The “Friendzone.”

Friend zone

The dreaded “Friendzone”… A cultural phenomenon that has been experienced so often by so many that there is even an MTV series dedicated to people confessing their feelings to friends (appropriately titled Friendzone). If you are sitting there reading this and thinking, “But Jessica, I’ve never been in the Friendzone,” then you have most likely—perhaps unknowingly—Friendzoned someone in your life.

Many people (including our beloved Wikipedia) seem to believe that only men inhabit the Friendzone. In fact, just a few weeks ago I witnessed the shocked reactions a group of males had when they heard about a girl who was in the Friendzone. When I say shocked, I mean they were genuinely caught off guard to hear this news. I have known men, and women, of all sexual orientations who have found themselves in the Friendzone. No one is immune from possibility of being Friendzoned.

Urban Dictionary describes the Friendzone as being, “the worst position to be in,” and from personal experience, it does tend to feel that way. However, I want to suggest something that may seem radical… Maybe, just maybe, there are positive aspects of this seemingly dismal situation.

Bear with me while I explain. Many successful relationships are composed of two people who are friends and lovers. So the fact that the person you have affection for is—presumably—of a high caliber, and whom you already respect and care for, is a very good thing. In my mind it is never a mistake to open your heart and allow yourself to have feelings for someone.

This brings me to my next point. The Friendzone can also be a great place for the development of courage. There are three options when you’re in the Friendzone: act on it, just move on, or pine silently hoping that the situation changes. The last option sounds terrible, the second option difficult, and the first option… well, absolutely terrifying.

This is where the courage comes in. I am normally a forthright person, however, many people would be shocked to know that when it comes to telling someone I find them attractive or am developing feelings for them, I struggle to find my voice. It takes courage to voice your wants or emotions, courage that is not always readily available. Having feelings for a friend challenges a person to speak up, walk away, or live life in limbo wondering “what if”.

Something important to note is that sometimes people who think they are in the Friendzone are only in the Friendzone because they put themselves there. The only way you will know if your friend feels the same way you do is to test the waters, ask them out, speak up. In the end if they do not feel the same way, and are a good friend, they will remain in your life. Or better yet, maybe they feel the same and the truth will be out in the open. Either way, it is good because you will be free to explore this new relationship, or free to be open to other prospects.

If only it was easy to find that courage… But I challenge us all to work towards finding that braveness, and I wish anyone who presently finds them in the Friendzone the best of luck manoeuvring your way out. Maybe it doesn’t have to be as scary as we all make it out to be.