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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Put the END in friendzone

An awkward protagonist has a super hot best friend that they’ve been crushing on since they were kids. Unfortunately, their super hot best friend has a significant other, an equally hot significant other, who hates their guts.

This leads the protagonist to go on a quest to prove that they can be “more than friends.” Lo and behold, at the climax, the protagonist confesses and makes their hot best friend realize that the perfect person was right in front of them all along.

Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the plot to nearly every teen movie ever made. This plot line strikes a chord with young adults mainly because it gives a name and a face to something that they say they encounter on a regular basis – the friendzone, where dreams go to die. Someone is “friendzoned” when they try to pursue someone for romantic or purely sexual purposes and get turned down, declaring “friendship” instead.

The thing is that the friendzone, like those movie characters, is completely fictional. In fact, it’s a social construction that perpetuates unrealistic expectations about sexual attraction and romantic relationships.

One problem with “friendzone mentality” is that it likens attaining a sexual or romantic relationship to a video game; clear the levels, beat the boss, and you win.

People who feel like they’ve been friendzoned have, in their minds, completed the checklist for entering a romantic relationship or just getting laid. They bought them dinner, listened to them talk about themselves, called them “beautiful,” etc.

They’ve done anything a “nice guy (or girl)” should do, but when their feelings are unrequited, they feel cheated and stop being nice. In reality, there is no universal formula that can bring anyone and everyone to bed with you, and the “friendzone” drastically oversimplifies the complexity of human emotion and arousal.

Truth is, different people like and want different things. Each person has their own criteria for what they want in a relationship, whether it be romantic or strictly sexual.

This isn’t Harry Potter and we can’t alohomora into people’s hearts or pants.

Another more severe issue with “friendzone mentality” is its perpetuation of rape and domestic violence culture.

We as human beings have a built-in sense of justice and fairness. If we work, we expect compensation. If we’ve done something well, we expect praise and recognition. And if we don’t get what we feel we’ve earned, something’s wrong.

Those who feel cheated out of the affection and sex they feel they earned, think they can just take it anyway. Physical and sexual abuse can be viewed as means to get even.

Secondly, like rape culture, “friendzone culture” often victimizes the wrong party. When people are friendzoned, they become the victim while the one who rejected them becomes the evil person who led them on.

More often than not, the victim is portrayed as someone who allowed the themselves to be raped. Victims of rape are asked if they were drinking, what clothing they were wearing, etc., all questions that place blame on them and conversely, paint the rapist as someone who simply did what the victim’s signs “told” them to do and are therefore, not at fault.

One example of how “the friendzone” can produce violence is the shooting in Isla Vista, Calif. that occurred last year. The shooter, Elliot Rodger, killed six students at UC Santa Barbara before killing himself as retribution against the girls who declined to sleep with “the supreme gentleman” that he was. He saw himself as a victim of the friendzone and revealed in a video he filmed before the shooting that killing them would be the just thing to do. This may be an extreme case, but it is an example of how “the friendzone” affects the way we think about sexual and romantic relationships.

We need to understand that we can’t treat relationships like loan sharks treat their debtors. Nobody owes us anything and it’s not their fault if they aren’t attracted to you in that way.

Also, contrary to popular belief, nice guys (and girls) don’t finish last; those that do are the ones that are nice for the wrong reasons. We shouldn’t be nice to others because we want something out of them. We should be nice because we’re decent human beings.

And besides, sexual and romantic aren’t the only types of relationships out there. Who knows? Maybe the two of you could end up having a really strong friendship.

It is called the friendzone after all.

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