I think it’s pretty safe to say most of us in this generation have been “friend zoned,” and we’ve also probably friend zoned someone else too. I know both have been true for me.
The friend zone is the much maligned relationship purgatory that we’re sent to when our crush doesn’t return our feelings.
A lot of the discussion around this phenomenon centers around how to escape the friend zone, how to make your crush like you, or at least how to try to make them like you.
But something about that bothers me. First off, no one can make another person like them. Love or like, doesn’t work like that. Moreover, the affection we think we feel for the other person when we’ve been friend zoned is often not real love. It’s hard to hear that sometimes, because it usually feels like love to us when we’re in it.
It’s also often said that we get friend zoned because we’re too nice, or too available. This is always frustrating, and it also seems so counter-intuitive. What we usually want in a partner is exactly those things, kindness and availability. Right? So, why do we fall for jerks and emotionally unavailable people when there’s been a nice person there for us all along?
Michael Stevens from Vsauce, an educational YouTube channel explains the science of the friend-zone in one of his videos:
So, maybe the friend zone isn’t there because “nice guys always finish last,” maybe it’s not even about incompatibility with or idealization of another person. Maybe it’s just a way that we’re all expressing our unconscious need for more friends. Romance is great, but we all know much of the time relationships don’t last. And maybe what we need is some nice, lasting friendships.
In the end, why should that be a bad thing? Why is being “only” a friend considered such a bad place to be? After all, it’s what many of us need the most. So maybe next time we get friend zoned, instead of feeling frustrated, let’s feel honored. Let’s just be the best friends we can be.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Kathryn Muyskens
Editor: Travis May