MYTH BUSTED: No Such Thing as the Friend Zone

by Brian

the friend zoneThe electronic music pumps at a high level from the speakers in the room. You and your date stand by the bar having a conversation about stories of past relationships. It’s the second date you’ve been on with Sarah and she seems to be into you. Your dating life hasn’t been the best up to this point. Your friends advice before you left the house was to “find a way to get this girl back to your house man! You’ve gotta sleep with her tonight, it’s the second date.”

Sarah opens up and tells you about her past and you sit there listening with flawed intention. Your ears are open but your mind wanders to an efficient route to get this girl back to your house. You nod your head and smile in agreement as you plot the rest of your date.

From strong to broken, the connection seems to fade throughout your date. Your intentions shine through with a few more drinks as Sarah finally opens her mouth to speak.

“Look, I’m not going to sleep with you tonight.”

Fail?

These past few months there’s been a shift in the way that people see dating. In today’s society it seems to be the norm to have one night stands, short term connections and relationships without a hint of longevity. In my personal opinion I’ve come to have a strong stance against one night stands and short term physical connections.

I’m going to start by saying I’m a culprit to my own advice. For a long time my low self esteem was in consistent search for validation. My desire for the chase kept me going on first dates with flawed intention. This did two things for me: destroyed any potential chance for a long term connection and kept me looking for the next best thing. Talk about the ultimate form of Taking Value.

This past year Cam’s opened my eyes alot. A few months back I met a girl named Marcela and she told me about how escalating physically ruins alot of relationships. Marcela believed that the reason alot of relationships fail is because people go too physical too fast without developing a friendship first. Cam completely agrees with Marcela, and takes her stance a bit further.

“If you become lovers before friends, than the “lover” role will always take hold over the “friend” role.”

The Friend Zone

Let’s talk about an extreme example. A couple months back a friend told me about a relationship issue that he was having.

“My girlfriend’s going through a rough time man. Her mom was just diagnosed with Cancer and she’s telling me how she doesn’t really want a boyfriend right now. It’s rough, I really like her and I feel like I’ve done nothing wrong.”

My friend and I talked about the start of the relationship until we found the root of the issue. My friend met his girlfriend 3 weeks before he started dating her. They had been dating for 5 months now and they had a fairly intimate relationship. They slept together on their 3rd date, the second week into the relationship.

Sex is the highest form of physical value that you can give to one another. The only thing after giving the highest form of physical value (sex) is having more sex. Relationships based on sex are bound to fail.

The truth of the matter was this: my friend didn’t develop a friendship with his girlfriend before he started dating her. His girlfriend was going through a rough time and in that time she just needed her friends. My friend had not made his girlfriend his friend before they dated: meaning that his role in his girlfriend’s life was only a “lover”. The girl was going through an extremely emotional time with her mother and she didn’t have time for a lover anymore.

She needed a friend.

Long Lasting RelationshipI used to think that physical intimacy was an essential step to the start of the dating process. I’ve come to take my stance against it. In fact, I believe that the key to a long – lasting, successful relationship is to develop a real friendship first. You never really know someone until you’ve spent enough time with them to see all sides of their character. They may present themselves in an intriguing fashion on the first date, but how do they cope with stress? How do they react in times of pressure, negativity, adversity?

Understanding all sides of someone’s character is essential for a long – lasting relationship to happen. Knowing all sides of someone’s character before developing an intimate relationship with them is the best way to give yourself value: the worst thing is seeing someone’s demons (jealousy, envy, neediness) when it’s too late (you’re already dating them!)

I’m not saying that it’s impossible to develop a long lasting relationship by being physically intimate right away. I believe that the most efficient way to developing long lasting relationships is to develop a real connection first. In the words of Cam Adair:

“Eventually the emotional connection will be strong enough where physical intimacy is simply the next step.”

About Brian
Brian is a firm believer in living in the present. Brian lives his life by the philosophy “Act for the future, not because of the past.” He is a passionate writer, a sober socialite and aspires to be a positive influence to everyone he interacts with. Read more about Brian here.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Anwar January 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Isn’t there a thin line though?

I wholeheartedly agree with the context of the article. But, they’re are many guys out there right now that have been dipped in the proverbial friend zone. Why is that?

Because the girl maybe knows that they have hidden intentions or what?

Cam January 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Great post homie. Nailed all the points.

Brian Mark January 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm

The thin line is the mindset of the man going into the relationship. The friend zone is not a thing but a state of mind. The man who believes in the friend zone lands himself in one; acting in a way to validate his belief that it exists.

Ryan January 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Great article. My two cents is that disproportionate escalation in general is what ruins relationships. If you go too far too quickly as a friend or a lover you become one of them; you can go as quickly as you want on either side as long as you’re going just as quickly on the other.

The idea of the friend zone being an emotional precursor to a relationship is a really cool take on it, and it’s a perceptual framework I haven’t thought of before. Great job dude.

Cam January 16, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Thanks for stopping by and commenting Anwar and Ryan. I agree with you Ryan that the miscalibration between the two is the major cause. 🙂

Simon January 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Dude. You nailed it. My thinking has been totally altered in the past while. I used to say that I would, “Never be friends with a girl first.” What a huge mistake. The difficult part becomes delaying the physical component. Having the integrity to do so, though, is part of what being a man means.

Brian Mark January 16, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Ryan you nailed it bro. The friendship escalation and romantic escalation should be equally calibrated. Thanks for coming by and commenting bro, much love.

Thanks Simon! We’ve talked alot about the idea of having girls as friends before pursuing any dating avenue. Delaying the physical component and resisting the lust IS TOUGH, but you’re right. Integrity.

Bor January 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I have to say I disagree with the general idea of this article, even though I agree with some points in it.

The “friends zone” is a real thing, but I guess in essence it has nothing to do with being friends, when you officially fall into the “friends zone”, you’re not going to be friends with this girl, you’re going to be acquaintances at best.
I’ll stipulate to the fact that physical escalation can ruin what could otherwise develop into a long and fulfilling relationship. However, that would simply be physical escalation poorly implemented. Since a lack of, and fear of, physical escalation can do equally as much harm.

Physical progress, in my opinion, is critical to romance because it’s what distinguishes a romantic relationship from a platonic one. Being intimate early on does not stop you from developing a deeper emotional connection. The only thing that can stop you from doing that is the belief that being intimate is the only thing required for a relationship (i.e. a philosophy of “we slept together, now I’ve GOT her”).

I still hold the idea that you should move up the physical ladder as fast as possible, “as possible” meaning without making the girl feel uncomfortable, evoking the “I won’t sleep with you tonight” response. Becoming lovers and becoming friends are not mutually exclusive processes, and can be done at the same time.

Also, I don’t like this notion that everyone that has a one night stand has some sort of emotional vacuum they are trying to fill with short term rewards. Wanting sex that is free of emotional connection is not a psychological disorder.

Dan January 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I never really thought of it this way, almost a year and a half after getting back into a relationship with a past girlfriend I realize the thing I missed the most while being apart was one of my best friends. Great post. Thanks for the eye opener.

Brian January 16, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Bor I have to agree with you when you say that physical progress is critical to romance.

I have to disagree with you when you say it has to happen as soon as possible. I think this notion came from concepts of “Pick Up” where men of low – self esteem designed tricks and tactics to mask their self esteem and get the outcome of sex before the woman had a chance to see the man inside.

I think that developing a connection alongside with attraction is the best way to progress both physically and emotionally in a relationship. I think that by rushing the physical you have a higher chance of ruining the emotional connection. I think that wanting sex free of emotional connection is alright, for some people. I personally believe that the short term satisfaction you receive in the climax isn’t worth the potential drama or negative emotion attached to a one night stand. There are some one night stands that come with mutual exclusion however OFTEN TIMES they are one sided one night stands which leaves one person with a negative emotion. Taking value is never the right move.

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong in the case of “short term sex” or “develop the connection.” I think there’s a way that works more efficiently than the other when it comes to developing longlasting relationships. Looking to optimize your dating life and find someone worth spending time with? I think the best option is to develop a friendship before potentially ruining it with physical intimacy.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting Bor! I hope you comment again I’d love to have a discussion 🙂

Dan – Thanks for commenting! Anytime man.

Mikey B January 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I dig! Very good Article Brian!

George P.H. January 17, 2012 at 1:36 am

I agree with Brian – I just think this is an advanced post with a misleading(-ish) title.

Having sex too quickly lowers your chances of truly connecting with a girl. We get used to chasing lays as PUA’s, but sometimes it’s best to slow things down.

At the end of the day, sex should never be your ultimate goal. (If it IS your ultimate goal, find girls who have more to offer you!)

Focus on enjoying each other and sex will come naturally – just like the quote says. It’s that simple.

(Still, don’t put it off for no good reason if there’s mutual attraction and trust. It’s more about trust and connection than a right time period, no matter what most girls seem to think)

Lauren January 17, 2012 at 1:40 am

Great article Brian 🙂

I love to hear this kind of stuff from a guys point of view. Spending a lot of time trying to just be “one of the guys” (avoiding catty girl drama), growing up in a very crude redneck community, shortly lived relationships, and failing to receive the form of friendship I desired out of “friends” with benefits situations, I have built a flawed view on what men want from me. I have built a wall that makes me feel that men only want me for my body, and aren’t interested in anything else I have to offer. So it is quite comforting to know that there are men out there that are willing to build a friendship, build trust and get to know a girl before needing that physical connection.

I do however need to disagree with the non-existence of the “friend zone”. There are some men that I meet and become friends with that will never be someone I could consider being in a romantic relationship with. It is easy to be friends with someone, but relationship material is a whole new level… this comes down to certain interests, direction in life, communication styles, etc. If those things aren’t in alignment with me, then there is no chance at a successful relationship.

I think the best way for a guy to avoid the “Friend Zone” would be to communicate his interest in a girl before getting his expectations really high on the outcome of their interactions. If you meet a girl, get to know her, WITHOUT EXPECTATIONS (Aren’t all of life’s greatest disappointments due to unmet expectations?).

Lauren <3

George P.H. January 17, 2012 at 1:45 am

Wow, this post and the comments section are both full of jewels. Lauren is 100% right – to avoid the Friend Zone, communicate your interest quickly. You might get rejected, but you won’t end up in the dreaded zone.

Thanks again for the thoughtful article Brian, good shit

Brian January 17, 2012 at 3:07 am

Interesting, and an extremely valuable perspective Lauren. I think there’s alot of good comments in here that point in the direction of the “friend zone” if intentions aren’t made clear sometime in the development of the connection.

“I think the best way for a guy to avoid the friend zone would be to communicate his interest in a girl before getting his expectations really high on the outcome of the interactions”. Love it. Very possible to communicate interest without exchanging the highest form of physical value.

George I think you’re right too. The man who doesn’t make the move at all ends up in the “friend zone” but the man who makes the move too quick looses the connection.

Krista January 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Hey Brian,

I love this article, especially coming from a guy’s perspective. Girls want to get physical when they feel validated emotionally. In order for that to occur, trust and friendship must be built. I’ve made a promise to myself 9 months ago and holding to find validation in myself through abstaining from physical relationships. It has been such a cool ride, but that is an article in itself. Thank you for your insight.

Brian Mark January 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm

“Girls want to get physical when they feel validated emotionally.” Money. I love it. I bet it’s been an interesting ride for sure. I’d love to hear your input on the journey 🙂

krista January 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Well you’ll have to tune into devotedshift to get the full scoop. I will write the article soon!

Brian Mark January 20, 2012 at 12:35 am

I’ll check it out and comment when you do 🙂

Villain February 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm

There is no “friend-zone” crap.
That’s just a buzzword people use to cope with rejection or letting people down ‘nicely’.
The alpha guys will never see any of this crap.
For the minority here that ‘don’t go for alpha guys’, save it. Who are you trying to kid?

Cam February 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Thanks for commenting Villain. 🙂

Lauren February 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Villain,

I am very intrigued as to what you would define as an “Alpha Guy”? And what is it that makes this “Alpha Guy” so attractive that he has never seen the light of rejection?

Lauren.

Brian Mark February 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

When you’re searching for only external short term connections with the opposite sex, the “alpha” guy (or – the one that hides his emotions) doesn’t associate with any girl that won’t see him as a potential lover. There’s no “friend zone” with this guy because he doesn’t know how to communicate emotionally without communicating physically.

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