Created By: WestrimApril 23, 2010 Last Edited By: WestrimOctober 8, 2012

Dreaded Friend Zone

nice guys finish last, relationship edition

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Trope
When Bob loves Alice, but Alice considers him only a friend (It can go both ways, but the most common direction seems to be guy to girl, because All Men Are Perverts), he has been put in the Dreaded Friend Zone, from which escape is rare.

From Bob's perspective he's done everything right; he's known her for years, he's nice, friendly, easy to talk to, and has always been there for her. About the only thing he hasn't done is summon the courage to ask her out. From her perspective that's exactly what makes him such a good friend, and any romance would upset that balance, if she even thinks of it.

Truth In Television, may have Unfortunate Implications about the honesty of Bob's relationship with Alice.

Subtrope of All Love Is Unrequited. If it's been going on long enough, may coincide with Unlucky Childhood Friend.


Examples

  • Yugi is stuck in the friend zone in regards to Anzu/ Tea. This is explicit in the manga, but much subtler in the anime.
    • In the second season of Yugioh Tristan is escorting Joey's sister, Serenity, to the battle city tournament so she can watch her brother duel. On the train ride there Serenity tells Tristan he's such a great friend for doing this for her. Tristan quietly complains about being placed in the friend zone for a few seconds.
  • Laci Green did a video about escaping the friend zone.
  • XKCD noted the Unfortunate Implications of Bobs actions in a strip.

Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • April 10, 2010
    TJ
    May overlap with Unlucky Childhood Friend.
  • April 10, 2010
    LeighSabio
    How is this different from Just Friends?
  • April 10, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Just Friends are usually ok with being Just Friends, and are often mistaken for a couple when they're not. The Friend Zone is usually a place one person wants to escape while the other is ok with them staying there, if I'm parsing them right.
  • April 10, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    John Michael Montgomery's "Friends" is all about someone stuck in the Friend Zone.
  • April 23, 2010
    Duckay
    An early episode of Friends features Joey telling Ross that he's "Mayor of the Zone" because he wasted so much time making a move on Rachel. Also, an early episode of Scrubs involves JD racing against time to avoid being trapped in the friend zone with Elliot.
  • April 23, 2010
    mack
    • This is Just Friends. The trope includes a range of variations on the "platonic friends" type of relationship, and what you are proposing is part of it. Teasing at a romantic relationship between two platonic friends. That doesn't necessarily mean they get together so a guy who gets stuck in the friend zone but wants to get out is covered. There are a couple of examples like this already (eg, Eli towards Chloe in Stargate Universe).
    • That said, the page didn't quite make it clear that it can include All Love Is Unrequited type couples with one side unable to get out of the friend zone, so I've added that to the page.
  • April 24, 2011
    Westrim
    Eh, another unfinished trope. This is roughly the 4th form of Just Friends, and indeed is mentioned by name there. Each of the other 3 forms have associated trope pages, I don't see why that one shouldn't as well. It could probably be limited to specific mentions of the Friend Zone, though. Its current status as an alt name should be changed, since it clearly doesn't fit all of the forms
  • April 24, 2011
    Sackett
    Maybe Just Friends and Friend Zone should be split.
  • April 24, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    So one is being stuck as a friend, and the other is the inversion of She Is Not My Girlfriend (sort of like Mistaken For Couple)?
  • April 24, 2011
    TwinBird
    I got the impression Just Friends was for couples where one or the other weren't okay with just being friends, with those who were sitting in Like Brother And Sister or The Straight Will And Grace.
  • April 24, 2011
    ArchiveDigger
    You really need a new title. NOW. You do realize this is the alternate title for Just Friends, do you?
  • April 27, 2011
    neoYTPism
    See also Stupid Sexy Friend. (Something I just launched.)
  • May 21, 2011
    Westrim
    Archive Digger, I realize that that shouldn't be the alternate title (as mentioned in previous comments), since it's only one form of Just Friends. Names are not immutable, especially alternates.
  • May 21, 2011
    jate88
    • In the second season of Yugioh Tristan is escorting Joey's sister, Serenity, to the battle city tournament so she can watch her brother duel. On the train ride there Serenity tells Tristan he's such a great friend for doing this for her. Tristan quietly complains about being placed in the friend zone for a few seconds.

    • Laci Green did a video about escaping the friend zone.
  • May 21, 2011
    StarryEyed
    Another Yu-Gi-Oh example: Yugi is stuck in the friend zone in regards to Anzu/ Tea. This is explicit in the manga, but much subtler in the anime.

    I definitely think this should be split from Just Friends.
  • May 22, 2011
    peccantis
    Dreaded Friend Zone to make the difference from Just Friends clearer?
  • May 22, 2011
    jate88
    bump
  • July 17, 2011
    Westrim
    bump
  • August 21, 2011
    Westrim
    I'm going to stay on top of this so it can be moved towards launch by the end of the month, and set up the example listing. Are the concerns about making a page for this settled?

    EDIT: And in the course of checking it over I went to the Supertrope All Love Is Unrequited and saw that it's under repair. I have enough to deal with without getting mixed up in that, so if something in that affects this, please say so without assuming it's already known.
  • August 21, 2011
    TwinBird
    Don't launch this. It's what Just Friends describes, not "one form," the whole thing. We might talk about retitling that, but the idea of it being "one form" is just a misreading of the title.
  • August 21, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    We already have Just Friends. I don't see this trope doing anything the others like it aren't.
  • August 21, 2011
    Westrim
    Well, exactly where it should be launched to is one of the things to discuss. It doesn't match the description in Just Friends preceding the four forms at all; this isn't a tease, this is one character having definite romantic feelings (expressed or not), there isn't mutual denial or widespread disbelief of that denial, etc.

    This whole field of tropes seems to be a mess. If there's a similar trope, it's not Just Friends, but All Love Is Unrequited, which is in the repair shop. Just Friends itself is in need of trope repair; trying to cover four different forms, all of which have associated tropes, makes that clear. With all that blue text in the description it looks more like a Super Trope, but it's not treated like one. Some parts of it are plainly contradictary or loop on themselves, like "Just Friends is in essence, a relationship, a potential relationship or teased relationship between people who are simply Just Friends, in a normal, and regular manner."

    At this point, I guess I'm proposing this as one of the split offs of a repair job on Just Friends (as Sackett suggested.) The possibility of only including examples where a friend zone is mentioned within the work is still viable as well.

  • December 8, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    Bump.
  • December 20, 2011
    Westrim
    Reviving this conversation; within the next day I'll look into it and the surrounding tropes and see what's up (dang, I need to stop letting YKTTW's languish.)
  • February 18, 2012
    Westrim
    ... Like I just did again for two months. I think I keep avoiding it because it means plunging into a mess of tropes that need cleanup and talking on the forum, both of which are going to take a lot of time I don't have. I guess I'll just keep this trope going to emerge from the aftermath.
  • March 7, 2012
    ChaoticDreams
    There's also the movie Just Friends which is all about this trope.
  • March 7, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi

    And I agree it should be a separate trope, since the most common represntation of "Friendzone" is that guys tend to treat the Friendzone like something a woman knowingly and cruelly does to them, rather than the woman just not happening to find them romantically attractive.
  • March 7, 2012
    SKJAM
    Frequently seen is the female friend dropping into conversation how much she appreciates that Bob is her friend and like a brother to her--usually as he's trying to either work up the courage to tell her how he feels, or dropping heavy hints.

    I seem to recall there was an Onion editorial article where the woman is saying not to spoil the friendship where she gets everything she needs from the relationship and he doesn't.
  • March 7, 2012
    randomsurfer
    The Drew Carey Show: Drew was in the freind zone with Kate for years, until he finally told her about his feelings. At one point when they were in high school she casually changed clothes in front of him because she didn't think of him as anything other than a very close friend.
  • October 8, 2012
    Frelus
    This, afaik even printed in the manga at the beginning of a chapter.
  • October 8, 2012
    Frelus
    (Naruto example, btw)
  • October 8, 2012
    JonnyB
    Friend Zone is just fine as a title, simply change Just Friends so that Friend Zone is no longer an alternate title and refers to this instead.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable