shot. And in not telling them the real reason, the female is essentially relegating him to friendship forever, because she's unwilling, for whatever reason, to go more than friends. It's like, "yeah you're a great guy, and if we weren't friends I'd totally go out with you, but since we are, then no". And if that's the case, if friendship is the only barrier to being more than friends, then it's almost inevitable that that friendship will be cut, either in retribution, or in a half-baked last-ditch attempt at something more. Yes, the girl's still getting the blame, but it's more rational than the guy simply going "she rejected me, therefore friendzone".

    Well, that's a good point actually, guys that I know do tend to congregate towards asking out girls that they've known for a long time, that they're comfortable with, that represent a known entity to them. I think that element of social security is important for a lot of guys these days, and it represents a paradigm shift in terms of there needing to be some sort of long-term interaction preceding any attempt at a serious relationship. I think part of it stems from the awareness that the typical "Hollywood relationship" where the guy and girl meet and instantly connect and last forever isn't grounded in any sense of reality, and the other part being that there's a lot less certainty in the world today, especially kids our age entering uni and the workforce, and they do seek something concrete that they can focus on during this transitionary stage in their lives. Pop psychology, maybe, but it makes sense to me at least.

    Writing is good. Being able to write effectively, and being able to communicate with a wide variety of audiences, being able to tailor your message so that it's accessible to anyone, that's a critical skill for work and for life. Besides, being concise is overrated :P

    I...totally also did not do any Facebook staking. I have minions who do that sort of thing for me :D But yeah, thanks for the encouragement!