How To Get Out of the Friend Zone… and Just Be A Friend, You Douchebag.

I got a lot of “you’re a great friend” and “I love you like a brother” while I was in my teens and twenties.  I probably described it as being in the “friend zone”… but there’s something different about it now.

It’s not just the “get off my lawn you whippersnappers” thing.  Yes, I had female friends who I wished were more than just friends. 

Yes, it sucks when your feelings are not reciprocated.  It sucks a lot.  It’s a FML like of moment.

But there’s something… nastier… to the concept now.

It is not just the creepy way his arm bends, either.

Let me try to share my unease through these images from around the internet:

Notice the trend?  The entitled whining of the men’s rights and pickup artists douchebags has taken over.  Who cares if she just wants to be friends – he gets benefits.  Who cares if the girl doesn’t want his hands on her breasts?  That’s unimportant – we just care about whether or not he’s in the “friendzone”.

But this one is almost worse.

Not because of the Twilight connection.

Did you catch the message here:  That friendship is worthless.

This isn’t the When Harry Met Sally “can men and women be friends” question.  This is explicitly saying that there’s no point in being nice to women unless you’re getting sexual favors in return.

While I’m not – by far – the first to comment on this (this Salon article is very good), I started thinking about this again after writing how diversity in fiction should be a given.

Because there’s a fundamental missed point here:

Being a nice person does not mean you “earn” anything.  It means you’re not kicked to the curb.

Somehow we – men in particular – have gotten the idea that being a basic, decent human being toward someone else somehow entitles us to… well, anything.  And then they whine when they don’t get it… somehow not realizing that might be part of the problem.

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One Comment

  1. June 27, 2014

    Great post, Steven. I'm always amazed at how, for some people, it's all about sex. The attitude of 'no sex, no value.' Even when I was one of those middle and high schoolers being friends with the girl I really wanted to go out with, it was never just about sex. I wondered if I was the only one who felt that way.

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