It happens to the best of us. You meet someone (an old friend, a neighbor, a fellow yogi or a perfect stranger). You get to know each other casually over run-ins or shared interests. And then, like a freight train, you realize that you feel something more. After countless inner dialogues and imagined expectations, you finally work up the nerve to tell them how you feel and hope that they feel the same. You bare your soul and, suddenly, you’re hit with that ugly “F” word. “I really think we are better off as just friends,” he (or she) says. Inside, you probably feel embarrassed, disappointed, and want to bolt straight for the door and pretend this awkward incident never happened. Instead, you pull yourself together and end the conversation gracefully, with that seven-letter word still lingering in the back of your head: “Friends.”
Later, at home, you conjure up and overanalyze all your times together, wondering where you misread the signs. How did this happen? How is he / she NOT attracted to me? Should I just not have said anything? We’ve all been rejected by that unexpected crush, and yes, it stings like a bee. But aren’t you glad you no longer have to feed into a false fantasy of the relationship, or (better yet) limit yourself from other possible opportunities, when that crush just ultimately isn’t a match for you? Instead of feeling hurt or rejected, realize that person valued you enough to be honest with you up front and probably really does want to be a good friend to you. As hard as it is to be rejected, it’s often more difficult to disappoint someone that you care about – and having to tell a friend you’re just not that into them is never an easy task.
Do you believe the friendship will be too difficult or is not going anywhere, so it’s better to cut ties and move on? Or do you value the friend who has shown interest in who you are as a person and accept the friendship for what it is? Take some time and truly consider what’s best. In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to let the “friend zone” interfere and/or damage your connection. It can be a shame to lose a friend, but it can also be a recipe for disaster to continue on under false pretenses or in the hopes it may, in time, blossom into a romantic relationship. This means: Ladies, don’t try swaying him into swooning over you by dressing sexy, playing coy or making him jealous. You will just end up ruining your friendship. And men, lay low, play it cool and brush it off. Don’t try to buy her affection or add pressure to the situation. And, please, don’t whine about it. Remember that he/she was very clear with you ahead of time, and the situation will only grow awkward if you try to force it.
Recently, during my travels, I ran into an old flame. Let me tell you, ladies – he was one of those sexy, smooth-talking, sparks-flying charmers that had his game down. He wasn’t just a player. He was a pro. We caught up on some old memories, and I couldn’t resist telling him that I was in the process of writing this article. I asked if he would care to offer some insight from a male perspective. So, here it is, straight from the “player’s” mouth. When men get tossed into the friend zone, it’s best they play it “Johnny Smooth” cool. Even incorporating some reverse psychology can help ease the blow, such as: “You know… we are way better off as friends.” But the ultimate game-changer is not losing, changing or neglecting your friendship. Doing so only shows you were being selfish and not taking his/her feelings or the friendship into consideration.
I know it can hurt (especially seeing your crush with other suitors), but forcing something that just isn’t there won’t help anyone. Losing a friend may not be worth it, either. Cherish your time together, stay honest – and go out and date other people.
Guest Post by Sandy Dapoz
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