This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

A Reality Check For All The Men Furious About Being In The ‘Friendzone’

More from Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan

By Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan for Youth Ki Awaaz:

Welcome back to the space where I tell you what’s what and you disagree with me loudly in the comments section. I love the smell of arguments in the morning.

Let’s begin.

R asked:

I’ve been in love with “Karishma” from the time I met her two years ago. Then, she had a boyfriend, but he didn’t treat her well and she kept coming to me and telling me about her problems. I was there for her throughout. She’s finally broken up with him, and I thought this would be a good time for me to make my move. However, she says she sees me as “just a friend.” I can’t help feeling hurt that all those months I was her shoulder to cry on has been a waste, and also a little angry that she led me on. She told me I was her best friend and someone she could always talk to! Why does she keep picking these losers over me? Am I justified in being angry at being friendzoned?

Dear R,

Short answer: no. You don’t have a right to be angry because someone chooses to not reciprocate your romantic feelings.

That being said, sometimes we get angry even though we have no justification for it. Feelings! They can’t be helped! So I’m going to break down for you why the word “friend zone” is problematic and maybe once you listen to the reasoning, you’ll be better able to accept that your love story with Karishma may not be meant to be.

We’ve all been there, I think. You have friends, you enjoy hanging out with them, you tell them all your secrets. If you’re both heterosexual, sometimes there’s a little frisson of sexual tension which keeps things interesting. Sometimes there isn’t. But there’s a certain joy that comes with having a good friend of a different gender than yours—theirs is an opposing point of view, they’re just different to you, and that makes your friendship with them rich and deep, in a varied way from your friendships with your same gender pals. However sometimes if you’re both single or in an “it’s complicated” sometimes your friend will want to jump over the boundaries of platonic friendship and become something more. If this works out, fantastic. There’s no couple stronger than the couple who were friends first, partners later. But more often than not, you’re in another place and then you’re confronted with all these feelings: guilt, for not being a better friend and like-liking this person who is so important to you; anger, because why are they changing the dynamics of your pre-existing arrangement?; and sorrow, because you know things aren’t going to be the same anymore. I’ve even been the one stammering out my love feelings to a guy friend on more than one occasion, on more than one occasion I’ve been rejected, and a friendship has turned awkward.

But when the guys I knew sometimes declared their feelings for me, I got the sense that they were almost angry with me for… I’m not sure what. Wasting their time? I didn’t see our friendship as an elaborate courting ritual, I thought it was just that: a friendship. But by tossing around words like “friend zone,” they made me think my companionship wasn’t a thing of value here. It had all been leading up to some romantic and/or sexual relationship and if it didn’t, our friendship was totally useless, like a leaky balloon.

Do you see why this hurt my feelings or would hurt the feelings of Karishma? Karishma was confiding to you as her friend about the things that bothered her about her relationship. She probably trusted you a lot in order to tell you those things that many would call disloyal. And in the end, you saw it as worth nothing if it didn’t mean that the two of you would get together. You call it “leading you on” but it was a friendship, not meant to dangle you at the other end. By being angry and resentful about it, you’re thinking that Karishma-the-person, Karishma-the-friend is not as valuable as Karishma-the-girlfriend.

Friend-zoned is not a thing, dear R. You were pals with someone, who you happened to develop romantic feelings for. That’s all on you. Karishma is just sticking with the original wording of your contract. Get over it and move on.

And the next time, value your friendships for what they are, rather than what they could be.

Love,
Aunty Feminist

Aunty Feminist loves to hear from her readers! If you’d like her to answer a burning question you might have, send it to us at auntyfeminist@youthkiawaaz.com or tweet your questions to @reddymadhavan.

You must be to comment.
  1. Spider-Man

    You’re one of the idiots shown in Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2

  2. Shruti Sudarsan

    V important and v relevant

  3. Mahasweta Das

    Friendzone is a word devised by people who can’t take a rejection! So what was your ulterior motive? You used friendship to get into her pants and now that didn’t occur who blame her? Duh. Wake up and smell the coffee. Why is your inflated ego so high that you can’t escape your bubble at all where everything is perfect. Unlike your neurons they are just null and void

More from Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan

Similar Posts

By Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan

By Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan

By Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below