Forever in the friend zone

By Collin Bryant | Sports Writer

Almost all of us have been there at one time or another, the dark hole of the friend zone. It’s incredibly deep and extremely difficult to crawl out of.

For no rhyme or reason, we all seem to like that one person who just has no interest in us. The cycle starts very young for some –– from the playgrounds of grade school to the halls of high school, all the way to the quads of college. The irony is, with all the education we receive in between, we seem to still use the same basic phrases when friend zoning.

“I don’t like you like that,” “You’re like a brother to me,” or sister depending on what side you’re being rejected from, and (*cue the tiny violin) “I just don’t want to jeopardize our friendship.”

I always found these excuses to be quite interesting because of their implications. It’s as if when you meet someone, you make the decision right then and there if they are one of three things: datable, friend or nothing. So, if you’re in category A, congratulations. If not, tough luck. Entertainingly enough, people seem to be more open to gearing their initial actions into a relationship with someone they don’t know, versus dating someone that they’ve actually grown close to and trust.

Jeremy Nicholson of Psychology Today said there are several reasons people can fall into the friend zone. Some people are just “not attractive to the other person they desire.” People also tend to find partners “to match in their general level of desirable characteristics.”

For me, the irony in these findings lies in the alternatives. In the case of attraction, for instance, girls and guys would rather drive themselves crazy over some attractive person that might not be worth their time. We seem to be more content with chasing attraction as opposed to really looking at the person we think we are interested in from the inside and out.

There is nothing wrong with setting standards for yourself. However, someone that keeps chasing some dream image in their head will get into one of two situations: either forcing themselves into something based solely off characteristics that work only on paper, or nit-picking at everyone they meet to the point where no one has a chance.

While understanding the fun of the chase, focusing on not being too friendly seems to be too much of a game. People can’t be themselves, with fear someone will think they are too polite. Why people would prefer someone that was ambiguous about their actual feelings or someone that spent over half the time being disgustingly rude is beyond me.

So, I must ask. Are the ones that have fallen prey to the friend zone doomed to remain there for the course of their life? I hope not, because it seems like it would lead to an endless cycle of jaded feelings. There’s no point in wasting your time with someone that is not interested, because in reality there was nothing you could have done or do to change the fact you were friend zoned.

With that, I’ll leave you with this thought –– the friend zone sucks. It has always and will continue to suck, but at its core, it’s necessary. Without it, millions of people that really didn’t belong together would be in unhealthy relationships. However, how many healthy relationships have never been because someone didn’t want to give a friend a chance?