Friend zone

The friend zone (or friendship zone) is a folk psychology concept found in many texts geared towards a male audience about "dating advice", or "seduction advice". In that case, that man would be mentally categorized as a "friend" rather than a lover, i.e. put into the friend zone.


A woman does not easily change her mind and become sexually attracted to a man she has already placed in her friend zone. This is said to be very different from how a male's mind works, and as a result leads to a string of false expectations on the part of the man. It is not impossible to get out of the friend zone as it is stated in many texts. In some cultures and societies, women keep around many possible suitors and marry the person they feel most comfortable with.

Many dating seminars and texts focus on how to avoid the friend zone, advising immediate cessation of all contact once a man finds himself in the friend zone. This is illustrated in the film, "Just Friends", where the main character, played by Ryan Reynolds, advises his friend to "Just walk away". It should be noted that this is usually paired with a philosophy designed for sexual males to help become intimate with women, with a priority on constantly meeting new women. But for some men it is for the sake of finding a secure, loving relationship with someone they truly adore.

Sex columnist Catherine Townsend describes it as a mutual problem where two people are "trapped in that place of hopelessness and desperation", when they don't want to "risk ruining the friendship if everything crashed and burned". Townsend also cites a feared loss of romance and mystery as well as a fear of rejection. Cosmopolitan magazine has called it "relationship quicksand", but notes that in a 2001 survey, 71% of respondents hoped that they would fall in love with a friend.


The term friend zone was popularized by a 1994 episode of the television sitcom Friends, where the character Ross Geller, lovesick for Rachel Green, was labeled "Mayor of the Friend Zone". The question of whether a man can ever "escape 'The Friend Zone' and begin dating one of his female friends" was key to what made the Ross and Rachel pairing on the show a "geek dream couple".

The 2005 film Just Friends also deals with the "friend zone" and how it impacts on the main character of the film (played by Ryan Reynolds) when he re-united with his female friend from high school (played by Amy Smart) for the first time in 10 years after an incident at a high school graduation party at her home in which she said that she loves him "like a brother", dashing any hopes of him having her as a girlfriend.

It has also been suggested that women may also become victims of the "friend zone". This is mainly due to a serious lack of physical attraction. It is fairly common for men to pursue women with the same set of faults that would normally throw a man into a woman's friend zone. It's easier for women to get out of the friend zone because physical appearance is easier to change than one's own faults. If a man changes his faults just to get out of the friend zone then it could be seen as desperation, landing you right back in the friend zone.

See also

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