Nobody wants to be trapped in the Friend Zone. Let me explain. When you really want to date someone, but instead end up being the one they call to recount the details of their latest date, you are firmly entrenched in the friend zone. There’s nothing wrong with being friends with a member of the opposite sex. In fact, it’s great being able to get opinions and perspectives from the “other side”. Many of my dearest friends have been women…when it was perfectly clear that we were not going to date each other. That’s the key point. You can have a deep, gratifying relationship with a member of the opposite sex, as long as it’s clear to both of you that you are just friends, and nothing more. You can even be physically attracted to your friend, despite what Harry (When Harry Met Sally) would postulate, as long as you honestly don’t want to date her (yes, there are important things besides attraction). If one of you thinks otherwise, the relationship will be a tortuously frustrating one, primarily for the one longing for more. Trust me on this. You don’t want to be friends with someone you have the hots for, watching them date just about everyone except you. It gets even worse when they start dating someone seriously.
Why would anyone voluntarily subject themselves to the pain of the friend zone? You either think that the target of your affection will eventually come around and realize that you are their true love, or you think that your friendship is actually a dating relationship.
Could they come around? We’ve all seen or heard about that guy or gal who played the part of the energizer bunny, and just kept going and going until, by some miracle, they actually emerged victorious and walked down the aisle with their desired. It’s true. It does happen, but probably in only .01% of cases. Are these the odds you’d like to stake your future on? You could be stuck in the hell of the friend zone for months, even years, without ever having anything to show for it other than a shattered heart and a huge block of wasted time and energy. The choice is yours.
Is your friendship, in fact, a dating relationship? What about all the warmth, caring, connection, nightly conversations that last for hours…doesn’t that mean that you’re dating? Well, let’s see. Gals, has he paid for you when you’ve gone to dinner or the movies? Does he call at least 24 hrs. before, to find out if you’d like to “hang out”? Does he look his best when he meets you? No = Friend Zone.
Guys, does she always rush to pay her share of the bill? Does she cancel on you? Does she keep mentioning how great a friend you are? Yes = Friend Zone.
The clearest sign that you’re in the friend zone is if they talk about, or actually are, dating other people! You’d think that this is obvious, but in the friend zone, it’s cloudy all the time.
How do you get out of the friend zone? You have an honest, grown up, totally open, heart to heart conversation with your friend, telling them exactly how you feel. Will this ruin your friendship? That’s really up to you. If after this conversation you know that your friend is not romantically interested in you, you need to evaluate whether you can honestly accept your friend status and continue the friendship. If you decide you can (it is possible, but difficult) then do it. If you feel it’s too difficult, then you must create distance. That doesn’t mean you have to ignore the person and never speak to them again. You can remain friends, but not BFF’s, the way you were before. It’s also important to evaluate whether you will be emotionally available to date other people while remaining friends. Many people say they can remain friends and date at the same time, but in truth they are still hoping for their friend to discover them romantically, and therefore, are not really open to other relationships.
On the bright side, when you have the big conversation, your friend might agree to explore a romantic relationship with you. It does happen!
In conclusion: don’t wait to have that big heart to heart. The sooner you do, the quicker you’ll escape, or never even enter, the dreaded Friend Zone.
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