The Science of the Friend Zone

Hey, Vsauce. Michael here.
And today we’re going to talk about the science of the friend zone.
You know, the experience of liking someone and then finding out
that they would rather just be friends with you.
Why does it happen? If there’s hope of escaping the friend zone, how can it be done? And, more importantly, should you? The term “friend zone” was popularized by the TV show Friends on November 3, 1994. In Episode 7 of the first season, Joey tells Ross that Rachel likes him, but will never like like him. Ross is in the friend zone.
Now, of course, everything turned out fine for Ross,
but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Back when I calculated how much money love is worth I discussed the feeling of having a crush on someone. Those emotions, the nervousness,
the excitement have a name. What you feel when you have a crush on
somebody is known as limerence. It’s exciting to feel
butterflies in your stomach whenever you’re around somebody and those butterflies may be caused by the release of adrenaline, which pulls blood away
from things like your stomach and toward the muscles,
where it may be better used. Of course, this can cause the stomach to shut down
a bit, become upset. It may also explain why people have a reduced appetite when they feel love sick.
Now, whether you are male, female, gay, straight, everybody can be friend-zoned.
And, biologically speaking, the route of the friend zone may be Bateman’s Principle.
Named after Angus Bateman, the principle states that
whenever a species, like us humans, contains two different sexes, each with dissimilar sex cells, for instance, sperm and egg, inevitably one sex will
have to commit more resources to the production of offspring.
In mammals this is especially true. A female can have only a limited number of offspring, whereas a male can have a virtually unlimited number.
This causes a biological tendency for one sex to be competitive and for the other to be choosy.
The newest episode of Earth Touch’s “Wild Sex” goes into a lot
more detail about this, so be sure to check it out.
But today, regardless of whether or not
reproduction is the goal, the roles of pursuer and pursued have extended beyond the Bateman
principle and are now quite hard-wired into our culture.
Because not every pursuer can win and because not every pursuer is a terrible jerk, some friend-zoning in is inevitable. It’s disappointing when it happens to
you and it’s easy to rely on the “nice guys finish last” excuse, but so far research hasn’t found much evidence for it.
What’s more likely is that you have idealized the other person as a potential mate, but a neutral observer could tell you that in reality the two of you don’t have as much
in common as you think. This is the argument put forward by Jenna Marbles in her fantastic video.
It’s called homogamy. We select our mates based on how similar
they are to our own personalities, interests and ideals for the future.
And so when someone is friend-zoned, it’s often not because they
were too friendly or too much of a nice guy, instead, it’s often just run-of-the-mill incompatibility. But let’s not rule out being too friendly or too nice from every situation just yet. Marshall Fine described the friend zone
as a penalty box that you’re sent to when your only crime is not being buff or unobtainable enough. Buffness falls into homogamy. It’s about
what someone else’s interests are and what they want from a mate. But what fascinates me is the part about being unobtainable.
Why would being available and present and friendly make you less attractive? And why would being kind of a jerk, too cool, aloof or hard to get make you more attractive?
Well, Robert Cialdini calls this the scarcity principle.
We desire things that are difficult to obtain, because we don’t like to have our freedom limited and we act before it can be.
This happens all the time in business and it’s equally true when it comes to attraction. Using the scarcity effect yourself is often cited as a possible escape route
from the friend zone. Make yourself less available and see if your crush responds, or try using the Ben Franklin effect.
Benjamin Franklin wrote about how he was able to form relationships with other people by asking them to do things for him. The theory is that by doing favors for
you cognitive dissonance occurs in the person’s mind. Why would they be doing favors for you unless they liked you? Now, it’s no guarantee
that you’ll become more than friends but just by simply becoming friends, you’ll be doing something quite special, because today, we all, on average have fewer friends, fewer close individuals we can confide in than we did decades ago.
And we hang out with those friends less than we did before. This phenomenon was
explored famously by Robert Putnam in “Bowling Alone.”
For instance, from 1965 to 1995, the number of minutes people of all ages
reported spending per day with informal socializing, hanging out with friends, going to parties, hanging out at bars or
having informal conversations fell from 85 minutes to just 57.
In about the same time frame, the number of picnics held fell 60 percent. And the number of times on average we
entertain friends at home fell from 14 to 15 times a year to a mere 8. We spend more time than we used to on entertainment, sleep, exercise and transportation. Not bad things, but since the middle of the 20th century, the two activities that many of us still
do that have decreased the most are attending worship service and hanging out with friends.
We’re also now spending time on this new thing called the Internet. It’s a great tool for
communication and social networks, but like T. S. Eliot said of the telephone before it, the Internet may simply allow us
to speak to more people than ever before, but be more lonely doing it.
Social networks have somewhat diluted the power of the word friend.
But way before MySpace or Facebook, the word friend was on the way out.
So much so that we had to start using a new word, ‘best friend.’
Robert Wuthnow cautions that on the Internet what feels social may be less of a way for us to focus on actual interpersonal relationships, and instead more of a stage for us to focus on ourselves in the presence of other people.
To be sure, virtual communities are often more equal, because we know less information about
our discussion partners, like age, race or gender.
But what we gain from anonymity often comes at the cost of an evening out of interests and values. I can retreat from real-world conversations and hide within niche communities online,
where everyone thinks like me and generally shares my worldview. It’s called cyberbalkanization. It’s when online interactions provide a lazy environment, free from actual discussion
and outside views. Whereas the real world often forces us
to deal with the greater diversity of interests and values.
Now, because we choose mates that are so similar to ourselves, this vital exposure to new, honest ideas often has to come from friends – a resource that is diminishing in our society.
And so, although it’s disappointing to be friend-zoned, in a way it might be where that other person, and all of us, actually need you the most. And as always, thanks for watching.


  1. Th3FatKat

    August 4, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    Making content for your target audience bro

  2. Kewin Miskiewicz

    August 5, 2019 at 2:12 am

    My own girlfriend friend zoned me today 🙁

  3. Batgirlapplepie Art

    August 6, 2019 at 10:40 am

    "Whether you are male, female, gay, straight EVERYBODY can be friendzoned."

  4. Andres Emilio DiStefano

    August 6, 2019 at 11:20 am

    When a girl tells you she wants to be friends she is testing you to see if you're enough of a bitch to say, "yeah that's probably for the best", or "you're right, we could ruin our friendship", or something along those lines. Women test men as a test of intellect and social prowess, ability to take control, etc. When a girl tells you she wants to be friends tell her you already have friends and you don't need any more, and not to use the "F word" on you again (only half kidding). She'll either become intrigued by you or she'll leave and stop wasting your time. Usually its the first one

  5. Kaya Styles

    August 6, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    I’m incredibly picky and have friend zoned so many guys because they didn’t fit my ideals and were holding me back. I’m not going to be with someone who wants to stay in one place and have a basic life. I want adventure and travel.

  6. Der Pferdeflüsterer

    August 6, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    1:17 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  7. Knull

    August 7, 2019 at 2:20 am

    This went from interesting to a lesson

  8. Chipper115

    August 7, 2019 at 4:40 am

    anybody here in the "friend zone"

  9. Declan Eaton

    August 7, 2019 at 8:11 am

    I only talk to people online because I can't talk to people in the real world 🙁

  10. Random dude

    August 8, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    9.5 milion people are friend-zoned by 2019

  11. Peregrine

    August 9, 2019 at 3:10 am

    1:35 what do you mean? Everyone's straight. Gay is a term for people who want to be different but can't because it's biologically impossible. And even if it were possible it would be a betrayal of God.

  12. Kyle Anderson

    August 10, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Jokes on you, i'm an asexual

  13. huh im here

    August 11, 2019 at 4:14 am

    Person:you're bi, it makes it easier for you to date people!

    Me:I just get friend zoned twice as often

    or do I?

  14. Mohammad Steitieh

    August 12, 2019 at 1:40 am

    its sad how this can be not pc enough today

  15. Ben Tv Howman

    August 12, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    We've all been there

  16. pooky

    August 12, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    0:15 u can see the saddnes in his eyes

  17. Vedraj r.m

    August 13, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Cute girls have cute friends

  18. Devansh Bhatt

    August 14, 2019 at 6:11 am

    there's no friend zone its only you are fat and gay

  19. lll•A_German_Ewok•lll

    August 14, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    The most important video in the history of cinematography and social media.

  20. Blake's space flight simulator yt

    August 15, 2019 at 2:11 am

    When someone ask if you and your crush are dating yes but actually no

  21. Gamer Swapnil

    August 15, 2019 at 10:08 am

    If there is hope of escaping the friendzone how can you?
    But more importantly

    Should you?
    (Vsauce music plays)

  22. Butterflies and a Cloudy Sky

    August 15, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    The friendzone is simple: I literally just dont like you like that

  23. bluechip dirt

    August 16, 2019 at 2:55 am

    Sad ni🅱️🅱️a hours

  24. big barry

    August 16, 2019 at 11:06 am

    This hit to close to home

  25. Starchy the Potato

    August 16, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    You can't be in the friend zone if you have no friends.

  26. D duck squad

    August 16, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Can't be friend zoned if you have no friends

  27. Sawyer Barnes

    August 16, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    You made me feel better

  28. Bugler55

    August 17, 2019 at 1:36 am

    women have a friendzone version, except its the fwb-zone, which is probably equally depressing.

  29. inox1ck

    August 17, 2019 at 8:31 am

    Bro the love zone is bad for me
    I love the friendzone
    Yup i don't have relationships with anyone

  30. Depressing Beats

    August 17, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    It’s true me and my gf have almost everything in common

  31. creative username here

    August 17, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    1:17 i dont think its pulling the blood toward the muscles for me

  32. Jurassic Films

    August 18, 2019 at 5:56 am

    Vsause being an absolute chad

  33. XDSlayyer

    August 18, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    A girl friend zoned me

    That girl is my girlfriend now…

  34. tigerpulse

    August 20, 2019 at 6:25 am


  35. ALE C.

    August 21, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    this is why bat(e)man is always alone

  36. Ryan James

    August 22, 2019 at 3:27 am

    U haven't met the local gay pimp in my street Michel

  37. Jevan 322144

    August 22, 2019 at 3:58 am

    My man michael lost weight over the years good job mate 👍

  38. Mitchell Ferman

    August 22, 2019 at 6:26 am

    7 times… why am I still trying

  39. Stygy Ramz

    August 22, 2019 at 9:21 am

    yikes, 2013 and yet its sitting in my recommendation. i wonder why…

  40. ThisisFizban

    August 22, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    I think he touched on this in the video but I've noticed that people who are depressed about being single and complain about it frequently actually perpetuate being single for a longer period of time. I notice that this quality just turns me off from dating that girl. That doesn't mean I won't talk to them, but if I enjoy their company they'll just be my friend. And then isn't it funny how once we start dating someone, all of a sudden lots of people express interest in you.

  41. Mitch L

    August 22, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    I'm too cool for the friend zone. Homies like me get the no-zone treatment 😎😎😎🤙🤙

  42. EpicMenn

    August 24, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    So thanks to the show friends we all people all getting FriendZoned thanks Ross

  43. Nachar Robinson

    August 26, 2019 at 1:06 am

    Friendzone: you might have a chance … probably
    Brotherzone: it's over bro

  44. ComZet

    August 26, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    friend zone isn't a thing. if you're likable, confident (attractive is a big bonus) you will have people interested in you, it's as simple as that

    if you are constantly getting rejected then news flash, it's you

    i used to be fat and have zero style, i still had hot girls want me, because i wasn't some basement dwelling loser who's mad at the world for my own inferiority

  45. Rajnish Jain

    August 28, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Friend zoned being like


  46. Juha Lankinen

    August 29, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Why can't you be friends and still have sex?

  47. Kristupas Juška

    August 29, 2019 at 11:41 am

    2:33 good recommendation

  48. CastleIsLife Katic

    August 31, 2019 at 5:38 am

    YOU REALLY JUST SPOILED FRIENDS LIKE THAT😭😭luckily i'm in season 9 so it's okay

  49. noam ozeri

    September 1, 2019 at 7:45 am

    When the algorithm wants you to see this

  50. Soumyadeep980

    September 1, 2019 at 8:36 am

    I got no Physical friends 🙁

  51. Choowde

    September 1, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Im something of a scientist myself

  52. Mustaali Kapasi

    September 1, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    Lol Batman’s principal

  53. Mr. Memester

    September 2, 2019 at 11:53 am

    I always get rejected

  54. Mateo Patrick Coulson

    September 3, 2019 at 2:31 pm


  55. Darth Vader

    September 4, 2019 at 12:19 am

    There is 1 limit to how much kids you can have.


  56. Darth Vader

    September 4, 2019 at 12:25 am

    Is the friend zone Thanos?

  57. Caolan The Wulf

    September 4, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Welcome to the club

  58. dapotyo

    September 5, 2019 at 12:00 am

    limerence makes me wanna kill myself

  59. Moab Blades

    September 5, 2019 at 12:12 am

    When you ask your crush out and she says your like a brother to her

    Then remember you live in alabama

  60. FUZZY

    September 5, 2019 at 1:32 am


  61. Awesomepokalypse

    September 5, 2019 at 11:52 am

    0:51 Basic evidence of Vsauce staying on topic ^_^

  62. Blazej Lewartowski

    September 5, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    Who tf dislikes vsauce videos??

  63. TM109

    September 6, 2019 at 3:40 am

    How does Youtube recommend this at a convenient time.

  64. Rafael Galano

    September 6, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Why would youtube recommend me the science of friendzone? I'll watch it ofcourse.

  65. Tasty McNuggets

    September 7, 2019 at 1:54 am

    I’m so deep in the friend zone that she sends me nudes to see if they’re good enough to send to her boyfriend

  66. J W

    September 7, 2019 at 6:33 am

    The science of my life

  67. Snickers Kid

    September 7, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Who tf friendzoned my guy Vsauce???

  68. Slavic Mapper

    September 7, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    My smartass recommended:

  69. Slavic Mapper

    September 7, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    Guys I got friendzoned in my dreams.

  70. Nathan Porter

    September 7, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    I basically have a PHD in this

  71. Nordvik

    September 8, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    Just got friendzoned by my ex-girlfriend.. this pops up in recommended

  72. o̷u̷t̷c̷a̷s̷t̷'̷s̷ ̷c̷l̷u̷b̷

    September 9, 2019 at 12:26 am

    anyone here after being friend zoned

  73. Clint James De Paz

    September 10, 2019 at 1:58 am

    Batman's Principle

  74. Nicholas Major

    September 11, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    Lies, the Ben Franklin effect is just flexing thos 100's, bitches.

  75. Eliseo Bortoli

    September 12, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    you re so smart

  76. Vaas Montengro

    September 12, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    Another reason we have less friends today in my opinion could be that younger people have realised that most of your friends are snakes that will stab you behind your back, so they only keep a close 3 or 4 friends maybe, and that's also why we have best friends

  77. Turk6634

    September 14, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    The science of my life ;-;

  78. Ro Cuevas

    September 15, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    The video was good at the beginning but then you just went far away from the main subject

  79. FUZZZBUZZZ 420

    September 16, 2019 at 8:59 am

    I have a method known as stockholm syndrome

  80. Ripper

    September 16, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Never clicked so fast on a video

  81. Im7h3on3 _d3f4ul7

    September 17, 2019 at 10:42 am

    When they say science is everything it is literally science is everything

  82. Dj Quixi

    September 17, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    can't be friendzoned if you're nobody's friend. ;-;

  83. Sam LOTR-HP

    September 18, 2019 at 2:05 am

    I just had to friendzone one of my closest friends yesterday and it kinda hurt to do because it’s gotta suck to be friendzoned. But it’d be crueler to start a one-sided thing, so I don’t regret it.

  84. Alexander Parra

    September 18, 2019 at 3:15 am

    I recently got friendzoned indirectly I was very sad I don’t know what to do she says she has a boyfriend remember I was told indirectly due to making me feel sad but either way I still am i think she is just lying so I could go away that could possible but she is friendly to me basically she is taken so I cannot do anything I guess I cannot talk to her anymore or else I am more sad.

  85. oioi

    September 18, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    That Marshall fine thing was just the most severe incel comment. “When your only crime is not being buff” Like from experience as a 7’8 foot jacked giga chad. I can say that is false. Real talk though if your socially inept then that’s probably the problem

  86. Tiago Coelho

    September 19, 2019 at 12:58 am

    Peterson cof cof

  87. Endereee

    September 19, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    I was in the friend zone with my now girlfriend

  88. Clasby

    September 21, 2019 at 6:40 am

    Michael’s son in the future asking for relationship advice:

    Michael: ah yes, but first, what exactly IS a relationship?

  89. Deni Erlangga

    September 21, 2019 at 11:33 am

    This is on my recommendation…..what are you trying to say youtube?

  90. Fattest cunt with only shitty videos challenge

    September 23, 2019 at 4:30 am

    Next time on Vsauce why in Russia does the road fork YOU

  91. Fattest cunt with only shitty videos challenge

    September 23, 2019 at 4:32 am

    Next time on Vsauce we'll explore you're butthole.

  92. Fattest cunt with only shitty videos challenge

    September 23, 2019 at 4:37 am

    The real science behind the friend zone: someone has a bigger penis or is richer than you

  93. Aj_Plays1229

    September 23, 2019 at 5:59 am

    Benjamin Franklin: invents electricity
    Me: insert drake dislike memes
    Benjamin Franklin: here’s a tip on how to get a girlfriend
    Me: insert drake like meme

  94. Stephen Girshovich

    September 23, 2019 at 7:18 am


  95. MojoNineZero

    September 23, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Great message in this.

  96. Jon Dillon

    September 24, 2019 at 1:36 am

    The science of being a beta male

  97. Anubhav Kesarwani

    September 24, 2019 at 7:42 am

    5times I've been friendzoned 4times I 've been brozoned

  98. Bhost Fischer

    September 24, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    "Welcome to my house. As you can see, I have knocked over many chairs because I'm get so tilted at the towers."
    "Uh, this isn't really tilted or a tower.."
    "Well, see, it's a gamer pad. Not many girls come in here because I get friendzoned so frequently, but that's okay."
    "I'd like to be in the friendzone! I like friends!"
    "It's not as pleasant as you think. They don't treat you like a friend, they treat you like an item. Sometimes I wish I could be more than just an accessory to these women, but unfortunately, as a gamer, I don't get respect."
    "Well.. I'm not a gamer, so maybe they'll respect me?"
    "That just makes you a beta cuck. You see, that's the difference between you and I, Silver the Hedgehog. I'm a- I'm an alpha gamer."

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