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Is it possible to escape the friendzone?

By: Natasha Archary


The dreaded friendzone. An almost inescapable place when one has romantic or sexual feelings for a friend who just doesn’t reciprocate that vibe.

It’s also aptly described as a psychological place, you put yourself in when you behave like a friend to the person you’re attracted to because you don’t have the courage to tell them how you feel.

The big question is whether it’s possible to escape the friendzone?

Friends First

The primary reason most friendships go belly up is when one of you catches feelings you had no business catching. More often than not the other person does not know about these feelings and goes about time spent with you as he/she usually does.

Leaving you all puppy dog eyes and gaga over your friend. Sometimes the feelings are just sexually motivated.

You feel physically attracted to your friend and as is expected these feelings only intensify with time. The more time you spend together, the more likely some kind of attraction develops.

Can you escape the friendzone or should you abort mission?

The adage that the strongest relationships/love is built on a lasting friendship isn’t misguided.

When you start off as friends, you get to know each other. Friends have this sense of comfort in each other and there aren’t any pretences.

It’s easy to misinterpret a friendly gesture as being open to something more. Essentially all relationships are a give and take agreement. In other words, a social exchange. This means that people set the terms for the social exchange they are entering, at times without even discussing them. It’s just assumed.

People who are friend-zoned enter a social exchange, one where the playing field isn’t even.

You may find your male friend attractive. You crush on him hard, thinking about every quirky trait he has. What is it about him that just oozes sex appeal?

But, he may just see you as being one of the boys. Sure, he calls you before he makes a shower gel purchase, wanting to check if the scent is a turn-on but this does not mean there’s more to it.

Is it worth risking the friendship?

No. It never is. Relationships today are vulnerable at best. People are calling it quits for the smallest reasons. Gone are the days where relationship longevity is a priority.

If something doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. We’re more empowered to leave relationships that are not fulfilling and while the argument may be that you’re such good friends and have weathered so much together, a relationship is not in the same league.

When you’re friends you’re aware of the little nuances that drive the other person crazy. You know the character traits they’re looking for in a partner and in your mind this is you, without any doubt.

And then you decide you’re going to share how you feel. Revealing your intentions for more. You’d like to date them and act on these feelings, but will they or won’t they friendzone you?

Putting yourself out there  

Gwendolyn Seidman, PhD armed, with an essay in Psychology Today, put together some research that supports something called a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy.

To sum it up, this is when your attitudes towards your friend ultimately moves the person to behave in a way consistent with your expectations. Her research also points to the possibility that we project romantic feelings onto our friends without even realizing it.

Then there’s the fact that you can only escape the friendzone if the other person sees you as a catch. If your friend sees you as nothing more than just a friend, nothing you do or say is going to change that.

So, escaping the friendzone is literally 50/50. One thing to keep in mind is the tiny nugget of sage advice, once you cross the line of no return, there’s no erasing it.

It’s out there. All the awkward attraction you have for the person is here to stay. Unless you get over the feelings you have and take the friendship for what it is, purely platonic.

Also read: Can keeping secrets save your relationship?

Written by: Natasha


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