People Are Just Realising Where The Term ‘Friend Zone’ Came From And We’re Stunned

Well, well, well. Friend zone indeed.

Even now, settled down in my mid-30s, I shudder at the words “friend zone”.

What a time that was. Women being blamed for not reciprocating feelings to men who fancied them. Men thinking that the gift of friendship wasn’t good enough because they wanted more. Grim.

If you’re not familiar, first of all, can I come and live with you under that gorgeous rock? Secondly, I’ll break it down for you.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the friend zone is: “the state of being friends with someone when you would prefer a romantic or sexual relationship with them.”

So, for example, somebody would know that they were “friend zoned” if their crush came to them for relationship advice.

Sure, it’s not an ideal situation but it was often framed quite misogynistically.

As Andrea Carlo said back in 2018 on the ‘friend zone’: “Behind the entire notion stands a history of self-loathing, reactionary traditionalism and misogyny which, as subtle as it is, manages to rear its head whenever the word comes up. It may be the driving force of romantic dramas and hilarious memes, but it may be time we ditch the concept for good.”


Imagine my shock when I found out that this tacky term came from no other than one of my favourite shows: Friends!

Where the phrase ‘friend zone’ came from

While the phrase didn’t really take off until the 2010s, it actually originated in a Friends episode way back in 1994.

In the episode, ‘The One With The Blackout’, Joey informs Ross that when it comes to Ross’s crush on Rachel, it’s, “never gonna happen.”

He goes on to say: “You and Rachel. You waited too long to make your move and now you’re in The Friend Zone. Ross, you’re mayor of the zone. I’m telling you, she has no idea what you’re thinking.”

He then adds that if Ross doesn’t make a move soon, he’ll be “stuck in the zone forever.”

Listen, am I surprised that this was the perspective of Joey Tribbiani? Absolutely not. Do I enjoy that he was wrong and it turns out that friendship can be a foundation for a romantic relationship? Yes. 100%.


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