Ah, the friend zone. A cultural phenomenon so pervasive it has it's very own lengthy Wikipedia entry. Although the exact origin of the phrase is murky, the designation for a dude whose romantic inclinations go unheeded was first popularized in the early '90s by (ironically) a Friends episode. In the years following, the friend zone would continue to garner visibility and criticism in the media, and today, feminists often regard it as way misogynistic.
To many folks, the term can be read to imply that men are owed sex by the women they desire, and when they don't receive said sex, they feel slighted and need a way to complain about this sad state of affairs. However, friend zoning doesn't have to be gendered as such, and there are plenty of women and gender non-conforming folks who have also felt they were friend-zoned, too. Nevertheless, the most common way the phenomenon is depicted is between hetero men in response to their rejection by women.
Recently BuzzFeed took on the subject to succinctly sum up just what the friend zone is, and how you can survive being on either side of it. Here are three things to know about the friend zone:
1Being Nice To Someone Doesn't Mean You're Entitled To Sex With Them
Sure, being nice to someone you like might be part of why they want to hit the sheets with you, but it certainly does not mean you're entitled to their bod in any way, shape or form.
2Just Because You COULD Date Doesn't Mean You're Supposed To
It's definitely possible for a hetero guy and gal to be friends and there be no presumption that they will ever get romantic. Just look at Joey and Monica!
3Communication Is Key To Avoiding The Friend Zone
Although some folks will be jerks and call you out for rejecting and friendzoning them even when you're clear about your feelings, the best way to try to avoid these situations is always good old-fashioned communication. After all, the best part of the friend zone is that, you know, you're friends.