Tuesday, May 22, 2018 13:28

Remaining Single: Getting Out of the “Friend Zone” with Men!

I hate when I get “friend zoned” by men I’m interested in romantically, and that is so NOT what I want!  I need to stay out of the friend zone for sure, because it is a mixed message and a game I don’t have any interest in playing.  My intention in being out in the dating world is to find a man with whom I can form a healthy romantic partnership, and together we will grow a relationship that is lasting, monogamous, committed, happy.  No interest in being the “friend zone” girl here!

I am quite familiar with the “friend zone” situation.  For decades I’ve been the “friend girl” which means I’m the one men would talk to about girls they wanted to be involved with romantically.  And this drove me crazy, because it meant spending time with men I was attracted to or interested in romantically, but they wanted no part of me in that way.  I am sure I don’t have to tell you how frustrating it is to be relegated to the “friend zone” over and over again throughout my life.

Being “friend zoned” over and over again certainly affected my dating choices.  In several instances I entered into romantic relationships that weren’t so right for me, but I remember feeling so relieved that someone wanted to be romantically involved with me instead of sending me to the “friend zone.” I had to really examine that and come to a place of understanding myself well enough to know it’s worth the wait for a romance that is more in keeping with what I want rather than just relief because some man saw me as more than just a friend.

The thing is, I already have enough friends in my life.  And I agree with Harry Burns in the film “When Harry Met Sally” when he tells Sally Albright that men and women can’t really be friends.  I do have some friends who are men, but they are more what I would consider to be acquaintances.  They are men whom I know from shared activities.  But for the most part, I don’t actively seek them out to do things outside of those shared activities.  I have also have women acquaintances from shared activities.  But here’s the difference – I’m more likely to reach out to a woman acquaintance and grow a friendship from there than I would with a man from a shared activity.  That’s my preference, because I think there is less confusion and difficulty with someone reading something into that situation that might not be shared on both sides.

I find there are so many men who are so confused as to what they want.  Sometimes it’s because they are still hurt by a past romance.  Or sometimes they are taking the next step beyond that hurt to look at what part they played in the demise or failure of that past romance.  I have respect for that, having done work like that throughout my life on my personal journey.  But sometimes the messages they send are more confusing than they might realize.  They might not realize they are sending a flirty message, or a message that they might be interested romantically.  It’s like they are dipping their toes in the pool to see how the water feels.  I know today that I don’t want to be someone’s consolation prize, which is what Sally Albright tells Harry Burns in “When Harry Met Sally.”  I agree with Sally wholeheartedly.  I am not someone’s “pool” in which they can “test the waters.”

So how the avoid the “friend zone?”  There is no avoiding being told someone wants to be “just friends” but if/when they do say that to me, I choose to say no thanks.  I am not mean about it, nor am I hurtful about it with them.  I just know I don’t want to pursue anything more with any man who “friend zones” me, because right away I know that man is not anywhere near ready for what I’m looking for.  No point in starting a relationship with someone who isn’t on the same page from the start, right?

Going back to “When Harry Met Sally” I know they did eventually get together romantically and wound up getting married, after 12 years of knowing each other, so why not take the opportunity to be “just friends?”  Because that’s not what I want.  Every time I watch that movie I get frustrated at how they know they are right for each other way before Harry actually says it to Sally.  Of course I know without that tension and frustration there would be no movie.  But at this stage in my life I’m so over being tense and frustrated by mixed signals with men.  Any man who can’t come right out and say he’s interested in a romance with me is not a man with whom I want or need to have any involvement.  In my best former romantic relationships, communication was direct and open from the start.  I didn’t have to guess or wonder what the intention was.  And in those instances, the romances went well while I was with these men.

A friend of mine recently reminded me of something she saw on a talk show.  She said an author of self-help books was saying that if a man says he’s not ready to be in a romance, believe him!  Good advice in my opinion.  I can’t help being interested in men romantically.  But if they say clearly they are not ready, they are telling me they are not interested.  If a man is interested in me romantically, he will make the move to let me know.  That’s worth waiting for, instead of wasting time in the “friend zone.”

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