The Ugly Truth About Keeping The Good Guys In The Friend Zone

Twenty20 / @losangeles

In high school, I had a guy friend who I absolutely loved – as a friend. We did everything together. We’d eat together, party together, spend all the time together we could, and we’d sleep in the same bed but I’d never give into him. I’d always make it clear we were just best friends, that there wouldn’t be anything between us. I’d hook up with someone else then crawl into his bed at night because he gave me a certain comfort I wanted and needed at that point in my life. But I kept him tucked away in my pocket for the times I needed him, like a total bitch.

In college, I had a guy friend who I absolutely loved – as a friend. He’d come over in the morning, we’d get breakfast together, lie around the living room all day watching football and get drunk together at night. He was always there and I loved him for it. It turns out he liked me enough to the point where he asked my roommate at the time if he should try to pursue a relationship with me. She, of course, knew how I felt and told him she thought it would be better if we just stayed friends because I enjoy being single.

What an answer. 

I had a sudden realization that I immediately friend zone myself, or the guy because I don’t want to risk losing people. I just want to cling to the friendship and the person, I want to be the one who is always there, I want to be the one person everyone needs. I don’t want to lose people I care about and I know there’s a really good chance of that if I were to date these guys. Therefore, to cut down the risk of heartbreak and the loss of the person in my life I immediately friend zone people. Or I’ll go on a few dates, give it a go if I’m feeling like it might work out then back out instantly when shit starts to get real and try to be friends with the guy.

In short, I’m the worst because I don’t want to open myself up and risk a heartbreak, I don’t want to risk someone leaving so I run and push them away back into the friend zone.

I’ve become so used to being single, so used to being the girl who’s always there for everyone, who is the constant and not getting fucked over and left with a broken heart. I guard my heart, protect it from being broken, find joy in being alone and friend zone everyone I can because that way I’m protecting myself, right?

Truth be told, I don’t know.

I lost out on a lot of good love by being so reserved. But I also realize I probably didn’t deserve good love for being this way, for pushing people away who wanted to be close, for not giving people the chance because I didn’t want to be hurt. For hurting people because I thought I was doing the best thing for myself.

Once your heart breaks the first time it’s a pain you don’t forget. You try to fill the empty void in your heart with attention, with empty nights and meaningless sex. You try to cover your bleeding heart with a bandage that couldn’t possibly stop the bleeding. You try to forget, you try to heal but you have no idea what you’re doing. The only thing you know is that you don’t want to feel that pain again. And it made me guarded after so long of throwing myself at men who didn’t want me because I was trying to cover up the pain of being left and alone. It turned me into someone with a caged heart.

I got an email the other day from someone asking me to write about where all the good guys have gone, how women are always complaining that all the good ones are already taken, that there’s no one left but the truth is we friend zone the good guys.

We put the good guys in our back pockets. We keep them there on rainy days, we use them when we’re lonely, when we need male attention, when we’re feeling sorry for ourselves. That’s what we use them for and it’s the truth. I did that in high school and again in college, and now I’m truly alone. I have no backup plans, I have no one to keep me company and give me the male attention I crave at times but if this realization made me aware of anything it’s that I know I’m not the only one who does this.

We friend zone the good guys because it’s easier to have them there then it’s not. It’s comforting to know that if our hearts get broke that they’ll be there to help us feel better. It’s comforting to know we have their support, their friendship, their emotional connection and that we can go out and pursue someone who we have no business pursuing because our guy friend will still be there when we get home at the end of the night after they fucked up.

We keep the good guys in the friend zone and go for the guys who will treat us like shit, who won’t make us a priority, who will probably play us and break our hearts. We go for the “bad boys,” the ones who are only looking for one night stands, the ones who don’t care about who we are because they only care about how good we are in bed. We go for the shitty love we think we deserve. We attract the kind of people we think we deserve.

And then when we’re sad, lonely and feeling empty because they left us or stopped talking to us we still have that constant friend to lean back on. We have our friend zone.

It’s a sad reality but it’s a true reality, and it’s really fucked up when you take a step back and really examine things.

I missed out on a lot of good love from men who truly cared about me because I was too busy selfishly keeping them by my side for when I needed them. Now they’ve found love, someone who appreciates their kindness, their good hearts, and their generosity, and I’m still alone.

I’m working on letting down the guard around my heart and letting people in because I should have realized just because I couldn’t give them the love they wanted, and deserved, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t go find it elsewhere. No one deserves to be left hanging around, no one deserves to be there only when it’s convenient and no one deserves to be left in the friend zone.

If I’ve realized anything it’s that no one will wait around forever, and your friend zone deserves more than to be your backup plan. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Becca Martin

Insta with me

More From Thought Catalog