I know you love adding words to your ranks. Usually pop-culturey entries like “aha moment” and “unfriend” and “f-bomb.” Here’s the thing – I love pop culture too! So, I’d like to submit a nomination for your consideration. Next year, I propose that “Friend Zone” should make the cut.
The term, is credited to–what else?– Friends. In season one (1994!), Joey tells Ross that not only is he in the friend zone with Rachel, the girl of his dreams, but he is “mayor of the zone.”
And while it may not have received your blessing yet, the term does have its own Wikipedia entry: “a platonic relationship where one person wishes to enter into a romantic relationship while the other does not. The most typical friend zone situation involves a man that is romantically interested in a woman who does not reciprocate or is unaware of his interest. It is generally considered to be an undesirable situation by the lovelorn person. Once the friend zone is established, it is said to be difficult to move beyond that point in a relationship.”
The term is so mainstream that there’s even an entire TV series called FriendZone. It’s on MTV, and it’s just about the most uncomfortable television viewing of my life. On the show, teenagers/20-somethings who are in the friend zone ask their BFF to be a wingman on a blind date. Then, when they get to the date, they confront said BFF and–gotcha!–admit that the date is really for them. Will they try out a relationship and move out of the zone?
Merriam, Webster, think of your most awkward interaction. Multiply it by a gagillion. That’s how it feels to watch this show. I literally cover my eyes during the big reveal moment. Ack. I wanted to send you a clip directly, but for whatever reason it’s not working. Instead, you can experience the pain yourself, here.
Despite the show’s awkward moments, MTV is solidifying the place of friend zone in the cultural lexicon. Kids everywhere know what it means. Adults know what it means. Everyone who has ever had a crush on a friend knows what it means.
So, there you have it. I’ve made my case. Admit you like it. I mean, like-like it. I don’t want us to be stuck in the friend zone.