First off, although any gender can be in the friend zone, I'm going to make this take about men in the friend zone. Secondly, whereas the author acknowledges that there are some assholes, er, I mean men who feel entitled to sex because they were kind to a woman, and that there are men who react violently and criminally when rejected and offered friendship, and that there are some men who see friendship as a "back door" to sneak their way to sex and/or a relationship, THIS TAKE ISN'T ABOUT THOSE MEN. (and I believe those men are a loud minority).
Now, down to business. I think virtually all people with two neurons to rub together would agree that a woman indeed has every right to reject whomever she rejects without having to justify reasons, and that she should expect a courteous and dignified answer in response, and can offer friendship if she would like to be a friend to that person (but for God's sake, be sincere in offering that friendship, don't do it to "let him down gently" or out of pity).
Yet what is not as often discussed, so it seems, is that the man has every right to reject the friendship. Now, many of you might be saying, "That's obvious. Of course he does." Yet I have seen it on GAG and on other various articles on the internet wherein if the guy isn't happy with being friends, the assumption must be that he's not a good person, he must have felt entitled to sex, he must not be mature, etc. Not as many people seem to assume that perhaps continued contact tends to prolong the hurt of rejection.
More than twenty years ago, I was dating a very wonderful girl. In the end, it didn't work out and when she had to reject me, I'll never forget what she said. She told me, "[Bluemax], my feelings for you don't go beyond friendship [She referrenced a movie line! Bonus points if you can guess what movie that's from!]. I would like to be your friend, but I'll understand if you don't want to." In telling me she understood if I didn't want to be her friend, she was offering me a gracious way to never enter the friend zone. She was, in effect, saying, "I understand this hurts, and I care for you and I don't want you to hurt longer than you have to." A few years later, I was faced with having to reject a friend of mine. She tearfully explained she felt no hard feelings, but couldn't remain my friend. I felt very sad losing a friend, but would have felt much sadder knowing my presence was prolonging her hurt.
Now some of you might be saying, "Well, if you're hurt so bad that you can't stand being my friend, that's immature." I would answer that it's important to understand that different people feel the pain of rejection differently, and there's evidence it might be due to brain anatomy and brain chemistry. Some people feel less pain and recover much faster than others.
I am in no way suggesting that a rejected man can never be friends with the woman who rejected him. I've seen it happen. However, that's his decision to make. If you truly care for this person as a friend, you'll respect his decision one way or the other.
So, if you offer friendship to a man you've rejected, it's his right to courteously reject it indefinitely. Yes, I know and understand it hurts to lose a friend, but it hurts much worse to retain a friend whose hurt will be prolonged. If he responds to your rejection with courtesy, and you care for him as a friend, let him go without rancor or judgment and hope that he finds love with someone else.
Oh, the girl who rejected me? She's still single, and I think she's one of the most awesome women I've known. I hope she finds all the love she deserves. As for the girl I rejected, we are friends on Facebook. She is happily married with children, which is all I ever wanted for her.
P.S. (insert obligatory remark about how the friend zone doesn't exist)