Monday, September 14, 2015

Guys: Cool it with the "Friend Zone"

Very few things get me fired but somehow the Verily article on Why Guys Hate Being Stuck in the Friend Zone really irked me.

Dear Isaac Huss,

I appreciate your perspective on the "friend zone." I'm sure it was meant to help other guys who feel stuck in their friendships/relationships with gals -- as well as to help us gals understand what a guy thinks about it -- but there were a few issues I had with your article. It may be your choice of words but, man, I'm not particularly happy with the article.

1) "Ladies, let me tell you something about the friend zone: it's real." Mr. Huss, let me tell you a little something about the girls and the "friend zone": we know. Although you write that you asked some of your girl friends about it and that it seems to be mostly a guy issue, it's not. Trust me on that. It's a human issue. Guys AND girls both have had feelings for others that have not been reciprocated. I think the only difference is that we gals don't complain about being stuck in the "friend zone." We may not like it but we understand that sometimes a great friendship will only be a great friendship. Does it stink? Yes. Unfortunately, that's just a part of the process of getting older and testing the dating waters.

2) "Paul had had enough. He sought out help from—who else—his dad. Good ol’ pops gave him simple advice: Kiss her. If she goes for it, you’re in; if not, at least you know." See, I have issue with this because I'm not the type to kiss easily. Do you know how long it's been since I've seriously kissed someone (who was not a family member or a baby)? I was 17. You read that right. It's been 13 years since I last seriously kissed a guy because I've chosen to not give them away so freely. I know it's common to just "go for it" but you have to take into consideration whether or not a girl wants to be kissed because, shocker, how the girl feels should also be a factor in this equation. And if you want to continue a friendship with her, even after she says she's not interested, that kiss is going to make things super awkward.

3) "To put it simply, when a woman relegates a man to the friend zone, she is saying, “You’re not sexually attractive.”" "She’s saying, “I am into you, I think you’re great, I can’t imagine my life without you, but I just can’t stand the thought of you touching me.”" WRONG. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. I've had guy friends express interest in me when I haven't reciprocated those feelings. It wasn't because I wasn't attracted to them. In fact, in one of those cases, I really was (he was exactly my "type")... but I knew that we wouldn't have worked out in a capacity beyond friendship. I'm the kind of person who does two things when she's interested in a fella: a) I take it to prayer and b) I try to see past the feelings and the superficiality. I know this may be an uncommon practice but it's how I've managed to dodge some bullets in the past. Surprise, a gal who doesn't reject a guy on looks. I know, I'm a unicorn.

Oh, Mr. Huss. I really appreciate a fella's perspective on the friend zone. I really do. It showed us gals -- who are often baffled by the words and actions of men -- that you guys have the same insecurities that we do. Seriously, thank you for this... but perhaps next time you can consider that not everyone is the same and that every case is different.

My advice for guys: if you like a gal, tell her. I'll offer the same advice to gals, if you like a guy, let him know. I'm notoriously shy and awkward when it comes to guys but even I have had to speak up (though, in my case, the last time I did this was so that I could move on because I knew it wouldn't move beyond friendship). Worst case scenario: she doesn't like you and you can continue being friends. It may be a little awkward at first but, trust me, it gets better. I'm talking from experience. The last guys who expressed interest (as well as the guy whom I expressed interest in and it wasn't reciprocated)? Still some of my best friends. In fact, I helped two of them with engagement plans to their now fiancees. Seriously. Girls and guys can just be friends. Shocker, I know.

One more thing to consider for those who are tired of being in the "friend zone": ever consider that being stuck in friendship mode with someone means that someone who will be (romantically) better for you is yet to come? Think about it. You may not think another girl is better for you but that's because you might not have met her yet. Just food for thought.

So, guys, can you please cool it with the griping about being stuck in the friend zone? We know. We go through it as well. Being nice to someone doesn't mean you're entitled to reciprocated feelings. This advice goes to both guys and gals.

Alright, rant over. lol. See what an article makes me do? Two blog posts in a single day. ;)

I hope y'all are doing well! :D


Luke Stager said...

I read the article you posted, and your response to it here encapsulates much of what I was thinking as I read it. I especially think it's unwise to attempt to kiss a girl without having some sort of precedent (like having already been dating a little while) and/or without some kind of 'signal' from the young lady in question. I also agree that excessively complaining about the friendzone is somewhat unwarranted. Yeah, it's frustrating when a girl you like turns you down and wants to be 'just friends,' but if you really liked that girl and actually wanted what was best for her, wouldn't you continue to be that friend without thinking of what you get in return? And I think that's the ultimate problem with the idea of the friendzone, that somehow a relationship with a girl (friendship or otherwise) is only worth it if you are somehow getting something out of it.

There was a girl I liked one time, and I tried to ask her out and she said no. Certainly I was disappointed, but I remained friends with her, and eventually I got over it, and we're still friends now and there's no problem. I'd be there for her in the same way I'd be there for any of my guy friends.

Although I do have to admit that some guys (especially some of the nerdy ones I hang around with (myself included)) like to joke about the friendzone almost as though it were like sharing battle scars. It's funny to share a rejection story involving the friendzone and say, "How typical," even though we know there must have been a good reason.

The only thing worse than the friendzone though is what I like to call the "Priestzone." That's when you like a girl and you think you have a good rapport and all, and then she's like, "So, have you considered seminary?" Ha ha. But I suppose that happens to girls to, "So have you considered being a nun?" So maybe instead of priestzone, it could be vocationzone or something, ha ha.

Emmy Cecilia said...

Luke - Haha, the "Priest zone." Not laughing at it being asked; I'm laughing at the words. I've never heard it being described with those words. I've gotten "have you considered being a nun?" from a guy I liked before so I totally know how that goes.

We gals like to "complain" that all the good guys are taken, priests / seminarians, or gay.

Joe Potillor said...

I 100% agree with you, no one has a right to a relationship, to marry, etc.

It seems to me, a ton of how guys deal with the so called friend zone, is their interior disposition. For those that struggle to bring themselves out of their shell, or are introverted in nature, they tend to take the friend zone a bit harsher and more personal than others...because of being very selectively open.

It's not necessarily the reason that some tend to take it harshly that nothing comes of the pursuit of a person. I think more or less, what happens in these situations, when these rejections happen, it confirms the doubts that the particular person had in general about trusting or acting on their emotions. And then the whole 2nd guessing everything comes into play.

I don't know if this will be a perfect analogy, but it's much like Jenga, the human heart is fragile, one mistake can bring down the whole person.

In the situations where communication has happened, it has been quite easy to stay friends with those that have hurt me (there's a laundry list of who's done that :p)...but in those situations where the girl did NOT communicate, played me, or did not rationalize anything, those are the most painful to deal with. (plenty of those too).

Great post, and yes, ladies if you're reading this, it's okay to state your intentions or just be friends, we'll manage, even if it's difficult, takes decades to recover from pain, or what not :)

I'll probably do a post on my blog on this topic sometime later, i haven't been blogging much, lately, there's a lot of untouched topics.

Kiera Kurak said...

Honesty, as in telling the other person how you feel is definitely key, but maybe there's too much fear of rejection to even try?

AnneMarie said...

Preach it, woman! Have you considered putting a link to this post in the comments of the actual article? I read through a couple of comments, and it looks like there are many other people who have concerns about the article, as well (including one Catholic priest who totally owned his comment in the best possible way haha). In order to comment on your response, I will go point-by-point, like you did.

1. Word. Friend zone is totally real. Once, I totally put my now-husband in the "friend zone" (though he was unaware that I had "friend zoned" him, lol), which I actually liked a lot. Because we didn't have that romantic expectation there, we grew to be really good friends...and eventually fell in love and got married.

2. If a friend of mine would have kissed me, I would have slapped him in the face. Mr. Huss may not realize this, but there are some women out there (myself being one of them) who want to save our first kiss for marriage. So, if a guy would try to pull that stunt, ooh, he would regret it big time. And I totally agree with what you said-we definitely would not be friends anymore, or if we would remain friends, things would be really, really awkward.

3. You said it! I like what you do when you're interested in a guy! Actually, I feel like I have many friends who do that, so you're not alone & a unicorn. Or maybe you and all my friends are unicorns? I dunno. But that's great :) I honestly don't know how Mr. Huss got the idea that relegating a man to the friend zone=telling him he's not sexually attractive. Where did that come from??? Like you said, there are other things that factor into whether or not to friendzone or date another, like knowing that you wouldn't work in a capacity beyond friendship.

Like you said, it'd be nice if people could quite griping about the friendzone. On that topic, can people just quit griping about the whole issue of "can men and women be friends?" thing?? I feel like so much time, energy, and emotions are spent on trying to figure out if men and women can feasibly be friends, and it's a bit silly. Instead of spending all that time figuring out if it's possible to be friends, maybe people should friends? lol

Thanks for a great rant post! I for one really enjoyed it, and I think you covered Mr. Huss's points quite well. Have an awesome day! Keep up the awesome work!

Emmy Cecilia said...

Joe - I totally get what you're saying... but that's also my point. It's not just a guy issue. Girls definitely go through the same -- introverted girls as well. Some just don't have the courage to speak up out of fear of rejection or whatever other reason... but then they complain about being in the friend zone. That's what I don't get.

Also, girls (and guys) don't done you wrong can be cut out of you life. I've had to do that with my own girl friends when they've acted in a way that damaged the friendship beyond repair. It's not easy (most things that are worth doing aren't) but it can be done.

Emmy Cecilia said...

Kiera - I totally get that. You know I've been there (oh, you know all about that, lol). It's fine if someone chooses not to say anything out of fear because there are people who definitely have to build up the courage to do it. It's the complaining about being in the friend zone for the reasons the guy listed that really frustrated me.

Emmy Cecilia said...

AnneMarie - I liked it on their FB page when they posted it earlier this week but not on the actual article itself. I saw the priest's comment... and it was wonderful. lol.

I don't get why people don't want to be friends before dating. I mean, I get it with some people but, personally, I've found that the transition from friendship to romance a much smoother one than meeting to relationship. I also think that a marriage should be built on a solid friendship because you're not always going to feel those butterflies in your stomach. Maybe we're a bit more cautious that way?

I've had guy friends try to kiss me or (worse) try to get me to their apartments to try to... well, you know. Most happened in my late teens to early 20s but even then (even before my reversion), I was having none of it. Needless to say, the friendships ended right after. It's just bad business.

We're all a bunch of unicorns! Wait, isn't there an official word for a group of unicorns? Oh yes, it's a blessing of unicorns. Thank you, Google. lol.

And, YES. Please! Some of my oldest friends are guy friends I've known since either childhood or since my teens. It's totally possible for guys and girls to be friends. There are definite boundaries to be set with friends of the opposite sex (so no miscommunication or troublesome grey areas come up) but we can all still be friends.

AnneMarie said...

Wha?? A group of unicorns is a "blessing"?? That's pretty much the coolest thing ever. I'm a fan :) Err, I'm so sorry that guy friends have tried to pull that stuff on you! That's awful. Thank you for sharing your insight and wisdom from your experiences!

I totally get ya-I don't understand why so many people want to dive in from a meeting to dating status. I have heard arguments for that kind of thing, but usually it's strongly rooted in a 1950s mindset of "going steady" and dating several people at once-because "dating" usually just means "having a sandwich or coffee with" and not what "dating" usually seems to refer to in our culture. You're totally right-those butterflies don't come around all the time in marriage, so that strong friendship is a very important foundation to have! I wish more people realized that!