I could write an entire book on this topic. Literally. In fact, a past roommate of mine and I started on it already. For now, the working title in progress is called “Barbies and Bozos: A Summation of Utah Dating Culture”. See why it’s a WIP? For this blog post, I’ll only spend a few paragraphs on this topic and let you follow the links at the end of this blog to examine the issue further, but to suffice it to say the issue is only getting worse. Interestingly enough, both of these articles were written in 2005/6, when hangouts and friendzones drastically changed the average age couples got married and started having children. In the seven or so years that have passed since these articles, the age when young adults get married and start a family isn’t 21-23ish, it’s getting up into the late 20’s/early 30’s.
Grammar Bully note: I’m purposely keeping friendzones as one word, even if the English teacher in me cringes looking at it, because I think it needs to appear in Webster’s Dictionary under “F”, with a definition as follows: “A place in which Peter Pan’s and Wendy’s set up Never-Never lands to avoid commitment and marital responsibility.” I leave adulthood out of the definition because I know many people who are in their 20 something’s/30’s who are VERY successful in their careers, are well-educated with degrees or self-made, pay their bills, help take care of their immediate family, and so on and so forth. Maybe I’m just fortunate to know so many motivated young people. But a common denominator with all of them is the lack of commitment in moving past hangouts and friendzones to serious dating and marriage. It’s a phenomenon that guy and girl alike wish to find the answer to why this is, and how to move past it. Whether or not there’s an answer for it or not remains to be seen.
Instead of following Oak’s definition of a date, that it “must pass the test of three p’s: (1) planned ahead, (2) paid for, and (3) paired off”, guys and girls alike keep hanging out and staying in the friendzone.
As far as how you end up in the friendzone, or why people put others in the friendzone, well, I could write a book on that too. Before one enters the friendzone, they are either in a situation where only one of the two in the party have an interests,
OR, both people liked or STILL like each other.
The friendzone can be used if: you want to keep people for when you are lonely, want the physical benefits or a romantic relationship without a romantic commitment so you can still shop around, or where you can be placed in after romantic rejection with the false hope that “eventually” they’ll realize what they had and come back to get you,
or if you wait around long enough, they’ll start to like you “that way”.
Oaks gives us more insight: “Marriage is not a group activity—at least, not until the children come along in goodly numbers.” So true! So why do guys and girls keep hanging out? I’ll only mention two for now and leave the rest for the book.
$$$Money$$$ – Many don’t want to spend the money they feel constitutes as what will be a good date. I get it. Take someone out to dinner three times a week and it’s going to add up fast, especially if you take two different people out in the same week. Guys, if a girl rates a date by how much money you spent on her, then she’s a gold-digger and you should kick her to the curb. How great a date is shouldn’t be graded by how much money is spent. But that’s not the only affect money has on dating. One is the pressure guys have admitted to feeling to have a solid career and enough money to provide for a wife and family BEFORE they took the steps necessary to get married. Although I see and understand that pressure, many people find they never really feel like they have enough money for everything you want. People rarely have thousands of dollars set aside for the hospital visit when the baby comes, etc. Some will argue that this pressure is just an excuse. I’m not anyone to say which it is, just that I’ve heard it as a reason for stalling marriage.
Commitment: Many like to “shop around” for the best “product” before they make such a big decision. What if there’s someone else who’s better? “Better” could mean hotter, smarter, someone who they feel more sparks with, have more similar interests with, makes more money, and so on and so forth. In fact, many divorces result because many wish to experiment upon finding answers to these questions.
I’ve also heard, “Oh I want to see them in a group situation” so they can see if they’re going to be fun when they cart them around as a husband or wife to different group things. Ooooookay?…Go on a double date. Others say, “It’s just part of the game, and you HAVE to play the game because everyone does.” *Eye roll*. Last I checked, no one was holding a gun to your head. You choose to play or be played in the game; you have to put aside fear and get out of it.
People would pay BIG money for a solution to these problems. Internet sites and dating services are proof of it. Will getting married solve all of life’s problems and you’ll live happily ever after? Not necessarily. But it will make less friendzones and hangouts. So get out of the zone and quit hangin’ around.