When I was in high school, I would befriend women for the sole purpose of hoping they would like me and we could date down the line.
One classic example was Erin, a girl I liked when I was in 12th grade. She was in 9th and was pretty and friendly.
So, I got close to Erin, letting her use my locker, taking her to events, and spending time with her… all as a friend. Eventually, after a few months, I asked Erin if she wanted to “go out,” and she said “no.” Although we were cordial afterwards, it’s not a surprise that our allegedly amazing friendship ended right there.
Now that I’m older, have more experience, and do relationship coaching, I’ve developed a strong dislike of the term “friend zone.” I’ve decided to write this article to explain why the “friend zone” is ultimately a lie and what to do if you or someone you know is “stuck in the friend zone.”
It’s A One Way Street
If you would’ve interviewed my 18 year old self, I’d have said I was “stuck in the friend zone” with Erin. I’m sure if she talked about it, she would tell you that “Jonathan and I are friends.” And, Erin was ultimately the correct one.
I treated her like a friend and did things that friends did. I never escalated romantically, never expressed my hidden feelings, and, if anyone asked her or me, we affirmed that, yes, we were simply friends.
So, the whole “friend zone” thing was a one way street. It existed in my head. In most cases, the “friend zone” involves a guy pretending to be a friend, hoping to get romantic action, while the girl is trying to be an actual friend.
If you’re “stuck in the friend zone” you’re already lying to yourself and the girl (or guy) you secretly want to date. But, people tell themselves it’s worth it because it leads to romance.
But, in reality…
It’s A Terrible Strategy
Erin didn’t want to date me. I know that because I asked her and she said “no.” All the amount of pretending to be her friend made no difference. Looking back, I fully understand why.
Attraction and friendship are two different things. The two can converge, but they aren’t the same. Befriending a woman or man in the hopes of eventual attraction shows that whoever doing that doesn’t understand how attraction works.
If a woman likes a guy, she’ll like him almost instantly. If she doesn’t like a guy, she’ll likely never develop those feelings. While someone can “grow on you,” rarely does attraction develop over days, weeks, or months.
Ultimately, the “friend zone” strategy is just a slower, drawn out form of rejection. And, one that involves deceit.
Sure, friends can end up dating. But, these are usually real friendships where an initial spark of attraction exists. Or, the two people might be in situations that have changed, like when one loses a lot of weight or gets out of a relationship and is now open to pursuing her friend. But, for the most part “friend zone” relationships simply die.
It Stops Real Friendships (And Dates)
While I was trying to date Erin with my horrible strategy, I turned down a date with the homecoming queen at my school. Yes, that really happened. I was so deep into my alleged strategy that I turned down the chance for actual dates with other people, ones who wanted me romantically.
Many guys and women have such crushes on their friends that it stops them from pursuing other people. They spend so much time trying to date their “friend” that they refuse to take the necessary steps to get dates with people who might want to be more than friends.
Not only that, but the whole “friend zone” concept is also terrible for friendships. People stuck in so-called friend zone relationships aren’t usually even genuine friends. If the truth comes out and they get rejected, they want nothing more to do with the one who was their supposed best friend only hours earlier.
This is the primary reason why “friend zone” thinking is so destructive. It keeps the one allegedly stuck there single and frustrated, while the other person thinks she has a genuine friend. When it inevitably comes to a head, no one wins. A friendship is destroyed and everyone’s time was wasted.
But, if you’re in this situation, there is hope.
What To Do If You’re “Friend Zoned”
If I had to advise my younger self about Erin, here is what I’d say: make a decision, and make it quickly. If you like her, then at least start escalating romantically and sexually. If you don’t want to date her, then be her genuine friend. Start the flirting, escalating, and even asking the person out as early as possible, because otherwise, you’re just wasting everyone’s time.
If you’re used to this failed strategy, you’ll have to make choice at the start, or at least near to the start. Do I want to date this person or be her friend? If you choose dating, you’ll have to risk rejection and possibly lose her as a friend. But, at least you’ll know quickly as opposed to dragging out a fake friendship only to find out the exact same answer months later.
However, if you decide to be a real friend, you also need to stop secretly pining for her and find yourself new people to date. If she has a problem with you seeking other people for a romantic connection, at that point she’s the one not being a good friend.
Ultimately, these “friend-zoned” relationships don’t last because they aren’t healthy. It’s hard for one person to feel extreme attraction when the other one doesn’t. Such an unequal relationship will never last.
If you’re in one of these relationships or typically get into them, I wish you luck in sorting it all out! I hope you take my advice. I promise you’ll ultimately be happier once you start taking charge of your feelings and stop faking it just to delay rejection.
Men, I get it. You are in a tough spot. You love women and want to treat them right (your mama taught you well after all)…and yet the last thing you want is to be that boring “nice guy” who fails to win her heart (or get her off).
I’m here to tell you that it’s possible to be both a gentleman AND get the girl. And prove you are a total rock star in bed in the process. CLICK HERE to find out how…