The Friendzone.

Don’t bother saying you’re sorry / Why don’t you come in
Smoke all my cigarettes again / Every time I get no further
How long has it been? / Come on in now, wipe your feet on my dreams
– Like A Friend – Pulp

It’s a classic joke. Boy meets Girl, Girl and Boy (or boy and boy/ girl and girl) become ‘Best-Friends’ and secretly one of them wants more. We are constantly messing about it on social media, we all know one or two people in the situation and most of us have been there ourselves but what is it really doing to friendships and how many of us are laughing?

I’m not going to get personal. Okay, I’ve always put an honest slant on things so instead of exposing any individuals I’ll give a general account of my younger days while giving an overview of various peoples experiences. There was a good year or two as a teenager where I craved attention. I was never malicious or cold and to be honest due to my own lack of confidence I relished the idea of being found ‘attractive’. I had managed to get past the age of thirteen where every girls looks slightly masculine and most (including myself) haven’t a notion about how to apply make-up or fix their hair – ‘Curtains’ for a fringe, anyone? I then became what most would call an ‘Emo’, yes I’m serious and no I’m not ashamed I just remembered becoming part of something and with that came the need to stand out, be noticed and be liked. I know we all go through it and thankfully I grew up from it. I took the best bits with me while learning from the more embarrassing traits but this want for attention can follow us into our adult years.

   You’re probably imagining me in a My Chemical Romance shirt with panda eyes and wondering ‘What the hell has this got to do with the original post?’ but stick with me here, you’re in for an honest one. As we go through life we make friends, on nights out, through College, a friend of a friend, a random Facebook add etc. Many of us have wonderful platonic relationships with people who honestly feel like siblings. The truth is men and women can be friends without anything more. I know, shock horror! Then there is the other, extremely common situation where one of the two desperately fancies the other and can’t bring themselves to confess. Instead, they live out a friendship, stationed in the friend-zone and remain clutching at the hope that the other will one day make a move.

The problem with this is you could one day turn around and realise someone you thought was your best friend, someone you shared countless movie-nights, break-up stories, helpful advice, jokes and sleepovers was lying to you, in the hope of something more. In a moment, a friend-ship can be totally ruined  and not because you’re necessarily physically repulsed by them but more because you’re hurt and you feel betrayed. They could have even told you, and you might have been able to move on, but the lying is the worst.

The Friend-zone can hurt even more people that the immediate two though, perhaps you have been with someone and you have known that their ‘best buddy’ secretly fancies them? You’ve tried to control your feelings but you can’t because you know deep down they don’t want to be just friends with your other half, they want a full blown sex scandal and you look like the obsessive moron. If you’re not the jealous type you’ve probably even said it and it’s still made you look insane. Then you guys break up and boom – they are Romeo and Juliet. If you are the jealous type, you’ve probably punched a wall.
And what about those who know they have put someone in the friend-zone? This is a hard one. These are the people who abuse friendships for what they can get from them. You know, the girl who always hangs out with the guys because ‘they just get her’? Who feels more comfortable with men because women ‘are bitches’. I was her once and I look back and realise how wrong it was. You see it isn’t wrong to have that opinion, what is wrong is knowing you are only saying it to be appreciated. Now, there are certain things that I enjoy doing with my guy friends instead of my girl friends and visa versa – more over, there are certain things I want to do with specific friends that aren’t based on their gender – this is how you have friends – you don’t bunch them together as a commodity.

Then there is the obvious one, being in the F-Zone and wanting to punch the person you like in the face while screaming ‘WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?’. This one obviously hurts. It is however, your duty to realise that you are in fact being dishonest. I know, the pain is all too real but you need to step up and face it. If you really can’t do it, tell them and walk away. Don’t hang on to someone in the hope of it evolving because you’re more that likely going to be left without a friend.

So then, how is the friend zone ruining our human interactions? Well if we are constantly trying to attract each other instead of actually enjoying each others company then our appreciation of friendship goes out the window. This isn’t something which is gender specific either, neither part is to blame or can be excused because at one time or another we have all done it.
Now I know lots of relationships start out as friendships and usually that means there is a mutuality but I’m focusing on the sneaky side. The part of us that secretly hopes our best friend will break up with their girlfriend so we can kiss them on the rebound, the friend who invites you for a chat – only to warn you that your other half was a waste of good time anyway. The girl who advises you to stay away from all those other girls who fancy you and the guy who wants to get to know you only to ignore you once he has found a relationship.

 How we present ourselves, how we expose ourselves and how we conduct our friendships are absolutely paramount to our Hollywood romances. This isn’t a movie, this is real life and we need to value each-other, not put value on each-other. If we based our friendships on what we can give to the other person and not what we can get from them, we would realise who we really want to spend time with.
Words: Erin Grant


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