“The Friendzone, and You!” By Grant Hamilton

Gentlemen reading this let me start by saying that the “Friendzone” is a myth. Either a girl likes you as more than a friend, or she doesn’t. Period, end of discussion. Now that I’ve stepped off my soapbox let me give you some tips on potentially turning a friend into, perhaps, more.

Ash and I have been dating for just over two years, but prior to that we were just friends. Friends who enjoyed trolling people on Facebook and making fun of coworkers. We spent everyday hanging out, going to lunch, watching crap on Netflix, and overall just enjoying each other’s company. Then something weird happened, something weird but completely predictable; I came down with a bad case of the feels. I realized that I may actually like this girl, and not on just a surface level, let’s hookup and go our separate ways sort of scenario. A full blown “I wanna date you, and take you to Qdoba to get those sweet BoGo burritos on Valentine’s Day” sort of way.

Since I am a twenty-something straight white male, I did what we SWMs do best, blow off our feelings and just pretend everything is grand. This is a terrible idea! You get in your own head too much. Which leads me to the first step of escaping the “Friendzone”. The minute you start to like somebody beyond just being friends, you need to tell them. It’s not fair to either of you to bottle it up.

Ok, back to the story. I started talking to friends about everything and at one point my mom asked if I could see myself dating this girl, to which I responded easily with “Hell yeah!” Ok, so not the most eloquent way of convincing your mom that this is a girl worth liking, but it is definitely the most “Grant” way of doing it. No later than two weeks after this, I was long boarding with a friend of mine and he had obviously grown tired of hearing about me liking Ash. We stopped long boarding in the mall parking garage just long enough for me to write a half-assed “I like you, but I don’t want to ruin our friendship” text. I hoped that she would respond with a quasi Nicholas Sparks, rip your heart out, and make you vomit butterflies reaction. What I got (one hour later mind you) was a text back that said “I hate you.”

Naturally I was taken aback, but being the suave son-of-a-gun that I am, I simply responded with “I’ll see you tomorrow.”  And that I did. We hung out the next day like nothing had happened. We went back to our daily routine of, well nothing. And I was totally fine with that. For a couple weeks we just hung out doing everything we normally do. That leads us to my second tip, don’t rush. If your friend isn’t interested in a romantic relationship either accept it and continue being friends, or just end the friendship. The latter option may be a tad harsh, but if you honestly can not accept that somebody doesn’t want to date you, then you weren’t really friends to begin with. *sips tea.*

After a couple weeks I started to get a little flirty. This is completely contradictory to my previous tip, but hear me out, I’m an idiot and hindsight is always 20/20. In return however Ash started to get flirty back, nothing crazy we just started sitting closer together and High School level stuff, but it was progress. I finally decided to bring it up again (remember always be transparent!). She dodged it for a little bit, but finally we decided to talk about it again… at Panera… Orlando is terrible. So we talked about meaningless things and completely forgot to address the elephant in the room. That’s the best part though, we didn’t need to talk about it, we knew. We knew that our friendship was stronger than a desire to form a romantic relationship.

Ash finally came around though (spoiler). It happened one night in my crappy Disney provided apartment. We were just hanging out and she poured water on my face. Seriously. She thought it was hilarious, so whatever. She noticed a hot pink shirt hanging in my closet and asked if she could use it for work the next day. Like a chivalrous lad I humbly offered my tunic in the Lady’s time of need. And just like that, her switch flipped. I don’t know if it was because I let her nearly drown me with a small bottle of water, or if I gave her my shirt, or if she finally realized that I was serious and that I liked her as more than a friend, but more importantly I loved our friendship.

You see, the “Friendzone” isn’t a bad thing. It has a negative connotation, but in all actuality it is the best thing that can happen to a person. Ash is still my best friend. We still troll people on Facebook. We still make fun of coworkers. And she still has that pink shirt. Beating the “Friendzone” isn’t about ending a friendship in order to start a relationship. On the contrary, it’s about taking that one friend that decided to see past all your bullshit, and embrace you head on. If you are ever as lucky as I am, you can take the stigma that is the “Friendzone,” and use it as a catalyst. A catalyst that jumpstarts the best relationship, and ultimately your final relationship, because at the end of the day, you’d rather end up with your best friend than with the person you love.



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