In The Friend Zone

Preface:  This was penned with some objectives in mind…to empathize with those who are in the “friend zone” and to offer an understanding of the people who find themselves there.  If that’s not your cup of tea, in the words of Kermit, “ain’t none of my business…”


After posting what I thought was a interesting satire about relationships on my Facebook wall, a friend ignited a rage in me.  I don’t care for the expression “feeling some kind of way” but there may be no better way to say it.

The proposal was made, and I engaged.  My Queen sat nearby and witnessed a transformation.  Moments before, I was calm and playful.  Even she laughed at my post.  But once that first “sideways” comment came in, my mind shifted to “game-on” mode.  I was enraged for several reasons.  “How could someone take something so cute and harmless and convert it something mean?”

I have to laugh about it now because anyone who knows me is familiar with how my social media reflects my personality…drama.

My best friend sat back and watched the episode unfurl. Let’s explain…

Women and men approach relationships differently.  Volumns have been written about the intricacies.  I confidently admit that men will never truly understand women and their mannerisms.  Women understand women–which is probably why they don’t get along.

Not every man approaches a woman with the intent of starting an intimate relationship.  There are men who approach women with caution.  Even a friendship runs the risk of rejection. Who likes rejection?  Plenty of us want a pleasant interaction.

Cautious men are perceived as too delicate, too polite, or too shy.  Assertive men are more desirable probably because they are resilient. They’ve endured plenty of rejection as a result of calling on plenty more women than the cautious men.  In the end, successful interactions blossom from pleasant experiences between compatible individuals.

How much caution is needed to say hello?  How assertive must a man be to have a friendship with a woman? If his intentions are pure, this point is moot.  It’s the assertive men who appear to be unable to have friendships with women.  Assertive men cause concern amongst the women they prey on.

Cautious men, because they are not assertive, are successful making friends.  The “friend zone” is not a derailment. It’s a destination for some.  Certainly there’s an opportunity for that relationship to grow.  But friendships are essential to any lasting relationship.  In many cases they are one in the same.

The Zone is often a point of no return.  Both women and men can find themselves there.  It’s a safe place.  The only people who get hurt there are the people who don’t want to be there.  Escape is futile and often the precursor to the death of a friendship.  This knowledge is powerful.

How does one navigate around the Zone?  By making our intentions clear at the onset of an interaction, feelings can be saved.  At the onset…!   Don’t wait until the friendship is established.  It’s too late then.  Falling in love is just THAT!   Falling!   It can’t be planned or calculated.  It’s the result of a release–loss of control or reason.  It’s beautiful and natural.

Those who’ve experienced this awesome feeling know it’s true worth.  It creates a glow that plenty of onlookers want to feel–so much so that love lusters long to linger in its essence.  Enough with the alliteration though!  A lot of people don’t know what love is.  They’re simply reaching at straws, hoping to get a taste.  And it tastes good.  It’s addictive.  Those who find it bask in its greatness and fain its loss.  Others invent what they can not find.

Butthurt

Trying to navigate through the “friend zone” after a friendship is established is painful.  Feelings get hurt and friendships become stale.  In fact, stale is an understatement.  It’s the equivalent of a break up without the opportunity for make-up sex.  To endure that kind of pain without having experienced any of an intimate relationship’s glory is…ridiculous.  Love hurts!  Better to love and lost…?  Hmmmm…

A fellow once claimed on social media that some women say that they want a REAL man, but he proclaims that he is a Gentleman.   We exist!  The fact that not every woman who has a gentleman can appreciate his worth is not too disappointing.  He is seeking a Lady.

Gentlemen will find themselves in the Zone most often.  We don’t consider ourselves to be entitled.  It’s that expectation of entitlement, in my opinion, that transforms itself into disappointment, anger, and eventual rage–especially when things don’t go as expected.  A gentleman understands what it means to earn. We earn respect.  We earn our money.  We earn the adoration of our woman.  It’s that adoration and appreciation that keeps us.  Can the other guys pull that off?

Some of us will leave this world the same way we came into it–not naked, not cold, but alone.   Those who have love experience something so entirely different than loneliness.  In love and in life, the majority of us want to be in the presence of someone who can reciprocate our feelings.

What is misunderstood about the Zone is that it can be a safe, comfortable place to be.  The fact is that it’s rare that someone invites themselves into the Zone.  It’s perceived as a pergatory from where there is no escape.  Both men and women find themselves there when they realize that there isn’t a mutual benefit of progressing  into a intimate relationship.

My thirst for defending the Gentlemen in the “friend zone” can now be quenched.  I’m passionate about the Zone because that’s where I’ve spent most of my time.  I was fortunate enough to fall in love instead of being sentenced to the Zone.  But the Zone is a happy place that I share with the rest of my Lady friends who are comfortable to be there with me.   It takes a certain level of maturity, security, understanding and compassion to withstand our type of relationship. To each its own…

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