If you've made it through high school, chances are you've heard of the friendzone a million times over. And almost everytime you've heard the phrase used, it's been the girl at fault and she's the bad person in the situation. But as someone who has had to "friendzone" quite a few boys, us girls shouldn't be at fault for it.
In primary school I didn't have many friends. There was one girl who I was friends with on and off, some days we would hang out, others she wasn't interested. On our off days I would try and play sports with the guys as it seemed more fun than pretending to run a shop selling leaves and gumnuts. I made friends with one of the boys, *Riley. We would have play dates at each others houses and run around in the backyard and sandpits, sometimes we'd play on our PlayStation or Nintendo 64. One day Riley asked me to be his girlfriend. I told him that we weren't old enough to be girlfriend and boyfriend, and that I only liked him as a friend. Needless to say he got really mad and stroppy and stopped talking to me after that.
I wasn't allowed to play sports at break time with the boys anymore as they'd all ignore me.
Later on in primary school there was boy who had just transferred, *Zach. He used to pick on me and hurt my feelings a lot. One day he put me in a headlock and dragged me from the eating area to the playground. I managed to break free and ran away. He chased me, caught me, and asked me to be his girlfriend. I outright refused to his face and told him to leave me alone. I was in tears at this stage as I was scared as I hadn't been put in a headlock before, let alone by someone I didn't really know.
Zach stormed away and told everyone I was a crazy person and no one would play with me at break after that, even the girls.
High school came around and by this stage, I was fairly certain guys were an alien species. In year 11 I made friends with some people from a different school, a group of guys who were really chilled and just liked having fun. I was lucky enough that they would let me hang around them and get to know them. They had this older friend, *Shaun, who would drive us around and hang out with us after school hours. He was cool, nothing seemed wrong with him at all, he just seemed to connect with these guys more than people his own age (he was only 4 years older than the guys).
I started having feelings for one of the guys and Shaun decided there'd be none of that. He told me he liked me and I turned him down. He really was just a friend! His friendship meant a lot to me. Shaun then threatened the guy that I had a crush on and proceeded to keep an increasingly close eye on me.
He asked me to be his girlfriend again about two months later. I turned him down again, nicely, and told him that he was just a friend to me and that I couldn't think of him as anything more.
Upset, he told me to never return into the group of guys that I'd now been hanging out with for more than a year.
About a year later, I get a text message from Shaun, asking if I'm interested in dating him. My answer didn't change. Just a friend. Nothing more.
This, for some reason, gave him the impression he could slander me and call me names.
Everytime I made friends with a guy, or a guy had feelings for me in *Zach's case, and I would turn them down it would then become "appropriate" for them to make me feel like shit. To slander me, call me names, spread rumours about me, and make me seem like a bad person because I just wanted to be friends.
I'm not sure when it became socially acceptable to attempt to ruin someones reputation or try to control their actions because they didn't want to date someone, or when "friendzoning" became a bad thing. To me, if you do get friendzoned, it's simply because the other person doesn't have romantic or intimate feelings toward you, and the fact that they are comfortable enough to say so, just proves that they trust you enough as a friend to accept that.
Hopefully in the future this can change, and people can begin to realise the impact of their actions on others - such as spreading hate when you don't get your way, it wont get you anywhere, and it certainly wont change the other persons mind about dating you.
*Changed names for privacy purposes.