The Nondating Life

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Part Five: The Friend Zone

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You say he's just a friend ...

Hello, and welcome back to the Friend Zone. If you have your Frequent Friend Zone card on hand, we'll be happy to stamp it for you before we proceed. By now, you undoubtedly know the drill, but we will go through standard procedures anyway.

First and foremost, we understand and sympathize with the fact that you are here against your will. How you got here-whether you were too passive, never had a shot, acted too much like a sibling, or, perhaps don't realize yet that you're gay-is not really our business and it's not at issue. These things happen, to some of us more than others, sure, but such is life.

Here, have a drink. You'll need it. Of course it tastes bitter. What did you expect? And sit down while we explain, once again, your options.

Option One is to stay here in the Friend Zone. Staying in the Friend Zone gives the impression that you're a mature human being, one willing to take the high road. And, should you find some way to get beyond your obsession, you may end up with a true and good friend. You may come to see this other person as a human and value their insights, their words, enjoy their trust and all the things a real friend has to offer.

But we both know, deep down inside, that that's not going to happen. Because part of the job of being a friend is listening. And here in the Friend Zone, you'll have to listen to her problems. And her problems will, for some reason, always stem from the abuse she's taking from the guy currently in the Boyfriend Zone. You, of course, can try to be a good friend, a good listener and help her out. Feel free to do so. If you enjoy sleepless nights spent alone while alternating between abject depression, feelings of worthlessness and monstrous fits of jealous rage, knock yourself out. Who are we to judge?

Option Two, of course, is to walk across the Friend Zone, open up the door and, simply, leave. This would be the smart thing to do, but again, we don't want to pressure you. Sure, it might seem petty to just walk away. Maybe the object of your affection will be mystified, possibly a little hurt. But let us point out that your primary purpose in life shouldn't be to provide emotional support and affection for someone who has no intentions of climbing into the sack with you. Ever. And while we would never suggest you say something like "Fuck this, I have enough friends" … actually, we would suggest that, not because we value honesty above all, but we like seeing the look on people's faces when they hear that. Also, we understand how hard it will be for you to walk through that door, which entails a complete halt to emails, phone calls, IM, text messaging and all the other things you might use to keep false hope, your biggest enemy in the dating game, alive.

And there you have it. Again, welcome to the Friend Zone. Stay as long as you like. Or leave. Those are your only choices. No matter what anyone says, you cannot leave the Friend Zone the way you came in. There is no door that leads from here to Girlfriend or Boyfriend Zone. You may notice the door, behind the bar, that leads to Drunken One-Night Hookup that Instills in You So Much Hope that You Can't Help but Want to Kill Yourself When You Realize That She's Shoved You Right Back into the Friend Zone (and She's Highly Embarrassed). We don't need to tell you to avoid that. Do we?

So stay. Or go. Your choice. And don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

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