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An Irreverent Look at the Friendzone

Reader Submission

Reader Submission

Honey Badger Brigade publishes select reader submissions which are in line with our submissions policy. Publication does not constitute endorsement of the statements contained in published posts. Intellectual debate is greatly encouraged. Submissions may be sent to submissions@badgerpod.com
Avatar art by Daniel Vancise, dvancise_arts on instagram, vantooner on youtube
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By the Irrelevant Irreverent

When a person finds themselves in the friend zone, quite often the response is to snarl in contempt, gnash teeth in their general direction, and turn away, calling them worthless or somehow sneaky. I think we can approach it from another direction, and give these lads a teachable moment, so to speak.

The friend zone can be a terrible place for anyone to inhabit. You spend inordinate amounts of time and effort trying to make someone see that you’re worth their time, and failing at it every time. The worst part of it is the constant feeling that maybe next time, maybe she’ll see (or he, to each their own) that I’m the one for them. I’ve been there, and if it weren’t for a close friend giving me the information I needed to break loose from it, I might be there still. I owe that friend all kinds of appreciation. He helped make me the man I am today: Happy, healthy, satisfied.

Along the way in the time since, I’ve had a number of friends and acquaintances who were in that place, and I’ve done what I could for them. But that’s not what brings me out to the marketplace of ideas thinking that I’ve got something worth hearing. No, what brings me here is the almost universal reaction to people who find themselves in it: Contempt. It’s assumed that these guys are sneaky bastards, trying to worm their way into a woman’s affections (I’m sure they could also be after a man’s affections, whatever your thing is, go for it. My experience in this context is just with women). Anyway, worming their way into a woman’s affections by false displays of friendship and eventually going sour, bitter and vile when they don’t get their way. While I’m sure there are some guys who actually are the manipulative bastards they’re painted as, it has been my experience that there’s an alternative explanation, and these guys should be getting our sympathy, and maybe even a bit of tough love.

In my experience, and I’m only speaking about my experience (though I’d bet that my experience in this is pretty representative) is that these guys are inexperienced with social situations, not at all confident with women or with rejection. They haven’t learned yet that the worst thing about being rejected by a woman you’re interested in, is anticipating it. These guys hide themselves, not wanting to be hurt. Guess what: This defense manifests as beating around the bush, indirect behavior. None of these guys come straight out and say “I’m interested in dating you, are you interested in me?” Of course not. That’s how you get rejected by this beauty that you’ve been fantasizing about kissing for the last month or so.

Instead, he simps. He thinks to himself that if he only demonstrates that he’s ever so amazing, she’ll fall for him the same way he fell for her. What these guys don’t realize is that being very nice to her, super helpful, super supportive, is not enough to catch the eye of most people. There are a lot of nice people out in the world, and most of them have other qualities as well: This guy is very kind and also chiseled out of marble (figuratively). That guy is very kind, has a great smile and also is extremely rich. A third guy over here is very giving and also has a bold sense of adventure. Now here comes the part that these “Nice Guys” need to hear: It is not an evil act to advocate on your own behalf!

When the object of the “Nice Guy’s” affection doesn’t fall for him swooning over his willingness to hold her purse, or lend her his Player’s Handbook, it isn’t because she’s a bad person. When she DOES fall for the guy with a six-pack and a Ducati, it isn’t because she’s shallow, but because she’s interested in what he has to offer. He gives her something she wants, whether danger or excitement, or whatever else she’s interested in.

If you want her, TELL HER ABOUT IT. There’s no sense bitching and complaining that a bigger and more confident guy is dating the girl you’re into, if you didn’t make sure she knows you’re into her in the first place. There are some women out there who are actively using guys, keeping them in the friend zone for their own benefit, and those people are wretches, no question. But, and this is important, the vast majority of friend zone situations work out like this: He doesn’t have the confidence to come clean, and she has no bloody idea that she’s taking advantage.

The really great part is that the solution for both situations is the same, guys: Bring up your feelings, and ask her if she’s interested in dating you. If she says no, STOP TRYING TO EARN HER LOVE. Remember that she doesn’t owe you her love, and you don’t owe her your servitude. Remember that you have the same right to act in your own interest that she does. If she’s not interested, stop carrying her bag, stop picking her up for hangouts, stop spending hours on the phone talking about how her relationship is going wrong, just stop. If you wouldn’t do it for your other friends, don’t do it for her. That doesn’t make you a bad guy. If she acts like it does, then she wasn’t really your friend in the first place.

Thank you for listening, and remember: None of us gets out of this alive, yeah?

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Reader Submission

Honey Badger Brigade publishes select reader submissions which are in line with our submissions policy. Publication does not constitute endorsement of the statements contained in published posts. Intellectual debate is greatly encouraged. Submissions may be sent to submissions@badgerpod.com Avatar art by Daniel Vancise, dvancise_arts on instagram, vantooner on youtube

  • PoldaranOfZam

    As someone who was the kind of idiot who did this kind of thing when I was younger, this is definitely something that needs to be heard. Not just by the clueless, but also by the used. If she’s not interested in what you’re offering, that’s fine. But she definitely won’t just suddenly change her mind by your constant presence and servitude. Walk away or treat her exactly as if she were your male friend. Either’s fine.

    And if she’s not okay with the latter, then you’re much better off just running away as fast as you can.

  • Rick Minutillo

    The vile hatred that comes from feminists over the term “friend zone” just shows that they really don’t want to understand how young men fall in love. They don’t understand that men fall hard and fast and that they demonstrate that love by swooning, gifting and chivalry. Women, however, take their time, analyze and contemplate what future they have with a man before they fall in love.
    The friend zone part comes when a woman has analyzed her future prospects with the young man and chooses to not proceed, BUT doesn’t inform the going man that there is no more interest than mere friendship because she still enjoys all of his attention. We shouldn’t kid ourselves to think that the young woman is unaware of the man’s affections for her, because she knows. At that point she’s already discussed everything with her best friend and/or her mother and knows exactly how her “best” friend feels. This is why they loathe that term, because it calls them out on their instinctive manipulation of men. It’s not about a man feeling like he’s “owed” a relationship or sex, it’s that she’s manipulated him into thinking there’s a chance, and tries to prolong the inevitable that he’ll figure it out.

    • http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com/ SYABM

      The funny thing is how feminists say they want men to express their feelings, but get angry when they’re the ‘wrong’ feelings, to the point where I’ve seen them tell guys they’re lying about what they feel, that they really feel entitled to a woman, not just sad because she isn’t interested.

      I’ve been staggeringly oblivious of women’s feelings for me, so I can’t imagine why women would be different.

  • Nezumi

    I once tried putting together a video on this topic, but couldn’t get the words to come out right. I think you did a way better job than I could have! Thanks!:)

  • http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com/ SYABM

    In high school, I used to think I was a ‘Zoned Nice Guy. Then a few years too late I realized they had often been hitting on me and I completely failed to notice.

  • Lorenzo Benito

    I think Feminists are right about one thing: friend-zoned men are not friends at all. However, they are only right about that in a “stopped-clocked” kind of way.

    Infatuation is, at it’s core, about sexual attraction. However, most men, upon becoming infatuated with a woman, will experience a sort of Halo Effect; they will assume that every part of the woman’s character is as beautiful as the whole. In other words, while friend-zoned men really are after sex and do not have much a friendship to speak of with the object of their affections, they sincerely believe that their friendship is true, deep and meaningful.

    This is why friendzoned men need, and deserve, help, rather than opprobrium. Unfortunately, it also means that most men caught up in this situation will be unwilling to hear the truth they so desperately need to learn.

  • Noor

    I have a friend (wrote a book, The Hot Guyde) who strongly recommends Robert Glover’s No More Mr Nice Guy. From the Wiki page:

    “Glover’s premise is that nice guys have been conditioned by their childhoods and by society to believe that they will be successful only if they make everyone happy and never cause any problems for others. However, this desire for approval results in self-loathing. In other words, nice guys want approval, but don’t think they deserve it. This creates internal frustration, since nice guys never try to obtain what they want in life. In addition, the nice guy’s desire to obtain approval from everyone (especially women), causes him to actually behave in very un-nice ways.”

    That’s likely what causes the friction here, too.