Well, it’s now halfway through term so this may be a growing problem around campus. I know how it goes. You walk into your first lecture and there’s a wonderful looking specimen who immediately catches your eye. They turn up in your seminar so you go in for the chase. They laugh at your jokes, you swap mobile numbers/facebook addresses/carrier pigeon names, go to get coffee and everything goes splendidly. You throw your best lines at them but they somehow never make a move. Eventually, in a moment of caffeinated power, you broach the subject of a “real date, just the two of us, you know, if you want”. Despite your numerous charms and hair flicks, they just aren’t interested. They actually just see you as, gasp, a friend.
What a jerk, right? WRONG! The first thing we all do wrong in this situation is imagine that those charms we’ve nonchalantly fanned in their direction aren’t good enough. Obviously rejection from someone you wanted to do the underpants dance with isn’t going to be the highlight of your week, but it doesn’t mean that you’re somehow flawed. They obviously just don’t appreciate your baking skills, juggling talents or ability to always find the best coffees in town (Layne’s Espresso, how you doin’?). When you feel the bite of rejection, don’t immediately assume they think you are a hideous, repulsive mess. Do you know why?
Because being friends with someone great! Being friends isn’t a failure. Being friends is wonderful. So, you may not be able to imagine your eventual marriage and honeymoon, but you can imagine so many other wonderful things that this person can still bring to your life. And even better, they obviously think you are a lovely person that they like being around. Nice one, you!
There are a few things to do if you’ve found yourself in this slightly awkward situation. Firstly, let’s assume that your friend/ex-love-interest genuinely wants to be your friend, and is not using you for emotional gratification or some pre-planned organ-harvesting scheme. That is not a friend, and so is not counted in this advice.
The first option you have is to accept that this is not going to go anywhere, and be their friend only. Don’t pretend to be their friend and just stay around waiting for them to see how wonderful you are. Those coffees and pretend study-dates are going to be just as good (maybe, dare I say it, better) if you don’t feel like you need to wow them with how gorgeous you are constantly. Comfortable unflattering trousers, get at me.
The other option is to let them go. If trying to be their friend is too hard, it might just be because there is no real friendship there. It’s not worth your time or theirs to try and make yourself fit into a friendship mould that isn’t natural. Even if you do think there is a real friendship there, when seeing them hurts you, it’s not healthy. That just isn’t a friendship that is going to benefit you. And you come first.
So next time you think you’re stuck in the friend-zone because someone you fancy is silly enough to not fancy you back, just remember that being friends with someone can still give you some amazing experiences and potentially last longer than a college romance. Long distance friendships are a lot easier than long distance relationships. Also, they might have hot friends. You never know!