Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Friend Zone #2: How Did We Get Here ?

If you're reading this right now then I'll go ahead and assume you've read my previous article (and if you haven't then quit being a lazy ass and read the previous article). So this is part 2 of my 3 part series on The Friend Zone. If you're with me at this point than Thank you, and whether you agree or disagree with what I've written the fact remains that you're more open to at least discussing this topic than completely disregarding it. As stated before this article WILL NOT VICTIMIZE OR DEMONIZE any gender. Rather this is a gender balanced examination of The Friend Zone and how it relates to both gender. HOWEVER this article WILL be gender segregated because this article will point out the differences on Men & Women in The Friend Zone and the various reasons on how they get there and WHY THEY CHOOSE TO STAY THERE! So once again I have to lay down the ground rules about these articles. I'll need you all to agree to a few truths about The Friend Zone;
  2. THE FRIEND ZONE IS NOT GENDER SPECIFIC! BOTH MEN & WOMEN HAVE BEEN AND ARE IN THE FRIEND ZONE! However there are differences between men and women in The Friend Zone and how they end up in there, that will be explained later. But Men and Women have both experienced The Friend Zone. Taylor Swift has an entire song devoted to her Friend Zone status "Teardrops On My Guitar" and Eric Clapton's "Layla" is devoted to his status in The Friend Zone. So don't feed me this bullcrap that ONLY MEN can be in The Friend Zone.
  3. THOSE IN THE FRIEND ZONE DON'T JUST SEEK TO ACQUIRE SEX! Men and Women in The Friend Zone are NOT just seeking sexual intercourse, they are seeking a solid, long lasting relationship which would eventually lead to a potential marriage. No ONE puts THIS MUCH effort into acquiring sex (especially in this day and age where a few drinks will get you laid). Those in The Friend Zone DO NOT prove themselves as upstanding people for the sole purpose of sexual conquest. Granted, sex is the apex of human relationships, so in one aspect they are in fact seeking to have sex with the person they desire BUT SEX IS NOT THE ABSOLUTE GOAL!
  4. THE FRIEND ZONE CAN BE ESCAPED but the vast majority of people CHOOSE to remain in The Friend Zone (which will be explained in a later article)!
If you disagree with those truths about The Friend Zone then please STOP WASTING your time and don't read this article. Also if you tl;dr me, I will NOT entertain your comments so please if you have a short attention span, don't bother reading or commenting. Also I'll ask you to save your comments for when you finish the article as I have a feeling this is going to be a LONG ONE but I'll try to be snappy. But for something as HOTLY debated, discussed and subject to much discourse, a FULL ON DECONSTRUCTION is at hand. I will preamble this by saying that A LOT of this is anecdotal, personal experience and psychological/biological fact. Also I will be speaking in generalities, SO if you do not fit into the category I am discussing feel free to exclude yourself BUT understand that you are in the minority. So some can be taken with a grain of salt but I have much of what I believe on good authority. I'll try to make this humorous and break up the large blocks of texts with pretty pictures to keep your attention. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you're still with me this far then strap yourselves in; it's time to get educated.

So my dear reader you're in The Friend Zone, because you're in love with The Person Of Your Affection and those feelings aren't returned, right? WRONG! First of all let's clear up a common misconception you have my Dear Friend Zone Dweller, YOU ARE NOT IN LOVE! In the very meaning of the words "in love with" means there is a mutual exchange of love, hence "with". YOU are NOT in love "with" anyone. You simply love that person, the feelings are not reciprocated in the fashion you'd like. That's where you are. HOWEVER you ARE in love with something. Any clue what that something is? You're in love with the idea of The Person Of Your Affection.

Welcome To The Friend Zone...

Unfortunately the chemicals related to Love are also the chemicals that dull our logical and critical thinking faculties. If you've ever wondered why Guys act like complete idiots around hot chicks and why Girls are suddenly awkward around cute guys, THAT'S WHY! With you my unfortunate Friend Zone Dweller, your brain is hard wired to overlook every critical flaw The Person Of Your Affection has. Your affection for that person goes above and beyond merely acknowledging their physical attractiveness, your affection is deep, profound and meaningful. Why? Well because in your mind you've already visualized how you'd successfully execute a relationship with that person.

For those of you who have NO CLUE what this means, basically what I'm saying is, this is like realizing you'd be REALLY good at something. Something akin to finding your calling in life.

SIDE NOTE: NO ONE in the Friend Zone has a short term mentality. These aren't the type of people who are going to date someone and throw them away when something better comes along. In their mind The Person Of Their Affection IS IT! Hence why they put SO MUCH effort into getting that person.

The MAJOR problem with this is that The Friend Zone'd Man/Woman COULD be tricking themselves into taking the drug that fuels The Friend Zone, "FALSE HOPE"! False Hope is the opiate drug of The Friend Zone and can be administered 2 ways; The Person Of Their Affection feeds it to them by implying he/she may have a chance when in reality they do not OR The Friend Zone'd Man/Woman convince themselves that they may have a chance "If". That "If" is ambiguous, it could be anything; "If I was taller.", "If I was rich.", "If I had bigger breasts, ass..." ect. ect. 9 times out of 10 that "IF" is usually "if she/he were single.". Which as stated before that's when The Friend Zone'd Man/Woman make their move and exhibit traits The Person Of Their Affection would look for in a mate.

False Hope, when self-administered is hard to gauge, because unless The Friend Zone'd Man/Woman are told point-blank THEY HAVE NO CHANCE, they have no reason to believe they do not. However when False Hope is provided by The Person Of Their Affection, that person is effectively leading them on and is seeking to take advantage of The Friend Zone'd Man/Woman. Unfortunately, this occurs MUCH more with men since men have a biological and psychological drive to perform for affection, an unscrupulous woman could easily use that to her advantage. Women can be taken advantage of by men who promise that if The Friend Zone'd woman puts out they'll date them and other lies that are commonly told to take advantage of people.

However False Hope only exacerbates the damage already done. Furthermore, False Hope doesn't keep you in The Friend Zone. What keeps you in The Friend Zone is THE IDEA of that person.What I mean is, The Friend Zone'd Man/Woman has spent a considerable amount of time focusing on the admirable qualities of The Person Of Their Affection that those qualities are magnified above everything else, and The Person Of Their Affection becomes less of who they are and more of who The Friend Zone'd Man/Woman THINKS they are. This isn't always the case but more often than not it is. It's this Idealized Version Of The Person Of Their Affection that causes White Knight/Great Comforter behavior, as The Friend Zone'd Man/Woman exhibit those traits in an equal portion to the kind of treatment they feel the Idealized Version Of The Person Of Their Affection needs.

While False Hope is one drug of The Friend Zone, Back-Handed Compliments ARE THE WORST of THE WORST in The Friend Zone. If you recall from my previous article "The Death Of A Salesman", I created the analogy of  a Salesman providing a proven superior product to a potential costumer, only for the costumer to retain the inferior product, despite the fact that the costumer expressed that the superior product met all of their requirements for purchase. Back Handed Compliments are an extension of that analogy. Here are some examples;

What They Say: "You're really going to make someone happy someday."

What They Say: "How are you still single?"

What They Say: "You really are a great guy/girl, I don't understand why you're not taken."


What They Say: "Why aren't more guys/girls like you?"

What They Say: "I wish I could find someone like you?"
What You Think: "WHY NOT ME?!"

The list goes on and on. Basically all of these confirm your honorable traits, be you a White Knight or a Great Comforter and YET, YET, despite the MANY accolades they attribute to you, YOU STILL CAN'T MAKE THEM SEE YOUR TRUE INTENTIONS! Back-Handed Compliments, Sprinkled with False Hope is a POWERFUL and DANGEROUS mixture when encountering The Friend Zone and can lead to some VERY explosive backlash. The main course of backlash being the development of Friend Zone Memes springing up throughout The Internet, recounting Men's plight within the dark world of The Friend Zone. This leads me to another point.

The difference between Friend Zone'd Men and Women is the fact that men are more public about their Friend Zone status than women are and therefore more prone to an outward expression of frustration. Once again, a Man's psychological and biological need to perform often causes him to demean himself in public if an unscrupulous woman takes advantage of his Friend Zone Status and he allows himself to be taken advantage of...

You poor man...

Women on the other don't have this psychological and biological need to perform therefore women in the Friend Zone don't display their status publicly and the results of an unscrupulous male taking advantage of her only results in her personal humiliation, with only a few of her girlfriends and best guy friends in the know. This ladies, are why guys gripe about The Friend Zone more so than woman, because men are inside the Friend Zone much longer than women. Women usually have a few Safe Guards put in place to avoid remaining in The Friend Zone. What are those Safe Guards you ask?

#1: WOMEN ARE AWARE THEY'RE WOMEN: Women are psychologically wired to be The Desired NOT The Desiring. Because of this, women are more intuned to when a guy is giving them a once over, then again men make this obvious considering that men are biologically more attracted to a woman's physical traits, and since those are visible, men will provide visible cues as to what they find pleasing and displeasing. Since women are fully of aware of what's pleasing and displeasing to a man, they are psychologically wired to find attracting a man fairly easy and therefore don't linger on the rejection of a single man as much as men do when rejected by a woman. Since women aren't psychologically wired to perform for male attention, male attention is something that doesn't require much effort to gain, initially.
  • ANECDOTAL SIDE NOTE: Hannah Minx and Michelle Phan are FULLY aware that their male subscribers are simply subscribed to them because they're physically attractive, however Ray William Johnson and Phil DeFranco don't share this luxury of knowledge with their female subscribers UNLESS TOLD. 
  • ANECDOTAL SIDE NOTE #2: Women will gain attention if their physical form is on display in a fashion that allows it to be more pronounced than before. For example, women who expose cleavage will draw more than likely favorable attention from men, however a man with his erect penis hanging out will draw attention from women but not exactly favorable.  
#2: WOMEN HAVE GAY MALE FRIENDS: Women often acquire Gay Male friends to avoid Friend Zoning. Women do this so they can enjoy the comfort of a male presence without being concerned about potential feelings brewing outside anything platonic.
  • ANECDOTAL SIDE NOTE: Women often hang out with Gay Males, but men don't hang out with Lesbians in equal numbers. This is because men don't desire a female presence for comfort.
#3: THE SISTERHOOD: Female friendships are much stronger than male friendships solely because women are often more involved in each other's personal lives than men are. Because of this women have a cracked team of girlfriends who will swoop in and point out every critical flaw the girl may have missed in The Person Of Her Affection and will explain why they're better off. Eventually with the help of her support group she'll be over him quickly. Men have no such support group until AFTER the fact, and even then men aren't exactly experts at consoling each other. Furthermore Women hunt in packs and do things in packs, if a girl likes a guy generally she'll have her girlfriend as an advance person to ask questions about The Person Of Her Affection to gather intelligence. More often than not The Friend Zone'd Girl will make friends with The Person Of Her Affection female friend in order to get a more solid grip on how to best acquire his attention. Men have no such strategy when seeking women.
Anyway My Dear Friend Zone Dweller, because you're in love with this IDEA and not this PERSON, you're borderline deifying The Person Of Your Affection at the expense of your own self-worth. You may think this is noble, but it's not. It's not selfish either, it's demeaning and really unfortunate for you. By loving this idea, you've perpetuated your own stay in The Friend Zone by putting this person above you without them being aware you're doing so. You've left yourself open to be taken advantage of, and at this point, I can't blame them for doing so. You've convinced yourself that performing and cow-towing to their every whim will get you the affection you so desire, only to be denied at every turn.

But the only thing you CAN do right now is first acknowledge that YOU ARE NOT IN LOVE WITH, you merely LIKE that person a whole lot. If you can look at that Person and see their flaws as flaws instead of cute quirks, then you'll be well on your way to leaving The Friend Zone...but we're not quite there yet.

This is a HUGE ONE, another reason why you choose to stay in The Friend Zone is because of THE FEAR OF REJECTION! However Men and Women both have VERY different motivations for their Fears of Rejection. More often than not most girls are too shy to tell a guy they like them, out of fear of appearing to be awkward or unappealing at that time, ultimately it boils down to Self-Image for women. 9 times outta 10 women will put off asking a guy out because "I look gross today.", "My hair's a mess.", "I'm all sweaty.", "I'm fat." ect. ect. Guys have NO SUCH issues with asking women out. While Women are more concerned with self-image, Men are more concerned with outward image, how other perceive them.

DON'T GET ME WRONG! I am NOT saying that Men aren't concerned with self-image either and women aren't concerned with outward image. I'm just saying both genders have a very different view of things, when it comes to perception. The reason why Women are concerned with their self-image is because a woman's confidence is built in her feelings, "If I look good, I'll feel good.". NO this is NOT vanity. This a desire to look nice, clean, neat, and up to a standard that she deems attractive. Hence why women have "That cute outfit." or "those cute shoes" or get their hair done, nails done, ect. ect. Women would argue that those were pressures put on them by society, but I've never met a guy who wouldn't date a woman who didn't have her hair done or nails painted and I don't think I ever will meet that guy. As Kat Williams said, and I'm paraphrasing "Niggas don't care about your toenails!".

Women desire to look good because it's an outward expression of what's taking place inward. And more often than not women seeks to look good outwardly to help quicken the feeling inwardly. I AM NOT CALLING WOMEN SHALLOW, DO NOT ACCUSE ME OF DOING SO! I am simply saying that women's self confidence is based in her self-image. On the flip-side Men don't exactly have the desire to look nice. Men are performers and performers need an audience. Men do things for the sake of receiving accolades and respect from their peers. Men acquire strength, wealth, and beautiful women because other men seek those things. And while getting accolades and respect from your fellow man is great, when those accolades are given by a woman, a man's confidence is through the roof, because not ONLY is he respected by his peers for his accomplishments, but women are taking notice of him as well.

You don't see too many women with this attitude.

So when a man is afraid of rejection, he's afraid that she will see him as nothing to take notice of. A Man may have it in his mind that he is something to behold but if that feeling is not affirmed, it's a solid blow to a man's ego. Therefore in order to avoid being rejected The Friend Zone'd Man, once again becomes The White Knight, acting as a boyfriend WITHOUT actually being her boyfriend, so he can expose her to how he plans to treat her without having the shame of being rejected. Women, as mentioned prior, DON'T perform and therefore their rejections are either internal rejections of themselves or non-existent rejections.

Anecdotal Story: I knew a girl back in high school, let's call her "Helen". "Helen" on a scale from 1 to 10 was about an 11. I mean she was HOT and a lot of guys knew it. Anyway, a few years after high school I caught up with "Helen" hanging out with a mutual friend of ours. "Helen" had confessed to me that back in high school she had a crush on me and was afraid to tell me. My jaw hit the floor! Granted, we're incompatible and it wouldn't have worked out, but back in high school, with a girl like that would have been a MAJOR shot in the arm! I would've dated her in a HEARTBEAT! But because she was afraid, she wouldn't have known that'd have said "HELL YEAH!"

EVERYONE fears rejection, whether it be from a potential employer or The Person Of Your Affection. But rather than deal with the prospect of rejection, The Friend Zone'd Man/Woman put themselves in a category where they can't exactly be rejected, Friend. After all, no one denies friendship to a person except preschool kids. So with the safe label as "Friend", you're able to avoid the prospect of being rejected and exchange that for the frustration of being never accepted in the position you desire. Sounds lot like being rejected without the words, but that's what you fear, those words and their meaning. The words "I don't want to be your boy/girlfriend.", yes those words.

Your fear of being rejected has landed you in The Friend Zone, and you positioned yourself here by NOT making your intentions clear enough where a directed rejection is required. Sure, you've dropped subtle hints here and there, but the time for hints is over. If you don't make a direct play for The Person Of Your Affection affections, well then you're keeping yourself in The Friend Zone by constantly playing it safe. And I must ask you, how's that working out for you? Not good considering you're in The Friend Zone. One way to escape is to deal with the fear and make a solid play, no hints, no shyness, no nothing. "Hey Person A, I like you and I want you to be my girl/boyfriend. Yes or No." Pure and simple. If you get a "No." get over it and move on, if you get a "Yes." LUCKY YOU, and don't mess it up, you've tried too damn hard!

This is a strange one but another reason why you choose to stay in The Friend Zone is because of Tunnel Vision, and I can attest to this being true. Tunnel visions isn't just being enamored in The Person Of Your Affection, but it's being COMPLETELY oblivious to people who are in your Friend Zone'd...

So it's a Friend Zone inside another Friend Zone...

Anecdotal Story: Back in high school I was crushing HARD on the aforementioned "Linda". There was a dance at my school, I was chilling in the hallway one day, and this other girl, we'll call her "Brandy" asked me if I'd like to go to the dance with her. I agreed, seeing as how I'd like to get outta the house. Anyways, when we got to the dance, I (much to my everlasting shame) ignored her the entire night and spent the majority of time partying by self and encouraging "Linda" and her friends to dance with me. Anyways, I was informed a few days later than "Brandy" was crying in the bathroom because of my ignoring her. I'll admit this is not a story I'm pleased to tell. Because to be PERFECTLY honest, I hadn't realized she was actually trying to be my girlfriend until I was in my mid-20's...tunnel vision...

Anyway, the reason you stay in The Friend Zone because you unfortunately may have missed the person who IS interested in you because you're interested in a person who might not be. This is all banking on The Person In Your Friend Zone being attractive. The Person In Your Friend Zone maybe someone who you would say is attractive and if given the right opportunity, you would date. Fortunately for me, I didn't see "Brandy" as such a person. But ultimately, The Person In Your Friend Zone MAYBE your salvation for escaping The Friend Zone, such was the case with me and my wife. As I've mentioned before, before Kim was my girlfriend, she was in my Friend Zone while I dated a girl named Amanda. Dating Kim was the BEST decision I've ever made in my life.

So my Dear Friend Zone Dweller, is there anyone you can think of who exhibits Friend Zone behavior towards you ? Are you possibly a Person Of Someone's Affection? Find out, because they may be your salvation out of The Friend Zone.

In conclusion, these are all behaviors that YOU my Dear Friend Zone Dweller are doing that cause you to sub-consciously keep yourself in The Friend Zone, and all of these stem from a kind of fear, whether it be fear that you may lose the attention of The Person Of Your Affection if you do not cater to their every whim or fear that you will be rejected by The Person Of Your Affection. Either way, you need to examine if you exhibit any of these traits and make changes, otherwise you're allowing him/her TO take advantage of you EVEN IF THEY DON'T WANT TO! And that's not only unfair to you, it's unfair to them.

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