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The friend zone

The friend zone

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On this episode of “male toxicity” we tackle the friend zone. The friend zone is a situation in which a friendship exists between two people, one of whom has an unreciprocated romantic or sexual interest in the other. Basically, in layman terms you like someone and they don’t like you back and would prefer to remain as friends.

The first time I heard about the friend zone was in secondary school and at the time it seemed like a big joke. The guys particularly would lament about some female interest or the other rejecting them and offering friendship instead. I will admit, I have seen females complain about the friend zone, but the overall majority was males; hence they will be the focus.

This might seem harmless and insignificant, but it is not. Truthfully, I never gave the topic much thought until later. Earlier this year, a female I know had a terrible experience with her ex-male friend. He admitted to having deep feelings for her, despite knowing she was in a committed relationship. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with developing feelings for someone unavailable; you can’t control your heart. However, you can control your actions.

When she became aware of his feelings, she gently let him down and explained she did not feel the same way. Not to mention she already had a boyfriend and liked him a lot. However, her male “friend” did not take kindly to this. Instead of accepting her decision, he lashed out at her with vitriol.

He cursed her out by calling her every female slur he could think of, and when he was finished, he ceased all communication with her. If you think this situation is uncommon, you are very wrong. Every female at some point in her life will be at the receiving end of hateful attacks resulting from rejecting a male.

Remember those men on the block that catcall women; what happens when the women don’t respond? They are assaulted with insults and swearing. Everywhere you look, women are being attacked for using the word no.

This type of behaviour isn’t only expressed in toughened men on the block; I’ve seen it in nerdy boys, handsome men and even CEOs. The behaviour develops in males at a young age and goes unchecked their entire lives.

You see, we train men to see women as property to service their needs. Whenever a woman says “no”, the response is not taken at face value; it is treated as an invitation for negotiation. Men cannot fathom the idea that just because they like someone, the person does not have to like them back. They assume because they aren’t rapists and murderers, they are automatically “good guys” and should be rewarded for not behaving like vermin.

The men reading this column would think my words are nonsense, because who wants to admit that they’re a jerk? The women reading this already know exactly what I’m talking about, because we’ve all been there before. We’ve seen how ugly men can get when they are rejected.

There is no sage advice in this column, because the problem is simply too large to be tackled with 600 words. Women already know the one million and one things we do to survive the hatred and violence of men in the world. I just want you to know that it is your RIGHT to reject a man when you don’t want him. There is no need to feel guilty if the feeling isn’t there. If a man doesn’t want to accept your decision, then kindly show him the door and hope he trips on his way out.

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