The “Friend Zone” Is Like A Prison, So Either Serve Your Time Or Escape

Just Friends
Just Friends

“You’re really nice, but…”

“I think we’re better off as friends…”

“I like you, just not like that…”

“You’re like my brother/sister…”

If you have heard any of those phrases, or their extended relatives, you have officially been found guilty of disturbing the platonic peace and have been remanded to the friend zone for life, without the possibility of parole.

Maybe you misread a signal one night and are now being punished for the remainder of your days; or maybe you went all “Squints” Palledorous and were in full-blown “YOLO” mode, with no fear of repercussions.

Whatever your case may be, the fact is that — whether wrongfully convicted or not — you are now in the friend zone, and your two main options now are to either serve your time, or attempt an escape.

Now, I’ve never “done time” of any kind, but I can imagine that it isn’t the greatest of situations. I can also imagine that, if you are serving a life sentence and you are weighing these decisions, none are an easy choice:

  1. Spend the rest of your life wondering what could’ve been.
  2. Accepting your fate and trying to make the best of your current situation.
  3. Take action and try to break free.

I don’t believe that there is “The One” for someone. I don’t think that, somewhere among the 6-plus billion people in the world, there is one specific human being that was created to be our perfect match. I believe there are hundreds, if not thousands, if not tens of thousands of people that would make exceptional matches for any given person; but I do not believe in The One.

I say that because there is a moral to it: The friend zone is not an actual prison in real life; you are still free to do whatever you’d like. There’s no sense in wasting time — be it weeks, months, or years — on someone who does not want you back.

In my opinion, there are two reasons one should try to escape from the friend zone: (a) you think that they are worth the risk of something greater; and/or (b) you’re not afraid to sacrifice the friendship.

If you like someone who has put you in the friend zone, there’s nothing wrong with that; and there’s nothing wrong with staying in the friend zone… so long as you can handle it.

If you’re able to go out and date and do your own thing while still hoping that one day something can happen between the two of you, go for it. If you’re able to remain single and not have the reality of being in the friend zone gnaw at you, more power to you. If you can handle seeing them be with someone else, good for you.

But, if you can’t handle it, you owe it to yourself to take the risk; just be cautious of the backlash. Maybe you get rejected and things stay the same; maybe you get rejected and things aren’t quite the same again; maybe you get rejected and things get destroyed; or maybe you’re the lucky percentage that reaps the reward that comes with the risk.

Again, always remember that there will be a reaction — of some sorts — to your actions.

I’ve been in every possible situation — in the friend zone and did nothing; in the friend zone and tried to break free; had someone in the friend zone who tried to break free; decided that I could not be “just friends” anymore (on both ends of the friend zone); there is the possibility that one of my friends likes me and isn’t saying anything, but, obviously I have no way of knowing for sure — so I see all sides of it.

Regardless of which role you’re in — the prisoner or the warden — it sucks. Nobody wants to be the one who cares more, and nobody wants to be in the position of potentially breaking someone’s heart. The friend zone can be a fickle place, so it’s best to try and avoid it at all costs.

I believe that men and women can coexist as friends, and nothing more, so please do not take the “avoid (the friend zone) at all costs” to mean, “Never be friends with the opposite sex.” What I mean is, if there is someone out there you like, and would want to date, sometimes you’re better off just asking them out and letting whatever will be, be, rather than become friends and then face an extremely awkward situation sometime in the future.

If you’re in the friend zone and are contemplating which move to make, the only question you have to ask yourself is, “Is the risk worth possibly not being rewarded?” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Mike is a New York-based writer and admitted hopeless romantic. If Ted Mosby and Carrie Bradshaw had a son, it would be him. When he’s not writing about love, dating, and relationships, he’s working his actual job as a sports reporter and columnist.

Tune into his podcast, “Heart Of The Matter” here.

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