Now Boarding for the Friendzone: The Destination that Doesn’t Exist. ~ Jesse James

Via Jesse James
on Aug 9, 2014
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Simone Artibani - FCC

Let me just start this off by echoing something that I (and plenty of others) have already said: The “friend zone” does not exist.

It is not a place that you are sent to when a woman doesn’t want to have sex.

You’re not doing time on a sentence there, you can’t timeshare there, and no, you won’t be bumping into any of your other “friend-zoned” friends.

This isn’t a thing.

It is, however, a state of mind. One that people put themselves in when they don’t know how to cope.

Now let me reiterate: a person spending time with someone and growing to love them, whether that feeling is returned or not, is not wrong and that is not the problem. People fall in love, it’s natural and it’s great, but that doesn’t always mean it is unanimous for both parties.

Having the expectation that because one person feels a certain way, the other owes them a part of their body to satisfy your personal needs—this is a problem worth discussing.

Whether this situation is between a man and a woman, or any other possible paired variation of people, no one owes their body or their affections, their time, explanation or anything else for that matter. No one owes you a damn thing if that is not what they want for themselves.

I know it’s hard to think beyond our own pain once the feeling of rejection kicks in, but lick your wounds while considering this: other people are not alive simply to serve us. That is not their purpose; they do not exist to fulfill our needs.

The action deemed “friend zoning” is honestly a really hurtful device when used against anyone, and it is most commonly against women.

It’s awful because it essentially says that in the case that you deny the other person physical intimacy or a romantic pairing, your personal worth has been negated down to nothing. Because being your friend, is somehow a consolation prize that no one wants.

This is incredibly demeaning, and places the unrequited in to a box labeled victim unnecessarily, and in doing so, places the one they love into a space that denies them not only personal choice, but autonomy as well; a space where every action that does not conclude in the two of you having sex is deemed “with intent to harm”… Which is completely unjustified.

Does it hurt to have love not returned?

Most definitely. I’ve been on that end plenty myself (Yet when I was, I loved without expectation, and didn’t blame them when they didn’t return that). But in any case that doesn’t mean that any other person is responsible for your feelings save yourself. That doesn’t fall on them as they didn’t put you in that box. You did; now it’s your responsibility to get yourself out of it.

This is really important to me to have people understand, and I feel that this is necessary to include given the history of actions people took in my own past, when situations like this arose:

If in the situation you have made your feelings aware, and choose to remain in the other’s life, then that is your choice.

While I’d hope the person would be respectful of such feelings then and act accordingly careful not to lead you on, either way you are still responsible for controlling your actions. You have chosen to stay around knowing that the other has also made a choice, one that includes you as a friend instead of romantic partner.

That’s it.

So since this isn’t a Hollywood movie, chances are there is no script of their life written to appease the ending you want (& no amount of larger-than-life grand romantic gestures will change that), their word is the authority of which you will have to respect.

You can choose to accept that and to love them unconditionally knowing that, or not. But even if you cannot accept that, guess what? You are still responsible for controlling your actions; and the same is to be said that if you continue to hang on to expectations of the other person, that still does not require them to fulfill them for your benefit.

In my own experience though, once you feel that you are a victim of the friend zone, your resentment for this person has already touched you too deeply.

This is something to note, because that kind of energy simply does not leave room for a healthy relationship, as neither lovers or friends.

Knowing this, my best advice to anyone feeling that, is to get away from the person right then; for your own good as well as theirs. Because once that resentment hits, what you feel is no longer “love,” but rather something else entirely. People do and say a lot of savage things when they begin to resent someone, so don’t allow that to find a way in to your life.

Instead, get away. Sever the relationship, do some self-work. Meet new people and then…move on with the rest of your life.

Because you know, that person still does not owe you themselves, and if you can’t accept that, nothing good will come of that for either of you.

So Keep Calm & Love On, but… maybe just with someone else.

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Editor: Cat Beekmans

Photo: Flickr


About Jesse James

Jesse James is a 23 year old activist, writer and artist, studying to be a Birth Professional. She lives her life temporarily in Toronto with her partner, puppy and ferret, as she continues her studies and develops her business, but plans on moving out into the country to build a house in the trees, and eventually, an Earthship on the ground. She worships the earth and thrives on art, late night summer rain, human connection, love and new experiences.


9 Responses to “Now Boarding for the Friendzone: The Destination that Doesn’t Exist. ~ Jesse James”

  1. AFC says:

    Perfect. Damn straight. Take some responsibility!!!

  2. thank you. thank you thank you thank you. next question: what do you do when you're the one doing the rejecting AND feeling resentful of the other person's romantic love? (feeling guilty for not being able to return such feelings.)

  3. jojo says:

    Perfectly said.

  4. BKGboy says:

    OK so I’m a guy who often jokes about being in the “friend zone” with most of my close friends. Nearly all of whom are women. I think its important to also point out how a male and female friendship can be very healthy. As this seems to be very rare and often misunderstood in our culture when it occurs.

    Now I love the women that are close friends of mine. By love I mean that their happiness is essential to my own. I’m elated when life is going well for them and concerned when its not. The only thing I ask from these women is the OPPORTUNITY to be a good friend. The only expectation I have is that they be a good friend in return.

    A good friend in my book is supportive, understanding, and compassionate as well as just a good person to hang out with. Because I love these women deeply I endeavor to be that kind of friend to the best of my ability. And isn’t that one of the great benefits of love? Being driven to be the best person your capable of.

    All that said this is the point I really want to make. I get to love several women. And they all have no problem telling me that they love me back in the same way as I defined it above. When someone’s happiness is essential to your own. Because I’m consistent with the way I treat them they know they can say that and not have to worry that I going to change my actions or behavior. Quite the opposite in fact. My friendships with the women I love have grown into the most rewarding, supportive, and beneficial relationships a person could possible ask for.

    So if you love someone do both yourselves a favor by learning from this article. Drop any expectations of what that “should” lead to. Just care about them. Be present in an open and excepting way for them. Then let go and let things happen as they will.

    Thank you.

  5. Jesse James says:

    I don't know you, but I love you for your words and your big open heart.

    Thank you for sharing your comment, it made me incredibly happy to read.

    The world needs more loving, emotionally intelligent beings like you.

  6. Jesse James says:

    Good question Anna! I'm not sure I have a fully formulated enough answer to that just yet, as that is something I still feel guilt over myself when it happens too.

    Let me reflect on that a bit more and I'll get back to you. In the mean time though, I'd love to hear any one else's thoughts on the matter!

  7. JR Bob Dobbs says:

    I believe in the existence of the "friend zone". However, it had never occurred to me that this made me in any way a victim. I have been "friend zoned" so many times it's absurd. I think the real issue is derpy dudes expectations. They expect that they believe that because they "love" that she is somehow obliged to reciprocate. LOL
    TRUTH IS, these dudes just don't know how to play that zone. Example- I am in fact the occasional (or more often depending) bed partner of all of my female friends (1 exception but we haven't been friends that long yet).
    Ain't nothing wrong with being friends with a lady you desire sexually or romantically – even if it isn't nreciprocated. Just ask yourself this- if I wasn't hot for her would we still be frinds? If the answer is yes then man the fuck up and accept what is offered (her friendship) rather than focusing upon what isn't.
    IF YOU ARE AS KIND, GENEROUS, LOVING, -blah blah blah- as you say you are then over time friendship will usually bloom into getting it on at least occasionally.

  8. Garry A. says:

    too much yadda yadda, friendzone exists and it is not the big deal people make of it. And I'm not talking about the rejected ones who has been friendzoned. For them this might be an actual big deal. I just don't see what the problem is. If you desire someone and is not corresponded, of course it is gonna hurt, no one likes to be rejected should they be what, happy? For someone who was aiming at a sexual relationship, it is obvious that being friends is not enough. Friendzone happens when a guy tries do approach a woman with sexual intentions but somehow in the way to that, trying to be cool and attractive for her, she starts to like him but only as a friend, so suddenly the guy is caught up in this "zone" where he feels bad to make a move, 'cause that would seem like a betrayal to the friendship. So he is stuck there, never intended to be only a friend, but now he is, friend enough to not be able to change that into sexual relationship. Friendzone is a misunderstanding, awkward zone. Problem is that most of the girls would be offended by sincerity, if a guy just approaches telling right away that he wants to have sex with her, that is kind of repulsive. So he must build trust for that move first, make her see he is a nice not creepy guy. That is the fragile part because a little misunderstanding turn the whole thing into being great friends "as brothers", which is not what he intended, but that's how she (mis)understood. So yes, friendzone exists, it is awkward, is a pain in the ass because now the guy has to play friendship in order not to hurt her feelings, while his own feelings are hurt.
    It is not a good thing, for none of them both involved, but it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.
    And would be of great help if ladies stop being so sensitive about sexual approach, thus avoiding this misunderstandings between friendship and sex. That only happens because guys feel they must 'come in' as friends first and only then move to sex, otherwise they would cut him out right away so… what about if we all just agree to make things easier?
    BTW, ladies, you think you have males as only-friends, well give them HALF A CHANCE of having sex and you'll see.

  9. karmarevolution says:

    Wow. I hadn't seen this until now but, what an incredibly sexist misogynistic comment. It's just dripping with it.

    In any case, to address some of what you said, it's not about making your intention for sex known that makes it creepy; it's all the pick-up artist games that people (but especially men) play in order to get to that point. Which, by the way, you essentially just described the act of friendship as being one of. Gross.

    Befriending someone in an effort to get into their pants is precisely the problem. Because your intention is not honest and you're turning the free-will and autonomy of another person (in this case, a woman) into something that you feel can be manipulated and altered into the outcome you want. That all of this can be accomplished if you only do enough deeds for her favor as a supposedly "nice guy".

    If you don't see all of the things wrong with that, then I will never be able to explain it to you… But I suggest that you check in with some of that sexism you are harboring, and work on altering your view of women and their role in your life.

    Women, just like men, just like all people, have the absolute right and final say in choosing whether or not they sleep with someone, as well as who that someone will be. You're not being put in any zone because a person made a choice not to sleep with you; you're simply being rejected. Deal with that and stop making things up to put the responsibility on them.