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Could there not be just friendship between a man and a woman, without the man feeling friendzoned if the woman has no romantic feelings?
For all of my school years, I liked only one guy seriously. I never told him. Later on, when we started talking as friends during college and my feelings had subsided, I did mention it as a passing thing, and he told me that he respects my feelings but it would not have worked out as he liked someone else back then. And I did not take this friendship with him to be a useless exercise, simply because nothing else could have come out of it.
This is what was common between me and my female friends. We had many crushes. We told some of them our feelings, and to the rest we did not. But, we were not so hurt by rejection as our male counterparts were. But that was school, we were still young and maybe the guys did not understand the complexity of relationships. Many of them grew out of it as they grew up. But quite a few still complained about being friendzoned. If being friendzoned simply means that the person does not reciprocate your feelings, girls go through that too. Yet, very few make as big a deal out of it.
Recently, Bakkbenchers made a video about a guy who is friendzoned. He berates this girl for the whole of 3 minutes. At first glance, it seems like it can pass off as a joke. But there are many assumptions here that make it important to deconstruct why men have more of a problem with ‘being friendzoned’!
As the boy in the video says, the girl will pretty much hang out with him. It’s not like she shunned his company. But the reason he is upset is that “even after all that” he will not get sex, which he would if this was a romantic relationship. As if everything else is the pathway to the ultimate goal of getting the woman to have sex with you. This thinking comes when men are raised to think of sex as some sort of conquest to be taken from women.
If he truly cared about the girl as a person, he would realise that the fact that she still wants to spend time with him is pretty nice too. But no, he does not want the friendship if it does not lead to sex. Therefore, he has invariably sexualised and objectified the girl.
He makes it sound as if he would be doing the girl a great favour if he hangs out with her, or, god forbid, gives her a massage. There is no point in doing that unless you are getting something in return – which husbands and boyfriends get. So, you’re losing out on what’s important so no need to be friends.
He keeps saying how she will say he’s a nice guy but still not have feelings for him. Can feelings be forced? So as long as a man has asked for something, the woman is supposed to manipulate even her emotions to provide it to him anyhow!
What you call the friendzone is actually a creepy phenomenon where women have to tolerate ‘friends’ who are just friends until they get to sleep with her. This has reduced relationships to stupid dichotomies and diluted the role of friendship. Complaining about being friendzoned is basically an entitled and misinformed man demanding what he feels should be given to him and making a woman feel guilty for something as natural as a different preference.
In reality, everyone’s feelings change. People go from friends to lovers to an ex, and that is almost never linear. It’s time we stopped sending the message that any one gender owes sex to another. Relationships are complex and should be lived so, without overarching generalizaions.
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