The “friend zone” is a phrase used often to explain an unrequited crush on a friend. Yet it is more of an excuse than a true explanation. If you see the friend zone as an obstacle to romance, that might reveal something about your mindset. Once you understand the myths of the friend zone, you’ll have a better idea of how to get out of that “zone,” or how to recognize when it’s time to move on and focus your affections elsewhere.
What Blaming the Friend Zone Means About You
If you’re feeling bitter about “the friend zone,” picturing an imaginary line in the sand that your friend drew around you, this may actually mean that you’re incapable of being a true friend to your crush. It’s possible that your crush just needs a friend right now, and instead you’re coloring the relationship with resentment about the nature of the relationship. You may need to genuinely be there for your crush as a shoulder to cry on—without the expectation that it’ll someday lead to your bed. Be careful not to behave as if something is “owed” to you because you “put in the effort” of being a good friend, as if friendship is something to be rewarded with anything other than support and friendship in return.
Blaming Your Crush’s Dates
Perhaps you’ll see your crush date other people. Perhaps they’ll break up more than once and come crying to you about the failed relationships. It’s understandable (if simplistic) to think that you could be a better boyfriend or girlfriend than those lousy exes. If you find yourself repeatedly thinking or sharing this with other friends, perhaps throwing out something like how you’re “the nice guy” and your crush keeps “falling for bad boy jerks,” hit “pause” and ask yourself some honest questions. If you’re just being a friend because you want to sleep with a person, you’re actually in essence friend-zoning yourself.
Turning Friendship into Romance
People fall in love with their friends all the time—sometimes after years of friendship. If you expect more from your friend just because you’re a decent, supportive human being, you’ll never get to that point. Be a friend and clear your mind of resentment as much as possible. At some point, when your crush is single, ask them if they’ll go on a date with you. If they say no, you may feel awkward, but you’ll have tried—and you can move on if need be.
Some people just honestly want to be your friend. Don’t take that as an insult or blame some conscious decision on the part of your crush to assign you a label that can never be changed. If you’re meant to be, you absolutely can win the affections of a friend. Otherwise, it’s best to respect your friend’s wishes and learn to be grateful for the affection your friend has shown you by choosing to spend time with you as someone who cares about you, even if only in a platonic way.