When I was in high school, I never really dated. It wasn’t because I couldn’t get a date. I just never saw anyone I was interested in until I met this one guy in my English class my senior year. He was the quiet nerdy guy that sat in the desk next to mine. I decided to do the only thing I knew: befriended the guy. We became close friends and it was nice up until he found out about my feelings and told me he didn’t like me that way. That was the first time I ever was put into this nerve-wracking concept: the Friend Zone.
After I went to college and was in a 2-year relationship that started after being friend zoned three times, I started to question the whole idea of the Friend Zone. What is this “Friend Zone?” Why is it so terrible? What do I do now that I am in the Friend Zone?
What is the “Friend Zone?”
The Friend Zone is this place people put themselves in when the person they have romantic feelings for doesn’t have those same feelings back. That person is now “just a friend.” The person with the romantic feelings is now stuck feeling rejected and with all these useless romantic feelings they have nowhere to put. How does one recover from that? What does that person do now? Well the logical response is to do nothing and stay friends with the person and let their friendship grow. However, society doesn’t teach us these days that friendship is equally important to romantic relationships so I have seen people just stop talking to the person who put them in the Friend Zone.
Do not cut the other person out of your life just because they don’t have those same feelings for you back.
After I graduated college and continued to work at my retail job, I started training this guy on the register. At first, I didn’t think much of him besides being a coworker. However, the more times I worked with him, the more I started to notice he was cute and funny. Then I started to hang out with him more outside of work. We would talk for hours and stay up until 5 in the morning just driving around getting lost in the towns surrounding both our home towns. He made me smile and laugh all the time. He slowly became a really close friend, one of my best friends. Then for a few months I kept having these thoughts about what would it be like to hold his hand or even to kiss him. It was obvious I had romantic feelings. However, some how he found out and told me he didn’t have those feelings back for me. I was crushed.
I understood why the Friend Zone can be terrible at first.
Hayley Kiyoko has a song that people, LGBT and straight, can feel on a personal level. It’s called “Sleepover.” It wraps up all the feelings of being in the Friend Zone in a nice pretty bow.
What do I do now that I am in the Friend Zone?
Something my coworker friend told me after he put me in the Friend Zone really resonated with me. He said, “I still want to be that person who makes you laugh and smile all the time. Just because I don’t feel the same way you do for me doesn’t mean I’m going to be all weird and cut you out of my life. You’re still one of my best friends.”
It has been two months since he found out about my feelings. We are still the best of friends and we talk almost every day. The fact that our friendship has grown into something that is special and unique and genuine made me value friendship in a whole new way. I realized that our friendship is more important than the idea of a relationship. I feel as though lately friendship is something quickly put on the side lines when a romantic relationship is involved. Once we get a significant other we don’t see our friends as much anymore. That makes my heart hurt. There should be a balance.
How do I manage my left over feelings? It hasn’t been the easiest. However, I say the best way to manage them is to not over analyze or over think in hope that the other person will come around. I look at it as, yes I do not know what could happen in the future, but as of right now we are just friends. I respect the other person and myself enough to not push that boundary. Just go with the flow and be in the moment of the friendship. Enjoy the friendship.