Friends, Friendly and Friend-Zones.

Or “getting the job you want”.

The topic of friend-zones, or when a person (usually male) believes that they can build their way up from friendship into a relationship with another person (usually female) is always a bit of a hot topic. The core of the matter is that no matter how much people say it’s not a clever idea, so many others will still try it once, twice, a thousand times. And sometimes it will work. Sometimes a friendship really does develop into a long-lasting, meaningful or at least sexual relationship. Which feeds the millions where it doesn’t.

So, in an effort to shine some light on the actual interactions taking place, allow me to use an analogy: your life is a company. You are not usually the CEO of your company, but most people are pretty high up in management. Therefore most people you have relationships with, from acquaintances to husbands and wives, will end up being below you: your employees. We generally have a good handle of this and whenever someone tries to move into our lives we will evaluate  how good they are for the job before letting them in at one level or another, or cutting them out.

However, the same works in reverse. You are an employee in the life of everyone you have a relationship with. Which we’re not so good at working with. Everyone you still interact with, from your best friend to your coworker to your ex to your sister are all employing you in their lives and they have placed you in a certain job. Oftentimes we get no choice in this job, especially in work, friendships and family. There is very little that can be done to change your role short of quitting the job: cutting ties.

This is all well and good when it comes to forced socialization such as work and family or spontaneous relationships like friendships. But it’s dreadful when it comes to planned relationships. Which is why it’s a terrible option for trying to establish a romantic connection.

You see, on the “jobs” scale for non-relatives, we have several positions:

ENTRY LEVEL:

Colleague.

Acquaintance.

Helpful person.

NOVICE LEVEL.

Friend.

Close friend.

No-strings.

SOME EXPERIENCE OR QUALIFICATIONS.

Best friend.

Friend with benefits.

Multiple partner.

SOME EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS.

Long term relationship.

A LOT OF EXPERIENCE AND SOME QUALIFICATIONS OR VICE VERSA OR MORE.

Live-in partner.

Marriage partner.

Each step up requires an increase in “salary” provided by the other person. The salary? Their time, money, trust, attention and exclusivity. And you might notice that there is a massive jump from a helpful person to a friend or a multiple partner to a long term relationship. There are some very large gaps between these job positions in terms of how much the other person invests in you.

Which is why so many people stay in the friend-zone. You see, when you try and worm your way into someone’s heart by being helpful or friendly, you are putting in your resume for a job you don’t want. Then, when you get that job there is a lot of work you have to do to catch up. It would have been wiser to alter your resume to try and sound like a good prospect for a higher rank, at the very least a best friend or a no-strings, which has a smaller jump into romantic relationship territory.

Imagine there are 10 job positions in a company. X= job.

XXXXXXXXXX

You qualify for 4 of them, but would accept 2 and in particular want 1. R=rejection, N=no, M=maybe, Y=yes.

60% RRRRRR, 20% NN, 10% M, 10% Y

If you go to the interviews for the 6 you don’t qualify for you’ll be insta-rejected. R= rejection.

100% RRRRRR

If you go to the 2 you qualify for but don’t want, you could end up in them, which means you weren’t rejected, but you didn’t get what you want. NA= no, accepted; NR= no, rejected.

50% NA, 50% NR

If you go for the 2 you qualify for and would accept you’re placing a bet: either you get the one you really wanted, you get the one you’re comfortable with or you get rejected. M= maybe, Y = yes.

50% M, 50% Y

If you go for the 1 you really want, you either get it or get rejected. R= rejected, Y= yes.

50% R, 50% Y

When you go for friendship, you’re choosing to enter the company of them in a role you don’t really want, but where you know you won’t be rejected outright.  Thing is, not being rejected doesn’t mean being accepted. And not being rejected isn’t a foolproof way to climb to the job position you want. Maybe they will let you. But it’s far more likely that the position you really wanted, that Y, has been taken before you get there, that you would never qualify for it or that there is no internal promotion in their company.

There is no surefire way to make your decision. After all, it’s your time and investment, but avoid these mistakes:

1: Applying for a job you don’t want, but know you’ll get, and hope for promotion.

2: Applying for a job you want, but know you won’t get and wasting your time.

3: Applying for too many jobs and coming across as strange and desperate.

4: Applying for various options when you would only really be happy with one.

5: Accepting a demotion and continuing the relationship.

If you don’t avoid these and you end up stuck in a job you didn’t want watching some other person getting the job you wanted, then you have nobody to blame but yourself.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

5 Things Women Get Easy (that men would love).

In every society there are things that come easier to some people than to others and gender is one of those divides. Even in a primitive society, women often miss out on adventure and meat for being at home, whilst men miss out on safety and fruit for being away. In today’s society we’re told time and time again about the cultural and legal privileges that men have over women and we’re only just starting to acknowledge the many advantages that women have legally and in education. However we don’t really touch on the cultural advantages women have that men have to work incredibly hard to get.

So here are five privileges our culture bestows on women that men rarely receive, but absolutely love receiving.

1: Physical touch and sex.

Women benefit from all sorts of physical interactions. I’ll focus on two extremes: basic touch and sex.

Basic touch is when a friend hugs you, or a coworker rests a hand on your shoulder to reassure you. Women are more likely to be offered this touch and, with new concerns about harassment, less likely to receive it when we don’t want it.

Sex has always been easier for women to get than for men, as humans are social animals and for society to thrive, all women must be offered a chance to reproduce. However men are becoming increasingly stigmatized for their sexual urges and natural desires on top of this, which means men have a much harder time getting sex.

However men enjoy all sorts of physical contact and are just as de-stressed by a hug as a woman is.

2: Help.

Women are more likely to be offered a helping hand with something difficult and less likely to be stigmatized for asking for help. This means that in every case where a woman finds herself in trouble she is more likely to be helped on her way by a friend or stranger than a man is.

This is even reflected by our social aid projects. Although by far more men are homeless than women, more women receive homelessness support. Although men suffer domestic violence and especially physical abuse as much as women, almost all DV shelters assume that the woman was the victim and most are women-only.

We are a society unwilling to help men even when they need it.

3: Common courtesy.

When you’re exiting a supermarket and someone lets you out before they enter, when a parking spot is given to you, when a door is held open for you or helps you pick up something you dropped, that is actually a form of common courtesy, a way of being gentle and polite to everyone around you.

But, again, women are on the receiving end more often than men. Try watching a doorway from a waiting room or a cafe for a few hours. Most of the people having a door held for them will be women, even if it’s also a woman holding the door. Yet sometimes even when their arms are full, men don’t get that same bit of help. But it’s beyond assistance. If someone is stood by a door, struggling with a pile of boxes and nobody opens it or held it open for them, they are practically invisible. Nobody sees them, so nobody extends that politeness to them.

But apparently most men are invisible in that regard.

4: Assumption of parental instinct.

When a woman moves to collect a child at the park, nobody questions it. When a female teacher sees a young boy after school, nobody questions it. When a mother is involved in a case of domestic violence against her child, nobody believes for a second that she was a willing and sane participant. This is the assumption of parental instinct: the assumption that a mother is a parent first and a human later. And it definitely has its downsides, as all the aforementioned scenarios have played out before and the ending has been child abuse.

But men face the opposite. The assumption they have no parental instinct. If a father takes a picture of his own child at the park he is attacked. When a male teacher sees a young girl after school she is questioned as to what he did to her. When a father is involved in a case of domestic violence against his child he is assumed to be the instigator. Whilst nobody should carry the assumption of parental instinct the way mothers do, nobody should be assumed to entirely lack parental instinct the way fathers are. The choice between a good father and a drug addicted mother should be obvious and his relationship status shouldn’t be the pivot point for the entire custody case.

In these cases, ultimately the children are the ones who suffer.

5: A break or a free pass.

Women get this and we sometimes don’t even realize it. It ranges from women (in general) receiving shorter sentences for the exact same crimes as men (in general), to girls being more likely to get a hall pass or extra mock time in school, to women being able to smile their way out of a parking ticket. In short, because women look more childlike and frail than men and because women are attractive to men, men and women alike are more likely to give a woman a free pass if she acts out, commits a crime or lies.

Men don’t get this pass unless they are under serious duress or look particularly infantile and sweet. Even when they are literally children, boys are more likely to be tried as adults in serious criminal cases than girls. And men of certain socioeconomic, cultural or racial backgrounds in certain countries may be treated more harshly than the law requires. The assumption seems to be that men “can take it”. A man “can take” being forced to the ground and having a rib broken during arrest. A boy “can take” waiting for half an hour for the toilet. A man “can take” paying his parking ticket. A boy “can take” being tried as an adult for arson. Girls are sweet and innocent, women are childlike and nice, but males need to own their actions and then some.

But men aren’t machines. Yes, men are more designed for hardship than women. This much is evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of years men have spent hunting and warring as women stayed home and faced relatively little danger. But what is natural isn’t necessarily fair and in a world where everyone abides by the law as best they can and everyone pays for their actions, it is genuine injustice to make men pay more unnecessarily.

And those are five things that come very easily to women that men would love to have. Use this information as you will. Maybe you will give your husband or brother some more hugs, or your son a free pass when your daughter would get one in the same situation. Maybe you’ll think more about parenting and the assumption of parenthood before siding with mothers against fathers. Maybe you’ll even consider men’s human rights a cause you are willing to support and actively fight for them. Whatever you do to give men a little taste of female privileges, however small, remember this: it doesn’t hurt women, it doesn’t hurt society and it makes the world a better and fairer place.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!