I've never really had any female friends, the only experiences I ever had with the other sex growing up was negative. I'm in my mid twenties now, and other than my partner I have no female friends (I barely have male friends at that!) and have never really had them. I have acquaintances (who I might refer to as friends for ease of discussion) that are female, but that's about it. As such I have never really experienced the "friend zone" that seems to be posted all the time now.
The closest I've had to experiencing this I guess was one time in particular where I was really interested in this one girl, but she had a boyfriend. We got along very well and connected on many levels, and it tore me apart to think that we could only be friends when I wanted more. As a result, I had to put a lot of distance in our relationship in order to keep my sanity, it was really driving me into a severe depressive state to be as the saying goes "so close, yet so far away".
Point being, the relationship was not on terms I wanted so I bailed. I think the problem with the whole "friend zone" idea is that these boys/men are imprisoned by the other sex into some shitty situation. This can be no further from the truth, the prison is of their own making and they can leave any time. If you don't like the terms, leave. Instead, they feel trapped and the blame the other party for not wanting the relationship on their terms.
The fact of the matter is, unless you guys want the same terms you won't be happy just being friends so don't it and furthermore, don't blame the person for not wanting what you want. It's basically a temper tantrum. I would also add that if you're criticising the other person's taste in partners because they always seem to make the same mistakes with them and so forth, I think that you probably wouldn't want to date that person anyway because if they are truly continually choosing poorly, and it's not just your jealousy clouding your mind, then they are one of several things and you want nothing to do with any of them: they're stupid, they're damaged or they're shallow.
Of course there's the issue about trying to find the right girl, and I'll leave my thoughts on that for another post.
While I was overhearing my partner read something on the topic of the "friend zone" I overheard them mention this comic book character say to another character (in response to a claim that they did some good things) that you don't deserve credit for doing what is right. Now, as an overarching principle I disagree with this wholeheartedly. I do believe acting right deserves credit, but credit does not equal relationship rights or any such thing, simply credit. I'll explain further.
If you have a child that always does what he is told, you label them as a good child. You don't say that they're neutral, you say they're good because doing what they're told is a major defining trait of a good child. Likewise, if a person obeys the law, they're a good citizen. We don't label people good ONLY when they go above and beyond the call of duty, we call them good by simply doing what is called for, what is right. This is why we think our manager is an asshole when he criticizes us on the rare occasions we do something wrong when he never thanked you for the weeks/months/years of good work you've done because "it's your job" but the instant you make a mistake, he's all up in your face. I call this being "taken for granted".
When its a work place, obviously the credit results in various rewards like praise or actual financial rewards but human relationships are a bit different. When someone is good to us, we don't reward them financially but we should thank them earnestly, just like a manager should. We need to thank them for being good to us, and tell them how much we appreciate it. To go back to the comic for a moment, that guy does deserve some credit for being good towards them. He should be told how much that is appreciated, and how rare it is for that to have in relationships with people. However, as soon as one expects a reward for their good actions, it taints them. If this guy was only being good, because he wanted to get into a relationship with this person - he can get fucked. If he was being good because that's just the right thing to do, then give credit where credit is due.