Why is the “friendzone” concept harmful?

Why is the “friendzone” concept harmful?

In the last few years the Internet has been filled with frustrated people (mostly men), because they were “friendzoned” by the person they like (mostly women), even though they’re such a nice person! So why is linking the concepts of “friendzoning” and “nice guy” harmful to women?

Well, for starters, what is “friendzoning”? On the Internet, men (mostly) have been expressing their anger towards the women who have turned them down romantically or sexually, expressing that they would rather be friends instead. These men are angry because not only were they turned down, but also because the women in question said they would rather be friends even though they are “such nice guys”. Now, it is not unreasonable for a man to start being attracted to a woman he is friends with whether it is romantically or sexually. It is, however unacceptable for the man to get mad at the woman for wanting to stay friends instead.

First of all, being nice does not entitle you to being with a woman. Women do not have to be romantically or sexually involved with every man that is nice to them. Also, if a man is being nice to a woman only to get sex in return, then he’s not really all that nice is he? And even if a man is genuinely nice to a woman, he still needs to respect her decision. Stating that nice guys are always “friendzoned” and that women don’t really want nice guys not only encourages men to be disrespectful to women in order to get with them, but also makes women doubt their right to say no when a guy is nice.

I repeat: a woman does not have to go out or have sex with every man that is nice to her.

This brings me to my second point, women are allowed to exercise their right to say no. Not every woman will like every guy, and that’s OK. This does not make them evil, and it does not give men the right to be mad at them. If a woman says no, the man can be disappointed, but blaming and getting angry with her for “friendzoning” him is not the way to handle things.

Finally, I would like to address the whole “how to get out of the friendzone” issue. Men don’t get to decide this. If the woman who decided she would rather stay friends ever changes her mind about the man, she will let him know. Insinuating for example, that alcohol is the way out of this so-called zone is not the way to go. Lowering a woman’s judgment abilities in order to get her to be interested in a person is a horrible thing to do. Also, saying that the “friendzoned” person needs to be less nice in order to get the other person interested is just as bad of an idea. The woman’s choices just need to be respected.

So men/boys, if a woman/girl ever tells you that she would rather just be friends, just be her friend! And if you feel like you can’t, then explain your feelings to her and leave it at that. Don’t get angry with her and don’t blame her for not “recognizing a good thing”. Women/girls, if a man/boy whom you just want to be friends with asks you to be more than that, know that you have the right to say no, EVEN if he’s a nice guy.

*I acknowledge that the “friendzoning” concept is not used only by men who were turned down by women, but chose to speak about it this way in my text since it is the “friendzoning” dynamic I am most comfortable discussing.

Written by: Amélie McFadyen

Executive Director of HPV Awareness 

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