14
   

Girls and the "Friend Zone"

 
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 01:10 am
@failures art,
Quote:
On the other side of this, I think some women enjoy the knowledge that some of their male friends romantically desire them. They enjoy this in spite of no desire to return any of these feelings, and don't take any action to liberate the man or dispel him from the idea that one day they might be together. In these cases, I see many women objectifying the men that adore them. These men become a pillow to the ego.

Maybe some women do - but only if they're innately cruel and selfish. I can't think of anything that has ever made me feel more uncomfortable.

I have a male friend that I've known forever. We grew up together. We both considered the other our 'best friend', but as far as I was aware that was it. There was absolutely no chemistry from me for him in that way- and he was very good at hiding his true feelings from me. We went to different colleges, he in NY state - me in NC- so we kept in close touch by writing. He knew my boyfriends in college and I guess I just never noticed that he didn't have very many girlfriends- although I knew he wasn't gay.

When we were twenty I had planned to go out to Yellowstone to waitress for the summer. I asked him if he wanted to try to get a job and go out there with me thinking we could have fun on the long bus ride - get drunk together amid all that beauty - get to know the same people again - just hang out and have fun.

He wrote me back this very excited letter and in one paragraph he said something like, 'Yeah - I can see you and me out in Yellowstone, sitting alone together under a tree with the light of the full moon filtering through its branches...' or something to that effect. I thought, 'Oh no...' I'd honestly had no idea, and knowing that I'd never think of him as someone I'd enjoy the full moon romantically with, I changed my plans. I didn't go to Yellowstone at all.
I just couldn't do it.

I think there's either chemistry or not. As I said, I find nothing more uncomfortable than to feel that someone I really care for and love might be expecting something from me that I'll not be able to give, and I would never string them along to feed my ego.

But as you say - maybe it's a generational thing...have women really gotten that selfish and cruel? I'll have to ask my daughter...

I'd hate to think that was true about a whole generation of women.

failures art
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 02:21 am
@aidan,
I wasn't suggesting that a generation of women are doing this. I hope what I wrote wasn't taken as a generalization. I was referring to a specific type of selfishness, not a universal trend.

A
R
T
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 02:35 am
@failures art,
Quote:
the woman objectifying the man back by using him as a psychological accessory.

I don't know how this plays out in other generations and genders (I can only guess), but I think that other men my age would mostly agree with my summary.

I must have misinterpreted this portion of your post. What do you mean by this, other than, it seems that men of your generation would agree that women of this generation are callous enough of a man's feelings that they will use him as a psychological acessory to assuage her own ego, despite how discouraging and hurtful and ultimately dishonest it is to him, and that you allow it might have been different in other generations?
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 03:07 am
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

I wasn't suggesting that a generation of women are doing this. I hope what I wrote wasn't taken as a generalization. I was referring to a specific type of selfishness, not a universal trend.

A
R
T


I have always felt acutely uncomfortable and around men who I know have feelings for me, when I don't, and it is obvious. I have never cultivated them...if they have continued to be around me a lot it's usually because they are simply part of a larger group that I hang out with.
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 04:26 am
@aidan,
aidan wrote:

Quote:
the woman objectifying the man back by using him as a psychological accessory.

I don't know how this plays out in other generations and genders (I can only guess), but I think that other men my age would mostly agree with my summary.

I must have misinterpreted this portion of your post. What do you mean by this, other than, it seems that men of your generation would agree that women of this generation are callous enough of a man's feelings that they will use him as a psychological acessory to assuage her own ego, despite how discouraging and hurtful and ultimately dishonest it is to him, and that you allow it might have been different in other generations?

I was only describing one type of male-female interaction. My statement about generations was more to point out that I don't know how long that kind of interaction has been common. I wasn't saying that all girls of my generation are so callous and insensitive. That would not be fair. I'm quite fond of my generation's ladies. Very Happy

A
R
T
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 06:48 am
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:


On the other hand, I missed the whole "friend zone" thing - was that a thread?



It's come up a lot but I don't think it was a single thread. I think of Slappy with this one but it wasn't only him. He often advised men seeking relationship advice here to avoid the dreaded friend zone. To NOT become friends, because if you do then the romantic thing won't happen. (I disagreed.)

That was evidently based on his own experience, and a lot of other guys chimed in, to the point where I was almost convinced that it is a phenomenon, if not universal.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 06:51 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:

It sure works for me...the friend zone... I believe. Don't lots of guys complain about that, being stuck in the friend zone I mean, with a woman they would like to have a sexual relationship with?


Yes, exactly. It's not a good thing. I wondered briefly, while watching sozlet, if she'd be stuck in the friend zone with these boys as they all matured (they're likely to know each other through high school graduation). Then I realized that while I may believe in it as a female-to-male phenomenon, I don't think it's symmetrical (thanks Art, good way to put it).


Quote:
I've had to PUT 2 male friends firmly in the friend zone! They were workmates to whom I became desperately attracted. They were both happily married as well as work-mates, so iron control had to be used until the passions passed. Now they are both firmly in the friend zone! It was hard work, but I did it.


Congratulations! I had to do that once, difficult indeed.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 07:00 am
@boomerang,
Yeah, I was roughly similar. It picked up a bit earlier -- late high school rather than college -- but from about 13 to 16 I thought the whole "dating" thing was idiotic and I wouldn't do it, and that affected things. (My 8th-grade crush asked me out, I was so happy, then on a class camping trip he tried all of these stupid cliched lines and moves and I just kind of looked at him blankly and walked off. That was that. Heh.)

Overall I think it was better that I didn't really "do" that whole thing. I stayed out of some bad scrapes my friends got into, whether direct (sexual situations they weren't ready for) or indirect (getting drunk or doing stupid things to impress boys). Then when I did start with the romantic stuff I was more ready, I think. And as you say the older the guys got, the more they appreciated my non-high-school approach.

So I think that would be an OK trade-off from my perspective as a parent wishing good things for my kid. (Again, no matter what I think, if I'm happy or concerned about the present state of things, I'm not going to advise her to change anything at all, this is just idle musing.)

Your experience does indicate some sort of male-to-female friend zone in high school at least, though. Do you think you got categorized as "fun pal, not dating material"?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 07:34 am
@sozobe,
I think I was considered "the girl who didn't sit around by the phone waiting for some boy to call her".

I lost all patience with girls around Jr. High school.

Typical conversation:

Me: Hey Sally -- let's go hang out at the park.
Sally: I can't. I'm waiting for Bobby to call.
Me: (eyeroll)

I venture out on a solo excursion to the park where I run into Bobby who is hanging out with his friends not even thinking of calling Sally.

Later, when Bobby does call Sally, he mentions that I hung out with them at the park. Sally vows never to speak to me again.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 07:37 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
I have always felt acutely uncomfortable and around men who I know have feelings for me, when I don't, and it is obvious.

That's interesting. Were you just generally uncomfortable, or was there something specific about the situation you were uncomfortable about? Say you're romantically unattracted to him but find him sympathetico enough to be friends; he's romantically attracted to you but will settle for friendship. What is it about being friends that you're uncomfortable about?
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 07:53 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

dlowan wrote:
I have always felt acutely uncomfortable and around men who I know have feelings for me, when I don't, and it is obvious.

That's interesting. Were you just generally uncomfortable, or was there something specific about the situation you were uncomfortable about? Say you're romantically unattracted to him but find him sympathetico enough to be friends; he's romantically attracted to you but will settle for friendship. What is it about being friends that you're uncomfortable about?


I don't have problems about being friends at all...if the fella is ok with it. I am talking about situations where the fella is either sort of pining and hanging about in a desperate sort of way, or where he is continually attempting to make the relationship more after being told very clearly that isn't on the agenda.

What I meant by obvious is they they make their feelings and distress obvious...they can't enjoy a friend relationship. (For example, I have had a couple of fellas who, when I was working very late nights in a coffee shop would just come and hang around and stare at me all night, hoping, I think, to get to give me a ride home...or just hang around the house all day when I lived in share houses, and lots of people would be in and out...it made me feel sad and angry and mean...)

Whereas another fella I was with for a few years, and I broke it off with, just said he wasn't going away, and was happy to just be friends if that was what I wanted...and he was! No pining, just mates.

I guess I was saying that I feel the opposite of some women F'Art spoke of, who he feels enjoy and use the hopeless dedication.

I mean, I have been in the men's situation, and managed to convert the thing to a truly enjoyable and easy friendship. I so hope I didn't pine obviously!!!

sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 08:00 am
@Thomas,
In my own experience, resentment always seems to leach into things so I'm very wary of that. The guy can swear up and down that he gets that you're not interested romantically and that's fine, but they always seem to hold out some hope. And a) it's not fun to keep dashing hopes, while also b) the continuous dashing of hopes always (in my experience) seems to lead to resentment and acting out. Which always seemed patently unfair to me since I was aboveboard from the beginning.
Plus there's the whole "leading him on" thing... Having to check oneself to be absolutely sure you're not giving out "signals". Bah.

I so love gay men.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 08:04 am
@sozobe,
Quote:
I so love gay men.



Indeedy doody!!
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 08:06 am
@dlowan,
Oh god the pining. Yes. Not enjoyable at all, I agree.

I do know the female type Art refers to though and I agree they exist. I don't think it's just generational (that is, they exist in my generational cohort). They like having this stable of on-call fellas to do whatever. Always bothered me.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 08:16 am
Thanks for the perspective, Deb and Sozobe.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 08:45 am
@Thomas,
Surely it's not so different from the male perspective round the friend thing, is it?
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 06:23 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
Surely it's not so different from the male perspective round the friend thing, is it?

I won't even attempt to answer that for all males. As I said, I think the difference between individual perspectives is much greater than that between men collectively and women collectively. There are two women (that I know of---big qualifier with me because I'm tone-deaf for signals of interest) who were romantically interested in me, and whom I was interested in being "just friends" with. It worked out okay. No pining on their side or discomfort on my side I can think of.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 06:51 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
where he is continually attempting to make the relationship more


the hopeful lurkers <gak>

I have always found this horrid. It was annoying and agonizing. In the university years, I sometimes ended up behaving badly trying to get the fellas to just go away and leave me alone already. I recall warning two in particular that if they didn't back off things were going to get ugly. They thought the warning meant I cared about them and would come around. Things got ugly.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 07:01 pm
@dlowan,
Quote:
I am talking about situations where the fella is either sort of pining and hanging about in a desperate sort of way, or where he is continually attempting to make the relationship more after being told very clearly that isn't on the agenda.



Every minute, every hour
I'm gonna shower you
With love and affection
Look out, it's comin' in your direction
And I'm

I'm gonna make you love me
Oh, yes I will
Yes I will
I'm gonna make you love me
Oh, yes I will
Yes I will


===============

I think that some, both male and female, lack certain abilities to discern the intricacies of love/the dating game/relationships. That's not to condemn, it can be a complicated endeavor.

Society at large provides many examples where the man is supposed to woo, to chase, to win a lady's heart. It's not surprising that some think that's what should be done.

This goes both ways of course, women have been known to set their sights on one guy and pursue him relentlessly.

I could never see such a scenario for myself, either me chasing or being chased; the latter was a particular turnoff, so I appreciate that sentiment expressed by ehBeth & Deb, but I guess there's another side to that. A person might feel flattered that there's someone that cares that deeply, if that is indeed the case.

There's also the chance that a person is just way too needy and not confident enough in their abilities in this tough game.

I remember hearing some say, to this effect, "I'm so glad that I've got so and so. He/she isn't perfect but at least now I don't have to date anymore".

I'm more the lightning bolt, knocks your socks off type of guy and lightning bolt it was, both ways. Done deal! Game over!
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Jul, 2010 07:07 pm
@boomerang,
Ugh, the waiting for the call. Couldn't stand that either, and was very annoyed at how many of my formerly interesting friends were suddenly hostage to that silliness. And the jealousy! Ugh.

What happened when you hung out with Bobby, though? From his perspective -- not Sally's -- were you just someone to hang out with while he tried to decide whether to call Sally, who he liked-liked? Or did he like-like you but was too shy or whatever to act on it? (Or did you in fact meet behind the toolshed for some snogging?)

You just seem to be the only female so far saying that the friend zone did limit you, in high school at least, so I'm trying to figure out how that played out.
 

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