The three most unnerving words for a single guy to hear: The. Friend. Zone.
People joke and laugh about this mythical place, where a guy finds himself when he’s into a girl who says to his dismay, “I just don’t think of you that way.”
Of course, this can happen to girls too, but a simple Google Search shows that it’s mainly guys who feel afflicted by this disease. Articles like “Five Signs You’re in the Friend Zone” and “18 People Who Will Never Get Out of the Friend Zone” pop up all over the Internet. Men’s Health News even published an article this year called “Escape the Friend Zone.”
An MTV show called FriendZone features guys who try to go on dates with their romantic interests with the hopes that the girls will end up falling for them.
So, is it actually true? Does this place really exist for guys?
Hunter Turner, junior information technology major from Trophy Club said, “I met this girl and I didn’t know her very well, but we started talking. We had dinner in the Bean one time. I just wanted to know her more.”
When they were driving back from an event one night they had the “define the relationship” talk, during which he told her that he really wanted to be friends with her. However, she took that to mean nothing more than friends, and they never spoke again.
Cody Drennan, junior elementary education major from Abilene, noted that it isn’t always a guy’s fault for not having his feelings returned. He said, “My friend really liked a girl, but instead of the girl he liked being interested in him, [the girl’s] best friend was. So he got put in the friend zone—not because of him, but because of [the girl’s] friend.”
Whitney Herrington, marketing major from Abilene, offered a female perspective.
“I’m not always the best at reading signals on whether or not a guy likes me, so there have been times when I thought one of my guy friends was just a friend…and then I find out that he had other ideas,” she said.
“Once I went to a function with a friend in high school and someone asked if he and I were ‘just friends’ to which I responded by nodding my head up and down. But the words coming out of my guy friend’s mouth were the complete opposite. The rest of the night was completely awkward and honestly the rest of the friendship, maybe until just recently.”
Emily Teel, sophomore art major from Abilene, said, “I feel bad about friend-zoning guys, but I would feel even worse about leading them on. In college though, it seems like it’s less awkward and the line is blurrier. We can be friends with lots of guys whether or not romantic feelings are there.”
Dating in college is difficult, stressful and emotionally taxing, but it can also be a lot of fun. Most people like seeking out others who might be compatible with them and enjoy the excitement and romance that goes along with those first dates.
And this is especially true at ACU where the two most overused jokes are “Are you here for your M.R.S. degree?” and “You gonna get that ‘ring by spring’?”
Jodi Gaines, junior art major from Dallas, said, “Most people are open to a relationship and enjoy the dating pool here at ACU. But there are always seasons.” Gaines said that the beginning of the semester is hunting season, and after that, it will be dating season. “And then around Christmas break or the beginning of next semester, it will be break-up season. At least with my friends it works that way,” says Gaines.
Hope for the previously Friend Zoned exists. In the TV show F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Monica only saw Chandler as her goofy friend, but because he stuck around and was there for her, she changed her mind and he ended up marrying the girl of his dreams.
Perhaps the Friend Zone is an ally, not the enemy. Maybe being a good friend is what counts in the end.
Dr. Heidi Morris, adjunct faculty of Family Studies described relationships as two sides of a coin—liking and being liked, or not liked.
“If you’re on the side of the coin where you like [someone], but the other side of the coin is not [returning interest], then I think you’re going to be left with a bit of disappointment and maybe a feeling of rejection or frustration or longing,” she said.
Morris says no one should pursue a romantic relationship with someone who doesn’t return the affection. “But I always feel that if you are a person who likes someone and you would like to see that relationship going somewhere, it’s always good to have good communication. You risk something by doing that—you risk rejection. But not to try means that you will never know.”
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