In this day and age, men being good friends with women is no longer a phenomenon. It’s quite the normal occurrence, and doesn’t even require any romantic context. A man can be the best of friends with a girl and vice versa, and it’s perfectly normal for them to not feel anything — not a tinge of anything romantic — for each other.
And as all romance novels go, it is also perfectly normal for one of them to fall in love with the other, and for the other to be completely blindsided until the day they die. Cue the term “friend zone”, a term a lot of people can associate with.
→ What exactly is the “friend zone”?
The friend zone is that unfortunate place where you are cast aside by your choice of partner and deemed as forever “just a friend”. It is worse than the who the fuck are you zone or the why do you even exist zone, for that matter. A stranger can eventually be a friend, and an enemy might possibly turn into one of your best buddies, but a person trapped in the friend zone is and will forever be just a friend in the eyes of the one who perceives him to be such. People in the friend zone suffer that inescapable fate of being the shoulder-to-lean-on during bad break-ups and the go-to-date during lonely nights. People in the friend zone are not to be confused with fuck buddies — no fucking happens between the friend-zoner and the friend-zonee.
→ How does one find him/herself in the friend zone?
It varies from person to person. A person who loves to flirt with his/her friends might give the impression that he/she is actually interested in that person but, in fact, he/she isn’t; that’s just the way he/she is. The best way to find out if you have already been friend-zoned is by getting the facts straight from the horse’s mouth. Stage a conversation where a friend of yours can pair you and your object of affection up, and see how your friend reacts. If you get the “(insert your name here) and I, together? Wha— Eeew!” reaction then, my friend, I am sorry, but you have just been friend-zoned.
If you’re not the confrontational kind, then you’ll have to wait it out. If you’re a bit on the experimental side, kiss him/her. Hang around long enough to see the result; regret your actions later.
There are other subtle signs, though. — your friend gets too intimate with you without being awkward or tells you all these TMI facts about him/herself, or, worse, farts in front of you or, if you’re a man, asks, “Do I have blood on my pants or—”
Back off, man. There’s no escaping the friend zone. This is the point of no return.
→ Any success stories?
None that I know of, but there are instances when one is able to graduate from the friend zone and get inducted into the boy/girlfriend zone. If you are one of the lucky few, please let me know and rub off some luck on me; I need it.
→ How can I make sure that I don’t friend zone friends I can potentially like?
Don’t like them or don’t befriend them at all. Kidding aside, make sure to leave a bit of yourself unveiled, to drop hints left and right that you might be interested in the friend in question or that there is a possibility that you can be in the very near future. Do not get too friendly with that friend of yours, else he/she will be led to think that he/she cannot ever have a romantic happily ever after with you.
→ So how does one deal with being in the friend zone?
Simple — move on. This is not easy, yes, but it can be done. However, if you think you won’t be able to move on anytime soon, relish the feeling of being the flirting partner of your friend. Savor being his/her go-to person when he/she has troubles; you’ll be grateful to be the recipient of hand-holding and free meals. Just look at the bright side: he/she doesn’t hate you, but he/she just doesn’t love you back. It is the harsh reality of life, but you’ll learn to live with it.
You have to. It’s the only way to survive.