The concept of liking someone who doesn't like you back isn't exactly new - it's a stale form of heartbreak that has inspired countless works of art over the centuries. But the concept of the friendzone (and particularly the material used to interpret and explore it in popular culture) is a sour addition to this idea.
The friendzone, in its purest form, tells us exactly how obsessed with sex we are in Western civilization. The idea that you should only be friends with an attractive girl - because let's face it, nobody seems to complain about men putting people in the friendzone - is not only laughed at, but is seen as a form of torture put to us by those fiendish ovary-coveting creatures known as women.
If you're one of those people who regularly laments 'the friendzone,' you've probably heard of women before - those people that your Mum has over for tea and conversation sometimes, those members of the population that grew lumps on their chests when you started secondary school, the ones that you've heard rumours about not having the same bits as you.
That's the thing about the concept of 'friendzoning' - it's innately hostile to women. How dare she not want to be more than friends! It's not a choice, if we're to believe pictures on 9GAG and enraged forum posters. It's an insult.
The idea gets yet more absurd when you look at it from the perspective of any person who isn't heterosexual. I personally like men AND women - and boy would you believe the amount of friendzoning that gets me. If I were to take offence at every person that I find attractive not wanting to reciprocate that, I'd surely get arthritis from all of the spiteful tweets and vengeful 4chan posts I would be forced to make.
But you're reading this, and you're begrudgingly agreeing, because in the past you've liked someone who has admired you but not enough to have a romantic relationship with you. You got frustrated, you wanted more - hell, maybe you even tried to express your feelings, and if so, good on you.
But say she still wasn't interested, and you were left at a crossroads. At this point, you either get sour, or you get wise. Say you get sour - you blame it on her, you blame it on the friendzone, you go to support groups, you go on WikiHow and read their article on how to get out of the friendzone.
Or you get wise. You realise that this is part of growing up, and that if you lived your whole life like this, you'd have a tough time coexisting with attractive people. That maybe, just maybe, the friendzone doesn't exist.