Does The Friend Zone Actually Exist?

February 17th, 2011

Dating, The Friend Zone

I find it curious that the OP winds up in the friend zone so often. Because you see, there’s no such thing as the friend zone for guys – if they are at all attracted to the woman in question. If a female friend of ours is smokin’ hot, you can be sure we’re all too willing to cross that line. The B.S. about not wanting to risk the friendship is a purely female concept. A man will risk a lot of things if a hot piece of tail is in play. If we ever use that line on a female friend it’s merely a nice way of letting her down because we’re not interested in her in that way. So I’m sorry to say that if the OP is always ending up in the friend zone with guys – it means they aren’t attracted to her. Alternatively, if she finds herself only being the rebound for guys in between their committed relationships, it’s likely for the same reason. Sadly, a lot of guys (myself included) will use a woman that, for a host of possible reasons, they identify as easy prey to keep them occupied until something better comes along. But that’s more a referendum on our boorish behavior than anything the OP is doing wrong. – Craig

All people — both men AND women say they “just want to be friends” or “I don’t want to ruin the friendship” when they really mean “I am not attracted to you.” Women are LYING — just like men, when they say that to you.

No one – man or woman — would give up the opportunity to be with someone they truly cared about and wanted to be with, to preserve some theoretical friendship. I am skeptical of anyone who claims otherwise. In any event, sex doesn’t ruin a friendship, so you could have both. Sex and friendship. Just because people don’t admit the truth, doesn’t change reality. – DMN

 


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25 Responses to “Does The Friend Zone Actually Exist?”

  1. dimplz Says:

    I agreed with DMN, but I want to expand a little:
    I have a few male friends, but once I began my relationship, we don’t hang out alone like we did when I was single. I put my relationship first, because, as much as we’d all like to think that it’s not ok to do that, I’m not marrying my friends, I’m marrying my boyfriend one day. If the situation were reverse, and it has been, I wouldn’t think twice about them putting their relationship first. In other words, as DMN said, “No one – man or woman — would give up the opportunity to be with someone they truly cared about and wanted to be with, to preserve some theoretical friendship.” I’ve had too many guy and girl “friends” come and go (for no reason at all because I have been single for years) to risk happiness with my future partner.

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  2. Paula Says:

    I think the Friend Zone is a different place for men and women, because I think that men and women typically perceive friendships of the opposite sex differently.

    I agree with DMN that both sexes lie when they know the other person is more attracted than they are. But I think women do a better job of trying to maintain an actual friendship when they say they just want to be friends, and often make some effort to help the guy friend find someone else (whether out of guilt or a more nurturing nature).

    I also think that some of what Chuckrock described in the previous post is going on, where there’s just enough attraction there that the guy wants to keep the door open, knowing that the woman will accept keeping the guy in her life as a friend, if she perceives some chance that later it’ll become more. It’s easy to perceive the territorial behavior that arises as jealousy, but it’s probably not.

    While it’s possible for straight men and straight women to be friends, I think the term is often misused when people don’t want to be honest with each other about their attraction or lack of it. There are many different kinds of friendships, but the term shouldn’t be used to refer to a person that is essentially in a parking lot while you sort out your feelings.

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  3. WO7 Says:

    This is both true and untrue. If I am head over heels for a girl, then I will not care if the “friendship” gets ruined. I will pursue the relationship.

    But if I know it won’t work out in the long run, then I will forgo a short relationship in order to preserve the friendship.

    So it doesn’t mean he doesn’t like you, or isn’t attracted to you. It just means he doesn’t think there is long term potential.

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “If I am head over heels for a girl, then I will not care if the ‘friendship’ gets ruined. I will pursue the relationship.” Agreed; if one of you voices romantic feelings for the other, the platonic friendship is already over, so there is nothing left to risk. If the interest is solely sexual, you can remain friends, at least when you’re both still single.

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  4. Craig Says:

    The friend zone most definitely exists – I spent most of my teenage years and early 20s in it with various women I had feelings for. But preserving the friendship isn’t the real reason it exists. Rather, it’s a convenient excuse to hide behind when dealing with the awkward and delicate situation of rejecting a friend who shows interest in you, but whom you’re not attracted to in return. The reality is: if you’re available, you love your platonic friend’s company, and you are physically attracted to him or her – you would most likely get romantically involved with them if given the opportunity. Why would anyone choose to just be platonic friends with someone they’re attracted to over being with them romantically? You get all the same benefits of their friendship either way.

    People really aren’t afraid of ruining the friendship with someone if they have feelings for them. We all know anything worth having comes with risk – and it’s human nature to take risks to get potential rewards. No, the friend zone is all about you enjoying your friend’s company – but you don’t want them touching your goodies. You’ve got others more attractive to you in mind for that. Whenever I’ve ended up friends with a woman, it’s for one of two reasons: either 1) I’ve never wanted to fuck her; or 2) I know she doesn’t want to fuck me and thus I wouldn’t make her uncomfortable around me by trying to. THAT in a nutshell is what the friend zone really is: when at least one party does not desire the other.

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “the friend zone is all about you enjoying your friend’s company – but you don’t want them touching your goodies.” This.

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  5. Mandy Says:

    Whether there is attraction or not, I think you can genuinely like a person but not want to live with that person, or go on trips with that person, or open up about all your feelings to that person. I love all my friends, male and female, but I don’t want to spend my life with them the way I do with my partner.

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  6. Saj Says:

    Some people make great friends but lousy dating partners so once you deem someone not attractive or their personality just doesn’t mesh with mine but they are fine in small doses then the friend zone it is.

    If someone was attractive and they had a great personality then the I don’t want to ruin our friendship line is a bunch of BS.

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  7. Lynda Says:

    I am the OP of the question before- it is definitely not the case of the guys too hot or too rich- they are average looking, as am I. of course I can understand the attraction not being there on their end and I never mentioned how I feel. but in the two most recent situations, the guys who were both my friends never told me that they were seriously dating someone. I found out about it from other mutual friends (actually in one instance from the girl he was dating). one of the things that you asked, Moxie, is if I am being guarded. A girlfriend of mine recently told me I can be guarded and standoffish at time. How do I fix that? change that? I most certainly do want to be in a relationship, and have worked on a lot of the issues that would stand in the way of that (lost a lot of weight, work out, dress nicely) but i think my nervousness translate as standoffishness and I would like to change that. Any suggestions??

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  8. chuckrock Says:

    Well I obviously believe that a friend zone exists. I think everyone is hung up on the idea that just because someone doesn’t want a relationship with you means they don’t like you. There are many reasons why someone winds up as a friend rather than a girlfriend or even just a sexual conquest.

    These things could happen upon meeting

    1. I am not attracted to her
    2. she is not attracted to me
    3. she is in a relationship
    4. I am in a relationship
    5. she lives too far away
    6. she doesn’t meet some criteria I have that i need in a partner, but am fine with in a friend (ie. smokes or has kids)

    Then once she becomes a friend it is very possible that no matter what happens thereafter, I will never be able to look at her as anything but a friend. I totally disagree that ‘not wanting to ruin the friendship’ is a BS line.

    I’ve never had a relationship last with a woman. I have had most of the friendships with women last. Why would I jeopardize the friendship that has been important to me to go after a relationship that odds are isn’t going to last? I don’t like those odds enough to jeopardize a friendship that means something to me. Sorry, anyone who thinks otherwise is just dead wrong.

    I’m not even sure why the existence of the friend zone is even in question, tbh.

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “There are many reasons why someone winds up as a friend rather than a girlfriend” Agreed; in fact, many of my female friends are gals I dated briefly before we mutually figured out there was no long term potential due to some intractable obstacle (e.g. religion) but still liked hanging out together. For the remainder, the intractable obstacle to dating was so obvious (e.g. marriage) when we met that we never even considered dating. I’ve put a few other gals in the Friend Zone over the years, but they never stick around once they realize there’s no escape and no appeal.

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  9. Craig Says:

    chuckrock :
    I’ve never had a relationship last with a woman. I have had most of the friendships with women last.

    You might wish to read what you just said and then re-examine what you might want to do differently if you want a relationship with a woman to last. Just sayin’.

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    • chuckrock Says:

      Well, I am currently single, so obviously I have never had a relationship last. Anyone who is single has this issue.

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  10. Vox Says:

    If you are put into the friend zone, it means the other person likes your personality but doesn’t find you sexually attractive. It really is that simple. I can understand not wanting to believe this because rejection is tough, but it’s the truth.

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  11. Robyn Says:

    Craig :Whenever I’ve ended up friends with a woman, it’s for one of two reasons: either 1) I’ve never wanted to fuck her; or 2) I know she doesn’t want to fuck me and thus I wouldn’t make her uncomfortable around me by trying to. THAT in a nutshell is what the friend zone really is: when at least one party does not desire the other.

    There’s a #3 to add to Craig’s #1 & #2 (and this is something that I have experienced personally):
    3) When both parties desire each other, but one or both are attached/in relationships with other people [and - for a variety of reasons - are not intending to end said relationship(s)] – and choose not to act on their desires.

    The only reason I did not end up in a rip-roaring affair with the man in question was because we were such good friends, and I knew that an affair would ultimately be disastrous for both of us (as well as most likely destroy the friendship).

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  12. gmo Says:

    I know for a fact that the friend zone exists. Alot of my closest friends are women that I’ve dated or hooked up with at one point. I don’t claim not to be attracted to them and make no such pretense, but they are genuinely friends. I think the problem is the way people understand friendship as an either/or. To me,friendship means that if nothing were to ever happen between us, I would be happy hanging out with them. Put differently, regardless of my level of attraction for them, I genuinely like who they are.
    The litmus test is simple. If you knew nothing would ever happen between you, would you still enjoy hanging out with her. If it would significantly influence my choice, then I won’t befriend a girl because it would be torturous. (that is the definition of frustration)

    I’ll befriend a girl because we just aren’t a good dating match, because we are looking for different things, because she isn’t attracted, or because she started dating someone. Keep in mind, i’m more open to doing this because I date alot and am usually meeting other women in the meantime.(as opposed to the guy who mostly fixates on one or two). Most times, I’ve only lightly dated the girl (if I did at all) so there is less emotional attachment.
    When I’ve really liked the girl and there was alot of emotional attachment, I’ve chosen to be friends on rare occasions.(they’ve usually been really good friendships). Here usually there was a high level of friendship during the relationship, there was amazing communication, and I cared about her enough that I’d be willing to go through the emotional toil. The transition usually has alot more ups and downs but requires a ton of honest communicating and figuring out boundaries. Honesty is usually why it stays. This is painful and takes a certain type of personality/mentality to be willing or able to do this.

    If I’m super into a girl and there isn’t this level of friendship or commitment, I won’t befriend her since it would be too painful for me (and why put myself through that if I wouldn’t be ok just being friends)

    That said, its definitely possible to be friends. You just need to understand friendship in terms of how much you like who someone is, regardless of your attraction (even though these factors often tie into each other)

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  13. Lisa Says:

    I think that oftentimes people end up as “friends” because, as so many of you have stated, one person is not attracted to the other. However, as a female who seems to have been in this situation all too often, I can tell you that feelings can and often do change. I want my boyfriend or spouse to be my best friend, so I’m willing to get to know him as my “friend” to see if my attraction toward him does grow. This has been the case for me with a lot of past boyfriends because I took the time to see all of their wonderful qualities, and I become more attracted to them. These initial friendships have made for the best relationships.

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  14. Mandy Says:

    Vox :
    If you are put into the friend zone, it means the other person likes your personality but doesn’t find you sexually attractive. It really is that simple. I can understand not wanting to believe this because rejection is tough, but it’s the truth.

    So if someone waved a magic wand and made all of your friends attractive to you, you would want to be in serious, long-term relationships with all of them?! I can’t believe that. In a real relationship the bond is a lot stronger than with friends, and not just because they have sex. People date for years and decades in order to find a partner then can really mesh well with, but they have tons of friends over that time. A serious relationship is based on more than casual friendship and the desire to have sex with the person.

    If you are talking about a friendship where the two people spend all their time together, share everything, do everything together…but aren’t actually in a relationship, then I think your definition might work. If you were only attracted to each other, then you could be in a relationship. But for the other 99.9% of all friendships out there, there’s more that separates the friendship from a relationship than just the desire to have sex with the person.

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    • Vox Says:

      So if someone waved a magic wand and made all of your friends attractive to you, you would want to be in serious, long-term relationships with all of them?

      Well of course not, what a ridiculous question.

      Being “put in the friend zone” refers to someone you have gone out on an actual date, and they decide they aren’t interested and just want you to be a friend. Those people are not sexually attracted to you, period. Most of them probably don’t even want to be your friend, and are just letting you down easily.

      My current friends are not people I dated and rejected (or rejected me). These are friendships that were formed organically based on things other than dating. Apples and oranges.

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      • chuckrock Says:

        Being “put in the friend zone” refers to someone you have gone out on an actual date,

        it does? where does it say that? I have been interpreting the friend zone as someone of the opposite sex that becomes a friend as opposed to more. If Vox’s definition is true, then I have to rethink all of my responses on the subject.

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  15. Vox Says:

    chuckrock :
    Being “put in the friend zone” refers to someone you have gone out on an actual date,
    it does? where does it say that? I have been interpreting the friend zone as someone of the opposite sex that becomes a friend as opposed to more. If Vox’s definition is true, then I have to rethink all of my responses on the subject.

    I view it as such here because this is a website dedicated to dating issues specifically; this whole discussion is based on a woman trying to figure out why men she’d like to date ends up relegating her to friend status. While discussin the romantic potential of my current set of friends (or yours) may be interesting, it really is not relevant to the discussion.

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    • chuckrock Says:

      men she’d like to date ends up relegating her to friend status.

      i interpret that as men that she hasn’t gone out on dates with. Just because she wants to date them, doesn’t mean they have dated.

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      • Vox Says:

        Don’t interpret anything based on my words… I have no ideas to whether the OP went out on dates with these men or not. I kept it vague on purpose; perhaps the OP will clarify.

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  16. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    I co-sign with Craig, now that he’s made his comment gender-neutral.

    I’m surprised he didn’t include a third category though — women I’m friends with that I’ve already dated and/or currently dating/sleeping with. Most of my female friends fall into that third category. I think my whole issue with the whole discussion is the presumption that you must be “just friends” and can’t maintain both a friendly and sexual relationship with the same person.

    If I care enough about, and like, a woman enough to be “friends” with her, it’s really not much of a leap for me to want to date her or sleep with her or whatever. I’m generally not friends with women I’d consider soooo below my “standards” either physically or personality-wise. Either I like them or I don’t. There’s no “I like them but not in that way.”

    So, since I’m being honest with myself, I am skeptical of people who feel differently as I said in the quoted portion. I don’t think “being friends” is an independent reason NOT to want to date someone. There’s always another reason at play — either you’re not attracted, or they’re your brother’s best friend, or you dated in the past or whatever. It’s never BECAUSE you’re friends.

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  17. jesse Says:

    Doesn’t anyone just sometimes enjoy a person of the opposite sex because they are fun to be with? Sure, there can be sparks — that makes it better — but if you know in your heart it wouldn’t go anywhere, why start? Being a fun person doesn’t necessarily qualify you as being someone I want to share a committed relationship. You being a fun person doesn’t make me hot — only you being hot makes me hot. You being a fun and/or interesting person makes me want to be and remain your friend.

    Isn’t the big problem with the women — once you start with the romancing, women naturally now have you on the clock. For them it’s now a relationship, one that’s gotta keep progressing and ultimately gotta go somewhere or out you go. So with any women that you really like, and want to remain friends, it’s best not to start up at all.

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