Can you ever escape the Friendzone?

An insight into the so-called 'friendzone' and a discussion on whether or not it really exists

Georgie Martin
3rd March 2022
Image: IMDb
Friends to lovers has long been my favourite romance trope. Nick and Jess are my ultimate comfort characters from my ultimate comfort show, New Girl. I refuse to believe that Monica and Chandler do not have the best romance in Friends, even if Rachel did get off the plane for Ross. And, if asked to pick between team Jess and team Logan in Gilmore Girls, I'll pick Luke every time, because you cannot tell me that Luke and Lorelai's slow burn relationship was not the best in the whole show (but technically I am team Jess if you need to check my credentials.)

So, what is it about being friends first that is so captivating to us? Maybe it's the yearning, the gradual emotional realisation, the comfort of someone that just knows you, the time spent together because you just want to be around each other, or maybe it's all of the above. Because, after all it is the history that makes these relationships so special, it is the love that is there long before Luke took Lorelai to his favourite restaurant and told her he was "all in" and before Nick and Jess' night playing True American. Maybe I am being overly romantic, but this summer I managed to 'escape the friendzone'- so I can vouch for it being possible- and looking back on it, it was the little moments - being spun around dancing drunk with him at house parties, and chatting across bonfires at friend's houses - that made me realise that I fell for him long before we ever got together. 

We have all heard the horror stories of people in love with their friends, who just can’t risk the friendship because they value the other far too much

That being said, I know I am lucky, and for many people the friend zone is not quite so easy to escape. We have all heard the horror stories of people in love with their friends, who just can’t risk the friendship because they value the other far too much, or -even worse- the stereotypical “nice guy” character who doesn’t value the friendship at all, only pretending to be ‘friends’ in an attempt to sleep with the other. More often than not, it is in this second scenario that we hear the tirade about being ‘friend-zoned’, the sex free, no mans land that they end up trapped in, desperate for an escape. 

It is this idea of ‘escaping’ the friendzone that I take issue with. An escape has an intention to it, it suggests a plan, using a person’s friendship for your own self interest in an attempt to get with them. I fully believe that a relationship can develop and grow out of a friendship, but it is these people that use the guise of friendship that give the friendzone a bad name. But, can this really be classed as a friendship at all? 

I would say that you can’t really escape the friendzone, a friendship shouldn’t really be something that you want to flee from. But, if you really are friends to begin with, the gradual, authentic development of emotions can lead to some of the very best relationships.

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