We need to come to terms with the fact that unrequited love exists in spite of how painful it is. We just have to embrace it and deal with it. Nonetheless, as much as ‘friend zone’ and non-reciprocated love are similar in meaning, the former one is nuanced by an inappropriate demand from the person put at a disadvantage, wittingly or unwittingly, explicitly or implicitly, that has to do with their wish to have their love reciprocated, even though they’ve been repeatedly told it’s not and will never be, but somehow they keep on hoping that it might be returned down the road if they behave accordingly, and at that blurry moment you pass from enduring a natural, healthy unrequited love to becoming diseased in the friend zone.
People are not vending machines you put friendship tokens in until sex pops out, either, as movies make them out to be. No one owes anybody anything in the love or sex department. It seems obvious, but sometimes you must restate the obvious.