Some people spend the bulk of their lives hopping from relationship to relationship. I, on the other hand, have spent the last two and half decades dodging them…and they’ve presented themselves in a variety of forms.
A Facebook message confession.
An awkward question posed in the fading light of a sunset.
A long, pained conversation in the front seat of an idling car.
A poorly spelled text (fueled by too much liquid courage) delivered at 3am.
Quite a few brave souls have tried venturing out of the friend zone, and every time, I’ve had to gently nudge them back into it.
I can admit that this is a pattern of my own (unintentional) making: a tomboy from the time I could climb a tree, I’ve always had an easier time befriending the male demographic. Yet as I spend increasing amounts of time hanging out with a guy, he often misinterprets my comfortability with him as a sign that we could be more than friends. He summons up the courage to share his feelings, and I have to respond as kindly as possible that I’m just not into it.
Usually, the friendship is able to rebound despite the awkward rejection. Sometimes, it doesn’t.
As a single, navigating friendships with singles of the opposite sex gets more and more difficult with each passing year. Gone is the youthful innocence of enjoying each other’s platonic companionship–now everyone is just in a hurry to get coupled up. Most of the unattached guys that enter my life first test the waters to see if I’m girlfriend material, then quickly move on if I don’t fit the bill or they sense my lack of romantic interest. “Wait!” I want to shout after them. “We can still be friends!” *cue laugh track*
Don’t get me wrong, I think romances that start off as friendships are fantastic–ideal even. In fact, that’s what I’d prefer for myself one day. But can’t it be possible to say, “Oh, he’s just a friend!” without repercussions?
The inconvenient truth (in my experience) is that male-female friendships rarely go on indefinitely without someone eventually catching feelings. And there have been times when I was the one who started wanting more and found myself relegated to the friend zone. It hurts, I know. But I also respect those who know themselves well enough to not force a romance where those feelings just don’t exist. Because ultimately, that ends up hurting someone a whole lot more.
If the friend zone is breached and the feelings are mutual, take a chance on the relationship and see where it goes.
Otherwise–stay single, my friends.