Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Dreaded "Friend Zone" Dun-dun-duuuuun!

We all know what the "Friend Zone" is. It's that one special place where the person you want to pursue, "doesn't feel the same as you," "you're too good of a friend," or, "you're more like a sibling." Those phrases cut to the quick everyone who's ever heard them and understands the undertones.

So, what does the "Friend Zone" entail, exactly? Well, all of the above statements mean the same thing. You're a fill-in. You're the person to go to for what isn't being given in that person's actual relationship, be it emotional support or what have you. Men and women both can be placed in the "Friend Zone", and usually neither sex really likes it all that much.
It's because it's not a platonic relationship, as the name might imply, anymore than it is a sexual or romantic relationship. It is a one sided, "I get what I want, but you don't get what you want," type of relationship.

Don't get me wrong, those that want a romantic or sexual relationship aren't only wanting sex. They want companionship and intimacy on many levels.
So, why does this zone exist? It mostly boils down to smell. More specifically, the smell of pheromones. See, procreation is the main drive behind sexual relationships. Scent plays a huge role in the survival of any species on the planet. Even us. So, it's natural that certain smells attract us to a potential mate.

On the other hand, scents can also detract us from "bad stock". Our sense of smell guides us to the most attractive genetic makeup we're around. Usually, it's someone that has a different Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) than them. MHCs determine the susceptibility to an autoimmune disease. The more dissimilar MHCs from one partner compared to the other, the greater diversity of antigen presentation in their offspring. This makes for more healthy and resilient offspring and a stronger chance at survival. It also serves as an indicator of close genetic ties.

Which brings us to the next point: People are less attracted to personalities than they are physical traits, including smell. While a good personality is important in romantic relationships as it can add the high of the dopamine secretions your body generates when it's happy, it's not the show stopper most think it of. Here's the tricky bit. Guys often wonder, "Why is she with the guy that treats her so badly, when she knows I'd treat her like she wants to be treated by him?" The reason is MHCs. Blame them. One of five factors can sabotage your chances.

The first is, you're not clean enough. The second is, you're wearing too much cologne or other smelly chemicals. The third factor can be the similarities between your chemical makeup and your potential partner. Number four, the other suitor is masking his natural smell with artificial pheromones to make him more appealing, or just covering his up. The last, and most damaging to your cause, is he is her chemical opposite. In this case, opposites are the strongest attraction.

So, how does all this biochemistry relate to the "Friend Zone"? Simple, you're in the "Friend Zone" because you smell funny. Really.