No one ever wants to talk about the friend zone. Why is that? Are we uncomfortable with its negative connotation? Self-conscious about rejection? I get it; rejection sucks. And that’s kind of what the friend zone is, isn’t it? A zone of rejection, the place where we coral the people we want in our lives but can’t see ourselves actually dating. It’s that little gap between the word “girlfriend” and “girl friend,” and it’s usually instigated by one of the following phrases: I think we should just be friends, I just don’t feel that way about you, or if they start with the phrase, We need to talk.
I’ve met people who go so far as to claim that the friend zone doesn’t and/or shouldn’t even exist. (Maybe they’re the fortunate few who haven’t had to be the friend zoner or the friend zone, but the majority of you know exactly what I’m talking about.) The friend zone exists; it is, in fact, a thing.
The problem with the friend zone is this: it’s messy. The very essence of the friend zone is the line that’s drawn, the attempt at clarity in a murky, unclear flirtationship. At some point (whether it’s at the beginning, middle, or—most likely—the end), male/female friendships have to be defined. Are you just friends? Are you headed in the direction of a relationship? Are you in a relationship? Fuck buddies? Can I just say that defining the relationship sucks? The “Hey, I’m just not that into you” talk never really goes the way we planned in our heads. Someone says something they didn’t mean to and feelings get hurt. But once the words are out there, the relationships is changed, forever.
Despite the consequences, the Talk must be had. I don’t care if you’re nervous about having the Talk, or of potentially losing the person—maybe that sounds harsh to you, but I can assure you, it’s not intended that way.
If you’re having nerves/fears about the Talk, that just proves that you care about this person and their feelings; so spare them the extended heartache and have the fucking Talk, because even if you don’t mean to, you’re leading that person on. And that’s not fair.
There is nothing worse than communicating with someone you like and not knowing where you stand with them. Literally, it’s the worst.
Technology makes it easy to feel like a person is a part of your life, perhaps a bigger part of your life than they actually are. If you talk every day, shouldn’t that mean he likes you? Awh, he’s thinking about me. But then you find yourself wondering if that sunset/latte/gym selfie he sent you last night was just for you, or if he just went down the list of his Snapchat best friends. I don’t know about you, but I send the same picture to basically everyone in my Snapchat favorites, and I’m willing to bet guys do the same thing. The picture may or may not reference something meaningful or something exclusive to your friend/relationship (inside jokes), but I’m sure I’ve received at least one picture from a guy that was also sent to four other people.
There are a lot of blurred lines when it comes to male/female friendships, leading to a lot of unanswerable questions.
I encourage you (if you’re lucky enough to be able to keep friendships with persons of the opposite sex) to set up boundaries: you’re friends or you’re in (or headed towards) a relationship. Because if he has no intention of being more than a friend, he needs to understand there are boundaries that separate friends and boyfriends—unwarranted flirting, for example.
When it comes to the friend zone, clarity is key. If you’re going to be “just friends” with a guy, you both need to mind the gap.