Trust me. I know how it feels to feel “friendzoned”.

It was over 5 years ago that I got my first classic “let’s just be friends” talk from a girl I had gone out with a handful of times. Let’s call her… Katie.

Katie sounded reluctant to say it and I knew those famous buzz-killing words were coming because I could feel the tone changing like the direction of the wind that warm afternoon. She was sitting on the top of a worn park bench and I was standing, perhaps somewhat defensively, at her side. I think somewhere deep down I was afraid if I sat down, the bad news would come sooner. Is news worse when you’re standing?

She sighed and looked at me with those bright blue eyes, then looked at the ground.

“Andrew…”

Pause.

Hmm. Maybe, I should rewind for a minute.

Before this particularly awkward moment, I’d known her for a couple months. She was friends with my friends and we started flirting at the random game nights and social gatherings we frequented that summer. For me there was this new thrill of laying next to someone (you knew was special) under the stars when others were just talking idly. They didn’t seem to matter.

I remember the quirky amusement of having my hands straight in the air like a half-dead possum, tracing the constellations with my fingers, occasionally chasing hers since she was incidentally doing the same thing. It was the first time in a while I just felt comfortable being me around someone I was afraid wouldn’t like the real me. Guys, you can relate… right?

Eventually I asked her out. And we started going on a couple dates. She was always happy to see me. We had a good time. No awkward silences and no stumbled words. It was perfect.

Play.

“I really think you’re a great guy…”

Great. Here it comes.
“And I love spending time with you.

Love. That’s better than ‘like’. Ok, I guess I can take that.

“But I think it would be better if we were good friends.”
Good friends? But not more than friends? Is there a difference? Clearly there’s a difference.

“Like, really good friends. Like, I still want to spend time with you.”

Friends. Time. Huh. This sounds like a hollow promise to me.

“Is that okay?”

Of course, I then blurted out a sheepish “yeah” because, well, what else do you do? And so, that was that.

Well, I expected not to see her again. Like, ever.

I was wrong.

We spent at least every weekend together just hanging out. Getting to know each other more. Laughing, kidding around, watching movies. And, at the end of the night, as the somewhat awkward but brazenly honest guy I am, I would always tell her…

“I gotta be honest. I still like you, you know.”

“I know. I like you too, thanks”

“Yeah…But… well you know…”

“Yep. I understand.”

“Well, see you again later?”

“Yeah, of course!”

Either this girl didn’t know how the “friendzone” works, or she was intentionally breaking the rules of it. But this made me start wondering… where does this end? Do I want it to end? What was it? And why didn’t she ever run when I reminded her I had feelings for her. I knew that by admitting that all the time it was supposed to be something to make her go away. I didn’t want to be pitied. I tried to give her an out because I figured she wanted one.

She never took it.

This continued. For a while. Months, it felt like. I don’t really know how long it was. Then something happened. Something… different.

“Looks like they cancelled, too.”

I had a discernable hope in my voice as we talked about it on the phone. I’m sure she could sense it. We had a group movie planned at our local cinema. Everyone cancelled last minute. That left me and Katie as the only ones that could go.

I continued… “Well, do you still want to go? I mean, I’m fine either way” I tried to sound sincere but this felt too much like fate. The hopeless romantic in me chimed in. What if tonight something changes?

We went to the movie. She held and traced lines in my hand. We ended up kissing later that night. And we dated for a couple months after that. Friendzone to endzone.

The friendzone is supposed to be this impenetrable barrier between what a guy wants and what a girl wants despite him. At least that’s how my friends have talked about it.

“She put me in the friendzone so I guess I’m done.”

“Freaking friendzone, man. I wish it didn’t exist!”

Even urbandictionary.com eventually defines friendzone like,

“A state of being where a male inadvertently becomes a ‘platonic friend’ of an attractive female [with whom] he was trying to initiate a romantic relationship.”

So, how did I get out? And how did I get out again in a similar situation with a different girl a couple years later?

Guys, the friendzone is escapable.

Sometimes I feel like it shouldn’t be called the “friendzone” at all.

We, as cocky guys, tend to think when a girl rejects us that it’s because she can’t possibly be aware enough to see how good we could be for her. We think we are stuck being friends and we won’t settle for that. We want more, and we want it now.

The fact is, if a girl says they want to be friends… and despite that they seek to shun you… guess what?

You aren’t friends, dude.

Friends spend time together consistently (as opposed to constantly). Friends don’t just talk on facebook or through sporadic texts. So, if that girl says you are friends but you never see each other, or she’s always “busy” chances are you aren’t friends and she wants to be left alone… and, frankly, to your defense, she wasn’t decent enough to honestly and politely express disinterest.

But, if a girl says you are friends, and your consistent interactions don’t necessarily change but remain somewhat the same, and are positive and NOT initiated by you all the time, that’s called being friends. And being friends is goooood.

C’mon guys. We shouldn’t label a friendship with a girl as a limiting thing or a “zone” to be escaped. Because, you never know. You may find yourself on the other side some day.

I think what we’ve grown to call the friendzone isn’t a zone or a out-of-bounds area on the court. It’s actually more like the halfway point on the field. (Don’t judge me if that doesn’t make real sense… sports aren’t my thing.)

So, if she ever decides to be friends after you two go out, it may actually be she’s not ready for the commitment but she’s warming up to it. Or, she may really value your friendship so much that it isn’t worth risking. And hey, that sucks, but at least she cares about you.

I think the bottom line is she’s either not interested or she’s interested. There’s NO zone inbetween. For the most part, I think “friendzone” is a term used by people who don’t think girls and guys can be friends. And that’s just silly because…

Well, they can. And, ask any girl, a secret to a good and lasting relationship is a friendship being weaved through it.

Cheers,
A

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