The friend zone makes more sense than you might think
It’s the word most men dread when dating, the process that shatters their hopes of being a romantic actor and relegates them at best to the role of supporting actor: “friend zoning.” There are loads of advisers telling us how to avoid being demoted from room mate to brunch mate, usually pinched-faced pickup performers in turtlenecks. If someone we love offers us anything other than the opportunity to have sex with them, we feel like a failure, that we are unfriendly, unattractive, and less of a man. “I see you more as a friend” is taken as the verbal equivalent of being shot in space by a huge cannon, an irreversible emasculation. Maybe it’s a primal hangover, an evolutionary instinct to sneak into defeat when there’s a rutting opportunity, but when you stop to think about it, as you should, it sucks, n ‘ is this not?
Why is friendship generally so underestimated? Arguably, friendships can be some of your longest and longest lasting relationships, surviving dire adventures and difficult marriages. The obsession with forging a romantic connection and locating and clinging to a mythical “one” has made us see a relationship that doesn’t include sex and romance as sort of second-class. It all stems from an inability not only to deal with rejection, but to decode it and use our results to achieve improvement. Witness the men on dating apps who start by texting soft only to take a sharp left turn when the object of their affection explains that they are not interested, hurling insults and concluding that they don’t want them never, anyway. We live in a bizarre paradox in which these men believe that sex is an automatic right but also a reward. We want the thrill of the chase, but none of the dangers – the permission can be denied and the reward denied, but it becomes someone else’s fault, especially in relationships with women.
Tech zillionaires Melinda and Bill Gates recently announced plans to divorce after nearly 30 years of marriage, claiming, as celebrity couples often do in post-split communications, that they will remain friends and work partners. despite the end of their marriage. The reaction to the end of this union – not one I can imagine being at the forefront of anyone’s mind on another day – was akin to a gritty sequel to Cinderella in which she and Prince Charming happily decide that he better to spend separately. “What hope for the rest of us if they can’t make marriage work?” an upset romantic trills. While I would advise caution to anyone who sees celebrities as the gold standard when it comes to marriage – even the boring and solid ones like the Gates – I have to say that staying together for 27 years without killing each other, before amicably deciding to part ways and not to burn the land behind them, seems to me to be a very good effort. The idea that you’ve failed in a relationship unless one of you chooses the other’s funeral sandwiches is an unrealistic and idealistic notion that just isn’t achievable in a world where our personalities. continue to develop and our needs are constantly changing. Knowing when to stop and recalibrate is a much bigger achievement.
Placing sexual contact at the top of the hierarchy of connections does the concept of friendship a disservice. Engaging and dealing with partner breakups results in a multi-million pound industry in the form of marriages, divorces, relationship counseling, self-help literature, and heartfelt writing by men in bad shirts with guitars, but the formation and end of friendships is paid in dust. Buddy rifts hurt just as much as a lost love affair – though anything betrayal might sound more intense – but any fallout is usually seen as “drama” and long-standing breakups or periods of silence referred to as petty or unnecessary. We’re constantly told that marriage is something you have to ‘work on’, but we never ask why this is so or why the same principle doesn’t apply to friendships, which we just expect to ‘be’. , although they may be even more difficult to maintain. Perhaps love and marriage are so exalted because of the pitfalls that come with such a commitment – possessions, children, extended families. Yet there can be even more parties to a friendship – a falling out can shatter a social circle.