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Friendzone Johnny is an advice animal image macro series featuring a photo of teenage boy holding a bouquet of roses accompanied by captions related to unrequited love and romantic rejection.
On January 8th, 2012, Redditor shakee submitted a post titled “Friendzone level 99” to the /r/funny subreddit and FunnyJunk containing a screenshot of a Facebook photo page depicting a teenager with a flower bouquet and the following description:
This is how you do it. He comes to my house at midnight to wish me a happy birthday(: I am so blessed to have such great friends. Thank you sososoo much Jonathon!
The first Quickmeme submission was created the same day with the caption “Plans for weeks / humiliated for a lifetime.” It was subsequently posted to Reddit and reached the front page accumulating 11,328 up votes within 2 days.
The term “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 earliest known instance has been attributed to a 1994 episode of television sitcom Friends in which the character Ross is labeled “mayor of the Friend Zone.” The earliest Urban Dictionary definition was submitted on December 15th, 2003.
Friend Zone: What you attain after you fail to impress a woman you’re attracted to. Usually initiated by the woman saying, “You’re such a good friend”. Usually associated with long days of suffering and watching your love interest hop from one bad relationship to another. Verb tense is “Friend-ed”.
On January 9th, an “ask me anything” (AMA) request for Friendzone Johnny was submitted to the /r/IAmA subreddit. A Redditor named “FriendZoneJohnny” commented in the thread identifying himself as Johnny Solis and explained his side of the story:
The same day, Johnny started a Q&A thread on the Bodybuilding Forums and verified himself with a spoon picture and a Facebook status update.
On January 10th, a thread titled “Friendzone Johnny no longer friendzoned” that included a screenshot of Johnny Solis’ Facebook page showing his relationship status as “married” was submitted to the /r/adviceanimals subreddit. The same day, a thread titled “Friendzone Johnny got the girl!” that included a photo of Johnny with his arm around a teenage girl was submitted by Redditor bezerk86.
The same day, Johnny replied to the Body Building forums thread admitting that he was not in a relationship with Lizz and that “she put we are married to try to get people off our backs.” Body Building forums user Curlingrack replied claiming this move would only push him deeper into the friend zone.
Related Concept: The Nice Guy
The Friendzone Johnny character is often associated with the “nice guy” stereotype, a popular culture term used to describe an adult or teenage male that lacks assertive personality traits in relationships with women. Researchers Herold and Milhausen found that the “nice guy” label means different things to different women, with some finding it a positive label and others finding it boring and unattractive.
The Geek Feminism Wiki describes the “nice guy” as a manipulative male with ulterior motives:
He is prone to behaviors like “giving-to-get” (with strings attached) as well as patterns of idealizing and devaluing women. The terms Nice Guy™ and nice guy syndrome are used to describe men who view themselves as prototypical “nice guys,” but whose “nice deeds” are in reality only motivated by attempts to passively please women into a relationship and/or sex.
On May 27th, 2010, Wired published an article titled “The Nice Guy’s Guide to Realizing You’re Not That Nice” which criticized the idea that women reject men simply because they are friendly or kind.
On Reddit, threads are often created debating the effectiveness and legitimacy of the “nice guy” approach to women. On September 19th, 2011, Redditor UnattractiveNiceGuy posted a thread to the women’s issues subreddit /r/TwoXChromosomes questioning why there was so much hatred for “nice guys.” On October 23rd, 2011, Redditor abadgaem reposted an archived Something Awful forums thread to the /r/seduction subreddit on why the “nice guy” approach should be avoided as a tactic to court women.
Search queries for “friendzone johnny” rose dramatically in January of 2012, the same month the first threads were submitted to Reddit.
National Library of Medicine – Dating preferences of university women: an analysis of the nice guy stereotype.