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Here's why the word 'friendzone' needs to die

And soon.

Source: Shutterstock/Antonio Guillem

IF YOU’VE BEEN online or switched on the TV in the last 20 years or so, you’re probably familiar with the concept of the ‘friendzone’.

Wikipedia defines the friendzone as

A platonic relationship wherein one person, most commonly a man, wishes to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship, while the other does not.

Source: Reddit

But it is perhaps most compellingly described by Ryan Reynolds in the (terrible) movie Just Friends. He explains:

The ‘friend zone’ is like the penalty box of dating, only you can never get out. Once a girl decides you’re her ‘friend,’ it’s game over. You’ve become a complete non-sexual entity in her eyes, like her brother, or a lamp.

It is represented graphically here:

The word ‘friendzone’ originated, again according to Wikipedia, in a 1994 episode of Friends which saw Joey describe Ross as “the mayor of the friend zone”.

It’s since become a veritable phenomenon. MTV had an entire show called Friend Zone. There is a dedicated subreddit all about escaping from the Friend Zone. It is a pretty tired meme.

Source: 2nerd

And it’s also one which inspires vocal opposition.

So what’s the problem?

Well, here’s an outline argument against it:

1. It only goes one way

The friendzone meme, oddly enough, is almost exclusively used to describe something women inflict upon men. It’s never the other way around. Perhaps it is this that fuels the suspicion that…

2. It’s really just a fancy-pants way of moaning about being rejected

Discussion of the friendzone often goes hand in hand with complaint. And frequently also mention of ‘nice guys’ – usually along the lines of “girls date assholes, then moan about them to the ‘nice guys’ they’re ignoring sexually”.



3. This carries a weird implication that being a docile, friendly character somehow gives you a right to, you know… the ride

Which kinda suggests…

4. … maybe you’re not such a nice guy after all?

Like, if you were such a good guy, maybe a more appropriate action would be to just cool your heels a little.

5. So maybe the word just needs to die

Guardian writer Ally Fogg has mounted a persuasive argument that not all men who use the word are misogynists – just, you know, losers. But still, he writes: “the friend zone doesn’t exist”.

So let’s retire the word now. Let it die. We can all agree to be grownups about this, right?


More: Ghosting is the coldest way to dump someone – but what is it?>

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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