There comes a time in everyone’s life where they find themselves falling for a friend. You think that the bond you share can be escalated to a deeper, more romantic level. Sometimes, you get the fairy tale. Other times, you hear the magic words: “I don’t want to ruin our friendship.” That’s when your worst fears have been confirmed: You’ve been banished to the dark recesses of a place known only as “The Friend Zone.”
If you’ve found yourself in the Friend Zone, at least you’ll have some company. Here are five fictional characters who just might have it worse than you. Commiserate with them. Learn from them. And have yourself a good ugly cry if you need it.
Jacob Black (Twilight)
I’m not proud of including anything related to Twilight on this list or even acknowledging that I’ve sat through two of the films and managed to get through 75% of the first book. Yet, here we are. And it’s still a better place than the Great Dumping Ground of Unrequited Love that teen wolf Jacob Black was relegated to courtesy of Bella Swan and her twinkling vampiric soul(less)mate, Edward.
Despite being the (yes, I’m going to be shallow here) better looking of the two options that our metaphysical Mary Sue had to choose from, Jacob was continually teased with the possibility of a romance with Bella and — also continually — passed over in favor of Captain Sparkle Pants, Edward Cullen.
At least Jacob got a consolation prize: After Bella and Edward — now both vampires — impossibly spawned a daughter, Jacob “imprinted” on the baby vamp and when she comes of age, she’ll be his intended. Because it’s not creepy at all to watch your former flame’s daughter grow from infancy to adulthood and start ticking down the days until she’s no longer jailbait. Jacob Black always gets fucked… Just not in that way.
Chloe Sullivan (Smallville)
Smallville was on TV for a decade and, in that time, you could count on one hand the number of love interests Chole Sullivan had. For the bulk of the series, the brainy blonde was infatuated with Clark Kent. And while Superman may have been zipped to a parallel universe a time or two during Smallville‘s ten-year run, his long-suffering sidekick, Chloe, learned it’s much harder to break free from the Friend Zone than it is the Phantom Zone.
From their high school years as outcasts and junior journalists, Clark and Chloe were a tight-knit twosome. And despite the fact that Chloe was one of the few people Clark entrusted with his secret identity, he just didn’t see her as relationship-material.
After having had an on-again, off-again thing with the insufferable Lana Lang in the earlier part of the series, Clark later set his x-ray vision on Chloe’s cousin, Lois Lane. (You know where this is headed.) And even after having been shuttled to the Friend Zone, Chloe had to bear the indignity of Clark Kent applying the Kryptonian cock block to any potential romances that came her way. And on the rare occasion when Chloe had a love interest, shit went south in a hurry.
Just when you think it can’t suck any worse than having to watch the guy you’ve thrown yourself at for the better part of a decade canoodle with your cousin; Chloe found herself widowed in her early 20s, then later the object of the affections of a bona fide space monster. Eventually, she married Oliver Queen, which was kind of a nice table scrap after years of standing stalwart at Clark’s side.
Dr. Julia Hoffman (Dark Shadows)
A pioneer in her field, Julia wasn’t just a doctor on ’60s supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows, she was one of the earliest examples of a female relegated to the Friend Zone. Dr. Hoffman was introduced as a middle-aged psychiatrist who (conveniently) specialized in rare blood disorders. Unlike the rest of the old money dimwits at Collinwood, it didn’t take Julia long to deduce that the family’s long-lost cousin from England, Barnabas Collins, was actually a vampire and offered him an experimental cure for his vampirism. Barnabas, a centuries old vampire, was cursed by his jilted lover, a witch who was, ironically, the servant of his fiance in the late 1700s. Despite having a century or two to ponder the ramifications of double-dipping, Barnabas never really learned to take “no” for an answer. (Pro tip: Girls love it when you kidnap them, lock them in your basement, and try to convince them they’re the reincarnation of your centuries-dead fiance.)
On the flipside, Barnabas never learned to say “yes” to a gal who was actually interested in him. Like many a smart lady, Dr. Hoffman had the tragic flaw of being attracted to bad boys who didn’t reciprocate her admittedly well-concealed feelings. Throughout the series’ numerous travels through inter-dimensional portals — Barnabas went after doe-eyed brunettes, overlooking the affections a woman who was willing to do literally anything for him. Except for that time when Julia’s jealous side reared its head while attempting to find a cure for Barnabas. She realized that if he became human, he would merely feel gratitude towards her for breaking his curse. Just gratitude.
Ultimately, the cure flopped thanks to Julia’s machinations. Nubile young things came and went from Collinsport, with none taking Barnabas up on the offer of eternal life, yet Julia stuck by Barbabas as part of the close-knit circle of friends who knew his secret. No matter how many times she feverishly batted her eyelashes or uttered an impassioned “But, Barnabas!” til the cows came home, Barnabas just wasn’t feeling it… Or her.
Ser Jorah Mormont (Game of Thrones)
Alas, poor, noble Ser Jorah. He’s a special case. Ser Jorah isn’t just stuck the Friend Zone — he’s stuck in the Parent Zone, that special region of the Friend Zone for those who are simultaneously brought in to fix the problems of the person who is Friendzoning them, yet resented for doing so and treated with all the respect and dignity of an airplane vomit bag. While the chances of escaping the Friend Zone are slim, you still have a chance. Yet, once a chick sees you as an almost parental figure, all the daddy issues in the world won’t merit you even half a chance of her seeing you as a potential partner.
While Petyr Baelish might have a shot at getting some of that sweet Stark stank on his Littlefinger by virtue of the fact that A.) he’s a straight up creeper and B.) after Ramsay Bolton, porking anyone else would be a treat; Ser Jorah is doomed to sing an eternal chorus of “Never Gonna Get It” (by seminal ’90s girl group En Vogue) when it comes to ensnaring the affections of that drunk-with-power Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen.
Sure, he may have started out as a spy, fielding information back to the crown on the exiled Targaryen, but Jorah came to really love Daenerys. He saved her from several assassination attempts, accompanied her through her own exile, and gave her some really solid advice. Yet, Ser Sad Sap is repeatedly treated as glorified furniture by Daenerys. She holds him to ridiculous double standards and often ignores his advice because she has her own willful ideas as to how to govern. But when things go awry, Ser Jorah is the first person she runs at to help her clean up the mess, gather her troops, and help her gather her strength to live to see another day. In short, Ser Jorah is Daenerys’s emotional tampon. Then, when Daenerys finds out Jorah was sent to spy on her — despite all his good works — she banishes him from her sight. He then goes to great lengths to win back her confidence, kidnapping Tyrion Lannister as a gift for her and getting a nasty case of Greyscale in the process.
Now, do Ser Jorah’s continued efforts mean that he should automatically be granted access to the Khaleesi cavity? No. Jorah is earnest as shit about his actions because he loves Daenerys. And if you love someone, even if that person repeatedly takes a steaming Dothraki horse shit on you, you continue to try to do nice things for them because you care. It doesn’t mean that they owe you a roll in sand. But it’s a hard pill to swallow when Daenerys is throwing her pussy at nearly everyone else in the Seven Kingdoms but you — and blatantly throwing it in your face. No two ways about it, it really sucks to be Ser Jorah. Just walk away, brother. Just walk away.
Severus Snape (Harry Potter)
While Ser Jorah has it rough, he looks like a veritable prom king next to Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series. Snape’s case of Friendzoning was so intense that he never got over it. In a roundabout way, Snape actually died as a result of his Friendzoning.
If you think you’ve got it bad, try picking up Severus’s wand. Snape was in love with Lilly Evans, his childhood best friend. While Lily became extremely popular at school, Snape was a social pariah who was bullied on a daily basis. When Douche Burger Deluxe James Potter publicly humiliated Snape front of the entire student body, Lily tried to intervene on his behalf, but Snape was so flustered he blurted out words he regretted. Not only did Snape lose his dignity that day, he lost his BFF and forever unrequited love.
Just when you think it can’t get any worse… It does. Lily wound up dating and eventually marrying James Potter — the very same asshole who made Snape’s life a living hell and caused the rift in the first place.
Insert sad trombone noise here.
So, Snape did what any self-
loathing respecting wizard would do and threw himself into his pursuits — namely, the dark arts. He became part of dark wizard Voldemort’s crew whose #SquadGoals included the eradication of Muggles (non-magical humans) and wizards who had non-magical branches on their family trees.
While all this was going down, Lily and James spawned young Harry Potter, who was prophecized to bring about Voldy’s downfall. Voldemort ordered Harry and his family to be wiped out and, Snape, being the besotted sap that he still was, ran to his old headmaster Dumbledore (who was kind of a big deal and actively working against Voldemort) to give him this information in the hopes of saving Lily — no matter what the cost.
Well, the plan to save Lily went sideways. She and James wound up dead anyway, leaving young Harry orphaned and Snape wracked with guilt, pain, sadness, remorse, and a giant hole in his heart having lost the only person who ever meant anything to him for a second time — this time, permanently.
But wait! It gets worse.
No. Seriously. It does.
In the aftermath of Voldemort’s iffy demise, Snape took a job at Hogwarts as Potions Master and became the most intensely disliked professor at the school.
When young Harry came of age and became a student at Hogwarts, Snape is sworn to protect him. And did we mention that Harry looks EXACTLY like the asswipe who bullied Snape throughout high school… Except for his eyes. Harry has his mother’s eyes. So, imagine looking at that mash-up in your class every day and having the constant reminder that the only woman you ever loved had a child with someone else before she died — and much of that was your fault.
And if that didn’t suck quite hard enough, Snape also had to play double agent at Dumbledore’s behest to squash Voldemort’s resurgence. To be convincing at this, Snape had to make everyone on both sides hate and mistrust him for over a decade. Only one person knew his secret: Dumbledore. Oh… And then the day came when Dumbledore (who was dying anyway) pleaded with Snape to kill him to maintain the ruse, making everyone hate his guts even more… All because Snape wanted to honor the memory of the woman who he loved, Friendzoned him, and never got over.
Even Snape’s happy moments were tinged with sadness. In order to conjure a patronus, a protective charm that takes the form of an animal that’s special to the wizard, Snape had to tap into a fond memory to bring forth a patronus.
Snape’s patronus took the form of a silver doe — the same exact patronus as Lily’s.
Now here’s where that extra little twist of the knife comes in: Lily’s patronus was the female version of James’ patronus, a silver stag.
So even Snape’s happiest memories conjured reminders that he came in a distant second behind a bully that his one true love preferred to him. If that’s not a kick in the ball bag, I don’t know what is.
After all that, Snape evenutally died after Voldemort decided he’d outserved his purpose as a “loyal servant.” The only silver lining being that Voldemort had no idea that Snape double-crossed him and that Harry eventually learned that Snape had always loved his mother and did all the things he did to save him and honor her memory.
Yes, Snape saved the entire wizarding world and was eventually portrayed by Alan Rickman, one of the greatest actors of all time who conveyed Snape’s eloquence, bravery, disgust, and veiled anguish to perfection. (Rest in peace, Alan Rickman.) Still, if you’re Severus Snape, it remains cold comfort and a sad reminder that, sometimes, not even death can give you a way out of the Friend Zone. Damn.