Nice Guy, Nice Try….The Friend Zone

Nice Guy, Nice Try, the Friend Zone

“You’re a good friend,” the phrase that puts such a fake smile on my face. Friendship is definitely an important component in many people’s lives as it relates to their social relationships. We often hear folks talk about the “friend zone” hence, I write this piece on such concept from my own perspective as a heterosexual, Black Male, in his early 20’s on the Friend Zone.

First, let’s define the Friend Zone (F-Zone). The Friend Zone is an invisible space, occupied by a person who attempted to enter a romantic relationship with a friend but failed to do so. As a result, this individual is put into the realm of just being the person’s friend with no chance of any future romance with that person. These so-called romantic attempts are usually prompted during a conversation, when one of the individuals expresses interest on the other and the response is something like the following: “you’re like a brother to me,” or “I only see you as a friend.” This tells the other person, subtly or not so subtly, that they just want to be friends, and as a result that person is put in the Friend Zone.

The Friend Zone has many different interpretations and these interpretations certainly differ between men and women. Men play different roles, such as women do. In the social space of America today, some see men as carriers of the “alpha male” gene when socializing. For example, it is believed that men need to be the aggressors or initiators of socializing with potential mates. In this context those who do not conform to this model will be left behind to perish. This fate may also apply to the women who take initiative to go after a man— since some men may feel uncomfortable with the females’ “aggressive” behavior. A nice guy is at a clear disadvantage when competing for the chance for romance against an “alpha male.” I argue that we (the nice guys) feel that women use the Friend Zone as an excuse to back out of talking to the nice guy because we aren’t the alpha male (just kidding… but really). I feel that in many situations I’ve been “F-Zoned” because I’ve been the nice guy. The nice guy is the person who is there for you when you need it, the person you have fun with and the guy who actually listens to what you have to say. I know this may sound like complaints, but I feel that my experience as a nice guy holds more facts than fiction.I think it stems down to women not necessarily being attracted to the nice guy because he doesn’t fit the mold of the men we often see on television or in commercials. In other words, we don’t fit the stereotypical man who has the big upper body, which is aggressive and/or confident when pursuing a potential mate; and presents himself as a “macho” in many situations. Yet, women are socialized into accepting the “alpha” male figure as the ideal/preferred choice. For this, I think that the nice guy probably has a better chance if he is more forward, if he presents himself as more confident and assertive to stay out of the Friend Zone. But that’s just me keeping it real on how I a nice guy interpret the world.

If you’re sitting there wondering “what the big deal with the Friend Zone is, it doesn’t sound too bad.” For some though, it represents a big impaction on social life. You might not want to hang out with the person who F-Zoned you because you want to avoid any possible awkward situations. And what if that person is part of your group of friends? This can make situations even more awkward. I definitely would not feel at ease if others found out about my failed attempt with another in our circle. In addition, you may even lose a friend because of the F-Zone situation; and in this case, it’s probably beneficial that your relationship did not continue (it’s just awkward). Trying to maintain a friendship with someone that you just tried to take “to the next level” is tough work, it takes two mature people to do so, and that isn’t easy to find. The Friend Zone might not be a great place to be, but sometimes things just work out that way.

There are times when you need to put a person in the Friend Zone. Some situations may include: when you just got out of a relationship and aren’t ready for the next step; if you don’t see the person in a romantic way (you see them as a brother), or when you’re already in a relationship. The Friend Zone can be beneficial when you put it into action effectively; as it is a good way to avoid misleading people in the direction of a romantic relationship.  We should also be aware of flirting because it may also mislead others into thinking there’s something romantic present when there isn’t.

Overall, the Friend Zone is here and it’s here to stay. I feel that men and women do what they need to do to manage their social relationships, but it is important that we identify the factors that lead us to make decisions on where we place people in our lives. I admit that even I put people in the Friend Zone. The Friend Zone is common practice and it helps us maintain and/or group people into areas of our social understanding, and I feel we should view the Friend Zone as a stage of maturity rather than a realm of purgatory.


  1. […] On the reverse side, your best guy friends, 4) those you’ve subsequently “friend-zoned,” are completely down to earth and possess all the qualities you want in a soul mate. They are at the 0 level on the scale, however still remain undateable for other reasons (I repeat: friend-zone. Sorry guys, but it’s totally true). […]

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