‘Friend zone’ is a phrase that was popularised by the popular sitcom Friends, since then it has become a worldwide phenomenon.
The phrase was coined in the episode ‘The One With the Blackout’, released in 1994, when Joey said; “you waited too long to make your move and now you’re in the friend zone”, telling Ross that he was mayor of the zone.
Following this episode, ‘friend zone’ became a common term and now almost everyone knows its meaning, without needing an explanation. A person finds themselves in the ‘friend zone’, when a friend is either rejecting or not responding to their romantic advances.
People have many different views on the term and the kind of message that it sends out. Some are indifferent to the word and don’t hate or love it, then there are others who believe that the term can be toxic and isn’t the kind of ideology that should be commonplace.
A negative perspective on the term is that if you claim to be ‘friend zoned’, you never saw that person as a friend but rather just a person you wanted to get with. ‘Friend-zoning’ only happens if you don’t value having the person as a friend first and foremost. According to this position, the upset or angry behaviour shown by those ‘friend-zoned’, is a sign that they blame the person for rejecting them and don’t cherish the friendship they have.
“Not being able to tell a boy that I’m not interested in him without being made to feel guilty and made out to be a terrible person for ‘not giving them a chance’,” said a girl on Tumblr who had been accused of friend zoning, “and the worst part is when I want to be friends with them and it’s like a slap in my face when they say that I friend zoned them as if being my friend would be so f*cking horrible.”
On the other side of the argument, some people use the term to simply describe a love that has been unrequited. It’s an easy phrase and everyone understands the meaning behind it, which is why it’s so widely universal.
A positive way of looking at being friend zoned is that you are gaining a new friend or keeping one you already had. A friend who is still interested in being around you and having you be a part of their life, despite there being no romantic or sexual attraction.
When looking at the positives of the friend zone, one major point is that, since there was rejection it means that the people involved are not in a relationship where there are one-sided feelings. No one is stuck in an unhappy, dead-end relationship. It is the better option in the long run.
It’s unlikely that people will say ‘goodbye’ to the term with how popularised it is, but one thing that should change is the toxic behaviour and shame or guilt that comes with it.