Honest Feelings: The Friend Zone
I saw something on Twitter about people talking about the “Friend Zone”. Some people think of the friend zone as a place where men say they are when they are friends with a woman. She isn’t into him, but he keeps doing things to show interest that is not reciprocated. I’ve seen some guys go so far as to get tattoos of the woman on them and she replied with simple appreciation for something done in her name, with no obviously given clue of what it means.
Sure, some guys feel entitled and that’s wrong, but I think the Friend Zone is real and a lot of times has nothing to do with a guy assuming he gets to sleep with any woman he so chooses. Yes, women get choices in men just like men get choices in women. However, isn’t it just rude to know that a guy is showing interest and then you not respond to it at all? Just tell him, “Look, I appreciate you, but it’s not going to happen.” That would save a lot of time and fits the format provided in the very liberating book, He’s Just Not That Into You, which set me free from so much and helped me regain a proper focus in my dating and feelings of being strung along. It also helped me the rare and few times it was the other way and I had to say, “I appreciate your friendship, but this isn’t going to happen.”
It’s liberating to be told that (and to say it) because it releases both of you from further real or imagined obligation to the other person for something that may not even be a real relationship. Seriously, you might find that out about your relationship. You thought you had a friendship, but they thought they had a potential romantic relationship. You took all kinds of attention and presents from them, thinking they were a good friend, but they wanted more of you. (I’d also challenge your concept of a good friend if you can’t figure out that someone showing you that much attention by the end of month 1 IS NOT after your simple friendship. You like attention and need to get that handled.)
Personal story: I met someone at a mutual friend’s party. We talked for about an hour and ignored other friends around us who were trying to talk – we just kept looking at each other and talked non-stop. Everyone thought we would be dating. I thought so too. We kept in touch and had lunch at my place with another friend, who thought there would be more from this too. Eventually, while they were away for a long time in another country, I came clean with my feelings. They came home and I said, “Well, what are we going to do?” Meanwhile, I did anything at a moment’s notice for this person – no request was too big. Finally, I’d had enough and said, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m officially pulling back from you.”
“What does that mean? Why? I don’t want to lose your friendship.”
“I don’t think you know what a good friendship is.”
“Well, I thought we were friends, but you turn around and saying you like me makes me question what we’ve had all this time.”
“I told you six months ago that I liked you, but you didn’t ever respond to it, but kept taking all of the attention I provided. We can be friends, sure, but it won’t be like it was. You won’t get the same attention.”
“I want the same attention.”
“You can’t get significant other attention without being my significant other. It’s exhausting.”
Today, we aren’t friends on the same level (or even close) to what it was before. I ultimately think that if someone can’t notice when they’re inadvertently “Friend Zoning” you, they might be a little bit self-absorbed. Again, why are you soaking up all that attention from someone who is being a friend and “the best person ever” (direct quote about me) after a few short weeks, but they aren’t your significant other? They’re doing stuff for you that they won’t even do for their own mamas, yet you think you warrant that kind of attention?
I know it’s difficult, but have the conversation. If it’s not going to happen, just tell them. If anything, don’t tell the person how right they are for you and you end up not being with them, then get with someone else who is completely wrong for you, then come crying to the “friend” about how bad it was. What we s’posed to do?!
Don’t string them along and risk losing a friend. Tell them, then let them take about 3 weeks off from you and come back to the friendship. You might risk losing someone you really like as a friend, but if a real friendship is there, it will remain. If not, then you know what it was all along, as hard as that is to accept.