500 Days of Summer IRL: A Love Letter to The Villainized Friendzoners | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Summer is not the villain. I repeat. Summer is not the villain! I’m sure we all love happy endings but it just doesn’t happen all the time, especially in real life– and even in movies. ‘500 Days of Summer’ (2009) is a great way to explore that fact.

I probably either have all the authority or have zero authority to write this, there’s no in-between. But it’s safe to say we’ve all been through the same thing: Not liking someone back and having to let them down the easiest and kindest way possible. And might I add, this is in no way tooting my own horn but it’s a genuine problem we encounter as human beings and it’s a difficult feat to accomplish! That limbo of staying friends while having an awkward tension that can be cut by a machete after putting them in the friendzone is a rough patch we go through, and I feel the pain of the villainized friendzoners. So this one’s for you

There are undeniable tendencies to either be villainized or humanized in these rejection situations. Unfortunately, it’s usually the former–for me, at least. And God, I’m just so tired of the narrative that goes like: “But why couldn’t you have just given him a chance?”, “Why can’t you like him back?”, “He’s done everything for you! You owe this to him!” Trust me, I’ve heard it all and it’s an excruciating type of frustration to go through; the feeling of having to swallow down your pride, bare your cards on the table, and having to explain yourself step-by-step, and yet, still be called “the girl who led him on” behind your back.

So here’s a little something from someone who’s single by choice (for now LOL) and a friendzoner (just kidding?) by blood.

Projecting your feelings onto others can be classified as one of the most self-destructive behaviors. It’s like horse blinkers but for humans, causing you to have tunnel vision in a relationship. ‘Comet’ (2014) is a parallel universe that lets viewers unfold the confusingly random idiosyncrasies of relationships. Image Source: Anamorphosis and Isolate / Tumblr

Rejection is denotatively a negative word hence, the reaction one usually receives when acting upon it is unsurprisingly negative. It’s a word to explain “not getting what we want” and yes, that hurts. By all means, we’ve been through it, but the tricky part is our occasional inability to understand the rejector’s side. It’s an unsung lesson that putting ourselves in their shoes and exploring their uncelebrated feelings and thoughts may actually result in an emotional and mental breakthrough, one that should always be attempted to achieve. 

More often than not, emotions override logic and the simplest rational decisions drown in a river of feelings. So, the biggest rule of thumb is honesty, I mean it isn’t the best policy without a reason right? The truth is hard and it hurts, but it’s better than the blind leading the blind. Yes, there’s the happy-ever-after results after honestly stating your truth [Think ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ (2008) or ‘Love, Rosie’ (2014)] but people mostly fail to understand that we don’t always get what we want and we definitely aren’t entitled to someone’s reciprocation just because we think we’ve done everything in our power to change their mind. Being honest about what type of relationship you’re getting into or just setting out “house rules” on the table is as good as it gets. But never blame yourself if you were honest and stood your ground when things go awry after you’ve squandered every ounce of the truth for them. You’ve exhausted all your resources in making things as clear as possible, and if they still expect otherwise, then that’s on them.

This is the epitome of projecting your expectations on a fantasy and getting it way too blurred with reality. Ultimately, getting disappointed if things don’t go your way. Try out ‘Ruby Sparks’ (2012) for a reality check. Image Source: Movie Quotes / Facebook

Expectations are dangerous waters to tread in. These are the subliminal causes of the damages that could eventually happen in friendships and relationships alike. Ultimately, these are what should be kept in check. Call them what you want: assumptions, preconceived notions, judgments– these are all wrapped under the menacing cloak of expectations. Yes, you may have checked off Step 1: Honesty, but remember that emotions and feelings are the most uncontrollably, inexplicably frustrating part of the human anatomy, and most times– expect that they’ll still have expectations and you are in no way obliged to live in their fantasy.

When dealing with the aftermath of rejecting someone, it almost feels a little bit like you just performed euthanasia except you’ll still probably see or hear from them after the procedure and it sucks even more if you’re villainized for it– as if you got away with murder but in reality, you’re just framed for it. But believe me, it’s a noble thing, to be honest, and recognize the humanity in our inability to live perfect fairytales, and always have definite reasons and answers. It could or couldn’t be your fault for how things turn out but it’s definitely an experience to learn from, for you and them both.

Now that Valentine’s is over, I have no reason not to say this: To all the ones who’ve felt like the villain because you stood up for the truth, I sympathize with you for the unfair dealings you have received in all your efforts, for the narratives that were twisted in the middle of your conversations, and for the way your honesty was gravely misconstrued. Now, to all the ones who’ve had expectations and blamed us for not living up to them, I plead with you to suck it up that things didn’t go your way, stop blaming everyone for your own fantasies, and see the two sides of every coin, especially when it’s hard.

Mistakes are bound to happen between both of you. The best solution? Accept, Learn, and Move Forward. That’s the 3-step formula for not having emotional hangovers and ‘Flipped’ (2010) is a great coming-of-age film to truly dissect the fallacy of romance stereotypes. Image Source: IMDb

Disclaimer: No exes, ex-flings, or ex-whoevers were harmed in the writing of this article. You guys are opportunities to learn and great muses to write an article about and laugh over too.


Header image courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. Taken from: Cinema Blend

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