Dear People of the Internet,
I write this for you after approximately eight years of (accidental) research. In fact, one might even call Justfriendistan my region of social expertise. I will happily write the converse of this article, “How To Not Get Friend Zoned,” if and when I manage to figure that out. In the meantime, I present to you 16 simple steps, that, if followed correctly, will leave you to suffer slow heartcrumble as you convince yourself that being their friend is better than nothing.
1. Use the word “dude” (“bro”, “bud”, and “homie” also come to mind) liberally. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to score a touchdown in the friend zone. Note: if you are already being referred to by the Object Of Your Affection as “man” or anything equally chummy, read no further. You’re already in the friend zone. It’s okay, on to the next one. There are plenty of fish in the sea. And there is plenty of seaweed for you, vegans.
2. Invite the Object Of Your Affection (let’s refer to them as OOYA from here on out…that has a nice ring to it) to go to the gym with you or to walk to the laundromat. If you can think of something less romantic or more mundane you’re one step ahead of me. You probably don’t need this article.
3. Tell the OOYA about all of your exes and the other person you’re currently interested in. Extra credit: ask the OOYA to come up with a response to OOYA #2’s flirty text.
4. Listen intently as the OOYA tells you all about the Object Of Their Affection (OOTA…?). Tell them that you’re always there for them if they need to talk, and consider yourself one step closer to marriage when they respond with “you’re such a good friend,” or any variation thereof.
5. Hang out only in groups. Tell your friends that you finally snagged a date when the OOYA invites you to drop in for family dinner (read: Domino’s) with their roommates.
6. Look as bleh as possible when you see the OOYA. Go a few days without showering, if possible, and don’t you dare smell good. (But don’t smell rancid either, lest you may find even the friend zone out of grasp.)
7. When you open the door for them (looking bleh, of course) say, “Sorry I look gross, but I figured it was only you…” If you’re looking to speed things up, you can follow this with a fist pump instead of a hug.
8. Burp, fart, chew with your mouth open, talk with your mouth full, etc. Be as unladylike or as ungentlemanly as possible. Extra credit: spill something on your shirt while you’re eating. (Note: as with #6, don’t go overboard with this one. In order to end up in the friend zone, you need to actually keep the OOYA as your friend. Burp just enough times that it becomes very clear that you give between -3 and 0 sh*ts, but not enough times for the OOYA to deem you unfit for civilized society. Finding the balance here may require some practice, but don’t beat yourself up. You’ll get there.)
9. Don’t wait for them to text you back before you send another text. You know that they’ve seen the message because of those little backstabbers known as read receipts? Even better.
10. Don’t you dare make said texts flirty, funny, or even worse…witty. What are you trying to do? Entice them? Intrigue them? Keep reading.
11. Be as easily available as possible. Initiate all plans. Be at the OOYA’s beck and call.
12. Make it crystal clear that you aren’t looking for commitment of any sort if and when you do hook up for the first time (though if it gets to this you have clearly been doing a sub-par job with the other instructions. Okay fine, I forgive you. Let’s move on). Hear the words “I’m not looking for a boy/girlfriend” come out of your mouth. This is critical.
13. Try your damndest not to let this happen again, lest you begin to levitate out of the friend zone and into the friends with benefits zone, which is related, but in a decidedly different (less fiery) circle of hell (for those with romantic aspirations, of course). We can’t have that.
14. Perhaps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, you should hook up with the OOYA’s best friend. Bonus points if their best friend doubles as their roommate.
15. Definitely tell the OOYA all about said hook-up the next morning. Preferably in 50-Shades-Of-Grey level detail.
16. If, after all of this, your relationship still seems to be turning into a When Harry Met Sally sequel, you can try setting the OOYA up with that friend of yours that they think is hot. Note: this step should be skipped if you would not comfortably label yourself a masochist.
You’re still reading?! Shouldn’t you be off playing video games and drinking beer and eating stale bagel bites with their friends!? That’s what I thought. Go get ’em, slugger. You’re officially in the friend zone.