Next Stop: The Friendzone

Shaming someone’s inability to desire you is not only useless, it’s damaging.

By Michelle Nektalov, SUNY Purchase


On a recent Sunday morning I was laying out in my backyard, taking in the warmth of the sun.

As I gazed up at the vividly blue sky and felt the lush grass below my bare feet, the scenery felt perfect. It seemed like a beautiful day, until some asshole felt the need to Yik Yak.

“I’m sick of being friendzoned by girls,” he said. And just like that, the calm flower child in me was gone and the angsty teen within me lost her shit.

For anyone whose knowledge is a bit dusty on what the “friendzone” is, allow me to refresh your memory. The circumstance occurs when one of two people in a platonic relationship wants to be romantically or sexually involved with the other, while said other does not reciprocate those feelings. Simply put, Yik Yak Guy has likely heard “I think of you as a friend” from numerous women.

Breaking Up with the Word ‘Friendzone’

To see him bitterly hold others accountable for being rejected was exasperating. After all, it doesn’t seem logical to blame on a girl for lacking a physical and/or emotional attraction to him. She can’t help how she feels. In fact, no woman or man should be shamed for not returning intimacy. Even under circumstance in which the desired party is treated kindly, their admirer still isn’t entitled to any romance. Hell, they don’t even owe their friendzoned buddy a platonic relationship!

The reward for respect is not romantic interest. Everyone should be nice to one another because it’s simply the decent thing to do. When someone anticipates brownie points for being a good person, it’s like asking for a raise because you show up at work. Attendance and respect are expectations, not causes for reward.

Having to reject a friend is an uncomfortable spot to be put in. Looking back on my experience with the situation, I felt really guilty doing it. I thought of myself as the bad guy, when in reality I just didn’t want to be involved with a boy who wouldn’t have made me happy. Unfortunately, it’s all too common to hear slander about being relegated to the friendzone.

As a college student I’m usually surrounded by young adults who invest a large portion of their time into dating. I’ve seen and heard instances where people who don’t end up with the desired results of their romantic pursuits go as far as trying to convince their love interest to give them a chance. As if having to turn them down once wasn’t hard enough, now there’s pressure to explain specifically why the answer was “no” in the first place! This sentiment might seem insensitive towards those whose feelings were passed up, but being forced to make it clear why that decision was made is painfully awkward in its own uneasy way.

So there I am, frantically typing back a response to Yik Yak Guy (again, the angsty teen inside of me was pissed). In my reply I pointed out that girls don’t owe him intimacy. I mentally high fived myself as my post started to receive upvotes. Others even commented similar opinions on the matter. It felt as if maybe my words could actually inspire someone to look at the situation in a different light. Sadly, his response reminded me that it’s 2016 and altering someone’s opinion is not happening any time soon.

He replied “Okay, but every girl does this to me.” After reading his words over and over trying to come up with the perfect comeback, I put my phone down. There was no purpose in arguing, because in that moment I understood that I wasn’t going to get my point across to some guy on the internet. I wouldn’t have been successful if I argued with him over Facebook or threw shade via Twitter, let alone trying to change this boy’s opinion through an anonymous application like Yik Yak.

Although I never gave Yik Yak Guy my two cents, I had a lot to say to him.

His dilemma is that he, along with many other men, consider friendship with a woman as more of an obstacle rather than a connection.

He sees not advancing in a relationship as strain on his goals instead of a sign that the pairing isn’t meant to be. When will hookup culture realize that engaging in sincere friendship is the best way to progress a bond?

The warped idea that the friendzone is where the chances of scoring bae go to die has to end. The friendzone is not a limitation, but rather a chance to create a beautiful connection with another human being. Even if romance isn’t in the cards for two friends, it’s not like they’ll end up alone with six cats. All it means is there’s more companions to make and friendships to build.

Plus, if “every girl” seems to be shooting down his attempts to move past a platonic relationship, then maybe he should take a good look at himself. It’s possible that he has personal flaw that prompts rejection, and can take steps towards fixing it.

Despite how society has falsely turned the concept of the friendzone into something degrading, on an emotional level I understand the fear that people feel towards being placed into that category. Many of us just want to feel loved or wanted.

Being turned down means you’re alone again, trying to find someone to fill our yearning inside for affection, to which I say don’t worry. Easier said than done of course, but life takes us to so many different places.

No matter how many times you get dropped off at the friendzone, there will come a time when the right person will be there waiting to pick us up.