Saturday, September 3, 2011

Are you in the dreaded "Friend Zone?"

Good news for all you LOVEanese! LOVEanon is officially a week old, and I'm getting great feedback. I really appreciate all of your support, for sharing this blog with your friends and networks, and for giving me ideas and topics to write about.

I just wanted to post something today to make a week of being online. I remember coming across this on, and although I'm not a big fan of this site for multiple, I-don't-support-or-condone-misogyny reasons, I thought it was interesting advice (even for a girl even though it's obviously for a male audience, but hey! A girl can be in the friend zone too!). It's about the dreaded friend zone

Nice try Mario. Defeat Bowser, and we'll talk.

I'm sure we've all been there at some point, and it sucks. But is there any clues to finding out how to get past it? Science of Relationships has multiple resources on this, although I recommend this article.

So we can all get past this ^

Check out this video about being in the friend zone. Just a note that the title of this video alludes to sexual encounters, but it also is applicable to being able to date someone or not. See it here:

What do you think? I'm not really sure how to go "from friend zone to end zone," but do you agree with these points? Ladies, how do you feel about these?? Guys, do these resonate at all?? Let me know, discuss below! As you can see in the comments, it's something a lot of people have an opinion about.

And thanks again for reading, keep it up!

Bonus: Here's a different, yet moving approach to the friend zone. Tell me what you think about it too:

Spread the love,


Update: So, when I mentioned that the "Friend Zone" term is contentious, I wasn't kidding. In an article entitled, "The 'Girlfriend Zone' Flips the 'Friend Zone' Myth on Its Head," it tackles some of the contentious issues with it, and also directly challenges the entire notion--including the victimization status that is often attributed to the person being rejected or ignored. It has some really good insights and arguments, and is well worth the read!

P.S. This is just funny:

The Friend Zone diagram. Pretty accurate?


  1. Michael... that's a very creative way to share your findings and information, and to gain information. I love your blog. I thought the "Friend Zone" video is very interesting and informative, and it goes both ways, for men who are interested in girl-friends, and for women who are interested in boy-friends. And yes I admit it, I have been in the friend zone, and it SUCKED! Men have also been in the friend zone with me... at the end of the day, it comes down to making a rational decision "Is it worth risking my friendship for a potential relationship?".

  2. Anonymous: Thank you so much! I really, really appreciate it! I'm glad to hear that the video was also applicable to you ladies (like I said, you can be there too!). But you're totally right! This video is focusing more on the whole "sleeping with someone" aspect of dating, but that is such a great question to ask. And I think I'll even do a post about it!

  3. Hello everyone,

    I would like to stress the point that categorizing someone or one's self as a member of the "friend zone" makes sense only in the case of someone (person A) who is sexually attracted to a friend (person B), and would like to pursue that aspect. In this context B picks up on the fact that A's motivation, and blocks the initiative by telling A "You're my friend." with the implicit assumption that "Friends don't sleep with one another." This explains why the video on AskMen (a site I have many qualms with) specifies "Signs She'll Never Sleep With You" as the issue.

    Here's my thesis: Conceptually, try as I might, I can't find anything wrong in turning even a long-term meaningful friendship to a long term meaningful relationship. If you disapprove, please elaborate.
    The reasons and rationalizations for being in the 'friend zone' that I could think of, upon further inspection, proved invalid, or simply relating to other aspects of relationships, or using the 'friend zone' for other means. Here are some:

    1. B thinks that dating your friends is wrong: This is a classic example of social norms reinforcing themselves in an empty cycle with no rational explanation for their existence. B thinks dating a friend is wrong because B thinks dating a friend is wrong, regardless of who A is.

    2. B is simply not attracted to A: Saying "I'm not attracted to you" could be hurtful and tough (or plain awkward), but it's honest. It's ironic (now that I think about it) that the 'friend zone' is invoked here when, had B truly thought of A as a friend, he/she should be honest with them about there not being attraction from their side.

    3. The relationship between A and B involves other people: Perhaps A is an ex-wife or ex-girlfriend of B's close friend. Maybe B used to be involved with a member of A's family, etc... In this case the relationship really hangs on so many other strings that it's perhaps objectively better not to pursue it.

    4. (As mentioned above) A is not really interested in a meaningful relationship, and B picked up on that: In this case, A had it coming.

    I could list more, but what I'm trying to illustrate is that non of these reasons are of the form "A and B cannot date because (insert reason here) and that's because they are friends."

    I believe it's because of this the 'friend zone' is "dreaded" and frustrating. We seem to accept to function under the assumption that this ambiguous escape-hatch exists. But when someone uses it on us, we think "I didn't agree to this!"

    I could go on, but let's see if the points so far get any reactions :)

  4. Corrections:

    "In this context B picks up on the fact that A's motivation"
    "In this context B picks up A's motivation"

  5. Haha Taher, I completely see your point! Just to clarify, I understand why you'd have qualms with AskMen (it can be very sexist at times). But some of their stuff is ok. And in this case, I thought that those indications he gives in the video are actually quite insightful.

    But you're definitely right, and actually, you probably just did a bit more of my job for me (by explaining a bit more about the friend zone). I'm actually going to try and do this from now on, that is, go in a little more depth.

    So thank you! And keep talking about it for sure, I definitely see your point-of-view, and I like it!

  6. Taher,

    do you believe that once in the "dreaded friend zone" one may change said person B's mind about pursuing a different level of involvement with them? why, and how do you think that might be achieved? (I'm asking because the latter seems to be at the core of Michael's post and received no commentaries or responses).
    Regarding your definition of friendship in point B, I think that nowadays it may used a lot more loosely.
    Finally, do you believe that actually being one's friend for x period of time would have any/no influence over B's future reluctance to add to/modify their relationship with person A? If so, then why, and do you think it more likely to be a positive or negative influence regarding A's personal interests in the matter?

  7. Thanks for the post Anon! I think it's a good point, and I'm eager to see Taher's post. I really appreciate the dialogue and discussion, keep it up! The question I have for you, is how does all of this "friend-zone" talk apply to Lebanon? Is it the same here as it is in other places?

  8. You're welcome. I've never done this to anyone and have never had anyone do this to me. Actually, so far I've been pretty clear with the opposite sex- I don't use the "friend" card. Actually, come to think of it, similar instances that I have heard of here in Lebanon did not use "friend-zone" excuses, but terms with rather more of a familial-zone feel to it- 'you're like a brother/ sister to me.'
    As for being stuck in a friendship wishing for something more, my take is that would be pretty much universal.

  9. I guess that in the latter case it may be implied though that there is no sexual attraction, as opposed to friend-zone excuse.

  10. Yeah, I understand, and that's really interesting that individuals would use rhetoric related to family here because family is the off-limits zone (in some places other than cousins, etc.). But yeah, that makes a lot of sense!

  11. I was taking a look my own post again, and I realised how clumsily written it is. For that I apologise. I was extremely sleepy at the time. In my head, I must have sounded like Oscar Wilde!

    Anyway, hello Anon, and thank you for replying. I'll try to answer your questions to the best of my ability, and please correct me of I misunderstood.

    I'm not sure about "changing one's mind". If we accept that the 'friend-zone' is merely a construct covering an underlying actual reason for person B's disinterest in pursuing a romantic relationship, then regardless of whether person A IS or IS NOT actually in the friend-zone, the underlying causes persist. What I attempted to say earlier is that it is never a bad idea to reveal those underlying causes. If anything, it fosters better understanding between the two parties. The question of whether one could "change said person B's mind" is really a question of whether B's reasons for disinterest could be eliminated or not. An example would be a case of physical, behavioral, intellectual or emotional non-attraction. It's unfortunate, but you really can't change one's mind on subjective turn-ons and turn-offs. As I said, B could simply be not attracted to A, but how many people do you know walk up to someone and tell them "Listen, I'm just not attracted to you/your sense of humor, hair style, fashion, taste in music, etc..."?

    If we start at the end-point and tackle your second question "Does befriending someone for a period of time affect the prospect of changing the nature of the relationship between the two parties?" My answer would be "No. I can see no reason why it would." and based on that, it seems to me that the 'friend-zone' is nothing more than —as you said— an excuse. I will ask this , though: "Can anyone reading cite any characteristics of romantic relationships that are hindered by the fact that the two parties involved are friends?"

  12. Hello, Taher,

    First of all, I'd like to make a distinction I was tempted to broach on in my previous posts. This distinction (that my before-last post alluded to), is between what is the verbal relegating of a person to what is said to be a "friend zone", and another of a friendship where one is or believes himself to be blocked from developing this said relationship with a person B, but who is not necessarily given the nature of the already-existing relationship as an excuse for the lack of future development. I think that the expression "being stuck in the friend-zone" would more adequately fit the latter case, "being stuck" being read as being the prolongation of a former position of one (in this case, of a friendship), with a blockage preventing them from proceeding further, and perhaps not only an abstract and verbally-morphed definition that one is allotted by another.

    This being said, I shall proceed to examine the questions/answers/conjectures at hand. In response to my first question, you listed four aspects of attraction that are as follows:

    "physical, behavioral, intellectual or emotional non-attraction"

    Most of these aspects are actually interrelated: Physical attraction may stem from intellectual/ behavioral/ emotional attraction, as emotional attraction may stem from the remaining three (physical, behavioral, and intellectual), so I think that even pinpointing the source of the problem may not be enough/accurate.

    I can think of some characteristics of friendship that would hinder the development of a romantic relationship. First of all, being exposed to a person in a friendly, laid-back fashion for too long a time may expose you to many facets of them that they would be reluctant to indulge in in the presence of a romantic partner but that they would indulge in with friends (ex, too many crude sexual jokes, stumbling out of bars, venting about your ex, etc.) Such instances would surely affect your opinion of a person if you were to attempt to view them in a romantic light, but without the advantage of them retaining the not-so-exalted friend-only moments that they would not share or indulge in with their partners. Your opinion of them as partner in thence tainted with your opinion of them as friends, which may be very different thing. I'm not talking about not being yourself with a date, but more about a certain switching of roles that would not be attractive- for instance, one does not behave with their parents as they would with their friends or loved ones, and most times it is friends that see the worst sides of ourselves (that we may otherwise not act out), which may just as easily factor into one of your four [non-]attraction categories.
    Secondly, being "stuck in the friend zone", or rather in a friendship that apparently has no future, would I think diminish the chances of person A "changing person B's mind", for the mere reason that their own desperation for not being able to turn the tables around within the relationship would make them be less attractive in the eyes of the other person, especially since person A's feelings would be very clear to person B's, since they are constantly exposed to them. This point is arguable, of course, but I do believe that the feeling that comes out of being "stuck" in a friendship wishing for more would easily induce an even stronger cyclicality in the dynamics of the relationship. Referring back to your mentioned categories, one of them is emotional attraction, and how strongly is desperation emotionally attractive?