Trauma drama: Can you sue someone for putting you in the “friend zone?” | Allen and Allen

Trauma drama: Can you sue someone for putting you in the “friend zone?”

A man in Singapore has sued a woman for friend-zoning him. Yes. You read that correctly. To the tune of over $3 million in damages, the man, in two personal injury lawsuits, claimed that the woman caused “damage to his stellar reputation” and “trauma, depression and impacts” to his life.

broken heart

According to the article, the two became friends in 2016, and in 2020, the woman told him that “she needed to distance herself from the friendship and encouraged him to be self-reliant.” As you may suspect, these efforts were rebuffed.

In response, he threatened to file a claim demanding monetary damages arising from negligent infliction of emotional distress and defamation if his demands were not met (i.e, if she wouldn’t date him in a romantic setting). He went on to claim that due to the remarks she made, he lost business earnings and had to pay high costs for therapy he underwent due to the trauma.

Can you sue someone for distress if you haven’t been physically injured?

sad manLet’s chat about these two causes of action:

In general, plaintiffs cannot recover from negligent infliction of emotional distress, except in limited circumstances. Courts have recognized recovery when a plaintiff thinks they are about to suffer physical harm, and as a result, he or she suffers emotional distress. For example, a person thinks they are about to get run over by a negligent driver. They do not get run over, however, they are very frightened and that fear manifests itself as a heart a heart attack. Courts will allow this person to recover.

There tends to be a further requirement: zone of danger. Generally, the plaintiff can recover for emotional distress if he or she is within the zone of danger and feared for his or her own safety.

The five elements needed to sue for defamation

To recover for defamation, five elements must be met:

  1. The defendant made a defamatory statement;
  2. That is of or concerning the plaintiff;
  3. The statement is communicated/published to a third party who understands its defamatory nature;
  4. Damages the plaintiff’s reputation; and
  5. The statement must be false.

Generally, defamatory language is a language that diminishes the plaintiff’s reputation in the eyes of others or that deters others from associating with the plaintiff.

We can all agree that being rejected by someone who you have strong feelings for can be a disappointing experience. But folks, this is not how to handle it. Arguably, he’s done more damage to his own reputation by taking this legal action. Now, we may not be able to help when it comes to unrequited love, but the good news is that we are here to help with other personal injury matters!

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, seek the compassionate and experienced attorneys at Allen & Allen. For a free consultation, call today at 866-388-1307.