Familiarize yourself with this concept, because it is a tactic frequently employed on the battlefield of love. What is a red herring you ask? It is a purposeful distraction intended to mislead a subject from the actual objective. It is more than a passive decoy: it is an active manipulation of the subject to keep him or her from realizing where actual efforts should be spent.
Who is at fault? The person committing the diversion? Or the person believing the diversion? This is one reason why it is such an effective psychological tool: even if you fall for it, you can’t fully blame the deceiver: you fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
The friend zone is a red herring. The result is that you get strung along for an indefinite period of time, thinking your proximity to a girl is bona fide proof that you are going to get into her pants. This is beta fodder that you don’t see at the time. When you realize when she has been spinning plates, you probably feel absurdly enraged and shitty and jealous. But its not her fault, because you fell for the charade. You ever hear the one about the guy in the van outside of school, waiting with candy? Yup, red herring.
Your only defense is to recognize it before you commit to it.