Two things that are misunderstood when pertaining to women – our erogenous zones, and the erroneous concept of the friend-zone. If you are interested in the reading about the former, sadly this blog is not it. Though, for safety purposes, I will mention that breathing loudly into a woman’s ear is not one of those ways (I was almost on hearing-aid when a man pulled that off on a date.)
Now, coming to the zone that men are warned to dread even before their XY chromosomes pair up.
If general discourse and spam of internet memes are to be believed, a man has been friend-zoned if a female companion has left him for another man, even though he has been gentlemanly of sorts to her. That is the general definition, I presume, but there are variations to the story put forth.
I do not know about the origins of a such a term. It may have started when King Henry (insert roman numeral of your choice) was trying to woo his (insert roman numeral of your choice) wife and she decided she’d rather not be with a Hugh Hefner of the Middle Ages. (Erectile dysfunction can now be attributed to the genes passed on by such Henrys.)
There are several stages before a man reaches the friend-zone, if he is so daring.
First there is the “I will fathom enough courage to look above your breasts” stage.
Then there is the “I will do the fraandship with you” stage.
And finally, “I will be your BFF more than your girlfriends” stage.
Caveat lector: I may sound like Dr Phil in the lines below.
This rationale of being nice for the sake of being nice is why the concept of being friend-zoned crumbles. One can’t enter a friendship, or any relationship for that matter, with a contract of predefined conditions in hand.
Isn’t friendship ideally meant to involve mutual respect for each other’s feelings? The one-sided expectation of a reward for being someone’s friend implies that there isn’t a true friendship to begin with.
Of course, women face such circumstances too. Deepika Padukone’s character in Cocktail is a prime cinematic example. (Summary of movie — Dancing to Angrezi Beat/Yo Yo Honey Singh will make you fall in love and get rejected by a man who is twice your age and half your wit.)
If you believe that a man and a woman just can’t be friends without one or the other falling in love, you may need to broaden your circle and I hope your platonic friendships with the opposite sex will confirm that it is not the case.
Certainly, those men and women who have experienced rejection from a friend they liked may speak more from the emotional side of things. Perhaps, they were genuinely used or disrespected in the process of a true friendship which they hoped would have blossomed into romance. A great example of this is the Liquid character from Pyaar Ka Punchnama. I wouldn’t label that as being friend-zoned but rather, the fact that you just encountered an asshole. If you are smart enough to dispose of such an ill friendship, then good riddance to you! And if love does happen to emerge from a genuine friendship of respect and love, then all the wondrous blessings to the couple!
There are some perturbing contexts in which being friend-zoned comes into play. Below are some sample queries from men and my responses below:
John: “Dear wacky saki, I totally stalked her for seven days straight and even sent love potions to her house. But she still doesn’t like me back. I think I’ve been friend-zoned.”
Dear John, just be glad she didn’t send you a restraining order and put you in the jail zone, yet.
P.s. I almost choked by starting off this letter like a crappy Nicholas Sparks novel.
Hardik: “I walked her safely back home and didn’t get anything in compensation.”
Mr. Hardik, I empathize with you on the fact that the barter system of exchange doesn’t work out in all scenarios. And I am so sorry that she actually thinks you care about her safety.
Arod: “She shares more secrets with me than with anyone else. But I just want the chance to see some of her other secrets (wink face).”
Hi Arod, the UN should really amend its Declaration of Human Rights to incorporate your philosophy about a woman revealing her lingerie for every intimate detail she reveals to a man. Perhaps, she trusts you as a great friend and values your opinion and advice. But what do I know? I’m just a silly woman.
Manish: “Hi Ma’am, I’m the one who listens to her whine about her boyfriend all the time. Yet, he is one who gets to have all the fun! When will I get to have some fun?”
Dear Manish, if the whining bothers you, then spend less time with her and more on doing things you like. As far as fun is concerned, do so at own free time in your room.
There is a significant difference between being a kind friend and expecting coitus (as Sheldon Cooper would say) for being “nice.”
Friend-zone labeling is a poor excuse for a poor friendship. That is all. Peace.