The “friend zone” is a social construct that we have created for people whom we do not wish to pursue a romantic relationship.
In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, I would like to take this moment to debunk the myth that women do not and cannot be thrust into the “friend zone.” Not only does this happen, but it happens often. If you Google “Help! I’ve been stuck in the friend zone,” three out of nine search results for the first page were written for men on how to escape the friend zone. An article was written for women on how to friend-zone men and only one article was written for women who have been “friend-zoned.”
If you search for “stuck in the friend zone,” every result is geared toward men. In fact, you have to get as specific as “stuck in the friend zone with a guy” to get only five results that are geared toward women, and even then two of those are still applicable to men by being an article that is gender neutral.
But there are so few articles on how to get out of the “friend zone,” that I have decided to address this issue and explain how women can be put into the “friend zone” and share a few tips on how to approach the situation.
1. Move On
The best thing to do once you have officially been “friend-zoned” is to try and move on. This may not be an easy process, in fact it may be quite a difficult process, but in the long run it is probably for the best. Though you don’t know what may happen a month from now or a year from now, at the present time this special person cannot feel for you what you feel for them, and craving for someone who doesn’t think of you romantically is painful and a waste of time. Don’t try to picture what your relationship could be in your mind while still being just friends on the surface. Accept their friendship for what it is and enjoy your time together.
2. Focus on You
After you have essentially been rejected, take this time to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Try going to the gym! Not only will this get you into killer shape, but also exercise has been shown to release endorphins, which make you feel happy. Buy yourself some new clothes and try reinventing yourself. But more important than trying to get someone else to like you, it is imperative that you begin to like yourself. Do something that makes you happy. After all, you never know who may be falling in love with your smile!
3. Keep Your Options Open
If this special someone doesn’t feel the same way about you, someone else will! Who knows what might happen in the future?! Maybe they will open their eyes and notice how amazing you have been all along … but don’t make this your only option. The trick to this is to be open to the possibility of a relationship with this person, while still accepting that for the present moment you are just friends. This can be hard for many people, but if you are open to friendship and the potential of a relationship, you can still see other people without feeling guilty. By seeing other people, you are not only gaining experience in the realm of relationships, but there is the possibility you could meet someone even better.
4. Try Not to Push
The “friend zone” is a difficult and often times painful place to be in. It offers a glimmer of hope because you wonder maybe one day that special someone will look at you the way you always wanted, but this hope can be dangerous and disappointing. Once you have been classified as someone else’s platonic friend, one of the worst things you can keep doing is forcing a romantic relationship. Chances are you will not get what you want and you could also risk damaging your friendship.
As unfortunate as it may seem, the “friend zone” label doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, and neither is the pain we feel when we realize we have been forced into it. Being put in the “friend zone” is just as bad as being rejected; in fact, it is essentially the rejection of a romantic relationship. It is up to you to decide if you still want to pursue a friendship. Most times being friends is the best decision if you want to keep them as an important person in your life.