I’m over that period of my life when I feel like I have to look for my person on dating apps if I want to be in a relationship. I prefer real life connections; but one of my friends who got divorced is just getting back in the field and I could really feel her pain when she kept complaining she’s been on so many dates and all the guys just disappear. Ghosting is real and can hurt as hell if you really like the person. But, very interestingly for me, what made her more angry is when a nice guy wanted to be “just friends.”
She got offended and immediately blocked the dude on every platform. I have been there too in my 20s, when my ego got offended when someone “only” thought of me as a friend. It all changed once the feeling was mutual. The guy was really nice but there was no chemistry, and we both felt the same way. Normally I would just tell him how I felt and move on with my life, but he offered to be friends. I asked myself the question: okay, why not? That literally changed the way how I look at these relationships again and blessed me with the most amazing friendships ever.
We were both new in the city where we lived and he confessed he had been on few dates with women he really liked but didn’t feel any romantic spark. Yet, they stayed friends. I admired his honesty and how he realized a great social opportunity in these dates. Soon we went out with two of his former dating app matches and formed a great squad. We went to concerts together, trivia nights, bars or clubs, to the movies or just for a walk in the part on the weekends. We provided insight, male-female perspectives for each other on dating and life in general and even set up each other for jobs at our companies.
I believe most of us feel hurt when we are friend zoned, and instead of getting kissed after a date we’re offered a friendship. We all have deep rejection wounds. Possible that some guys only say this because it’s easier and then you’ll never hear from them again but some actually mean it. We shouldn’t cut people off because of our hurt ego can’t stand this. Once we work on our rejection wounds and are able to see the situation for what is, we’ll be able to win from the situation. And often, winning a friend is more valuable than winning a date that won’t last long.
If you’re on a dating app or site, chances are the profiles are shown to you based on common interests and several compatibility factors. So the base for a good friendship is already given. Online dating friends can add a lot of richness to your life, especially if you’ve just gone through a breakup or divorce and need to build back up your social circle.
2 tips on how to play the friend zone:
Make sure neither of you has romantic feelings
I can’t stress enough how important communication is in every kind of relationship. None of the partners should suggest being buddies with matches, if they’re attracted to the other and are hoping for more, maybe with time. Not only will those friendships never develop, it’s kind of mean to the other and to yourself as well. Besides, it’s no fun for you to have to constantly worry about where it’s going.
Don’t suggest being friends unless you really mean it.
Only suggest being friends if your intention is being friends, which means treating each other like real friends by keeping in touch and meeting up now and then. A good strategy is to connect quickly on social media. This way, you’ll be able to make a decision on whether you’re actually willing to pour effort into building this connection and take the role of a friend without any romantic motivations. You can also suggest doing activities that friends do or invite them to friends’ parties or group outings. One of my friends I met through a dating app buddy started to date her now fiancé through me, because the guy was my colleague and we met after a team building event. By tapping into each other’s networks, you’ll make more social connections and increase your chances of meeting someone special.
The friend zone comes with many benefits you would not otherwise access if you were romantically involved. Here’s why…
It takes the pressure off
Embracing the fact that you’re not a romantic prospect for a guy took a lot of pressure off of me. With one of my jobs I lived together with my colleagues and I “had something” mutual going on with one of the guys. So we started to get to know each other better but he ended up friend zoning me. I was hurt at the beginning but now I think it’s the best thing he could ever do. Once the pressure of trying to impress him disappeared and I became more relaxed, I enjoyed our connection even more. I can wear what I want to wear when we meet, go out without freshly washed hair and save the makeup—basically I’m free to be myself without the pressure of impressing anyone.
You get access to an honest male perspective
Having an honest guy as a friend is the best thing ever! As a woman I often don’t get what men do or why they react in a way they do but a male perspective can explain things otherwise would stay mystery forever. It helped me many times leaving the wrong guy or when I thought my interest wasn’t into me, but he was super shy—which I’d never think of, and he was right.
It gives you insight into what you want (and don’t want) in a partner
Getting close with someone platonically can teach you a lot about relationships outside of the friend zone. Being that comfortable with each other shows you the gap between how people present themselves and who they actually are so you can get more clear on your checklist. Like my friend who friend zoned me back then, turned out to be one of my best friends but that incident also helped me to realize my mechanism of being attracted to emotionally unavailable men, and once I understood this instead of activating the chasing energetics within me I started to see that as a turn off.
It makes you more sensitive towards people you reject
Getting friend-zoned can hurt especially if you’re not used to it. Now that you have some insight on how it feels, you’ll approach it with the care of an actual friend next time it’s your turn to shoot someone down. But be cautious, when I friend zoned someone after learning how being friend zoned feels, I suddenly felt bad about myself and had to learn how to handle that feeling too.
So next time your date only wants to be friends, why not try to stay open to idea instead and go along with it. See if the person really means it or if you really mean the friendship. Or you’ll think twice how you handle when someone doesn’t feel as the right fit for you.
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Photo: Christian Lue via Unsplash