Thursday, 24 October 2013

Comment #22: -- On Friendzoning, Preference, and Orientation

Date Started: 14/10/13        Date Completed: 23/10/13         Date Published: 23/10/13

I had a period of lucidity, lying in bed, recently, in which the usual mess of thoughts came together, to resolve the following few subjects. It was a stream-of-consciousness style realisation, so they really happened in this order:


When it comes to relationships, there are a few categories that can be considered meaningful –
there are strangers, acquaintances, friends, and lovers.

It seems to me that people who have claimed to be 'friendzoned' do so because they feel frustration, that they're only friends, and not lovers, with another person.

But i notice there's no such thing as 'strangerzoning', where one party was hoping to be more than just a stranger to someone else. “Why is that?” i wondered. Why do these sentences never/rarely come to mind:

"It's awful being strangerzoned. They just won't let me in. And all because they 'see me as a stranger'. Well, if they just didn't, then maybe, maybe, they'd see that they do, really, want me to be more than a stranger. Then they might realise that they want me as an acquaintance, and as more than someone who pesters them in the street. Ugh – i can’t be just their stranger any longer!"

Note: if you want to go from stranger straight to lover, i'm afraid i can't comprehend your psychometry at all... unless you like dogging, or cottaging... but then surely it’s not romance you’re after??

All the social turmoil of this situation is caused by the emotional turmoil that occurs when you love someone, and when that person doesn't feel the same for you.

Think about it - you're already quite close, so you see them quite a bit, and therefore think about them a lot, which tempts and tantalises and teases you a lot more than if you weren’t already very close, and just wanted to be more than a stranger or acquaintance – to add them to your Facebook friends list, for example.

“They wouldn’t add me on Facebook. WTF? I like, met them once, and actually told them my name, and everything...”

“So i actually met Harry, after the show, and he was so awesome, and beautiful, and just as great in real life, and oh i love him, but he didn’t even reply when i shouted out his name! You’d have thought he’d ignore all the other people shouting and at least look my way. I know everything about him, and he looked straight past me. Marry me, Harry. Oh....”

Which seems more reasonable? Well, neither seems all that reasonable. But in the former case, the person speaking did actually meet the other. In the latter, there’s a lot of emotion, but really no reason to think that ‘Harry’ would even recognise whoever-they-are.

In the first case, very little emotional strain should occur, because very little emotion rides on the scenario. In the latter, they have clearly grown very heavily attached, and so feel immense heartache due to lack of reciprocity.

When a loved-one doesn't reciprocate, frustration can lead to scapegoating the other person, as part of the search for blame.

As emotional-rational beings we try to understand things (that’s the rational part) and we feel motivations to do things or attain things (that’s the emotional part). The tautology between ‘emotion’ and ‘motivation’ is no coincidence.

Note: they both derive from the latin root ‘movere’ meaning ‘to move’ {emotion} {motive}

ithout emotion – whether love, hate, fear, or whatever - we would feel no drive to do anything – to preserve/attain something (love) to erase/oppose something (hate) to prevent/avoid something (fear).
But without rationality, we would be blind idiots, unable to learn from our experiences, including knowledge of how to control our emotions, and when it is a good time to contradict an emotion or simply ‘go with the flow’.

The emotions we feel around acquaintances and friends are not as strong as with lovers, so we don't feel quite as crudely snubbed when someone doesn't want to be our acquaintance/friend. Also, it's less of a cost to become acquainted with someone, than it is to become friends with someone, than it is to become lovers with someone. That's why people tend to have thousands of acquaintances, a hundred or so friends, and only one or two lovers at a time, which means you're actually more likely to be rejected if you want to be someone's lover (due to stricter selection procedures – ‘quality control’ – no-one wants to spend every night with someone they don’t get on with!).

"look at that slag! She's got so many acquaintances. Yuck...."

Both of these elements of the situation (strength of relationship, and the statistics of acceptance) make the difference between being a friend and a lover far more weighty, and thereby more emotionally influential, than the difference between being an acquaintance or friend, or a stranger or acquaintance.

So when it comes to employing our rationality, to control our emotions, to allow us to see that they don’t want us back, the way we want them, it’s a lot harder to do if we’re ‘in love’ with them.

The emotion – the motive – to be with them (and presumably to do ‘certain things’ with them) is powerful – sometimes too powerful for us to control. Peer support makes it a lot easier, of course. There has even been research into friendship, and the amount of pain people feel when snubbed. If someone’s there to console them, they literally feel less pain!

This is why emotionalistic ideologies court irrationality, and denial of evidence. It’s simply easier to impart blame where there is none, than to accept that your own emotions are at fault, when you don’t have emotional self-control.

Like Tim Minchin says: “Love without evidence is... stalking”

So my advice is to remember that this is a problem of situation - you want more of them than they’re prepared to give - this isn't new, it isn't peculiar, you've been here before.

You’ve wanted things your parents wouldn’t buy for you. You’ve wanted to play on a team that didn’t want you. You’ve tried to get into a club that didn’t like your shoes. You’ve met someone who wouldn’t add you on Facebook. You’ve wanted to go out when your mates couldn’t be bothered.

It's just that the emotions of love are powerful and driving you cranky, which makes this specific situation much more difficult to live in than the others you've experienced.

You're not 'friendzoned' - you just feel something that they don't for you - fretting about it is only going to make you feel worse. If you can't control your feelings, you're going to have to walk away, and not just for their sake. If you can, surround yourself with friends who care, or who will at least distract you from the thoughts that taunt you.

‘P.S. On sexual 'preference'’

Firstly... do people still say that term? If no-one does, there’s little point in me continuing. Ah, well – here goes...

The primary problem with this term is that it makes sexuality sound like a choice.

"Oh, yes, well, i like boys, but then i like girls more, you know... oh, but look! Boys are on ‘3 for 2. In that case, i’ll have some boys then. Thanks"

But “preference”. That makes it sound like it's a menu, in a restaurant.

"Would madam care to pick a sex?" "I'll have... that one, please"

I might be pointing out the obvious here, but not everyone’s right-down-the-middle equivalently bisexual! So it’s not just a matter of choice.

The metaphorical book of sexuality is actually least about attraction to males or females, and mostly about what you want to do with males/females when you’re with them. Some people have very reticent sexualities that like to keep things simple, and some people have very outgoing sexualities that just want to try everything.

"Would madam care to be served with tongues, fingers, or would she like to see the menu of other appendages?" "Oh, gosh - i'll have them all ...yummy!"

But sexuality isn't like a restaurant menu in that sense, either.

“Would madam care to order a Main Course?" "I'll have them all!" "Is madam sure? That will be more than £600" "Ah..."

When it comes to bedroom antics (or non-bedroom antics, depending on your... preference?) you don't have to pick one option. You can have everything! Every option.

...although, like with food, maybe don't try all at the same time!

‘P.P.S. On sexual 'orientation'’

Whereas ‘preference’ implies choice that is not there, ‘orientation’ is a concept that struggles to imply variance in sexual interest.

Presumably, in the metaphor of orientation, males are on one side and females the other.

So which way are bisexuals facing? Both ways? Do they have to be two-faced!?

Or maybe the term can be made compatible with reality by implying that bisexuals have highly flexible, freely-swivelling necks, like owls, that enable them to be oriented toward both males and females with practical simultaneity...?

Surely the term ‘sexuality’, which is far simpler, does a much better job of alluding to... sexuality... without asserting fatuous implications about its nature?

Plus, it recedes sex-based sexuality into the backdrop of myriad other characteristics that we favour/disfavour in a partner:

Boys, girls, or both? Blondes, brunettes, gingers, mixture/all of the above? Skinny, chubby, anywhere across the range? Hairy, smooth, somewhere in between? Dark, light, or intermediate epidermic chromatics? Butch, femme, or either, by appearance or behaviour, either and/or aswell as, all above, or also including, too?

There are many features that our sexualities discriminate between. The shape of our dangly bits are just one variable!

If anything, sexual ‘orientation’ does an even worse job of representing this than ‘preference’, because most people don't consider orientations into the 16th spatial dimension! But thinking that someone can take 16 factors into consideration when making a preference... that’s more intuitive.

Either way, i don’t like them.

So, sexuality... it’s not about the choices you make, it’s not about who you face or turn your back on... it doesn’t matter whether it’s genetic or environmental – whether it’s about comfort, or dousing the fire inside... it’s all about what you find attractive.

And that’s why i prefer to orient myself toward the simple term ‘sexuality’.

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