The Friend Zone

She was walking out of my apartment. I had just helped her put together a brand new resume for a job application. On my front step I suggested we hang out again sometime. Maybe something less boring than resume building. “Thank you so much for this,” she said. “Seriously, you’re like the best friend I have.”
“No problem,” I replied, with much less fervor, looking down at my feet. She detected my disappointment.
“I’m serious,” she said again. “Thank you.”
“See you,” I said. She left.

Something about her words stung. Cut deep to the core of me. It hurt. I felt dirty. Like I was the butt of a big joke. I had been manipulated. I realized she had stuffed me into “The Friend Zone.”

How could this happen? To ME? I’m so careful. I keep my guard so high. Goddammit.

Let’s get one thing unmistakably, unarguably straight: There is nothing friendly about “The Friend Zone.” The friend zone is an evil, malicious, and manipulative “decision.” It is not a real friendship.

Related: How To Avoid The Friend Zone

This girl and I had history. We had stayed overnight a lot. One night in bed she said she didn’t want to scare me away but she had something to tell me. She said she liked me but wanted to do things with me “right,” which is why there had been no sex yet. I had been disappointed about the sex, which I had been pushing for, but then I was flattered. Downright happy. She wanted a real relationship with me. Not just another one night stand. It was nice. I felt like I had been waiting for something real and there it was. I confessed my feelings back to her.

Soon after that exchange it all just stopped. There was a period of no contact and then we were “friends.” Yet I still trained her at my gym, on her schedule (not mine), free of charge. I helped her with her job hunt. I rebuilt her resume from the ground up. She walked out of my house this night and let me know what a great friend I was. It hit like a ton of bricks. How had I been so stupid?

I had a friend in college who had a big heart and a small brain. He fell in love with a girl whom everyone recognized to be just awful; everyone except for him. She was a quintessential slut. She went home with a different guy every night. She had a boyfriend too. I know these things because we lived in the same apartment community and I was told to keep quiet. But still, my friend didn’t care- one night stands while having a boyfriend and all, he loved her.

My fiend loved this girl so much that they got an apartment together, where he would be accessible to her every whim. He wouldn’t come out with the boys but he would willingly drive her to parties, drop her off (he wasn’t invited inside with her), then pick up her and whatever dude she had met and bring them home to fuck in his apartment. I told him he was a pussy. He said he just wanted her to be happy.

I don’t know what was happening behind closed doors, but this evil bitch had done something to keep my friend hopeful. I could imagine him starting to pull away and then her dropping some convenient “sign” that they may be meant for each other after all.

There is a difference between being friends with a woman and being “friend zoned.” Putting a man in the friend zone is a conscious, selfish, and manipulative decision by a female to take advantage of a relationship with a man who is obviously trying to win favor with her. Sure, some men are to blame for being gullible. My friend was a total idiot. But some women are very manipulative. In my case, I thought there was no way I was being friend zoned. We had seen each other naked too many times and done too much. She had confessed her feelings for me.

Nope. The joke was on me. Those were all meaningless strings pulled to make sure the hooks were in deep enough.

I hate the friend zone. I hate the things I hear and see that people do to others so flippantly. Things like the friend zone are the reasons people play games in the dating world. When you confess your feelings for someone you risk being the target of a manipulative predator.

It doesn’t happen so much to me anymore but I hear about it constantly- from the women themselves. Anytime a girl is going on about her male “best friend” I stop her and ask, “did you have to friend zone this guy?” It’s always the same, “Oh, totally. He’s in love with me.” I ask them if they think they are leading him on by remaining friends and they always say something like, “I told him it would never happen.” I’m sure they aren’t dropping any signs for the poor fools to read into either…

For instance, one girl I was seeing had been lazy about finding a new apartment and her lease was expiring. A friend zoned man was the first person on her list of people to call. “I know he would let me stay for free. He would just die to have me under the same roof as him.” Another time, “He guarantees I can have the job if I want it. He’s the manager and he’s in love with me.” These are not friendships. These are manipulations and they are cruel. A woman using her body, batting her eyes, touching an arm, dropping a hint: “there’s a chance.”

My friend finally wised up. One night I almost slapped the shit out of him at the bar. His “love” was picking up another guy in front of us and he was pissed. “Come outside with me, right the fuck now,” I told him. And I let him have it, for probably 20 minutes, on the side of the road. He was being played and she was a total bitch. He was better than this.

Something inside my friend snapped that night. A couple weeks later he went on a date. Then he went on a second date with the same girl. They started seeing each other regularly.

Men don’t have to turn into a cold-hearted pricks but we have to stay vigilant. We have to be strong, assertive, and not let ourselves be taken advantage of. For the women, if you see yourself doing this stuff, have some integrity. There is nothing friendly about the friend zone.

If you enjoy my rantings on life and relationships make sure you check out my novel, Hang-Ups and Hangovers. Buy now.

About the Author Kyle Milligan

I'm Kyle Milligan, I write New Adult Books that don't suck. i.e. The Hang-Ups and Hangovers series. I like to write about the challenges of being a single twenty-something in today's hookup culture. My blog offers Dating Advice For Men.

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