Friday 23 November 2012

The Friend Zone

Posted by Jenni

The 'Friend Zone'. *cue dramatic music here*

Let's face it, most of us have heard of the friend zone. It's a big enough part of internet culture that it's hard to avoid. If you've been lucky enough to avoid it, take a quick look over at for a bit of background. But why write about it now, you may ask? Some of you may be aware that I did an article a while ago for the BBC on being asexual (find it here: Why's that relevant? Well, once again, this article has been used to make a meme, saying that being in an asexual/non-asexual relationship is 'the ultimate friend-zone'.*

In each case, the woman has no say in this -- compatibility doesn't matter, prior relationships don't matter, nothing else factors in. If the hero accomplishes his goals, he is awarded his favorite female. Yes, there will be dialogue that maybe makes it sound like the woman is having doubts, and she will make noises like she is making the decision on her own. But we, as the audience, know that in the end the hero will "get the girl," just as we know that at the end of the month we're going to "get our paycheck." Failure to award either is breaking a societal contract. The girl can say what she wants, but we all know that at the end, she will wind up with the hero, whether she knows it or not."

But yes, the friend zone. What exactly is it?

Well, most descriptions of it are variations of the following: "Boy likes girl. Boy is super nice to girl and really awesome and the best friend ever. Girl dates asshole. Boy is friend-zoned. That bitch."

I mean, yes, there are descriptions where it's a girl who gets friend-zoned. But they're usually brought up to show how honestly, its not a sexist thing, really, its not! So let's go with the majority and look at why exactly the friend-zone is so problematic, and how mainstream culture reinforces it as okay.

The first thing you'll notice, of course, is that it's the girl's fault. How dare she not like him? After everything he's done for her? How dare she? This, dear readers, is entitlement. Quite frankly, as a girl, I owe you nothing. Especially not dating, or sex. And let's face it, this is about sex. Yes, it's played off as romance, but one look at the meme I was featured in and we'll see the crux of the issue. I was (and am) in a romantic relationship with that boy. The reason he's apparently 'friend-zoned'? The assumed lack of sex. So it's not enough to date these 'nice' guys, there has to be sex. Basically, the friend-zone? It all comes down to "I'm nice, why won't you have sex with me?"

And here's the thing. Whilst it is most definitely the person in question's fault for feeling 'owed' sex in return for niceness, this is a view that does not happen on it's own. This is a view shown throughout mainstream culture. Whilst doesn't have the best track record, and most of the article this quote is from is nowhere near as good as the quote itself, here is a lovely summation by David Wong on why this is the case:

"We were told this by every movie, TV show, novel, comic book, video game and song we encountered. When the Karate Kid wins the tournament, his prize is a trophy and Elisabeth Shue. Neo saves the world and is awarded Trinity. Marty McFly gets his dream girl, John McClane gets his ex-wife back, Keanu "Speed" Reeves gets Sandra Bullock, Shia LaBeouf gets Megan Fox in Transformers, Iron Man gets Pepper Potts, the hero in Avatar gets the hottest Na'vi, Shrek gets Fiona, Bill Murray gets Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters, Frodo gets Sam, WALL-E gets EVE ... and so on. Hell, at the end of An Officer and a Gentleman, Richard Gere walks into the lady's workplace and just carries her out like he's picking up a suit at the dry cleaner...

(If you are interested in the rest of the article, it can be found here. The rest of its rather dodgy, and the comments are nasty, though:

It's no surprise then that this level of entitlement pervades everyday discussion. Of course, in real life, the girl gets to choose who she wants - be that you, someone else, or no-one at all. In claiming the 'friend-zone' as some awful, awful thing that only horrible people would ever condemn someone to, people are relegating any relationship with a woman that is non-sexual in nature to something worthless. Or, in other words, the worth of a woman in a relationship is measured solely by how willing she is to sleep with someone. And that is definitely a problem.

Firstly, it encourages male/female relationships to be viewed as either worthless, strange, or manipulative - there's either no point to it, they're not 'normal' or she's leading him on. For younger people especially, this sets in early - I know I remember some of my (male) friends being tormented for being friends with me, and not 'getting any'. This is a real issue - it encourages treating women as 'the other', and makes it easier to form negative views of them. Secondly, it encourages (hetero-normative) sex to be seen as the ultimate goal of a male/female relationship (romantic or none). I won't get into this much here, but let's face it - treating (hetero-normative) sex as some kind of end goal is really not a great thing. It's bad for everyone - be it asexual people who don't desire that, people who simply prefer other kinds of sexual intimacy, and queer people with no interest in a sexual relationship of that kind. Finally, it leads to resentment - if you truly believe you are owed something, and that something is not given to you, it's no surprise that you would be bitter and take that out on those who have denied it you. The friend-zone is a self-perpetuating cycle of misogyny.

So what exactly can we do about this? Well, it's not easy to break down something that's this much a part of mainstream culture, that's for sure. And I'm not entirely sure of what is the best way to go about it. What we do need, however, is strong representations of male/female relationships that don't end in sex, and that are treated as a perfectly good thing for their own sake. Cases where the boy doesn't get the girl - and is okay with that. So here's hoping to that.

Final note: I am aware that this article relies heavily on binary language/concepts, but the way I figure it is that the friend-zone issue is very much a binary issue - it is very much about how society views women one way, and men another. Obviously, it also affects non-binary folks too, but for ease of discussion, I chose to focus on that side. If you have any thoughts on how it also affects non-binary folks, please do let me know in the comments!

*If you're curious, it can be found here: (Warning: Lots of nasty comments on sexual entitlement, asexuality, rape and other such things) and more recently,


  1. Also the fact that in romantic comedies - which are predominantly marketed towards women - the generic plotline is: female gets put in uncomfortable situation with male that she does not desire or even like in any way, shape, or form. Due to circumstances she has to interact with this male on a regular basis. She is annoyed and infuriated by many aspects of his personality. Male, in the meantime, despite initial dislike of female, suddenly finds himself attracted to the "feisty" or "kooky" aspects of her personality, and starts being nice to her. This develops into love. Female resists for a while, there's a big argument. Then she realises she's also attracted. There's a whole montage with "screedly deedly sad music" where both parties are conflicted about their feelings. Then they realise that they're perfect for each other and there's a happy ending etc.
    It's amazing how many films conform to this formula, and how many people fall for them. The worst culprit of all time is "The Ugly Truth". If you've not seen it, don't. It's Fifty Shades level of misogyny.

    Also, so many films marketed towards teenage girls at the moment have two main male characters that she has to choose between, and is portrayed as a bit of a bitch by the one she doesn't choose. Hence "Team Edward/Team Jacob" or "Team Peeta/Team Gale" t-shirts. But then that set-up isn't exactly old...look at the classic "Road to" films; there's usually always an incredibly attractive female that the two best buddies take a liking to, and the slightly "douchier"/more charismatic male gets the girl, while the "nicer" but more comedic male ends up being their friend. Even in Singing in the Rain, which is a film I LOVE, this is clearly what's going on.

  2. While I totally see why you might be personally annoyed by this whole situation, I don't think you are taking a broad enough view. For the most part, a female can get any male she wants. Males are not so lucky. This stems from a very basic biological trade-off in investment strategies but going into that here would be ridiculous. Of course, this means that the decision almost always rests with the girl - that's why friend-zoning or choice situations like the previous commenter describes are framed as something the female does to the unlucky male. As for why it is 'unlucky'. While you may not desire sex - and many people don't in certain contexts if not all the time - the vast majority do and it actually very much is the goal of most peoples' entire lives. The only reason you or I exist is this precise instinct to reproduce. Now one might lodge the complaint that I am missing out many subtleties and with culture at work we should be able to overcome such biological limitations for the sake of your happiness or for the pleasure of any one of us females when a male decides he wants to have sex with us and we disagree that this is an enticing proposition. But certain very basic constraints are very deeply hard-wired. Moreover, your feeling - that I share mind you - that we ought to be free from sexual attention if we so wish is itself only something originating in culture. It is as much a construct as you describe the male-female-sex dynamic as being. In fact, the roots of that desire are also embedded in our evolutionary history and described by the same life history tradeoffs; males and females are engaged in sexual conflict and culture simply reflects that fact.

    1. "For the most part, a female can get any male she wants. Males are not so lucky."

      Excuse my crudity, but if that were true, 60% of the women in this country would have shagged Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp. I submit that it is *not* true.

      There are some people, male and female - the Pitts and Depps of this world - who are in a position to have almost any partner they want, within reason. But 99% of the world is not in that position. Women don't have some magical power to get the partner they want any more than men do; I promise you, for every guy longingly lusting after a female friend he can't have, there's a woman in the same situation with the genders reversed.

      (The word 'friendzone' is still pretty dumb, though, for the reasons explained above.)

    2. The problem with this guy (and I'm afraid I'm going to have to assume that this was written by a guy) is that he stopped reading when he had his own, ignorant, views on sex/gender confirmed. I'm a human behavioral ecologist and life history trade offs are my bread and butter and the suggestion that men and women are 'hard wired' in any way, let alone in the men-want-sex-women-don't way is just not supported by research. There are many reasons why women would pursue multiple partners, for sexual or non-sexual relationships, and men only one or none (Sarah bluffer hrdy in UC Davis has dedicated a career to showing this). If this guy was to have paid a little more attention in his science classes he may remember something called the naturalistic fallacy, just because we can show that something is or is not found in nature it make NO IMPACT AT ALL on whether that thing is right. It's just this kind of ridiculous bigotry masquerading behind the banner or 'scientific fact' that makes my blood boil because it gives the impression that all kinds of social facts (like race, gender and sexuality) line up perfectly with scientific facts and that to dispute any of these is to take an anti-science line. Where as in reality biological anthropologists are pretty convinced that none of these 'natural' groups are natural at all. It's really a terrible shame because human biologists and people who dispute the naturalness of gender or sexuality or race should be allies but people like this misrepresent scientific research and pit us against each other.

  3. omg what?? what?? can you just delete that above comment? just - what?? no!!! in no particular order - a) just because something is located in culture (uh, everything is) doesn't mean that the things located in that culture are of equal value - eg. the desire to be 'sexual attention'-free is fine and good, the desire to copulate with people who don't want to copulate with you is - actually fine and good, just don't make up some story about how it's the other person being weird not to want it back..... and oooooooooh nooooo my abcdefghijk.... are all getting conflated!!!!! cuz sub-a) 'sexual attention' - um, are you using that as a blanket term to include people being interested in sleeping with other people (fine) and sexual harrassment and blaming people for not wanting to sleep with someone back?? (not fine). Something being hard-wired is fine. I need and want to eat. I don't go around being upset when other people don't feed me....

    and and and b) what?? what?? a female can have any male she wants?? um, you are not female are you? I identify as female, and let me tell you - it doesn't work that way and I am really surprised you haven't worked that out through the use of logic or imagination by now! I can't quite bring myself to back this up, because I can't believe it needs saying - should I back it up?? Yes, there are people I have wanted who haven't wanted me.... um, I thought that was just, like, universal....

  4. Quick request - given that we have two (or three?) anons, it would be helpful if you could pick names to make the discussion easier to follow, even if it's just "Anon1" and "" given as your name/URL thingies :)
    (Also, Anon #2, your evo-psych essentialism is erasing a whole lotta people there.)

  5. Also using science words doesn't make your opinion science.... hmm, now I feel mean writing that. It's a thing I've been interested in for a long time actually, since I read a lot of biology and then of course come across evolutionary psychology/made-up-stuff - I think that a lot of what's said to explain male-female differences in evolutionary psychology is hypothesis rather than theory - in that it's a suggested reason for something, but since it can't be tested out in a scientific manner that makes sure there isn't some -other- reason for the thing we're talking about, it doesn't graduate to theory. Eg. evolution is a theory, which means that it is an idea, with a lot of evidence backing it up. When we get into why people as a whole, or one gender as a whole, make certain mate choices, it's a hypothesis, and therefore more easily influenced by people's own attitudes, with less chance to be tested against reality. I think people are very clever and that thinking of plausible reasons for stuff is one of the things we do best. I just find the fact that evolutionary psychology isn't described specifically as plausible hypothesis-making very frustrating. There is actually a science word (from animal behaviour) about how people think of plausible stuff - it's called 'animal superstition'. It means that our brains, and animals' brains too, are designed to see more connnections than are actually there. It's more useful than seeing too few, but it does mean that we have to think critically about the plausible hypotheses we come up with...

  6. Feeling bad since a friend pointed out I hadn't read the 15.20 comment properly, I apologize. x I still disagree with parts, but definitely went off on one!

  7. >The first thing you'll notice, of course, is that it's the girl's fault. How dare she not like him? After everything he's done for her? How dare she?

    Yup, yup, yupyupyup. Have people heard the Jonathon Coulton song 'Code Monkey'? It tends to be received as a cute and adorable story about a geeky man who just really likes a girl at his workplace... but I find it creepy upon creepy, for all the reasons that you outline in this post:

    If we are to sympathise with the main character, we *cannot* see the woman who won't give him thing he wants as anything other than a problem. And that's not good for anybody.

    Then, of course, there's the final episode of 'Red Dwarf: Back to Earth', which still makes me cringe when I think about it:

    Kristine Kochanski: Where are you going?
    Dave Lister: I have to leave, and get you back.
    Kristine Kochanski: The real me? You'll never get me, I'm way out of your league.
    Dave Lister: I thought that too but, I was wrong.
    Kristine Kochanski: You were right.
    Dave Lister: No. I'm pretty cool, I don't take any smeg, and even though I'm disgusting, sometimes I can be quite brave.
    Kristine Kochanski: You'll never get me.
    Dave Lister: Yeah, I will.

    Kochanski isn't a character in her own right at all, she's something Lister wants to 'get', and her own wishes about whether or not she wants to be 'got' are explicitly dismissed as irrelevant. That was the moment when my ten-year-long love of Red Dwarf curled up into a sad little ball and died.

  8. As long as we are speaking inductively about patterns of behavior we have witnessed, allow me to comment on the rarely mentioned flipside of this scenario. (It's rare that even men can grasp and articulate this, despite their frustrations.)

    First, you act as if the "friend zone" concept is propriety of men's gripes. In fact, just by hanging around with women, I have heard them frequently and gleefully talk about "friendzoning" some guy or talking about how he's "in the friend zone." And let me assure you, there is *nothing* complimentary or friendly about the way they talk about these men. It is said with a contemptuous, supercilious sneer, and elicits laughs. And if this is how they talk when a man is present, I can barely imagine the tone when they are alone.

    Second, for all the criticisms of the "entitled" attitude of men, no one seems to care that these women feel *entitled* to friendship. Sorry, friendship is subject to consent as well. Men are not your property to enlist as so-called "friends" at your leisure. Furthermore, the kind of "friendship" envisioned by these women usually equals "doing favors for her." (Again, if we're all talking in generalities here, I'm going to go ahead with generalities I've noticed.) In many of these cases, a women has been flirty and touchy with some guy all the while soliciting favors. When the man interprets these flirtatious gestures and invasions of his physical and personal space as indicating romantic interest and reciprocates with romantic interest of his own, he hears "we should just be friends." Should there be any surprise when he is confused and alienated? Friends are great, but these women are NOT friends. When certain women contact you, you *know* immediately that they will ask for a favor, because they never bother to say hello otherwise. These women are archetypical "friendzoners."

    I always advise my male friends to stay as far away from "friendzoners" as possible. They will not make romantic inroads with any of the friendzoner's female friends either, because the friendzoner will emasculate them subtly or blatantly when talking about them. ("You have to meet Chris, he's SOOO SWEEET!!!" The message is loud and clear. This guy is a pushover and will do favors for you. Enjoy having her friends try to flirt you into being their errand boy, too. I have witnessed this scenario play out literally more times than I could possibly count.) "Friendzoners" are toxic individuals, and their "friendships" occupy perfectly good time that you could be using to pursue interested women.

    Let me contrast this with the way emotionally mature men and women reject romantic advances. Try something like "I don't think we're right for each other" and then *go your separate ways.* Do not try to pressure him/her into being your "friend" (particularly if you're not prepared to treat them as an *actual friend*, which few "friendzoners" are) Emotionally mature people understand that it can be uncomfortable to maintain a "friendship" with someone you harbor romantic feelings for. They don't expect you to endure that. They understand that asymmetric romantic interest puts them in a position of power over you, and they don't want to have a friendship that is contaminated by that power inequality. If that person wants a legitimate friendship with you (as opposed to a consolation prize role as errand boy), they can pursue that when their romantic feelings have subsided, or they can offer their own gestures at friendship and attempt to suppress their romantic feelings, but my experience has been that this latter case rarely works. It takes a true emotionless Vulcan.

    1. I think some of these are very valid points - like you, I also know girls who have this attitude. That said, their attitude is less encouraged in mainsteam culture, hence why I barely touched on it.

      As for the entitlement regarding friendship, I would like to point out that feeling entitled to friendship is very different from feeling entitled to sex. It's still very much a bad thing, yes, but it doesn't encourage treating one sex solely as existing for their bodies. I would agree that any woman who uses a 'friendship' solely for favours deserves being called out for doing so, but I don't agree that describing it as being friendzoned is the way to do it - plenty women (incuding myself!) will be flirty with new people, and linking this sort of behaviour automatically to manipulation is part of the problem I'm discussing.

      There is a big difference between the interaction you're discussing, and the interactions I am discussing. In particular, the kind you are discussing is NOT the kind populised in mainstream culture. Some of the commenters above have given decent examples - Galatea's Red Dwarf quote, for instance. Whilst there are definately women out there who do what you describe (I've met some too), the fact is that the notion of 'friendzone' is very much a concept reliant on the 'nice guy' idea - which itself, stems from the idea that being 'nice' to someone earns you the right to sex.

      I think if you are romantically interested in a woman, who then tells you they only see you as a friend, it is okay to not want to be their friend, and then cut off their friendship. It is *not* okay to go on about how you were so nice, and they flirted, and how dare they not like you!

      The problem here, of course, is that the other side to your final paragraph is that of the woman in the experience. If I had been friends with someone for six months, who then told me they were romanticaly interested in me, my first reaction would probably be "I'm sorry, I only see you as a friend." If they then said, "I'm not sure I can deal with that," I wouldn't be annoyed with them at all. However, if, as many male friendzone commenters do, they started to go on and on about 'but I was so nice, why don't you like me? I would start to feel like they never considered our friendship valid, and were only using it as a means to an end. In particular, when the sex part comes up, it feels very much like 'I was only your friend to get sex.' Which is where the issue of the friendzone being linked to objectifying women comes in.

      So yes, tl;dr - Your points are valid, as there are indeed women like that. However, the notion of the friendzone and the nice guy as discussed in mainstream media is not played out like these kind of interactions, and so some women using it to their own ends doesn't make a concept any less problematic, given its major usage.

    2. Don't get me wrong, needy "nice guys" are totally insipid, and it's my opinion that they should quit complaining about their miserable lonely lives and maybe grow a spine if they want things to change. Also, I agree wholeheartedly with your criticism of the prevailing cultural model of this kind of interaction. IMO virtually every representation of gender relationships in pop culture and the mainstream media is utterly vapid, suffocatingly stereotyped garbage which is degrading and insulting to everyone involved.

      However, I'm a bit confused as to why you think someone expressing romantic interest is treating you as "only existing for your body"? Friendship is a component of romantic relationships, and most of these dudes, insufferable as they may be, usually have substantial interest in their friendzoner because of their personality.

      I mean, there is really NO shortage of people, men and women alike, willing to bask in the attention of some obviously romantically-interested dork. The reason that these losers invest so much time in the "friendship" with their person of interest is generally because they find that person attractive physically and intellectually. Also, in some cases, it may be that getting to know their personality is precisely what triggered romantic interest. Furthermore, they have probably been suckered into tropes like "It's good to be friends first and see where it leads."

      It really seems as if interpretations of someone's motivations in making a romantic advance have little or nothing to do with their actual motivations (which, being internal cognitive states, are inaccessible to the outside observer, after all), and everything to do with whether those advances were welcomed or not.

      I mean, honestly, in what way does making a romantic advance on a "friend" possibly display a *greater* sense of entitlement than making a romantic advance on a stranger or acquaintance? It seems like the latter displays a much greater sense of entitlement, since the advancer has no established rapport with their person of interest, and little to judge them on *except* their body, dress, etc.

    3. The "only existing for your body" part was more when it was explictly about sex - not necessarily romance. This is a distinction I tend to draw because if we look at the meme I linked in the initial post, it is very explict about the fact I am in a romantic relationship, and yet it is being called 'friendzoning' because of the (assumed) lack of sex. It's this that makes me think very often it's a sex-thing, not a romance-thing - though obviously, sometimes it is a romance-thing.

      The big difference between 'let's be friends and see where it leads' and the 'friendzone' is that in the former, theres usually an awareness that it may not lead anywhere, and that being friends doesnt automatically give you the right to romance/sex, whereas with the latter, it's very much about the idea that having invested in the friendship, you are OWED romance/sex.

      With making a romantic advancement on a friend compared to a stranger, I think its a greater sense of entitlement beacause often, when the 'friendzone' card is payed, there's the attitude of "But I was NICE! I invested TIME! Therefore they OWE me!" Whereas with a stranger, there's less of the sense of 'owing' involved. Granted, there are some cases where someone may be misguided enough to say 'but I complimented them! They owe me attention!', and this is very much entitled.

  9. In fact, just by hanging around with women, I have heard them frequently and gleefully talk about "friendzoning" some guy or talking about how he's "in the friend zone."

    [citation needed]

    1. You know this actually isn't hard to do for yourself, right?'s%20in%20the%20friendzone%22&src=typd

    2. ... congratulations, you have proved that a word exists. I don't think that was ever in doubt?

      But the point you were making above was that women use the word "friendzone" in a malicious way. This is not something I have ever come across, so perhaps I'm not the right person to comment; but, really, I'm having a hard time attributing any fault or wrongness to a person who is essentially saying "I have decided I do not want to have sex with him". Like, the only way that can be a malicious act is if she owes him sex. And I subscribe to the radical notion that nobody owes anybody else sex, ever, however "nice" they are.

  10. Your willful ignorance is showing. You didn't even read the results, did you. (Why bother, when your foregone conclusion is that they would merely "prove the word exists.") Near the very top of the first page of results of the very first search is this gem. (I wasn't even expecting such an elegant, crystal-clear demonstration so easily within reach, but this is a cultural trope for a reason, and I'm finding it very hard to believe you're actually unaware of this.)

    "I love how as soon as I say "I friendzoned him" all my friend automatically know who I'm taking about."

    Do I have to analyze this for you? (That's just a rhetorical question--of course I do.) First, gloriously, she goes from talking about someone she "friendzoned" directly to talking about "all her friends," a group which doesn't include the friendzonee because--this is KEY--he is not actually considered a friend. Second of all, she "loves" that this poor sap is so emasculated and obviously romantically interested that every time she mentions it--often enough that she can form generalizations about it--her real friends can instantly identify him. What's to "love" about this situation if not his humiliation? Why is it even necessary to talk about it so much?

    To put it bluntly, if you're actually claiming to be unaware that many people, particularly women, derive great amusement from mocking the sexual/romantic undesireability of rejected suitors, I will propose that you're either being willfully obtuse or your range of experience has been extremely narrow.

    And no, of course "niceness" doesn't entitle someone to sex, or for that matter, anything. In fact, I'm tempted to say that nice/kind people deserve every bit of shit that the world will inevitably heap upon them. (Nah, I'm just joshin'. :) )

    1. Oh, right, I think I get you now - you're not being incoherent, just wildly off-topic. Never mind then.

    2. >I figure it is that the friend-zone issue is very much a binary issue - it is very much about how society views women one way, and men another.

      Okay, so something that is directly relevant to how society views men and women (Women, too, are co-creators of society.), followed by direct responses to direct inquiries is "wildly off-topic." And it only becomes "off-topic" once your presumptions are shown to be false on their face. Got it.

    3. What presumptions are you assuming I have made?

      This is what I consider to be off-topic: "many people, particularly women, derive great amusement from mocking the sexual/romantic undesireability of rejected suitors"

      Not only should there be a massive "citation needed" after your "particularly women" (although given other cultural factors I suspect it's not impossible) but more importantly it's also unrelated to the discussion about the /concept/ of the "friendzone". People who enjoy the kind of cruelty you're referring to now have a new word for their vocabulary; fine. Maybe it's even an *interesting* secondary usage, and worth posting here as an addendum.

      But your comment talked about "the flipside", like this was in some way equal in impact to the things Jenni's post talks about. Which is why I've given you such a hard time, here, because I am so massively sick of "here is a post about my broken leg, it kinda sucks" being followed by "OH GOD YEAH I stubbed my toe once it was TOTALLY AWFUL."

    4. You know this actually isn't hard to do for yourself, right?

      You know that providing evidence for your points is your own responsibility, right?

      I'd also like to gently suggest that coming to someone else's blog, making sweeping statements and then acting pissy when asked to substantiate said statements isn't exactly an A1 marker of genuine intent to enter into a respectful conversation.

      That said -- thanks for providing the citations. By my reading, the Twitter posts that you link to above do indeed contain some of examples of people using the term 'friendzone' in a way that comes across as reasonably cruel and callous. However, I'm not entirely sure that they're all using the word in quite the way you seem to suggest above. As I understand it, the type of 'friendzoning' that you object to is a behaviour in which women exploit men's romantic interest in them in order to win favours under the guise of friendship. However, several of the tweets you cite actually seem to be using the term as synonymous with 'honestly expressing a lack of romantic interest':

      That awkward moment when you have to make it clear to an oukie that he's in the friendzone..

      (I don't think you can accuse the speaker of being malicious or exploitative when she states having 'made it clear' to the person that he is 'in the friendzone')

      I received a text last week asking why I friendzoned him; why can't we just be friends and work our way up... Work our way up to where? lmao

      (Similarly, if the speaker reports being asked by she 'friendzoned' another person, it seems likely that she was reasonably clear with him about this, otherwise why would he be asking her this question?)

      i think i've made my point that he's in the friendzone and always will be..
      (This of course depends on who the speaker is making the point to: if it is indeed to the friendzone-ee themself, this again seems like a perfectly honest communication of non-interest).

      From a geeky language/linguistics perspective, this is really interesting -- I think we have to be very clear about what we're talking about when we use the term 'friendzone', and that what's come out of this is that it may not be being used in exactly the same way by various groups of people.

      To put it bluntly, if you're actually claiming to be unaware that many people, particularly women, derive great amusement from mocking the sexual/romantic undesireability of rejected suitors, I will propose that you're either being willfully obtuse or your range of experience has been extremely narrow.

      'Human beings in sometimes-being-cruel-and-nasty-to-one-another shocker'. I'll alert the media. If you're going to argue that mocking the undesirability of people that the mocker doesn't want to have sex with is confined to one gender only, I can pull up pages and pages of Encyclopedia Dramatica, reddit and archived 4chan material that say differently (and given that I asked you to provide evidence for your claims above, I probably should do)... but I really, really don't wanna. Can we accept that unpleasant people of all genders are cruel and dismissive towards people they don't want to have sex with and move on?