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Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Friend Zone

The dreaded “Friend Zone” … the place where romantic aspirations go to die, or do they?  Over the years, I have heard men and women alike complaining about being delegated to the Friend Zone.  Let me share a story:

I had met a young man who was interested in me and had asked for my number.  Because I was also interested, I obliged.  During the first week of getting to know this guy, it was evident that he was in a hurry to be in a relationship.  While I liked this guy, entering a relationship so quickly didn’t seem like such a good idea.  But because I was interested, I used our time to learn as much about him as I could.  When he realized that I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship with him (we had only been talking for less than 2 weeks), he became upset and declared that I was putting him in the “Friend Zone”.  I told him that if he ever planned on entering into a relationship with me that I prefer that we get to know each other and become friends first.  Almost immediately, his attitude toward me changed and he was no longer interested in pursuing a relationship with me.  His actions told me that he was more interested in being in a relationship than actually getting to know me as a person.  Honestly, if he was willing to give our friendship a chance to flourish, I’m pretty sure that I would have become ready to be in a relationship with him.  But, we never got that chance.
So is being in the friend zone such a terrible thing? I think it’s quite the opposite.
 Anybody that takes the time to get to know me first is a winner in my book. Instead of rushing into a relationship (which can actually cause your relationship to end prematurely), getting to know someone and befriending them first is one of the ways couples can help create a solid foundation for their relationship.  There are also many other benefits to being in the friend zone.


1.     Sometimes We Get into Relationships for all the Wrong Reasons


I see more of this these days than anything else.  People chose to be in relationships with each other based on qualifications such as looks, income, material possessions, status etc.  While these things are important, people often forget to choose someone based on how compatible they are with each other.  If you have ever tried to be in a romantic relationship with someone that you weren’t friends with, you will know that it isn’t easy.  When someone is your friend, they will be willing to communicate with you, have your back and motivate you.  You can tell the difference between someone who just desires you for your superficial qualities versus someone who actually cares about you as a person and your well-being.  I’d prefer the latter.


2.     Relationships Built from Friendships Last Longer
The goal should not only be having a relationship, but having one that lasts.  Like I mentioned earlier, relationships need a strong foundation to be able to withstand the test of time and a strong friendship is one of the ways that this can happen.  Have you ever found yourself in a relationship with someone who seemed great in the beginning, only to realize later that this person is someone that you don’t even like?  Chances are that you did not take the time to get to know that person well enough before entering into a relationship with them.  Think about your circle of friends.  You wouldn’t keep anyone in your circle that you didn’t like would you?  The same goes for relationships.  You want to make sure that the person you choose to be in a relationship with is someone worth keeping around.

3.     Love Happens in its own Perfect Timing

You cannot rush love or the perfect relationship.  Sometimes, something worth having requires time and dare I say it, patience.  We live in an instant gratification oriented society, but that does not change the fact that there are some things that you cannot force.  Quick example:  Gavin meets Jessica.  Gavin is very attracted to Jessica, but because of circumstances, they were unable to be together at the time.  They were however, able to cultivate a platonic friendship, one that was based on mutual respect and common interests.  Later on when their circumstances changed, Gavin and Jessica were able to enter into a loving, long-lasting relationship because of the wonderful friendship they had already established beforehand.  This made their love that much more sweeter, because they both knew exactly who they were getting and were thrilled about it.
Even though I know the term “Friend Zone” has a negative connotation, I have come to the realization that being friends first with a potential mate is a good thing.  There are some situations in which a person may not ever be interested in a relationship for whatever reason upon which the Friend Zone becomes a permanent situation.  In instances like this, it is probably best for the person who has been “Friend-Zoned” to remove their romantic expectations of the friendship and move on to other possibilities.  But I don’t think someone should ever deny themselves the possibility of genuine friendship.  As we navigate through the world of dating, we have to keep in mind that it is best for relationships to have a strong foundation, to remember to choose a person based on the right qualities and that getting to know someone often requires lots of time and patience.  Next time someone wants to take the time to get to know you as a person, happily accept. You never know what the future may bring.

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