In the last few years the Internet has been filled with frustrated people (mostly men), because they were “friendzoned” by the person they like (mostly women), even though they’re “just so nice”! So why is linking the concepts of friend zoning and being nice so harmful?

Well, for starters, what is “friendzoning”? On the Internet and in social circles everywhere, anger is expressed about a hopeful romantic or sexual partner who has turned them down because that they would rather be friends instead. Such people are angry because not only were they turned down, but also because the hopeful partner in question said they would rather be friends even though they are “so nice”. Now, it is not unreasonable for someone to be attracted to their friend – whether it is romantically or sexually. It is, however, unacceptable to be angry at the them for wanting to stay friends instead.

First of all, being nice does not entitle you to being with involved with a person. They do not have to be romantically or sexually involved with everyone that is nice to them. Also, if you are being nice to someone only to get sex in return, then you’re not really all that nice, are you? And even if two people are genuinely nice to each other, respecting someone’s decision to move forward or not is still important. Stating that the nice ones are always “friendzoned” and that not everyone really wants someone nice not only encourages a person to be disrespectful in their approach, but also makes hopeful partners doubt their right to say no when approached by someone who is being nice to them.

I repeat; we don’t have to have sex with everyone who is nice to us.

This brings me to my second point; we are all allowed to exercise our right to say no. We will not like every person who approaches us, and that’s OK. This does not make them evil, and it does not give them the right to be mad. If you say no, they are allowed to be disappointed, but blaming and getting angry for “friendzoning” you is not the way to handle things.

Finally, I would like to address the whole “how to get out of the friendzone” issue. No one gets to decide this. If someone who has decided they would rather stay friends ever changes their mind, they will make it known. Insinuating, for example, that alcohol is the best way out of this so-called zone is just plain wrong. Impairing judgment in order to raise interest is a horrible thing to do. Similarly, claiming that “you just have to be less nice” in order to raise interest is just as bad an idea. An individual’s choice just needs to be respected.

So, if someone ever tells you that they would rather be friends, just be friends! And if you feel like you can’t, then explain your feelings and leave it at that. Don’t get angry and place blame for not “recognizing a good thing”. On the other side, if someone asks you to be more than friends, know that you have the right to say no, EVEN if they are nice.

Written by: Amélie McFadyen

Executive Director of HPV Awareness