The “Friend Zone” refers to an interpersonal relationship in which one member wishes to become romantically involved while the other would rather remain friends only.
The term “Friend Zone” was coined in the November 3rd, 1994 episode of the American television sitcom Friends titled ""The One with the Blackout." While Ross is pining over his friend Rachel, Joey tells him that he waited too long to act on his feelings for her and was running out of time to be able to change their friendship into something romantic. By the end of the series, Ross and Rachel (shown below) end up married.
On July 17th, 2002, The Straight Dope Forums member FunLvnCriminal submitted a post titled “Friend Zone, Truth or Fiction? Ladies?” asking female forum users to explain why they reject ben by saying “I don’t want to ruin our friendship.” The earliest Urban Dictionary definition was submitted by user I Like Bread on December 15th, 2003, who defined the term as “What you attain after you fail to impress a woman you’re attracted to.” Below you can see a screen capture image from the video game Super Mario Bros. with instructions on how to escape the friend zone (shown below). Prior to being archived, the post received over 5,600 up votes and 375 comments.
Research as to whether or not men and women can have friendships without one of them having romantic feelings for the other dates back to as early as 2000 when researchers from the University of Texas at Austin published an article finding that men perceived the potential to gain a sexual partner more beneficial than women did, who saw more of a benefit in receiving protection from an opposite-sex friend. In 2001, Psychology Today published the first of their many investigations into friendships between the sexes. In 2011, the magazine published an article specifically on how to make the move from a friend to a romantic partner. The next year, Scientific American reported on a study out of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire that interviewed 88 pairs of undergraduate male and female friends that found the the men were more likely to be attracted to their female friends (shown below). They were also more likely to think their female friends felt the same way, which was not the case in most pairs. The study was also featured on the Huffington Post