Well, this is a subject that you’ve definitely encountered many times in your adult life. This phenomenon happens to both women and men, it is so common that almost everyone has experienced it once. But what exactly defines it? and how can we get out of it?
As a Frenchman said, “The friend-zone is a psychological state that you put yourself in by behaving like a friend with a person who you like because you don’t have the courage to behave differently”. If you think that’s wrong I'll explain why, for a person who’s been there a few times, I learned that this is actually the truth that we try to hide.
With the power of will comes a responsibility, if there is something wrong happening to us, it’s us who did it not the life itself, because by choosing to undergo a certain path we made a pact with our future self to accept whatever happens to us. And that applies to the friend zone, if you’ve been friend-zoned, it means you have communicated mixed signals that tell the person that you are a friend.
Being implicit makes things worse, you see, people are afraid of commitment, so by providing the perks of being in a relationship without the relationship status, you’re actually telling them hey! I’m ready to be friend-zoned. I’m not saying you shouldn’t make friends, but try to be forward and explicit as soon as you know that there is something different, that you actually hate being in that zone.
Choosing to be in the friend zone by fearing to lose that person, is actually worse than taking the risk and saying it out loud. If you feel something, don’t be ashamed, it’s not wrong, it means that this person has matched your expectations in a certain way, you can’t control who you like and even if you do, you can’t guarantee it’s going to work. Whenever you know, go with it, I learned this after a long haul of ups and downs. But you don’t have to go through it yourself, just be brave.
What if you stick around hoping one day it will change? Well, don’t fool yourself, if you continue to be the same your value will be the same and we humans have the habit of not giving more than we think we can give. If you’ve been a friend the whole time, you’ll definitely stay a friend, no more! And this is boring for the other person as you become a routine, so losing you can sometimes be just like losing an object. Then what? Then you suffer the consequences of a long period of waiting and hoping for something that was never going to happen. Of course, it can happen, but a force-majeure is needed.
If you risk it all, you challenge the other person, with this you can highlight that link, if there was a possibility for you both to be more than friends, you’ll get it later. If there aren’t things will not be the same and unfortunately, that friendship will not be the same. If you think it’s because of the risk, you’re wrong, it’s only because you subconsciously did everything a more than friend person can do under the friend status. It’s not a mistake, it’s normal.
Let me tell you the consequences of embracing the friend-zone after acknowledging your feelings and being rejected. Well, you’ll never be treated like before, some will exploit it further, some will make it an excuse to blame you, some will find it interesting to see how you react upon feeling jealous… You become a social experiment in the hands of the one that you like, it’s like being a self-approved slave. In the end, you’ll either wake up, and then your reaction will be as turbulent as a tornado, or you’ll say like that forever, condemning yourself to eternal suffering.
If you believe that you like someone, be brave and say it, don’t think about friendship, you can be missing the big picture by focusing on a tiny detail, people don’t value stuff they own, they do when they lose it. You’ll know your value, depending on how that person reacts after a certain time. Then, you’ll be happier.
If you think you’re responsible, no you’re not to blame. There are some standards when communicating, receiving a mixed-signal will confuse you and will activate some neural pathways that will investigate your relationship, if more signals were communicated, then you start to fall. No one is o blame here in most of the cases, but sometimes you may be placed in the wrong situation with the wrong manipulating person and that is another story to tell at a later date.
Follow the arrow of time, if you move from friends to more than friends, never try to fallback, there is no way to move on in the short term, but of course, it is possible in the long term, which explains the discrete behavior.
Anyway, know that you deserve who deserves you, as much as you try to please others, you should expect the same thing, life is about balance and exchange, if you stick to one side of the bridge, you’ll never know what’s on the other side. So I encourage you to give as much as you can and expect to receive as much as you can, that way you’ll be incentivized to give more and it will continue to build up resulting in stronger and healthier relationships.
Take the risk, never submit to your fears!