This might be a new zone, invented in the past decade or so, which makes it all the more terrifying: the "staying in contact" zone, which has been made all the worse by Facebook, Twitter, cellphones, and the rest of the secretly evil marvels of technology.
But to understand this zone of the future, we, paradoxically, must first look backward, into the zones of the past. So come with me, Internet friends, on a journey to the time of Dracula.
When Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) went to Dracula's castle, he left behind the beautiful Mina Murray (Winona Ryder), but they stayed in contact with letters. But letters take time to travel, so this relationship was tempered with patience and love, and then Harker boned a bunch of vampire babes in Dracula (Gary Oldman)'s basement (careful with that link, there are boobs). These days, that relationship could never have happened that way because Mina would've texted Jonathan "goodnight, sweetheart!" right before that girl ... bit his dick off, or whatever the hell it is she's doing. And then he would've felt embarrassed and called the whole thing off.
When you're in a fucked up relationship, the hardest part is pulling yourself out, or never texting that person again when you're drunk or just lonely. But with modern social media, that's gotten even harder. It's not enough to simply stop calling them; you have to unfriend them on Facebook (a proactive step), and even then you're going to see them in your feed if you have any mutual friends, and your cellphone might autocorrect weird words to their name, or you may have interactions on something called Snapchat, because what the hell is that. Oh, it's a social media app with a constantly changing TOS and interface, just like every other social media app. Keeping up with the latest trends on the Internet isn't just about keeping in touch with your friends -- it's about not keeping in touch with them, too. And sometimes that's a whole lot harder.
Surprise, bitches! This is what the actual friend zone is! Also sorry for saying "bitches," I know using that term like that is sexist. I just really like the comedic shock value of the phrase "Surprise, bitches!" Do you think it would work as a T-shirt? I'm getting off topic.
If you've ever been in "the friend zone," remember that you weren't put there by anyone but yourself, and for evidence you need look no further than the episode of Friends that popularized the term (according to Wikipedia).
Ross wants to sleep with Rachel, and Rachel doesn't know, and Ross is trying to work up the courage to tell her, and Friends lasted 10 seasons on that joke. You might be thinking that Rachel is a bitch for forcing Ross into that situation by not just sleeping with him, if you're the kind of sociopath who thinks that women are responsible for every problem that befalls a man. The real problem there is that Ross doesn't respect himself enough to act on his feelings and doesn't respect Rachel enough to be honest. He's kind of a dick, because secretly wanting to fuck someone but not telling anyone because you want to manipulate them into fucking you without being honest about your intentions means that you're kind of a dick.
Friendship and romance are different. You can't trade one for the other. If you're in love with one of your friends, then you've already ruined the friendship through the simple involuntary act of wanting to fuck them. If you wanna wait it out and try to be friends again, do that. If you wanna act on it, do that. If you wanna sit on the sidelines and try to puppeteer a person into sleeping with you without letting them know that's what you're trying to do, then you're only technically not a rapist. And I wouldn't put that on a T-shirt, either.