The Nondating Life

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Part Six: The Flipside of Friend Zone

(Previous Post)

Thou hast cast someone into the Friend Zone. Yea, you have banished someone from the garden of your earthly delights, damning them to live in your absence.

But, thou, too shall live by the rules set down by the elders.

This, above all, shall thou keep in thine mind and in thine heart:

Thou shalt not give cause for false hope.


Verily, verily I say unto you my brothers and sisters... Okay, enough with the Bible talk. You get the point. In an earlier post, I offered a welcome to those of you who've found yourselves sequestered to the Friend Zone and offered some guidelines for survival in such a barren land.

But there's the other side to consider. If you've placed someone in the Friend Zone there are rules to be followed. Not guidelines, mind you. Not some namby-pamby United Nations-like "we suggest you follow these." No. These are rules. This is law. By punting someone into the Friend Zone, you've set yourself up as a super power, a god of sorts and, to quote Spidey once again, "With great power comes great responsibility." If I find that you've been breaking these laws, me and the other gods are gonna come over and beat you about the face and neck. Got it? Good.

The laws fall under one basic rubric: the aforementioned false-hope statute.

Anything you say or do that gives false hope to the Just a Friend shall and will be held against you. Now, perhaps you're playing stupid and saying, "What does that mean? How can I extend false hope to someone else?"

First, quit playing stupid. It's not attractive. Not even in blondes.

Second, shut up and listen. You agreed to these rules. Oh. Yes. You. Did. Remember when Just a Friend made that full confession that he or she does indeed want to impregnate you, carry your children or love you forever. Remember how you, instead of immediately saying "Seriously, this ain't ever gonna happen. Ever," you immediately started using words like "sweet" and "nice" and "I'm just not ready" or "It's not you, it's me" and, instead of saying, "Maybe we should just back off here," you actually said, "I don't want to ruin our friendship, can we still be friends?" And Just a Friend, with a mix of remorse and hope in her eyes, said, "Yeah, sure. I can do that."

Remember that moment of pure self delusion on both your parts?

Well, now it's time to pay for it.

So, suck it up, and play by the rules:

1. You must avoid dates or date-like situations. You cannot, should not, under any circumstance, let yourself be talked into going out to dinner, movies, walks in parks, art receptions with Just a Friend if it will only be you two. Groups of friends? Fine. Just a Friend and you? Not fine.

2. You must not invite Just a Friend over to watch a movie, to hang out or anything of that nature without at least three other people present.

3. Neither can you flirt or engage with sexual banter with this friend. Maybe you did before hand, and sure it was witty and fun and slightly dangerous. Now, it's very dangerous. You want to flirt, seek out your current crush. Do it with your other friends who aren't spending the bulk of their time pining away for you?

4. No. Touching. Ever. Ever. (Okay. If a loved one of Just a Friend dies, you can give Just a Friend a hug. KEEP IT SHORT.)

5. You are not to turn to Just a Friend for emotional support in times of need. Just a Friend will surely take this the wrong way, as a sign that maybe, just maybe, if she figures out how to solve your emotional problem you will see the light and welcome her into your arms.

6. You are to go nowhere near Just a Friend immediately after one of your own relationships have blown up in your face. Especially if you've been drinking. (Just a Friend should never, ever be confused with Friend with Benefits.)

7. You are not to call Just a Friend just to talk. About anything. Ever.

By this point, you're probably saying "Ken, if I go by all those rules, then I'm not really dealing with a friend."

Ahhhh, now you catch on, young grasshopper. Be realistic. Once Just a Friend made his confession and you slapped his ass into the Friend Zone, you ceased being friends in any meaningful sense of the word. You have to be very aware, at all times, that this "friend" of yours is no longer a friend, but rather a low-level stalker who is lying to your face about being emotionally mature enough to remain friends. And every sexual innuendo, every sly joke, every bit of flirtation, every uttered word will be blown completely out of proportion and will fan the flames of hope. Also, despite anything he might say, he goes to bed at night praying that whatever relationships you may be pursuing go to hell in a handbasket.

Yet, for some reason, you keep this person around. Perhaps because you're the type who is addicted to attention, whose ego needs a constant and vigorous stroking.

Can you reclaim this friendship at some point? Possibly. But only after Just a Friend has spent a lot of time in the Friend Zone. Consider the Friend Zone a hyperbaric chamber and your Just a Friend a diver who's come up too quickly. He might not want to be in that chamber, but he has to be. And you have to keep the lid shut tight for HIS OWN GOOD (and for yours, too). You probably shouldn't let him out until you're both in relationships. And you must always be very careful of recrushing.

So we've established this much. We're on the same stone tablet here. Now for some guidelines. These guidelines are completely optional and determine whether or not Just a Friend will one day become a real friend again or take the back door out of the Friend Zone, cursing your name for all eternity. It's your choice. These guidelines are specifically designed not only to NOT instill hope, but to completely crush the soul. If you want Just a Friend to remain a friend, DO NOT do the following. If you want Just a Friend to take a hike, but you don't have the balls to say so, DO the following:

1. Use the phrase Just a Friend within earshot.

2. Use words like sweet and nice in the same way you'd use them with a mentally challenged person.

3. Say things like, "Wow, you're so much like my brother/sister/dad/mom."

4. Talk repeatedly about any crushes you have going on.

5. Spout effusively about the great girl/guy you just started seeing.

6. Speak excitedly about the hot yet emotionally meaningless wild monkey sex you've been having with complete strangers over the last two weeks.

7. In social situations, introduce him/her as Just a Friend, especially to members of the opposite sex. "This is Tom, he's just a friend."

So, there you have it. Sounds a bit harsh, sure, but the laws of nature and love are red in tooth and claw. Luckily for you, if you play by the rules in this situation, it won't be your blood figuratively splattered all over the walls. (Although there is the chance of Just a Friend going completely psycho and splattering your actual bl... well, nevermind. You're obviously too good a judge of character to ever let something like that happen.)

Have a nice day.

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