Women Get Friend Zoned Too
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”
“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.
"Friend zoning is a depiction of unrequited love at its best."
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."
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.
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:
- They must not find me attractive
- 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.
Please share! Is it possible to have a friend that you aren't interested in romantically, but who you still find attractive?
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.
"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