Why would the friend zone not be real? Trying to wrap my head around that.
@ortin Because sometimes people perceive things and then generalize or overreact without checking themselves first. I didn't mean to phrase it and discount the pain of being rejected. But my perception of the popular context of the friend zone initially was that it was someone's overblown ego and entitlement took a hit. Thus they decided to blame the person they pursued, instead of accepting that sometimes people just aren't interested. See: people who say "I wasted two months on [insert person's name]" etc.
However, some people have offered insight and I've changed my perception. It's a complex situation and there can be different perspectives, all of which have validity in the eyes of the person involved. Instead of judging someone, I should try to empathize with what a person is reflecting by claiming they've been friend zoned (ie. they've been hurt, they might need to learn better communication skills, etc) and I should seek to understand it.
It could be just another name for "rejection", but rejection sounds like it's your fault, while "friendzone" sounds like the other person's fault
This is a good summation.