The Girlfriend Zone: the inverse of "the friend zone"

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As long as we perpetuate the myth of the “friend zone” this will keep happening.


Being explicit is good.


But often enough, it’s not.


And so many assholes think it’s man-hating to point out that “male entitlement” is a thing, let alone that it’s a big fucking problem.


“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” – Margaret Atwood (paraphrased)


Too many dudes seem to have no idea what “I don’t want you” means, because what they want is all that matters to them.


Don’t you think that’s derailing the subject, which is far more subtle? Can’t this be discussed without the outlier cases of violence and coercion of which there is nothing to dispute? Harry never stopped viewing Sally sexually, but he was able to be friends, and not rape her. If these were real people, I would posit she knew he was always attracted, but since he was able to keep it in check and not keep making passes, they were able to be friends. But there’s a looooong way between knocking on that door occasionally, and breaking it down. I doubt there’s anyone on this list who doesn’t know longtime friends who ended up in a relationship.



And is it still usually the case that if she decides to “knock on his door” just for fun, then he’ll take that as an invitation instead to come on in? And that when she lets him know that she’s just being playful or whatever like he’s been doing, that she’s acting like a blueballing tease?

(Answers: yes and yes)


How so? @LDoBe says that being explicit is helpful in preventing this “Girlfriend Zone” situation (true to a point), @knoxblox notes that often that’s not enough and provides some horrifying but not uncommon examples of what happens when a woman rejects a man. Seems on-topic to me: the “Girlfriend Zone” can be a dangerous place for a woman, even when she’s just met the man.


The horndogs don’t just do it to WOMEN, either. I was working at a hotel and a rather assertive and undaunted gay man kept calling me attempting to arrange a sex date. I have no idea what I would have done had he shown up looking for me. It was enough to drive me to Aromantic Asexuality.


On the other end of that equation, women didn’t invent the so-called “Friend Zone”; opportunistic, petulant males who feel entitled to sex and/or intimate relationships just because they are “nice” or “helpful” to certain women did.

The problem stems from a conditioned inability to see women as equally valuable human beings with their own lives and autonomy, IMO. If a guy grows up being told that women only exist to facilitate men’s needs and wants, then it’s no surprise that such a guy will have a severely warped perspective on relationships with the opposite sex, even the strictly platonic ones.


Yep. There’s a vintage 2002 meme for that:

And sometimes a “Supreme Gentleman” ends up being an incel who goes on a mass murder spree in Isla Vista.


Kinda relevant feature recently over at Kotaku.

Dude who handled the situation well, and some good advice for him on moving on:


“But women ain’t Mjölnir, my dude. They don’t have “whomsoever should part these legs, if they be worthy, shall have the power of Score” embroidered on their underwear.”

That’s good stuff.


Hell. Yes. This is the term I’ve been waiting for.


Why is the “friend zone” bad? One of my good friends from college is someone I wanted to date. She wasn’t interested, we stayed friends. At first I’d have to admit I was probably “biding my time”, but later on I realized we had some fundamental incompatibilities and it was probably better we hadn’t dated.

Personally I think a big problem is the media. College was the first time I had a big social circle… any meatspace social circle to be frank. And I (wrongly) though life was like TV - in that “normal” people have a rather large number of sex partners. Take a hard look at shows like Friends, Frasier, Seinfeld, Scrubs - there’s a constant stream of women in and out of the male characters’ lives.

Then there was the fact that when I tried to find advice on dating it was all terrible. There was feel good bullshit (you’re beautiful on the inside), and there was pickup artist stuff, that rightly encouraged me to eat healthy and work out - but also put terrible ideas in my head like the idea of the “friend zone” and “ladder theory” that I had to move quickly when I met someone. As someone on the autism spectrum it’s really frustrating that I feel like I spent a large chunk of my 20s unhappy despite trying hard to change and seeking out resources to do it.

All that being said, male entitlement is real and frankly these incel types scare me. At least pick up artistry had the nugget of corn in it’s otherwise shitty ethos that self improvement was needed if you wanted to find partners. The incels don’t even believe that. It’s inexcusable, especially since we’re in a golden age of info - if you hop on a subreddit like /r/dating or /r/okcupid there’s a lot of great, non-terrible tips on how to date and meet people.

It makes me really sad it took until late in life for me to “get” a lot of this stuff. Part of it is probably being on the autistic spectrum, but I see neurotypicals getting suckered in by these tropes too and it makes me sad. I think it’s sad we worry so much about teen boys watching porn, but let them watch shit like “American Pie” that teaches this shitty idea that sex is this all important thing…

Anyways sorry for rambling but this post stirred up a lot of feels. Honestly I kind of assumed this kind of nice guy shit was a relic of the 2000s but I guess I’m out of touch…


Please explain why a woman would act this way without intentions to either invite reciprocity or be “a blueballing tease”? Mixed messages are the hardest to decipher. And I’m not sure what you mean by “come on in”? Again, pushing this into the sexual violence zone makes it impossible to discuss all the nonviolent aspects to it. No one is arguing sexual violence is OK. I thought this topic was about nonviolent sexual persistence (from a friend, not a stranger, workmate or acquaintance) when a woman has made clear she is not interested.

My wife and I discuss this stuff and together thank God we’re not dating in this era.


The not-yet-named NiceGuys™ who coined the term did so as a pejorative. I remember “ladder theory” from the Usenet days and, in light of later developments it’s neither funny nor scientific, although I can understand how its system-like explanation might be appealing to someone on the autism spectrum.

The problem is people confusing what they see in the media with real life. Which is how, for at least a third of the country, the grifter host of a “reality” TV show about a capricious arsehole boss became the business genius that America needed to Make it Great Again.