Monday, 7 January 2013

Feeling you're in the "Friend Zone" isn't about entitlement...

Feeling you're in the "Friend Zone" isn't about entitlement, it's about personal despair. At least, that's my feelings on the matter. There are, no doubt, those that hold views that if they act the "right way" that any girl/guy (Object Of Desire, or OOD, from now on) they want that they will naturally succumb to their charms.

However my experience of people that feel to be in this "limbo" isn't that they feel entitled in any way, shape or form to an outcome from those that they desire, only that they wish things would work in their favour...that they are ultimately jealous of the person that has what they want.

Now, big caveat here...shouldn't need to be said but you always have to be ultra-clear on these things...WANT DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD GET, nor should it. You are free to desire what you want, and your OOD is free to not reciprocate that. You are free to express (in a legal and non-predatory manner) that horrible situation, but they are also free to do whatever they want and can to avoid that expression.

I find the parallels to be that with those who work, in the UK, believing that the government cares more about those who aren't working by "giving them stuff for free" and thus delivering a "better lifestyle for being lazy than someone gets by working hard".

I ask myself, do these people feel entitled to the money that the government is handing out? In some cases, sure, but in most cases they just feel jealous about what they perceive someone else's life situation is. And just like with that relationship between your OOD and their new partner, you probably don't really know as much about that relationship, and certainly not your OOD's partner, as you think.

I don't think it is at all helpful to paint those who complain about being "Friend Zoned" as misogynistic or patriarchal. The immature outbursts by those that feel that they have done everything they "need" to do, or "can" do, and haven't got what they want aren't necessarily linked at all to any innate feeling of entitlement or belief of superiority. As much as it may manifest itself to look this way, a person getting depressed and angry about not finding reciprocation is doing it because they know, deep down, that they are the ones that are not good enough...but their only emotional response is to try and create excuses for why it may appear that way.

It's sometimes too bitter a pill to swallow that you are simply not what your OOD wants.

So we can call this person a dick for being, well... a dick about it. Sure. But how does it help our culture if our answer to this is to label these people as some kind of sex fiend, prowling around assuming they have the formula to get instant sex and are angry it doesn't seem to work?

For a start it seems to me like this just exacerbates the situation. They already feel that they've not been understood properly, because they have either caught from popular culture, or a stark self-assessment of their own positive traits, a belief that "being nice" alone is something that gives you special points that should open your OOD's eyes to what a great life partner you'll be. Barking at them that they shouldn't just expect sex because they're acting nice doesn't do anything to those that actually need support and help with their emotions and relationships other than create a negative reinforcement that society doesn't "get" them.

I reject that guys who complain about being "friend zoned" feel entitled. But they do feel desire, desire that can persist long after rejection, and that in itself comes from the irrational. To try to pin the label entitlement to that irrational desire is lazy, to ignore the psychology of built-up hope that manifests in a reaction that can appear to be drawn from a sense of entitlement is lazy. To abandon these people to an emotional world that can actually make or break how much they respect women in the's just lazy.

The outcome whether they still feel jilted desire, or indeed feel entitled to a "result", may be the same and shouldn't be accepted. Making anyone feel like shit simply for following their own hearts and desires isn't at all acceptable.

But if we want guys to be respectful to their other OOD's in the future, perhaps we shouldn't make step 1 the exile stage, to be marked and noted as an evil misogynist; instead help them to understand how to avoid the build up of emotion that causes such outbursts, and the ultimate negative atmosphere that causes it hard for even the "friend zone", that they would actually be very happy to reside in at any other time, to sustain itself.

If you know a guy that's complaining about being "friend zoned", by all means wake the idiot up, definitely do what you can to re-educate and stop them if they've fallen down the spiteful path of trying to humiliate their OOD. If they were happy enough to desire someone they know deep down that they're happy to be their friend also. If they are complaining without even having talked through their feelings with their OOD, then help to facilitate that process.

But then be sympathetic, not to calls that they did everything they could...the sooner they realise that relationships are built on the feelings of two parties and that feelings aren't readily manipulated the better...but to the reality that they aren't in an emotionally secure place if their happiness rides on acceptance by an OOD, that they need to find that security and to better understand what they really do have to offer in a relationship, and how that will be discovered organically, not by campaigning.