Girls Get Friend-Zoned, Too

friend-zone-2Think only guys get friend-zoned?

Well, I’ve been interested in men who saw me as “just a friend,” too. One particularly can’t-take-my-eyes-off-you gorgeous man comes to mind. It’s not that I asked him out and got rejected. He just never asked me out. So we stayed friends when I wanted more. Leaving me in the friend zone.

So even women who don’t ask men out get friend-zoned. Unless every man they are interested in asks them out–which is hard to imagine.

Yeah, being “friended” in a not-so-wanted way happens to women, too.

True, the friend-zone is more in-your-face for guys since they’re expected to make the first move. So it may be more hurtful for them in that way. But we all end up in the same place: outside the arms we want to be in.

Of course, it’s possible that some of the men that women are interested in simply don’t make that first move because they are shy or don’t realize we find them attractive. So that brings up another topic. Girls often don’t feel like they can ask guys out. 

The thought of asking a guy out may never come to mind as a real possibility. Or, a woman may worry that a man will think she’s aggressive, easy, a slut, desperate, he’ll miss out on the chase, he’ll resent her taking the lead, or it’ll just be a turnoff for some other random reason she hasn’t thought of yet.

What’s the point of asking a guy out if will just backfire, she wonders?

So she doesn’t ask, he doesn’t ask, and a lot of us end up feeling like all we can get is friendship, when we would all like something more.

So, a few points here: Men, you are not alone in the friend-zone. And if you would like women to approach you, start letting them know. Women, let’s take empowerment to the next level: personal relationships, which seem to have dragged behind in the move toward equality and partnership.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on January 27, 2014, in feminism, men, psychology, relationships, sex, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.

  1. I often find myself rolling my eyes when guys bring up the “friendzone” thing as though they were the victim of some horrible injustice. I once dated someone that I had been good friends with for several years before we dated. When he asked me out, I thought, what the heck, we already get along and we share similar interests. Should work out, right? Wrong. I couldn’t stop seeing him as “just a friend”. I didn’t ever develop romantic feelings for him. It very quickly got to a point where I couldn’t stand being touched by him. I broke it off immediately, and the friendship we had before never recovered.

    On the flip side, when I met the man I eventually ended up marrying, I went into that relationship knowing that I wanted a romantic partnership from him. I was not interested in having him just as a friend. (If he had told me he thought of me as “just a friend”, I would not have continued that relationship.) We developed a very deep friendship, of course, but our friendship is rooted in emotional and physical intimacy instead of just similar interests, as it was with my first boyfriend. My husband is my best friend in a much different way than my best girl friend is.

    My point is that being friends first doesn’t mean you’ll be compatible romantic partners. What I look for in a friend and what I look for in a romantic relationship are two totally different things, and I think many women are the same. That’s not to say that a man and woman can’t be friends first and then end up having a great romantic relationship down the road, and i’m not saying that women don’t get “friendzoned”. (I have been there, too.) But I do get tired of this idea that being a good friend to someone of the opposite sex entitles you to sex from that person. If you feel that way, you aren’t’ actually a good friend.

  2. I remember being put in the friend zone many more times than I would have liked when I was younger (before I was married).

    One particular instance, the guy friend felt like he was into me more than I was into him. However, he did seem shy–so I asked him out. I figured I would give it a try, we were friends after all. Boom, got put right into the friend zone. I apparently read him all wrong. It was really awkward for a little while, but we both got over it.

  3. Agreed: just ask them out, girls, it feels great!

  4. It does seem as if the meaning of the phrase “friend zone” has evolved over the last couple of decades. I think in ye olde days, it was more of what kyotoredbird described–sometimes you think of someone as “I could never have romantic feelings for that person” as opposed to “We’re friends, but this could develop into something,” and later on it became this Nice Guys TM thing about feeling entitled to someone else’s romantic feelings.

    Ultimately, it really comes down to sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. You could even have perfect chemistry with someone, and the timing could be wrong.

    • “You could even have perfect chemistry with someone, and the timing could be wrong.”

      Yes, that happened to me too. I had just gotten out of a relationship and was emotionally drained when I met a guy who I was attracted to and just knew he would be perfect for me. But I just didn’t have any energy to put into the relationship. Months later when I was emotionally ready he was in a relationship with someone else.

      Sometimes you find someone really attractive, but your personalities don’t fit well together.

      Or your respective sex-dating types don’t fit well together. Some women enjoy random hookups, but I don’t, and I am even turned off by the Casanova type. I dated one guy — who I found really attractive, and we meshed really well personality-wise — briefly before I realized he was that type. After I realized this about him, I completely lost interest and could only be friends.

  5. When I was single, I would have really liked it if more women had taken the initiative and asked me out as I was somewhat shy, timid, and afraid to make ‘the first move’. Now that I’m married it would just be an ego boost…Oh well.

    Momentarily, my wife and I live apart as my wife and kids live outside the country. I go back a forth a lot in order to spend time with them, and they all come to the States when school’s out to spend their summers with me. So we see each other a lot, but I still have a lot of ‘alone’ time as a result. This begs the issue that if I want female companionship, I must alway put them in the ‘friend zone’.

    I’ve found away to do this without risking my marriage. I tend to just hang out with lesbians. They know my situation, and, well they don’t have any romantic intentions towards me so it works just fine…automatically we’re both in the ‘friend zone’.

  6. I’ve always been very direct with men I’m interested in thusly, and if they don’t reciprocate, they’ve always been very nice about it. I don’t mind being friend-zoned so much as I mind what happens when they get too invested in the idea that I need a sex partner and start making suggestions and telling me I’m being too picky. I see telling women they’re being too picky as a form of rape enabling, because they tend to be telling one’s male acquaintances the same thing about you. Also it obviously implies that you’re not good enough for your male friendzoner, which is frankly offensive.

    I’m a lot older than much of your audience here, Georgia, and I can say frankly that a good friend is worth gold…friends last, lovers often don’t. But friends who get invested in trying to push one into bed with random stray persons don’t last either, and it’s equally offensive to do this to men. Sexual choices are a profoundly personal matter and it’s never appropriate to pressure people into unwanted ones.

  7. Personally I’m very direct and usually I don’t hesitate to ask a girl out, except for the case the girl is my close friend. few years ago, I asked my female best friend out with me and she said let’s be just friends. I felt it was the end of the world because the fine friendship between her and me didn’t recover. Since then I’ve been afraid of bumping into her at school. What I often think is that if I hadn’t asked her out then, she might have asked me out, in the distant future… But I didn’t stop being direct about this and it luckily worked out this time. She was younger than me and since it was illegal to date with girls of that age, I just said I loved you. She answered no she just thought of me as her older brother. Then I kept convincing myself by saying she’s just a host sister. But when I almost got to be able to think of her as a host sister, she asked me if I still loved her beyond brother-sister-ship. I cussed myself for the bad timing of which I first told her my love. Timing…timing…timing… Sometimes it’s better to keep friendship (in my case, me and a host sister) as it is than make the first move in a bad timing.

  8. Elellta Tesfaye

    I agree that men are usually the ones getting friend zoned, because they are the ones usually making the first move and confessing their feelings. But I feel like women are often in the same position too. The thing is women are usually scared of asking a guy out because of the whole “Men are the chasers” theory. So they end up not doing anything about it so they remain in the friend zone, except it might work out in their favor if they actually tried. To be honest most of the guys friends i have talked to about the issue of a girl asking a guy out told me similar things mentioned in the blog. They all said “its too forward, its not a girl’s job to do or that its a turn off. And some of my girl friends refuse to ask a guy out because they don’t want to seem too easy and for the most part its because they want to make the guy “work for it”. either way it could be a lose lose but at least asking will definitely broaden the chances.

  9. Ironically, it is the people who inhabit one’s friend zone that probably would form the basis of a great relationship since that key ingredient-friendship is already there.

    • Yeah, one of my students wrote about this when she talked about some men friends expecting more. She said this:

      I decided to be more upfront about being “just friends.” But I found it awkward to say that because it felt like I was always assuming guys were into me. I also prefer being friends before dating, so I’d be eliminating future chances with that declaration.

      http://broadblogs.com/2013/09/30/friendly-slutty/

  10. No matter who approaches who someone is bound to be friend zoned at some point in their life. I don’t think nowadays that women who ask guys out are viewed as easy or desperate. Women and men both ask to go out more casually now. I don’t think that women end up in the friend zone as much as men do. I think this because of my own personal experiences. I’ve never necessarily been put into the friend zone, but I have felt as though I was more interested than they were. I on the other hand have put a guy in the friend zone more than a couple times. Sometimes it takes a guy a little longer to get the hint, but maybe thats a matter of pride.

    • I’m just curious here. So every guy that you have been interested in has asked you out? Or accepted an offer from you when you have asked him out? Lucky girl!

      Since I’m not sure whether I was unclear or whether you have been unusually lucky I edited the post for clarity. So thanks for your comment.

  11. I could not agree more. The rejection to males is probably harsher because they make the first moves more often, but it doesn’t mean us women don’t suffer rejection as well. I have been friend-zoned plenty of times with guys I was interested in. I think the worst would be when you are interested in a guy and he friend-zones you because he is interested in your best friend! That happened to me a lot in high school. As far as women have come over the years, we shouldn’t be afraid of making the first move. If a guy is too intimidated by this, then why do we want to pursue these kind of guys?
    I am the kind of girl who gets along better with the guys, than a lot of girls. Because of this I am guilty of friend-zoning a number of guys over the years. It is awkward at first, and you either get through it, or sadly you can no longer be friends.
    I am currently in a long term relationship at the moment, of 5 years, and I entered it with the intention that we would just be friends. Even though I was attracted to him, I had just gotten out of a relationship that made me not want a significant other. He wasn’t thrilled about being immediately friend-zoned but was not going down without a fight. About a year into me “friend-zoning” him, he somehow broke through the friend barricade and we gave dating a try. I haven’t regretted it once since then. I think being friends first definitely helps, but finding that in balance can be difficult.

  12. I definitely agree that girls get friend-zoned too. I have been friend zoned before, but one situation came across where I should have said something and made the first move. I have a best friend that I met in middle school and I had the hugest crush on him, but never told him because I thought it would ruin the strong friendship we had. Then of course you have your middle school friends that run around and spread your feelings which eventually get around to the guy. After he found out how I really felt, I was terrified. I then realized he had felt the same way the whole time too! He was just too nervous to say anything, as was I. We ended up dating and we are actually still together now and happier than ever. I believe that I should have stepped forward and made the first move from the start so we didn’t have such a secret crush on each other for so long. So ladies, yes we get friend zoned too, but who cares?! Take that chance because maybe you can get something wonderful out of it.

  13. In my opinion, the way woman and men take rejection has a lot to do with their choice of making first moves. Typically a woman would be most likely to dwell on it, while a man would easily overcome it and move on to the next girl he’s interested in. This isn’t always true of course, but the idea that a guy should make the first move affects our mentality.
    When I was a kid, my way of making “the first move” would be using my friends as resources and doing it in a secret way; kind of like the game telephone. I could never be direct with my feelings because of the fear of rejection. But overtime I’ve learned not to care who approaches who, because if you end up marrying that person and having a family, that won’t even matter.

  14. Well, i guess i always put my best-male-friends in the friend-zone. I don’t know why but i just feel like it will never work out between us. We know so much about each other, we kinda share everything together but there’s still lack of something called ‘in-love’ feeling. So, why just keep being friends??!! One of my best male friend who had fallen in love with me since we was in high school until couple years ago before he got married. Faithfuk guy huh! I cant remember how many times i said NO to him whenever he asked me out with only one reason that i just didnt want to lose my best friend! I guess he might be hurt a lot but turns out we’re still best friends!!! I may be too selfish someways to have a thought that a boy-girl-relationship can start with friends, but best friends.

  15. I’m have trouble helping a female friend get out of her friend zone, this being a handsome Indian guy that hasn’t had much female relationship experience. I’m just not sure what to say at this point to her, I know he just needs to ask her out on a date, even a friend date would start something. I hope I can help for my friend soon.

  16. Every time someone brings up the term “friend zone” I definitely roll my eyes. It’s such a made-up term to let people pity the rejected. Women and men can say no to someone who they don’t want to be pursued by and that’s the real purpose of rejecting an invitation for a date. It’s not because we want to put you down and label you as a friend forever, but it’s because we don’t see you as something more than a friend. If they can’t see the person as more than just a friend then it wouldn’t work out if they were in a relationship.

    I do agree that women shouldn’t be shy on asking out the men and it shouldn’t be weird to do so! Sometimes the man we go after are a bit hesitant and that’s okay. Women can easily step up and ask the person they’re interested to go on a date!

  17. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind being in the friend zone. A part of me understands that even if I’m going to be “friend-zoned” I tell myself, “hey, at least you guys are better off as long-term friends than short-time lovers” I personally have not been rejected by a guy. Why? Because I’ve never had the guts to propose in order to even get rejected. So in my world, I consider rejection as when I see him with another girl, and I give up almost immediately. I feel like it’s fate that I witness them together so I wouldn’t have gone through real rejection if I asked him out. This was my mindset before I entered college. Now, I view it differently and have realized that in order to dodge the friend zone, I need to make initiative. In grade school, boys AND girls are afraid of rejection because they have crushes in their schools. If they get rejected, they have to see them everyday at school and everyone will create rumors about who got rejected and who is the “heart-breaker”. In college, and in adult life, it is more different because they have a large population. So if you get rejected, it’s okay, because there are plenty of fish in the sea. Also, you won’t have to see the person who rejected you for the whole year.

    I respect guys who are willing to be rejected and taking risks. I think us girl should do those risks more often. Guys may have a little more experience on getting rejected, so they might not take it as heavily as if girls were to ask out a guy for the first time. Also, doing a lot of practice makes perfect. Guys easily pick themselves up and boost their confidence by flirting with a lot of girls, or so I’ve heard from a majority of my male friends. Girls should be able to sacrifice their pride once in a while, depends on how much they like the guy.

  18. I have always thought that woman get friend zoned just as much as men. I even think that EVERYONE has been friend zoned at least once in their life. Me, being someone who waits for the guy to make the first move, told one of my really good friends that I did develop more than just friend feelings for him. I don’t know what got into me for doing that, but I am glad I did because even though he didn’t like me “like that” he told me straight up . After that, I didn’t think it was so bad you know getting shot down. Really, the worst thing someone can say to you is I don’t have feelings for you like that. When I moved on, I asked my now fiance out on a date. I paid and everything, it was a legit date and now we are getting married.

    So I agree woman should definitely step up and ask for what they want. You like someone , tell them. If we don’t, you will never know ! :)

    • Even women who don’t ask anyone out get friend-zoned. Unless every man she is interested in ask’s her out–which is hard to imagine. So long as she remains a friend to a man she wants more with, she is in that zone.

  19. I really like this topic, because this happened to me so I know what its like. For me, I hate being in the friend zone. Back in high school, I met this nice girl. We hang out almost every weekend. Then when I left to college, we still hangout here and they’re but not the same as was back in high school. I really liked her, but I didn’t want to ask her out because I know that if I did then there no turning back. That friend zone that we had is going to be gone or that friend zone will heighten into a relationship. So at the end, I step up my “game” courage, and ask her out. I just wish, sometime women should just know and ask the guys out for a change.

    • Mike: I’ve hit on men rather directly and been turned down a number of times. But the men in question were uniformly kind and courteous about saying no.

      It’s hard, being rejected, but the courtesy I’ve experienced when I’ve been rejected lingers and resonates with me. They could have been mean about my opening myself up thusly.

      But they chose to be kind. No man has ever behaved in an ugly manner towards me simply because I sexually solicited him.

  20. I feel if you like some one , take a move. Whoever you are a girl or a boy , just take a step ahead as if we keep hoping for opposite person to approach and if he/she doesnt than we regret. Act instead of regretting later.

  21. I have been put in the friend-zone one too many times that I have learned that it doesn’t help just sitting in the background waiting for a man to ask me out. It hurts too bad watching the man of your dreams trying to go after other women when you could be the happy girl. I completely understand that rejection is a complete fear for many people and that’s why they choose not to ask anyone or they fear losing that person from their life. I have also had it happen where I didn’t say anything and finally when it does come out that I have or have had a crush on them that they used to have one on me but they said that they didn’t feel that the feelings were reciprocated.
    I definitely loved this topic because it empowers both men and women to take the plunge and stop sitting in the side lines waiting for something to happen. Should we really look down on a woman who finds happiness with a man just because the man didn’t ask her out first?

  22. Maria Milam-Fernandez

    Recently I a friend of mine came across a situation similar to this. She had been friends with a man for a few years and recently started to think about him in a different way. She has dropped several hints, but he has not caught on to the fact that she is attracted to him. When asked about asking him out instead of waiting for him to catch on, and let’s face it men do not always see what is right in front of their faces, she replied that she was scared that by asking him out she might lose a very good friend if he does not feel the same way. Situations like this can be tricky. Women may feel like they want more from a friend, but aren’t able to test the waters out of fear of loosing that friendship. I saw, we go for what we want, and if it doesn’t work out, well then it wasn’t meant to be. It sounds cliché but in these situations a cliché might just work. I was always told that a friend makes the best partner in life, and I can definitely contest to that. My husband is my best friend and we have a pretty darn good relationship.

  23. I completely agree with this article, I believe that girls get friend zoned almost as much as guys. I think a lot of guys friend zone girls because they are too afraid to deal with their feelings for a girl or they can’t tell that a girl may be into them. I do as well believe that girls are afraid too ask guys out which all leads to them being friend zoned. In my personal experience I’ve never really asked a guy out, maybe it was because of nerves. But I also feel like it could be because I don’t see it as the normal thing too do. I strive too break away from this because only good things can come from it.

  24. I have often seen movies or TV shows where it is represented that men and women who are best friends can really conquer a great relationship. Our societies’ norms have engraved within us with scenarios that two friends can be great romantic partners, just because they know each other and know each other’s like and dislikes. However, I think differently. I feel like it is not necessary that two friends can necessarily pull off the romantic relationship. It is true that women also get friend-zones. Sometimes we think we can pull off a relationship with our friend; however it might not be the case. Two friends might know each other to the core but a romantic and intimate relationship could get demanding and uncomfortable between friends. Also, women still feel shy to ask guys out because they think that it is the rule that a guy asks a girl out first. These are just baseless norms that we have continued to experience since historic times. I feel like this might be one of the reasons that girls stay friend-zoned as they do not ask their guys out and the guys are shy as well to take their friendship further, leaving both hopeless.

  25. The Friend Zone is a topic that really gets me heated. It’s this idea that was created by so-called “Nice Guys” that shame and demonize women for not wanting to date them. Ironically, these “Nice Guys” often attach offensive language (bitch, slut, etc.) to the women who friend-zoned them. This idea of the friend zone completely ignores actual reasons why a woman does not want to date someone else for example lack of attraction or connection and blames it on the notion that “women only want to date the bad boy.”

    Another problem with the friend zone is that it adds to the idea that women are really only worth the time if they are going to put out. Women are living, breathing creatures looking to make friendships, not just another person to go home with. Is it really that unbearable to be friends with a woman who is not going to eventually date or mate you?

    I completely agree with the author that women should take more initiative in asking more men out. By doing this, women can break gender standards and gender roles and pave the way for a more equal system when it comes to relationships and sex.

  26. I completely agree. I two have been “Befriended” and wasn’t able to get out of that stage. It truly does suck for either gender. I do believe that unfortunately it’s more difficult for women than it is for men. My reasoning is with my own experience. I had a great relationship with this guy, it felt like we were ideal for one another but for some reason I never got him to move our relationship further and so I decided to take the lead. I too was a little apprehensive because of the whole “chase” thing but I figured I couldn’t be waiting around forever. We had in fact been friends for at least four years.

    He did in fact reject me using the oldest saying in the book “I’m just not ready for a real relationship.” Ouch!! That hurts. Especially as a female, this is quite a painful experience but as a woman and putting myself out there and have been rejected really puts things in question. All this time I was around for this individual truly committed and putting his needs before my own was in vain. The experience was truly devastating.

  27. I completely agree with this blog. I once was in the friendzone with my best friend after high school, we spent every living day together and I was sure that one day we would hit it off. Eventually drunken stuper nights brought out his feelings for me or which I thought he did and he told me he loved me, only to tell me the next day he didn’t mean it. We went on being friends and although I was very hurt, I eventually accepted that we would only stay friends. It wasn’t until I got a boyfriend where his true feelings came out. He had loved me all along but was too embarrassed about how it came out. Unfortunately I felt it was too late and had to move on, although there are times I can’t help but wonder what things would have been like. I think what happens in a lot of friendships is that people are so used to that type of relationship that it would seem awkward to take that first step outside of what is considered normal to you. A lot of people are worried about losing a best friend and often find it hard to break that barrier, “I don’t want to ruin our friendship, but I like him/her so much’, it’s much different in circumstances where you meet someone for the first time and go on a date here and there because you don’t develop a special bond like you do with a friend whom you’ve probably known for years. If things don’t work out, it’s much easier to get over and you don’t feel like you’ve lost anything.

    Also, I would like to note that in my situation my friend would always talk about what his perfect girl would be like, none of the traits mentioned were anything like me. It made me feel bad about myself at times. Which also give me the impression that I was forever friend zoned. I think girls find it harder to build the confidence to ask a guy out because rejection is typically hard on us, and in my opinion we usually connect that rejection with our looks over personality. It’s obvious that both men and women experience being friend zoned but every reason is different from the next.

  28. this was a really Nice post.I have experienced this type of situation too. So one of my close friend(a girl) and I would always hangout and stuff until she start showing me signs that she likes me and sometimes she would ask me questions like would I ever go out with someone thats a close friend. After that day I did not really hang out with her because to me it just feels weird the way she was flirting with me because we were best friends. Also I guess it felt weird because I never thought that a close friend of mine would want to be “more than just friends”.

  29. When I’m friends with a guy, it’s hard for me to not end up feeling attracted to him, not because of what he looks like, but because of what his personality is like. I have been in your shoes too. I like a guy but he doesn’t reciprocate feelings for me, which is fine. I feel like girls friend-zone guys in a more blunt way than guys would to girls.

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