What’s your favorite myth? Maybe something from the Greeks; a cool Herculean feat, Perseus and the Gorgons, the never-ending cycle of jealousy and revenge from Zeus and Hera? Or perhaps something Egyptian, Chinese, Celtic, Slavic? The world of mythology is unendingly vast.
With all of these tales to choose from, my favorite is one created in more modern times—my absolute favorite myth is the myth of the friendzone.
We’ve all heard it before. Some crusty dude talking about how he was just so nice to this girl, he did everything he could to make her happy, and all she did was friendzone him. Because girls only like d-bags, or girls don’t like boys who are nice to them, or whatever thinly veiled misogynistic crap people are spouting these days.
The friendzone isn’t a real thing. It is a fake concept invented by people who wanted an outlet to ease the pain of rejection; a way for them to say “it wasn’t my fault—I was friendzoned!”
Saying that someone put you in the “friendzone” implies that just because you were nice to them and acted in a FRIENDLY manner, they owe you something. That girl should be in love with you because you let her cry on your shoulder about all of her stupid life problems you hardly even care about! Why doesn’t she want to kiss you on the mouth after all that caring and attention you bestowed upon her?!
There are so many ugh-worthy things about this I hardly know where to start. For one thing, it’s an incredibly selfish and egocentric way of thinking about your relationships with other people. Expecting something back after doing something nice for someone else kind of flies in the face of what friendship is supposed to be about. You should do things for your friends because it’s enjoyable for you to see the other person happy or to know that they have support during a difficult time. Of course you expect them to do the same for you, but not in the sense that they owe it to you.
For another thing, no girl is obligated to date you just because you were nice to her. Maybe she doesn’t want to date you because, oh, I don’t know, she just doesn’t want to date you? Because she’s not attracted to you in a romantic way? Because she’s with someone else or is trying to be with someone else? There could be a million different reasons, and it doesn’t really matter which it is. She just doesn’t want to date you. Maybe if you stopped focusing on the rejection and just moved on with your life, you’d be able to find someone who does value you in a romantic way.
Please, for the love of god, just stop talking about the friendzone. It’s about as real as Lord Voldemort and just as damaging to humankind.
Alex Ritter, NYU.
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