Women Get Friend Zoned Too

Updated on January 1, 2018

We Exist

For the last 2.5 years I’ve been in love with one of my best friends. But each time I turn to my life coach (Google) for help, the only articles that pop up tend to be along the lines of the following:

“Women, Why You Should Stop Friend Zoning Him”

“Men, How To Get Out of the Friend Zone in 5 Easy Steps”

And occasionally:

“Help!! I’m in Love with My Best Friend but They’re Not Gay.”

I have yet to find an article aimed at women who get friend zoned by men. In case there was any doubt, I’m living proof: we do exist.

Source

"Friend zoning is a depiction of unrequited love at its best."

Friend Zoning

Let me start by admitting that I do, in fact, hate the term “friend zoning”. It’s one of the many millennial colloquialisms that irritate me. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent most of my adolescence and young adult life locked in its unforgiving trenches. Or perhaps it’s because it’s used way too frequently. In case you hate it too, I apologize in advance.

For those that may not know, friend zoning is a depiction of unrequited love at its best. I can most accurately describe it through the following scenario:

Me: Hey Friend, we spend a lot of time together. After building this strong foundation and amazing chemistry, I have started to see you as more than a friend. In fact *takes deep breath*, I think I may love you.

Friend: Oh *awkward pause*, I love you too, but not like that, just as a friend. Actually, more than a friend, as a sister.

"I don't want to be your little sister, I want to have your babies."

Sister Zone

This is not my first rodeo in the friend zone. Each time that I’ve expressed interest in a male friend of mine I not only get put into the friend zone, I get put into the “sister” zone. On three separate occasions over the past ten years, I’ve been told “I love you too, but I love you like a little sister.” I get it, they think that by referring to me as a little sister they are softening the blow of their rejection, but it’s still rejection. Truthfully, I find this form of rejection to be quite patronizing. I don’t want to be your little sister, I want to have your babies.

Source

Ego

I’m not a man so I can’t speak for their experience, but according to the dozens of articles about men being friend zoned, being cast in this category is devastating to their ego. Well, women have egos too. I can’t speak for other women’s experiences, but being told that I’m “like a little sister” is crushing to my self-confidence. I don’t like to use generalizations, but I think it’s safe to say that no one wants to have sex with their sister (except perhaps in some lesser known cultures where that is socially acceptable). Therefore, if these men view me in this undesirable light, it signifies the following:

  1. They must not find me attractive
  2. They must not see me as a “woman”

Is my butt not big enough? Are my breasts too small? I doubt Beyoncé or Kim Kardashian have ever been placed into the sister zone. And no, they did not specifically call me ugly, but “ugly” is all that I heard. Most men don’t look at their sisters as being physically attractive.

Sexy Friends

Please share! Is it possible to have a friend that you aren't interested in romantically, but who you still find attractive?

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Him

My current situation marks my third sister zoning. Meaning it’s the third time that I stated that I was interested in a close friend and was shut down. The first two times I cried, threw a fit and may have embarrassed myself on social media (I blame it on the teenage hormones). Despite my actions, I remained friends with both of those gentlemen until life (aka new women) pulled us apart. But this time, I’ve learned from my past rash mistakes. After this latest friend sister zoned me, I did not get upset in front of him (or on social media). Despite my aching heart, we have in fact grown closer throughout the years. He has gone out of town with me to visit relatives. We communicate daily. We’ve had our share of arguments but we grew closer after them instead of apart. This friendship has allowed me to learn more about myself and how I relate to people. This friendship has exposed both my flaws and attributes. It has built up my confidence and courage to try new things and to step out of my comfort zone. When I’m with him I can be the most honest and vulnerable version of myself. The “me” that no one else gets to see. He has seen me dance like no one is watching and seen me have a panic attack. He has seen me work out and seen me in church. Every day I see him grow more and more into the beautiful human that he was created to be. I know his favorite food, his fears, even his pants size. If asked, I could probably reproduce a timeline of his life from the age of 12 to present day.

In case you were wondering, no I am not a masochist. He has grown to become a very important part of my life and I would rather have him around as just a friend than to not have him around at all.

Source

"One day, another woman will come along and I will appropriately step aside. I won’t fight. I’ll say goodbye because to love him means to respect his decisions and his right to choose what makes him happy."

To My Other Friends In the Sister Zone

Here are some coping methods that I’ve found to be effective:

First, I’ve learned to cry at home. I try to refrain from burdening my friend with my overwrought emotions. While on the inside I’m a tumultuous wave of love strong enough to break a dam, on the outside I work to remain platonic. Almost stoic. I do this because, after having the “talk” with him twice, I understand that “no means no”. He has already expressed that he is not interested in me romantically. I have no intention of beating him over the head with my desires. I have no interest in forcing anyone to be with me. I’m confident that if anything ever changes and he begins to feel attracted to me, he has my number and he’ll let me know.

Sometimes hiding my emotions means biting my lips so I don’t sound overly affectionate. Other times it means going to the bathroom and rinsing my hands in cold water to take my mind off how insanely handsome he is. Less frequently it means not texting him for a day or two, busying my mind (and hands) with other hobbies. Every day, it means resisting the urge to tell him how much I love him, how much he means to me, how to me he is the most attractive man in every room and how totally absolutely perfect he is, even with all of his flaws.

While one or two friends have advised me to let him go. He truly has become one of my best friends. My suggestion to anyone who may be in the same predicament, is that if the pain outweighs the good, leave. But for me, for now, each moment with him is like scooping up water in cupped hands. The cool water soothes the skin, but eventually slips through the cracks between each finger and disappears. One day, another woman will come along and I will appropriately step aside. I won’t fight. I’ll say goodbye because to love him means to respect his decisions and his right to choose what makes him happy. Even if his decision, leaves me alone, cold and a little broken-hearted in the sister zone.

Let’s chat! Please share any experiences that you’ve had with being in the “friend zone” or how you managed to break out.

© 2018 Sarafina

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    • profile image

      Marie 4 weeks ago

      Hello Dashingscorpio,

      This similar thing just happened to me this week. My “friend zoning” is what you call complicated as there were a lot of layers.

      He was a friend I met online. Obviously there is physical distance between us as we were from another country. I was also older than him but it didn’t matter because we were aligned in most of the things we share in terms of interest.

      I told him I liked him, he said he didn’t even thought I liked him romantically. He told me that physical intimacy is equally important to connect to people so liking me back was out of the picture.

      I told him I was hurt and I wanted to distance myself from him. He said he felt sad cos he really loved me as a friend and wanted us to stay friends. I was about to write him off my life but I had a change of heart because I realized I liked him as a friend first, I just misread his messages to me as something romantic.

      To be honest, it was a bit awkward because he kept saying I love you so much as a friend repeatedly when we were talking and he was in pain to lose me. Haha! I asked him why he wanted to keep me and why was he afraid of losing me because I wanted to make use he valued me as a friend and not just a chatmate / online friend.

      It was an awkward two days but we discussed things like adults. Now that we were able to clear things, we can discuss anything. I think if one of us gets into a romantic relationship with another person, we will fade a bit.

      I had no regrets and I learned so much from this. You only live once so say you like the person you like when you really feel it. I’ll meet him soon. For now, I’ll enjoy our friendship.

    • Sarafina Writes profile image
      Author

      Sarafina 4 months ago from East Coast, USA

      Dashingscorpio,

      Thank you so much for helping me understand how some friendships can lead to "sibling"-like relationships. I sincerely have had a hard time trying to understand the dynamic that I've gotten myself into. But I think I can see how hanging out with anyone of the opposite sex in such casual, regular settings can lead to sibling-like feelings.

      Also, to your point about friends getting dropped in order to keep the peace in the relationship, that is exactly why when this friend does find a significant other I will begin to distance myself. I would never do anything to cause chaos in his life and I'm sure that another woman would be able to "smell" the romantic feelings that I have from a mile away. Subtlety has never been my strong suit.

      I also agree that even in the most platonic friendships, people tend to have less free time when they start to build their own families, after which all non-essential people are let go.

      Thank you for sharing the link to your book! As you can see I need all of the relationship advice that I can get so I will definitely check it out.

    • Sarafina Writes profile image
      Author

      Sarafina 4 months ago from East Coast, USA

      Rose,

      Thank you for commenting! I appreciate your perspective. Two things that you mentioned stands out to me: "only allowing oneself to be super close to a romantic partner puts far too much pressure on the partner to fulfill all one's emotional and social needs" and " many people never find a long term romantic partner, and they should be allowed to be close with their friends who are paired up whatever their friends' genders, because they still need that closeness".

      I think you make a good point in regards to relying on one person for all emotional and social needs, I do think that depending on the individuals, this scenario could put a lot of pressure on the relationship. Also, as someone who might never find a long term romantic partner, I agree that losing all of my platonic friends is frustrating as time goes on because, as dashingscorpio pointed out, regardless of gender people simply don't have time for friends after becoming seriously involved with someone and starting their own families. I've lost several good friends (male and female) through the years, not out of maliciousness but simply because they started seeing someone and didn't have time. It is quite unfortunate and disheartening at times.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 4 months ago

      Sarafina,

      Fortunately I always believed it laying it on the line when I found someone attractive and wanted to pursue them romantically. Naturally it led to rejection in many instances but as I noted rejection saves everyone time. The friend zone is torture!

      When I think about it I have never (truly) had a female "friend" which I "hung out" with (one on one) meeting up for drinks at happy hours, going out to nightclubs, watching sporting events at each other's home, and so on the way I've done with male friends.

      In my opinion such friendships do lend themselves to one feeling similar to being siblings. I imagine if I did have a woman in my life who I "hung out with" I would see her as being like a sister just as I view my friends as being like my brothers.

      My insight comes from being overly analytical I suppose. People kept telling me I should write a book so I did.

      My Cat Won't Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany) https://www.amazon.com/Cat-Wont-Bark-Relationship-...

      Rose, You have to understand given a choice between having a wonderful platonic friendship and a wonderful romantic relationship most people will choose romance.

      In fact if they go on to marry they're considered "family". Naturally their priority is dealing with their household.

      There are two reasons why platonic friends of the opposite sex get dropped or experience distance.

      1. The person's (free time) is limited.

      A guy can could go hang out with you drinking beer and shooting pool or he could be with his girlfriend/wife on date or staying home making love in front of the fireplace. You also have to recognize he has male friends to spend time with as well which easily could fill your time slot.

      2. They want to keep the peace with their mate.

      Some women believe it or not do not want their boyfriend/husband meeting a (female) friend for happy hours, lunch, or attending sporting events together one on one.

      They'd have no problem if he was doing those things with a (male) friend. If she gives him anything close to an ultimatum or causes him too much grief he'll dump you.

      As I said people prefer {romantic love} over platonic love.

      Having said that even two guys or two women spend less time together when one of them is in a relationship or married.

    • profile image

      Rose 4 months ago

      As an asexual romantic, platonic relationships are super important to me. I wish people valued them more in widespread culture. One thing you mentioned was stepping aside when this person isn't single any more. I suppose this could be the best thing in some cases, for some people, but for me the whole idea of not being able to have close relationships with people of the opposite sex when married or in a couple is ridiculous and very cruel towards the single friend who gets dropped. Only allowing oneself to be super close to a romantic partner puts far too much pressure on the partner to fulfill all one's emotional and social needs, and can be damaging in the long run. Additionally, many people never find a long term romantic partner, and they should be allowed to be close with their friends who are paired up whatever their friends' genders, because they still need that closeness.

      I do very much appreciate what you've said about respecting your friend's choices and refraining from trying to guilt trip him. And your bringing up that men do try to say only they get friend zoned, and this simply isn't true.

    • Sarafina Writes profile image
      Author

      Sarafina 4 months ago from East Coast, USA

      Dashingscorpio, thank you so much for your well thought out comment! You definitely gave me (and others in the friend zone) a lot to think about. Now did all of this knowledge come from having friend zoned someone or having been friend zoned yourself?

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 4 months ago

      There are three basic reasons why people get friend zoned.

      1. They fear rejection so they initially hide their desire.

      An early rejection saves one time and agonizing torture.

      2. They honestly believe relationships begin as friendships.

      Lets face it if you think someone is "hot" you're not going to risk leaving them out on the "open market" for very long. There's no such thing as being "exclusive friends".

      If anyone ever tells you lets take it slow or be friends first...What they're really saying is:

      "I don't see (you) as being (the one) for me!"

      It's easier for ex-lover to become a best friend than it is for a best friend to become someone's lover.

      3. They pursue people who are out of their league.

      I get it no one wants to believe they're not someone's type. Imagine Rosanne Barr having a crush on Brad Pitt. Odds are he would never become emotionally invested in her. Generally speaking like attracts like. Cheerleaders & Nerds rarely date.

      {Don't expect to sit next to the moon unless you're a star!}

      When it comes to men the initial impetus as to why we ask a woman out is our being (physically attracted) to her. Everything else after that is icing on the cake which we discover as we get to know her. This often leads to debates.

      Is there really a difference between being "shallow" and having "preferences". The person who is left out or rejected will see it as being "shallow". A couple of examples of this:

      A man refuses to date women who are over weight.

      A woman refuses to date men who are shorter than her.

      For us to bitch or complain about their preference makes as much sense as someone attempting to get you to change your favorite color from blue to yellow. People like what they like! There is no "right" or "wrong" only "agree" or "disagree". Everyone experiences rejection. That's life!

      In a world with over 7 Billion people rejection just means: NEXT!

      One final reality check: In order for (him/her) to be "the one" they would have to see (you) as being "the one". At the very least a "soulmate" is someone who actually wants to be with you! (And vice versa)

      "Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

      - Oscar Wilde

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