Boys, have you ever tried so hard to get close to a girl that you became her best friend? And now, despite the fact that you two are inseparable and totally compatible, she just won’t date you? I’m sorry to break the bad news, but you are irreversibly in … The Friend Zone.
My father always said “Boys just aren’t close friends with girls unless they’re interested in dating them, or at the very least attracted to them.” I always rolled my eyes and explained to him that just because it was true for him, it absolutely did not mean that it was true for everyone else. Boys and girls can definitely just be friends, right?
Dad apparently does know best. In my life, I have had many platonic relationships with boys. I became especially close with two of them at different points in my life, each of whom I gave the notorious title of “best friend” – two words that can make even the most manly of men cringe. The thought of being strictly platonic with the apple of their eye is just too much to bear, which is why most guys continue to pursue, pursue, pursue until there is zero hope of romance, the ultimate outcome of my relationships.
The first “best friend,” we’ll refer to him as Joe, was my other half for the better portion of my tween and teen years. We did everything together and I was more comfortable with him than anyone else. During those tumultuous years, I had boyfriends and Joe had girlfriends, each of us feeling jealous, but just brushing those feelings aside figuring our jealously stemmed from a lack of time spent together.
Eventually the truth came out and Joe told me he had been in love with me since sixth grade. He told me he wanted to be with me and that was it. I was beyond confused. I loved Joe, but just not like that. I tried convincing myself otherwise so I wouldn’t lose him, but ultimately, I couldn’t be anything more than a friend to him. He explained that he was sorry, but just couldn’t be around me as much anymore because it hurt him too badly.
When I entered Quinnipiac, I met my current best friend, we’ll call him Dan. I knew he was in love with me from the beginning, and I knew he was actively pursuing me, but he seemed happy to be my friend for the time being.
The problem was, time ran out. At the beginning of the summer, Dan gave me an ultimatum stating that he either wanted to be dating me by the beginning of the fall semester, or our friendship would change dramatically.
I can honestly say that he is the best friend I have ever had. He is a wonderful person and I was eager and determined to keep him in my life. I was so determined, in fact, that I convinced myself that I wanted to be with him.
The problem was, in reality, I just wanted to be his friend. A lot happened in between, but our current friendship is in serious turmoil now. Although I never lied to him and only ever wanted to make him happy and maintain our wonderful and special friendship, we ultimately failed as a couple. He needed more from me than I was capable of giving; Dan was in The Friend Zone, bottom line.
For many people, they fall in love, reciprocally, with their best friend, and of them, I am truly jealous. For most people though, there will be at least one friend in their lifetime who has feelings beyond friendship, rendering it impossible to maintain a long-term closeness.
The best advice I can give is to be honest from the start. If your best friend is clearly in The Friend Zone and he or she has made it abundantly clear that dating you is the ultimate goal, tell them the truth. It may be difficult at first, but it is better than dragging out the inevitable and causing more pain.
Dad, looks like you were right after all.