Rejection goes two ways

By Megan Rule | Opinion Editor

The common stigma of the friend zone is a girl telling a guy that they’re just friends. However, as a girl, this stigma is wrong. Yes, there have been guys that I’ve friend-zoned, but I’ve also experienced the flip side of the coin; guys have friend-zoned me too. Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t be rejected, and just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I’m in the wrong for setting boundaries on a strictly-friends relationship.

The friend zone, for those lucky ones unfamiliar with it, is a dark and hopeless limbo that you go to when someone tells you, “We’re just friends.” It’s the wall that separates a platonic friendship from becoming a romantic connection. Basically, it’s a sugar-coated rejection saying, “Your personality doesn’t outweigh your appearance enough for me to kiss you without distaste.”

Many conversations I’ve had and movies I’ve watched lend themselves to the idea that only girls friend zone boys by saying things such as, “You’re like a brother to me,” or “I wish I could have a cute guy in my life.” Women are stereotyped as leading men on and playing with their feelings, therefore coming off as cold, heartless snakes that are just using men as a shoulder to cry on.

Who’s to say that boys and girls can’t be friends? Why do heterosexual relationships have to be romantic? Why can’t I talk to a guy with the sole purpose of being friends? I can enjoy the company of a male and find him funny and enjoyable to be around without wanting a relationship down the road. Laughing at something funny or introducing myself in a social setting or responding to a social media request doesn’t mean I want anything sexual. And just because a guy has different emotions or different intentions doesn’t make me a bad person or a tease for feeling the opposite.

We need to stop shaming women for turning down men and stop shaming women for being honest about their feelings if they’re merely friends. There’s no equality in sympathizing with men who have their hearts broken yet telling women to just get over it.

We also need to stop assuming women can’t get friend zoned. Rejection is a two-way street; anyone that has the ability to say yes and desire something more also has the ability to say no and draw lines. Just like I have friend zoned boys in the past, there have been countless times male friends have said, “I wish I could meet a girl like you,” or “Dude, you’re the best friend I’ve ever had.”

As I’m sure the guy pining over a girl feels heartbroken, girls’ hearts shatter too. Especially when they punch their ticket for the friendship bus, hoping desperately they can get off soon at “I changed my mind” station.

Guys have it hard, but girls have it hard too. Currently, I have a lot of best friends and no romantic pursuers. In some situations, I’ve been the one to put the stop sign up, and some situations, I was sent home crying in search of ice cream. The friend zone works both ways, so stop shaming either side and start remembering girls aren’t completely evil.