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Thread: The Friend Zone (split from "Where have all the good men gone?")

  1. #251
    Okay, let me try to be kinder to you than I have been, Johncs - not because I necessarily think you deserve it, but because when people say harsh things to you, you seem to cringe and go into full defensive deafness mode.

    The two primary lines of argument you have used in this thread are:

    1. "I have a right to do whatever I need to to protect my feelings! That doesn't make me a bad person!"

    2. "How dare you compare me to other guys who are obviously much worse than me?"

    With regard to point 1: the first part (the implication that you don't have a right to act that way) is spurious, since no one has ever suggested you don't have that right. It's the second part - the implicit assumption that prioritizing your feelings above everyone else's should put you beyond reproach because FEELINGS! - where the fundamental point of disagreement lies, and that's the one you seem unwilling to face. However "necessary" you may believe it to be to withdraw after you've been rejected, you're wholly unwilling to recognize that maybe you are causing just as much pain to the other person, and maybe as a compassionate, decent friend, you owe it to her to try another approach, not just insist that emotional pain disobligates you of any further consideration for her feelings.

    (If you read any of that as: "Therefore you are obligated to suck it up and stay friends with her forever, period" then I give up, you just ain't seeing the same colored sky I am.)

    With regard to point 2: shitty behavior exists on a spectrum. On the "guys being shitty towards women" spectrum, it ranges from "Making sexist comments" to "forcible rape." The fact that someone says that you are exhibiting behavior on that spectrum does not mean they are saying you like to go diving into the far end of it. Your behavior, statements, and expressed attitudes are not dissimilar to those of a PUA, or the whiny Nice Guys who think they are entitled to women's attention and affection. That does not mean that the exact words attributed to some of the worse examples of the latter have come out of your mouth. But I'm sure not the only one here seeing similarities. Rather than consider why people are perceiving you that way, you keep insisting that you're totally, absolutely different and how dare anyone compare you?

    I mean, considering that most of your participation on a writers' forum has consisted of bleating indignation that you were compared to PUAs and a woman just can't understand your pain, maybe you should consider as well that your evident priorities and the issues that seem of greatest concern to you also make a statement. This isn't, like, a temporary derail, as these conversations are for most of us. I have also been known to talk about, you know, books, and writing. But this is your big entry into the forum. Ponder that and how it might lead people to give you squidgy side-eyed looks.

  2. #252
    the Juggernaut of Imperfection crunchyblanket's Avatar
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    Here's a question for debate: The scenario is that a guy and a girl are good friends. After a while, he develops romantic feelings for her and opens that dialog. She's suddenly uncomfortable and tells him she doesn't think they should hang out anymore. Is it her right to end a friendship that makes her uncomfortable? Or does ending a friendship because he wants something more, even though he also values the friendship on its own merit, mean she was never a real friend? Is she obligated push through her uncomfortable feelings to preserve the friendship?
    If their friendship was that strong to begin with, I would say both halves of the equation owe it to one another to work through the issues present. If that means time apart, so be it. But I don't think it's unfair to say that if neither chooses to do so, the friendship wasn't as strong as either of them first thought.

    I was friends with a guy I grew to like, in the romantic sense. I told him so, and he felt awkward about it, because he actually liked my best friend. That was tough for both of us; my feelings were hurt, and he felt uncomfortable about the whole thing. We spoke only fleetingly for around a year. I withdrew to lick my wounds, he withdrew for breathing space.

    The following year, the two of us went to see a band. I still had some residual feelings for him, but knew that wasn't going to happen. But our friendship was too good to let slip away, even if we did have to work hard to repair it. It was worth it.

    The point is, I liked him as a friend before I liked him romantically. And although it hurt to realise he'd never see me in that way (and god, did it ever hurt) I valued what we did have too much to throw it away because I wanted that little bit more.

    In short, the friend zone wasn't a consolation prize. It wasn't a compromise, and it wasn't somewhere he 'put' me. It's just the way our relationship was meant to be.

  3. #253
    Something that bothers me -- the assumption that a woman can't also be friendzoned by another woman. Plenty of bi/lesbian women know that feeling. Being friendzoned by women is not unique to the poor straight man.

    This isn't in reply to John, so much as just whatever.

  4. #254
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister SuperModerator Medievalist's Avatar
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    You know what bothers me? The implications of the phrase "friend zone."

    It's a metaphor that I think is probably derived from sports—as in penalty zone, war territory language "the neutral zone," or traffic laws with respect to points that place a driver's license in the "penalty zone."

    That's not a healthy way to think of human relationships. It suggests a view of human interaction that is based on hostility.

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  5. #255
    practical experience, FTW MsJudy's Avatar
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    This has been an interesting thread... entertaining and often offensive.

    But it's also making me feel so very old...

    I'm approaching 50, divorced, tried online dating recently. Things do change.

    Of course, there are still the jerks who are really only looking for sex. You can pick them out pretty easily--the first thing they ask is, "How affectionate are you?"

    Well, my response is probably the same as a lot of women's: With the right person, I can be pretty damn affectionate. But if that is really the only thing you think you need to know about me, then Sorry, Charlie. You are not the right person.

    But far more of the men my age are facing their Golden Years alone. Never thought their marriage could fall apart, aren't particularly interested in figuring out why, just want a new Wife ASAP. Before they even ask you out for coffee, they're describing their house and their investments and assuring you how much their grandkids and dogs are going to love you...

    I already have a full-time job, two teenagers who can't afford to leave home until they finish college, and an elderly mother with many health problems. Plus I still hope to be a published writer. The last thing I need is to get stuck taking care of some old codger with prostate problems. At this stage in life, I wouldn't mind a friend with benefits, but those are hard to find. I kind of miss the days when all guys wanted was sex...

    So I guess this really is a young person's argument. But I do think quite a lot of the arguing has been about apples and oranges. On the one hand, yeah, some men really are just douchebags. They don't value women, don't value friendship with women, yet when they can't get laid they blame it on women who prefer "bad boys."

    No. Women prefer men who treat us like people, not sexual objects. Plenty of "nice guys" spend too much time on the superficial stuff--opening doors, pulling out chairs, buying flowers--without ever actually taking the time to LISTEN. And if you look closely at "bad boy" charm, you often find the guy who seems to be hanging on your every word. That is such an attractive quality.

    But there are also plenty of relationships that simply reach a stopping point. All relationships, friend or romance, need to keep growing. If they reach a point where it just can't go any farther, it will start to wither. And usually one person realizes that before the other. It can be very hard to get past that, whether or not sex is involved.
    represented by Jenny Bent of the Bent Agency. Most happy.

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