The first time I really liked a girl, as in actually feeling compatible enough with her to have a long-term relationship, I got friend-zoned, hard. I managed to keep her interest for about two weeks before she dropped the f-bomb on me, and from then on, it was a downward spiral. I was brought pretty much as low as you can get, self-esteem wise. I got to the point where I actually asked her those three questions, simultaneously hoping for honesty for my peace of mind and dishonesty for my self-image. It was a profoundly shitty experience, and I’m far from the only one who’s been through it. There are countless guys (especially on Tumblr) that are going through exactly what I went through, living out stories exactly like mine.
Generally speaking, if you ask someone in the friend zone why they’re in the friend zone, they won’t admit that they’re in the friend zone. But if they do, you will probably hear some version of the same story. It’s what I like to call the “Girls Are Bitches” story. Each individual story has its own variations, but almost all of them contain the following elements:
- A “nice” guy that “would do anything” for the Girl of Interest and “actually treats her right.”
- A “douchebag” that she likes instead.
- An angry rant that the girl only likes douchebags like the guy she’s currently into.
- An angrier rant that all girls only like douchebags even though they complain about guys being douchebags.
My story has all of these, as does nearly every one I’ve ever heard from the many friends I shared my angst with. And you know what? It’s equal parts embarrassing and ridiculous, to myself and to every guy that has ever considered themselves victims of the friend zone. Being the “victim” of a friend zone story doesn’t make you sound like a nice guy. It makes you sound overly horny at best and misogynistic at worst.
Not every male in the friend zone has always been in the wrong. It would be unfair to generalize every situation and say that no guy has ever been unfairly led on by an actual “bitch” that knows, deep down, that she’s using her influence over him for attention. I’m sure it’s happened somewhere out there before. But I don’t think it happens often. I think it’s far more likely that these supposed “bitches” genuinely appreciate the attention and caring that these guys devote to them, regardless of their lack of sexual attraction, and that they actually value these guys as much or more than their female friends or even their boyfriends. I don’t understand why some people think this makes less sense than the alternative. Oh, a guy wants to talk to me and spend time with me all the time? I guess I better date him or ignore him completely, because there’s no room for in-between.
Let’s pause and examine that logic really quick. What is the problem that guys have, the part of a relationship that separates “dating” from “in-between?”
You know the answer. It’s sex. In a broader sense, it’s the idea all too many guys acquire during adolescence that the only reason to treat a girl with kindness and respect is to receive sexual favors in return. I don’t think pointing this out makes me a Feminazi or anything close to it, I think it’s just common sense. Think of it this way: imagine if everyone, including your family members and coworkers, thought used the same logic as the friend-zoned boys of the world. Sure, I’ll let you borrow my truck this weekend, Dave, but if I don’t at least get a handy out of it, you’re being kind of a bitch.
It’s been three years since I’ve last toiled in the friend zone, and looking back, I’m better from it. I found out how and how not to treat a girlfriend. I learned what it felt like to truly confide in someone, and what it felt like to be confided in. I learned how to think of myself in terms of what someone else thought of me, and then I unlearned this process.
Getting over her was hard. It took a new girl. It took some time and distance that she didn’t completely understand at first. But today, I count her among my closest friends. I go to school 2000 miles away from my hometown, and I keep up with her better than any of my other friends. And she’s never asked me for anything besides the same concern and respect she’s shown for me.