The Friend Zone and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’

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ModPrimate’s Chris Menning doesn’t think The Friend Zone is an altogether bad concept.

In this great breakdown of the pitfalls and perils of The Friend Zone, Menning illustrates the proper (and improper) ways people can handle being Friend Zoned with an awesome Buffy the Vampire Slayer analogy.

What do you think? Is Menning right on?

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About Chris Menning

Chris Menning is editor of ModPrimate, a video blog within the My Damn Channel network dedicated to challenging rigid notions of masculinity. He also maintains a personal blog at chrismenning.tumblr.com.

Comments

  1. Um… Didnt Willow wish Buffy out of existence? I’d call that lashing out.

  2. Alastair says:

    I don’t think that there is always only the danger of entitlement on one side of the so-called ‘friendzone’. Some people feel entitled to disproportionate attention, company, and affirmation from others and will exploit the fact that someone with romantic interest in them will give them these things very readily. They can string people along, without intending to reciprocate their interest at any point, but preferring not to clarify things too much either, as they don’t want to lose the ego boost and/or source of attention. Such a person doesn’t really want a friend, so much as someone who continually secretly wants to be more than a friend but will never bring matters to a head. They don’t really care about the feelings of the other person, as a genuine friend would, but have a narcissistic sense of entitlement to attention, attraction, and adoration. I have never been at the receiving end of this, but I am pretty sure that I have seen it happen in a number of situations, with both sexes playing the role of the guilty party.

    The existence of such people is one reason why I don’t dismiss the anger of some people who claim to have been ‘friendzoned’ as mere entitlement. They can feel hurt that someone felt perfectly entitled to their feelings and would take advantage of them, rather than making the situation clear for the sake of them as friends. If you can’t reciprocate the feelings that you know that someone has for you, it is very poor form indeed to treat them as cheap fuel for your affirmation, rather than to gently let them down, showing respect for them and their feelings and ensuring that their feelings are given to someone who will respond to them fully, in a way that honours and values them as they ought to be. When we fail to do this, we become narcissists, who use rather than value the people in our lives.

    • However, that’s a risk we always take when we give to someone else. There is always a chance that the other person won’t reciprocate. It’s a learning process for everyone and feeling entitled or bitter is least likely to help you internalize that learning in a healthy way.

      • If this is so, why do women expect (and get) sympathy when they have sex with a guy thinking he wants a relationship and feel “used” when he doesn’t? Why aren’t women in such situations accused of feeling “entitled” to relationships, commitment, fidelity, etc? Shouldn’t they understand that there’s always a risk the other person won’t reciprocate, and that it’s a learning process?

        • Drew, if you are completely serious, women (and men) receive sympathy when they’re treated like one-night-stands because in most cases, they were lead to believe that they mutually wanted a relationship. There are examples right there in BtVS. For all intents and purposes, Buffy & Parker were dating, but once she slept with him, thinking it was just furthering their relationship, he told her he had assumed they were just having some fun. Another example would be Xander & Faith. It’s slightly different because they weren’t in a previous relationship, but it was Xander’s first time, so of course he was expecting more than to be shoved out of the room as soon as they were done. Unless it is explicitly stated (or a random hook-up with a cute stranger), one or the other will have the right to assume it’s just the next step in a relationship. And both Buffy & Xander did take it as learning process.

          • i’m pretty sure it’s a mistake to assume any particular outcome, unless it is explicitly agreed upon – one-night stand, relationship building or otherwise… :)

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Yeah, I think Chris does speak to that. It hurts, and he warns the “Buffy” in the situation to be careful and understanding of the friend.

      There are assholes who will take advantage of anybody they can. That isn’t a male or female trait, and it isn’t a result of anything other than people being assholes. BUT that isn’t the same as someone being friends only, and the FZ’d person being mad. I see that happen so much. “How could you lead me on?” when the Buffy (or Zander) in the situation really genuinely just thought they were friends.

      That’s when you cross into creep territory. Beyond that, if someone’s taking advantage of you, GET OUT of that friendship! It’s up to us whether we’re strung along or not. We don’t have to put up with assholes.

  3. Brilliant! And nicely said! No hurt feelings to anybody…!

  4. I, personally, have never had issues dealing with the friend zone. A simple, “thank you, but I am not interested” and I go about my merry way.

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