Just As Women Have The Right To Reject A Relationship, Men Have The Right To Reject A Friendship

This in response to the article, “Guys, Stop Complaining About The ‘Friend Zone’ And Just Be Happy To Have Friends.” Parts of this article are discussed on my weekly podcast, “Heart of the Matter,” which you can catch on SoundCloud and iTunes every Monday evening.

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This is not the first time I’ve seen a woman question why men can’t be content to stay in the “friend zone” of their relationship, and it surely won’t be the last. Yes, the “friend zone” is a universal term that is not limited to men being curved by women, but this is the most common example used when it is referenced.

As a guy who has happily remained in the friend zone in some cases and refused to accept this fate in others, it is important to point out to women such as the author in the aforementioned article that you cannot simply ask all men to just “deal with it” if you only want to remain friends.

Just as it is a woman’s choice — and her right — to turn down a man’s advances or request for something more serious, it is his choice and his right to walk away from the situation entirely if she does not want — and never will want — anything more than platonic friendship.

A woman is not automatically a bitch for turning a man down — be it a stranger at a bar, an acquaintance in her social circle, or one of her closest friends. A man is not automatically an asshole for not accepting her request to “just be friends.” You should be judged by the level of maturity and class in which you handle your respective situation, and not just the end result.

There are female friends in my life that I would love to date, but it will likely never happen. I can live with that because my desire for them does not outweigh our friendship. If my feelings for them ever tipped the scales the other way, it would be difficult to remain friends with them.

One of the common misconceptions with the friend zone is that some women — such as the author — are asking men to “just be friends” when they are nothing more than acquaintances, at best. Some men (myself included) don’t necessarily need another friend — especially one we have deep enough feelings for that we are willing to profess them to her.

It’s one thing to be friends with someone and develop feelings for them. It’s another thing entirely to enter a friendship with someone you already have deep feelings for.

You’re setting yourself up for emotional torture.

Some people believe that choosing to walk away from the friend zone is childish, when really it’s probably a well-thought-out, mature decision.

It’s not that men feel we “deserve to be in a relationship with said woman,” as the author claims, but that many of us don’t want to enter a situation with someone you have deep feelings for where you know it will likely never blossom into anything more. It’s the same for any relationship: man to woman, woman to man, man to man, woman to woman, etc.; we’re all just protecting ourselves, emotionally.

I wish health, happiness, and success for everyone in my life, and that is especially true for the women who I care for on a romantic level. We may not work out for whatever reason, but that does not mean I hope she doesn’t find love and happiness just because it won’t be with me. I hope every one of them meets the love of their life and lives the life they always dreamed of.

But I don’t need to stick around and watch it unfold.

I don’t need to hear about the incredible first date she went on. I don’t need to hear how she’s falling for him. I don’t need to hear how she thinks he could be the one. I don’t need to see pictures and videos of them all over social media. I don’t need to see her engagement ring. I don’t need to be at her wedding.

I don’t need to subject myself to a constant reminder that as happy as she is, there is part of me that will always believe I can make her happier.

It takes a strong person to bury their feelings for someone and remain a fixture in their lives, accepting that those feelings will likely never be reciprocated; but it’s arguably stronger to walk away entirely from someone you care about so deeply.

The author brings up an example of a man who went on a murderous rampage targeting women because he was a 22-year-old virgin, insinuating that men simply cannot handle rejection without completely snapping.

This example not only paints all men with the same brush as mentally unstable psychopaths, but it uses a microscopic sample size to describe the entire male population. It’s an unfair and irresponsible comparison.

It’s this kind of writing that gives single women the perception that all men are entitled, egotistical, power-hungry control freaks that will turn into violent monsters if they don’t get their way. It’s the kind of writing that will cause a single woman to lose faith in dating altogether. It will give her a skewed vision of what men are really like.

Some men can’t “just be friends” with some women — that’s it.

Men do not get upset with being friend-zoned because they “expected to not be put there,” as the author states, but because they likely hoped for something more. As far as not wanting to be part of the friend zone, you can respect a decision while simultaneously not agreeing with it.

The author says men should “feel honored that they have been given the privilege of a friendship” by the woman who does not want to date them. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if a man said that women they don’t want to date should be “honored” and “privileged” to be his friend?

We hope that those we reject never take it personally when we turn down their offer of being more than friends; it’s only right that we don’t take it personally when they reject our offer of friendship.

Some people don’t need another friend. Some people don’t want another friend.

Frankly, if the friendship is going to cause them more pain than the initial rejection, I don’t blame them.

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About the author

Mike Zacchio

Mike is a New York-based writer and admitted hopeless romantic. If Ted Mosby and Carrie Bradshaw had a son, it would be him. When he’s not writing about love, dating, and relationships, he’s working his actual job as a sports reporter and columnist.

Tune into his podcast, “Heart Of The Matter” here.

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