I always get friendzoned
If I had to pick one pattern that is typical for men who ask for my help in finding a partner, it would be this one: always getting friendzoned. Happens to women too, but it seems to be a bigger issue for men. And there is a reason for it: men are expected to be the ones asking women out. Most girls will not feel compelled to explicitly show a guy how they feel, if he doesn’t make the first move. If he isn’t, and she is being friendly and nice, he may easily mistake that for attraction or romantic interest.
The second reason is this: men rarely befriend a woman they are not attracted to. Women make friends with men regardless of that. So it’s more often that a woman sees a man as a friend, while he actually wants something more.
If you’ve ever been friendzoned, I am sure you’ll be familiar with this scenario: you like someone and you start having romantic feelings for them. Seems like they feel the same, but you are not sure. They laugh at your jokes and spend time with you regularly, even flirt with you sometimes.
But, after months of hanging out as friends, they don’t seem to be interested in taking things to the next level. You are getting mixed messages, and becoming more and more confused. Over time – things cool off, rather than heat up. Maybe they start avoiding you. They don’t respond to your messages as quickly as they used to.
You still believe there is something there, but you are less and less sure you have a chance. One day, they announce they have a new partner or they confide in you they are falling in love with someone else. Or they simply distance themselves, and you lose touch.
This often happens in such a subtle way that you don’t even notice until it’s too late and you are deeply in love with a person who only sees you as a good friend, or sometimes even just a fun distraction, someone to fill their boredom and save them from loneliness, fill the space until they meet their next love interest.
WHY WE GET FRIENDZONED
One reason is that dating today has very blurred lines with being friends, hanging out, or just having a sexual relationship (friends with benefits). You never know where you are with someone until you actually both confirm you are officially in a relationship. Until then – it’s more or less OK to date multiple people, and relate to all of them without any commitment or consistency.
In a world of non-existing dating rules it’s easy to misinterpret other people’s messages. And it’s easy for them to misinterpret ours too. Remember – if they are sending mixed messages, it’s most likely you are too. When people know what you want from them – they will usually adjust their behaviour accordingly.
Most of us are nice enough to not lead others on if we see they are hopelessly falling for us. However, there are people who enjoy the attention and play with our feelings, but those are the ones you want to stay clear from any way. You don’t want to date or be close to people who are careless about hurting others.
Apart from the lack of dating rules, there are other reasons for getting friendzoned, and those have more to do with you, and how you feel. They are the important ones, the ones you actually have control of.
Even if you get smart enough to see through someone’s behaviour, recognise you are being put in the friend zone, that still leaves you with the bigger issue: why does everyone always just see you as a friend?
A major culprit here is low confidence. When you don’t believe you can be a good partner to someone, or think you are not attractive nor interesting in that way – you can’t imagine how anybody would fall in love with you, so they don’t.
The other big reason is being afraid of rejection. If you never ask someone out, you’ll never be rejected. You are saving yourself from failure and humiliation that comes with it. You are lonely, but safe. It’s a big price to pay, and usually you will still feel the pain of rejection – even if it’s not direct.
Being afraid of closeness is another big one. Romantic love is more intense than friendship. If you don’t get too close, you are protecting yourself from getting hurt. You subconsciously choose to always be the friend because it’s easier to lose a friend than that one special person. If you are not that important to someone, you can’t become insignificant either. But again, this is false safety. You still feel invisible, because you are never being picked as someone’s “the one”.
There are of course more reasons, I’ve just stated the most common ones, the most visible patters that I come across a lot in my coaching practice. If you’d like me to help you with discovering what gets you friendzoned, do get in touch (here or here).
HOW TO AVOID GETTING FRIENDZONED
Friend zone happens more to people who are shy, introvert or simply afraid to communicate their feelings in a direct way. Afraid to make a bold move – which is anything from expressing their feelings verbally to going in for a kiss. It is scary to open yourself up this way, but it’s often the only way that will get you a clear answer. So you can stop deluding yourself. Or start dating for real.
If you resort to guesswork – there is a fair chance you will guess wrong. People send mixed signals because they themselves are not sure if you like them, usually from the same fear of getting rejected, they play hot and cold and hope you will figure it out.
This way you get “noise” on both ends – if you are both interested in each other, you pretend you are not to avoid being “found out” and rejected. If you do this for too long, one of you will lose interest, and it’s game over. If one person is just friendly, they give mixed signals so they keep you around, but don’t give you too much hope.
Dishonesty and miscommunication, however you put it. And that’s never a good thing in any relationship.
You are not doing yourself a favour by not communicating clearly how you feel (read: with actual words, not hints or gestures). The only way to be sure how someone feels about you is to ask them.
You will either get rejected or you will get the response you want. But both are better than being in the limbo of not knowing, because you are just postponing the inevitable. Your friend will not fall in love with you if you stick around longer, if they haven’t done so by now. No amount of being nice and being there for them can magically change their feelings for you. Of course, it is always possible that you are both just friends and then later on you fall in love – but that usually happens simultaneously, and it’s very, very rare. Don’t count on it.
If you get rejected – at least you know where you stand. Rejection will happen any way at some point, but it will hurt more if you are already head over heels in love. This way, you are protecting yourself from greater disappointment and pain further down the line.
You may be afraid of losing a friend. That is always a possibility. And it will happen, again, any way – if you are not honest with each other. Things that are unsaid have a way of blowing up in your face when you least expect it. They will say you lied to them, you will feel betrayed. Not a great base for continuing the friendship.
If you communicate how you feel you may still be able to stay friends. It depends on how comfortable the other person is with your revelation. If they truly like you and want to keep you in their life, they will stick around.
But, it’s also very likely that you won’t be in the mood for friendship any more once you find out they don’t want to date you. It’s hard to be friends with someone you are attracted to. You will be hurt if they don’t give you attention, and even more so if they find a new partner or confide to you their love troubles with other people.
It will be an emotional roller-coaster, and it will wear you out.
So my advice is: always be honest about how you feel. Let them know. Ask them out on a date, and say it’s a date. Tell them you are falling in love. It’s scary, but it will save you a lot of pain. And you won’t waste so much time pursuing people who don’t want you.
Nobody will fall in love with you just because you are a good friend and a nice person. There has to be more – there has to be a spark. If that spark isn’t happening, and it’s been months, it’s time to move on.
The best way to stop getting friendzoned is to start looking inside. Explore your fears and insecurities. They won’t go away by themselves. If you run away from them, the discomfort and pain will just grow. One day, you’ll just give up dating altogether, disillusioned and disappointed.
But it doesn’t have to be this way, and it can always, always be reversed. Your fears are the only thing standing in your way to love. Your bad luck is your opportunity to grow. Use it.
Tell me what you think, why do you get friendzoned?
What did you do so far about it? Did it help?
Thank you for sharing.