By the Irrelevant Irreverent
When a person finds themselves in the friend zone, quite often the response is to snarl in contempt, gnash teeth in their general direction, and turn away, calling them worthless or somehow sneaky. I think we can approach it from another direction, and give these lads a teachable moment, so to speak.
The friend zone can be a terrible place for anyone to inhabit. You spend inordinate amounts of time and effort trying to make someone see that you’re worth their time, and failing at it every time. The worst part of it is the constant feeling that maybe next time, maybe she’ll see (or he, to each their own) that I’m the one for them. I’ve been there, and if it weren’t for a close friend giving me the information I needed to break loose from it, I might be there still. I owe that friend all kinds of appreciation. He helped make me the man I am today: Happy, healthy, satisfied.
Along the way in the time since, I’ve had a number of friends and acquaintances who were in that place, and I’ve done what I could for them. But that’s not what brings me out to the marketplace of ideas thinking that I’ve got something worth hearing. No, what brings me here is the almost universal reaction to people who find themselves in it: Contempt. It’s assumed that these guys are sneaky bastards, trying to worm their way into a woman’s affections (I’m sure they could also be after a man’s affections, whatever your thing is, go for it. My experience in this context is just with women). Anyway, worming their way into a woman’s affections by false displays of friendship and eventually going sour, bitter and vile when they don’t get their way. While I’m sure there are some guys who actually are the manipulative bastards they’re painted as, it has been my experience that there’s an alternative explanation, and these guys should be getting our sympathy, and maybe even a bit of tough love.
In my experience, and I’m only speaking about my experience (though I’d bet that my experience in this is pretty representative) is that these guys are inexperienced with social situations, not at all confident with women or with rejection. They haven’t learned yet that the worst thing about being rejected by a woman you’re interested in, is anticipating it. These guys hide themselves, not wanting to be hurt. Guess what: This defense manifests as beating around the bush, indirect behavior. None of these guys come straight out and say “I’m interested in dating you, are you interested in me?” Of course not. That’s how you get rejected by this beauty that you’ve been fantasizing about kissing for the last month or so.
Instead, he simps. He thinks to himself that if he only demonstrates that he’s ever so amazing, she’ll fall for him the same way he fell for her. What these guys don’t realize is that being very nice to her, super helpful, super supportive, is not enough to catch the eye of most people. There are a lot of nice people out in the world, and most of them have other qualities as well: This guy is very kind and also chiseled out of marble (figuratively). That guy is very kind, has a great smile and also is extremely rich. A third guy over here is very giving and also has a bold sense of adventure. Now here comes the part that these “Nice Guys” need to hear: It is not an evil act to advocate on your own behalf!
If you want her, TELL HER ABOUT IT. There’s no sense bitching and complaining that a bigger and more confident guy is dating the girl you’re into, if you didn’t make sure she knows you’re into her in the first place. There are some women out there who are actively using guys, keeping them in the friend zone for their own benefit, and those people are wretches, no question. But, and this is important, the vast majority of friend zone situations work out like this: He doesn’t have the confidence to come clean, and she has no bloody idea that she’s taking advantage.
The really great part is that the solution for both situations is the same, guys: Bring up your feelings, and ask her if she’s interested in dating you. If she says no, STOP TRYING TO EARN HER LOVE. Remember that she doesn’t owe you her love, and you don’t owe her your servitude. Remember that you have the same right to act in your own interest that she does. If she’s not interested, stop carrying her bag, stop picking her up for hangouts, stop spending hours on the phone talking about how her relationship is going wrong, just stop. If you wouldn’t do it for your other friends, don’t do it for her. That doesn’t make you a bad guy. If she acts like it does, then she wasn’t really your friend in the first place.
Thank you for listening, and remember: None of us gets out of this alive, yeah?