Congratulations, You’ve Been Friend-Zoned

Congratulations Youve just been friend zoned

 

Veronica Grace would like to tell you her own experiences with the dreaded “friend-zone”. 

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I saw an awesome poetry slam today by Dylan Garity. He talked about The Friend Zone and made me think that he was the guy version of me in high school. You see, there was a guy I wanted. Badly. For years. Badly. Did I mention badly? He wasn’t one of those totally out of reach guys, like the captain of the football team of teen movies. I didn’t want him from afar, I wanted him from up close. He would have claimed that his closest guy friend was his best friend, but I was the one he called when he was sad. I was the one he talked to for hours. He talked to me about his hard family stuff and depression and silly stuff and the girls he wanted. He talked to me about how things went when he dated those girls, or got turned down. We didn’t call it The Friend Zone back then, we called it being “just friends.”

After I graduated there was a dude. We had a mutual friend who would come by my work serendipitously whenever I needed to move and ask “How are you doing?” When I’d explain I had to move and had no idea how I was going to get my bed down my apartment stairs much less across town in my tiny car. He would say “Don’t worry about it! We’ll be there at 9 am.” Then on that day he would show up with the dude who would have borrowed a truck and they would help me move.

Even the second or third time that helpful dude came to my rescue he didn’t really know me because he didn’t talk to me. He just worked his ass off and then disappeared from my life until the next time. I thought he was cute, but he didn’t seem to notice me. I knew he was super smart and I figured I just wasn’t smart enough to be that interesting to him.

It wasn’t just moving either, he helped me fix my computer a few times. I wanted to pay him but he would only accept Doritos and Mountain Dew. He seemed uncomfortable with my thank yous. After I got married and moved out of state I emailed him a few times but he didn’t really keep in touch.

♦◊♦

When I see people talk about The Friend Zone it always seems to be in the context of a guy who made a “mistake” by being “too nice” and therefore allowing a woman to put him in the “no sex zone.” My MO is to fall for my guy friends. I spent many years living in The Friend Zone of different male friends before and after my divorce. I never thought that I had made a mistake by being a good friend. It was painful, but I figured that I just wasn’t a match for them. That didn’t keep me from daydreaming that the current friend guy would, in stereotypical movie fashion, suddenly realize that they’d been in love with me all along. As often happens to me, not getting what I wanted turns out far better than I could have dreamed.

Nine years after moving out of state, I moved back to California. I had gone through a difficult divorce and some difficult healing time. That old mutual friend looked me up. He mentioned the helpful dude and said “He’s single.” I said “Yeah, but he was never interested in me that way.” To which the friend responded, “You couldn’t be more wrong.”

I was surprised, it occurred to me that maybe I had unnecessarily put myself in The Friend Zone this time. So I emailed him. I still felt grateful to him for all of the help he had given me without ever expecting anything in return, but mostly I wanted to do something nice for him. Now that I’d been out in the world I knew how rare that kind of generous help was. So I invited him over to watch Serenity and I baked him Oatmeal cookies, his favorite. Later I went to his house and helped him do some serious cleaning for upcoming visitors. He didn’t seem to know what to do with me, but I wasn’t going to give up on having such an amazing friend so easily. We were able, finally after all of those years, to really get to know each other and became good friends.

Being good friends did not stop us from falling in love. I married my helpful dude and you guessed it, he helped me move again, this time, in with him. He is still my generous hearted best friend. There is no doubt in my mind that every time he helped me, he did so expecting nothing in return. That is one of the very special things about him. These days when I ask him for help on something he likes to smile and say “The Dude abides.”

Looking back I see that the only place I ever looked for love or sex was in The Friend Zone, that’s just how I’m wired. To the guys who have spent time in my Friend Zone, I valued you as friends and I promise I would have loved you that way if I could.

Image: cali4beach / flickr

Dylan Garity – “Friend Zone” (Button Poetry First Readings)

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About Veronica Grace

Veronica Grace is a pragmatic idealist mother to two sons, one who has rudely determined he will become a teenager without her permission and the other who wouldn't notice the world ending as long as he had a book in his hands. She holds equality, honesty and compassion among her highest ideals and has found herself currently obsessed with gender roles and practical minimalism. She is always obsessed with why people do the things they do. You can find her being sassy at http://wearinsassypants.wordpress.com/ and trying to transverse the twitterverse @vsassypants

Comments

  1. I’m also now wildly in love with a guy I actually DID (I admit this) determinedly try to friend-zone (I was married when we met, so it was sort of the only acceptable thing to do). Eventually he forced me to give him a chance just by BEING AROUND when I needed someone to talk to, continuously making clear that he thought I was really fucking awesome and would be happy to sleep with me if I ever fancied it, and then I, in turn, came to realize that HE was totally fucking awesome.

    I’m not married to the other guy any more, and I’m now rather convinced that learning to be okay with the Friend Zone, and get comfortable with rejections, might actually be a great way to get into bed with someone in the long term. It’s really quite intoxicating to be with someone who adores you and is confident enough to keep thinking that he’s worth being adored even when women might seem to think otherwise.

  2. I love this story. Just another testament to show that friend zone is definitely not something that is permanent.

    I can relate to how I’ve overcome that obstacle on more than one occasion and for all those that believe that once they are in friend zone there is no hope. This article and my experience of it shows that it’s possible. Thank you for the article, I really enjoyed it.

    And to end it, The Dude Abides.

  3. I guess my theory is something makes us attracted to the person in the first place – for those of us not working on pure aesthetics, anyway. The unavailability in a romantic manner shouldn’t devalue that, or anything else about them.

    I don’t know anyone who put me or who I put in that ‘zone’ that I didn’t want to know as a person, so being a friend was still getting that. I still appreciate their presence in my life and what they have brought to it. I find it offensive the way that is written off as ‘nice guy gets hurt by bitch’ so often – if you think that way about her because you don’t share a bed – then why should she want to be even your friend anyway?

    It is that style of thinking that adds to the ‘men and women can’t be friends’ dynamic. If our only value to others is the level of sexual connection/appeal then no, we can’t. We can only be friends with those who we are also involved with romantically.

    Nice guys who get offended were obviously looking for something – and since that was their motivation for generosity, once removed they no longer offer that.

    Obviously reverse it all for women too – I’m definitely not seeing this as a male-only issue.

    How about – Congratulations – you’ve been chosen as valuable in some way to this person’s life? Just because it isn’t romantic doesn’t mean you – or they – have no place for you the human being.

    • Friendzone I think is more about being purposely put there, being led on, deceived, strung along with the hints of a relationship so the other gets attention.

  4. FlyingKal says:

    There is a societal expectation on guys/men to be a “fixer”. Some are volounteering, yes, and some are offered (and decline) payment for their services.
    But sometimes you just feel that your are being asked to help out, one time too many, that it is the only time someone ever gets in touch with you, and that you’re never offered anything in return.

    (And by “offered” i don’t mean sex…)

    • FlyingKal

      “”””There is a societal expectation on guys/men to be a “fixer”. Some are volounteering, yes, and some are offered (and decline) payment for their services.
      But sometimes you just feel that your are being asked to help out, one time too many, that it is the only time someone ever gets in touch with you, and that you’re never offered anything in return.”””””
      And women are asked to baby sit,take care of the neighbors cats and water their garden when they travel to far aways lands. …..women are expected to visit the old regularity and often, send Christmas cards to everyone , and have time and patience each time somebody warms to talk and share their trouble and need some emotional support.
      Do you really think men are the only one that help others, and sometimes get used and give more than they are given back?

      Reciprocity is a good thing, but FlyingKal do not live under the illusion that women’s relations are all reciprocal while men are the ones that get used…..and exploited.
      Welcome to life , we all have to take care of ourselves and set borders . Women as well as men get exploited when they can not say “no”. This is life. Unfortunately.

      • this. thank you for saying this.
        I’ve fallen in love with a number of guys who were simply taking advantage of my empathy, willingness to help, and having a naturally nurturing character. They saw it as just friends. I saw it as offering my heart. The pain of this goes both ways, indeed.

  5. Man, it must have been tough going through life mute and paralyzed.

    I mean, that’s why you were unable to approach these guys and ask THEM out, right?

    • She says she emailed the 2nd guy a few times and he didn’t respond. I think most people would take that as an expression of disinterest. No point asking someone out (male or female) if you don’t get a vibe that they are interested or attracted to you.

      • FlyingKal says:

        I emailed him a few times but he didn’t really keep in touch.

        Personally, I think this statement opens a host of interpretations other than he didn’t (ever?) respond.

        • Veronica Grace says:

          He did e-mail me back once or twice, but he would just respond to what I had sent. For instance I once e-mailed him to ask if he knew where to get a Darwin Fish for a car and he responded with links, but no discussion or “Hey how are you doing?” kind of stuff.

          • Ok. Thanks for the clarification, Veronica.

          • Christopher says:

            Well of course he didn’t respond with more. Weren’t you married at the time? Why would he put himself through the pain of small-talk when he could just address the issue at hand and go back to pretending you don’t exist? Out of sight, out of mind.

    • Veronica Grace says:

      I am the one who made all of the first moves with my now husband and others. I am not sure where you get that I was “unable” to ask guys out. I did not ask out guys who were not interested. With my husband I was wrong about his interest. With the other guys I was not wrong and once I was an adult I never pined away silently for my male friends, they knew I was interested.

  6. Jackie Morrison says:

    Once you are friendzoned all it means is that is a person to block and delete and never talk to again

  7. I’m glad you worked your way though that and something good happened in the end. And I’m also glad that the naysaying, “The friend zone doesn’t exist!!!” crowd (that seems to materialize when guys talk about being in the friend zone) isn’t here as well.

  8. To understand men and the “friend-zone”, I think we should take a look at another GMP article “Men must be needed because we can’t be wanted.”

    See, a lot of the talk about whether or not a man is marriageable has a lot of themes in “can he protect me?” “Can he pay for me?” “What functional things does he offer?”

    There is very little talk about more chemistry-oriented things.

    So when guys are interested in a girl, he’s thinking “I meet all the requirements, why doesn’t she love me?” Because there was never a discussion of chemistry. Until then, the entirely of his value was derived from some sort of skill set, but with essentially NO talk of the intricacies of his personality traits and how they mesh with others. Chemistry with a man wasn’t talked about, and so he wasn’t looking for it.

    Aside from the frustration of being made to look like the bad girl for not being attracted to a man, the detriment is arguably mostly on the man. If he was looking for chemistry, he would probably see that SHE wasn’t good for HIM, either. I see guys take tons of garbage because he’s so accepting of a borderline-abusive personality. “It doesn’t matter. She’s hot, and she loves me. I have no RIGHT to complain.” I know because I WAS THIS EXACT GUY in a past relationship.

    And to top that off with a nice cherry, when the guy is rejected by women, he looks to these “stats” and “requirements” to look for something wrong. In comes the mighty PUA community telling him that chimp psychology is human psychology, and therefore he needs to me “alpha” to win the affections of women, and this involves being a jerk to assume power.

    So now he feels he was rejected on the sole premise that he was “too nice”. He now has two choices: “Man up” and learn to be insensitive. Or “Stick to your guns” and keep your concern for women around you, which would ultimately leaves you embittered against these women and other men.

    I think more guys are willing to stick to their guns. So what we see is a rise in complaints about the “nice guy friend zone”, so long as these guys are under the impression that their “niceness” was a turn-off and disrespected by women.

    If we can talk about men as emotionally-intricate beings, and cut back on talking about functionality traits like “big strong man picking me up” and “paying for me”, We can help men get a sense of chemistry. This will help them feel less rejected for undoubtedly positive traits, teach them to raise their standards for women’s personalities, and not turn every girl who rejects them into some horrible monster.

  9. I started dating my current boyfriend a few weeks after I gave up trying to “friendzone” him. And by friendzone I mean ruthlessly friendzone him. :p

  10. Personally I think being in the friend zone is a GOLDEN opportunity to become closer to somebody in a low-pressure environment. You get to spend all this time together without it having to “mean” something, and you get to really know each other without the awkwardness of constantly worrying, “Do they like me? Do I look okay? Are they just saying that to get in my pants? Am I making a fool of myself? What did they mean when they said that?” etc etc. You also get to know them in a more honest way because you’re not trying to impress each other by pretending to be someone you aren’t. The way I see it, if you’re in the friend zone, most of the battle has been won because they probably already trust you, know your faults, and like you for who you are. What better place to start a relationship than from there!?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Veronica Grace would like to tell you her own experiences with the dreaded "friend-zone". I saw an awesome poetry slam today by Dylan Garity. He talked about The Friend Zone and made me think that he was the guy version of me in high school. You see, there was a guy I wanted. Badly. For years. Badly. Did I mention badly? He wasn’t one of those totally out of reach guys, like the captain of the football team of teen movies. I didn’t want him from afar, I wanted him from up close. He would have claimed that his closest guy friend was his best friend, but I was the one he called when he was sad. I was the one he talked to for hours. He talked to me about his hard family stuff and depression and silly stuff and the girls he wanted. He talked to me about how things went when he dated those girls, or got turned down. We didn’t call it The Friend Zone back then, we called it being “just friends.”  […]

  2. […] Originally posted at The Good Men Project as Congratulations! You’ve Been Friend-Zoned. […]

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