Figure of Speech Friday I

Friend Zone (n, v)

Top definition:

What you attain after you fail to impress a woman you’re attracted to. Usually initiated by the woman saying, “You’re such a good friend”. Usually associated with long days of suffering and watching your love interest hop from one bad relationship to another. Verb tense is “Friend-ed”.

Why we should stop using it:

This first edition of FoSF is an easy one, because Nice Guys of OKCupid has covered this figure of speech pretty extensively. Here’s a snippet:

The “friendzone” is a term used, particularly by “nice guys”, to refer to women who don’t want to have sex with them. It’s based on their idea that every relationship with women has its ultimate goal as having sex with them and you move up to the “next level” - from acquaintance to friend to partner - by doing enough nice things for them, buying them gifts, spending time with them etc. Therefore, when a woman isn’t interested in a relationship with them even though they feel they’ve done all the right things, they feel they’ve been somehow cheated out of something and done a disservice. They can’t see being a friend as a good thing, so they refer to it as being “friendzoned” in a negative context. They treat the whole time they spent with the woman as a waste.

Needless to say, the whole theory is sexist, misogynist and dehumanises women. Anybody who uses the term seriously is an idiot.

So you’ve been nice, and helpful, and generous to her, and now she wants to be friends with you? You poor thing.

There’s really no way to use this figure of speech without suggesting that a woman’s friendship has no value of its own except as a stepping stone toward the goal of a sexual relationship with her. That’s called dehumanization, and it should be pretty obvious why it’s a bad thing.

The other problem with complaining about being in the “friend zone” is that you are imagining a woman as a game that you win if you score enough points. “I did X,Y, and Z for her and I’ve been nice to her all this time – why won’t she date me?”

Maybe because she just doesn’t want to. Maybe because you never asked (a thing most “friend zone” denizens seem to have in common in my experience is that they expect to be offered a relationship without ever articulating their interest). In any case, nothing you did – and nothing you can do – entitles you to her affections. No matter how nice you were, you have no right to feel that you are being denied something that is rightfully yours.

Men of the future, if you ever feel that my daughter has put you in the “friend zone”, consider the following possibilities: (1) that she actually does want to be your friend, which you should be happy about because my daughter is awesome and would be an awesome friend, or (2) that my daughter is trying, as nicely as possible, to drop you a hint that she is repulsed by you and that you don’t have a chance. As one visitor to Nice Guys of OKCupid once put it, sometimes it’s “more like the ugh not this guy again zone”.

Thanks for reading.