Everyone gets sent right into the Friendzone at one point or another. It’s natural to develop feelings for people we enjoy being around and have already established a trusting relationship with, so when those feelings are not returned it hurts. It hurts a lot. When these situations occur it can seem like there’s nothing to do other than end the friendship, or pine away in silence. Wrong. Not only would this form of action be unfair to you, but it would be unfair to the friend whom you supposedly care a great deal about. When you find yourself in the Friendzone there are three basic ways to deal with it while staying classy:
1. Pull Back and Assess
There are many reasons someone would decide against starting a relationship, and the main one may not actually be you. The best bet would be to give your friend some space and see how things go down the road. Unless they make it clear that they don’t think the two of you would make a good pair, ever, then you may still have a shot. You can still be there for them as a friend, but don’t add any more romantic pressure on to their plate. Not giving up on your hope of a relationship in the future is likely going to put you in a difficult spot, emotionally; at least for a while. Being stuck as a side character when you want to be staring in the show is no one’s dream, and only you can tell if it’s the right decision for you.
The case may be that your friend is simply not interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with you. If so, and you think you’d still like to salvage the friendship, acting normal and getting back into the flow of being casual friends is going to be key. It’s perfectly natural to see the lines between friend and romantic interest blur, especially if you’re going through a dating drought. If you’re tired of the people you’ve been meeting, a well known friend may seem like an easy or obvious choice as someone to pursue, so if they shut you down you may just need to reassess what made you pick them in the first place. Waiting it out and seeing if you meet someone else that attracts your attention is the easiest way to tell if you really were attracted to your friend, or just the idea of a relationship with someone you’ve already put all the work in with.
3. Drop Out of the Game
Not everyone can handle the rejection of being put in the friendzone, and for some people it may be easier to simply move on rather than sticking around in an uneven friendship. There is nothing wrong with admitting your true feelings and making the best possible decision for yourself accordingly. Having to end the friendship will likely hurt just as much as the initial rejection, if not more, but staying for a romantic relationship that is never going to happen will only end badly for everyone involved. If you don’t think you’re in the place where you can deal with only being platonic friends with this person it will likely be better for your heart if you jump ship now, rather than later.
Making the decision to be up front with one of your friends about your romantic feelings is made infinitely more difficult if they don’t reciprocate those feelings. Before you panic and think that you’ve not only humiliated yourself but also ruined your friendship, take a step back and try to decide how deeply you feel about your friend so you know where to go from there. If you think you might still have a shot down the road, keep your chin up and rock that Friendzone with kindness and understanding. On the flip side, knowing that a relationship will never bloom allows you to make the choice of continuing the friendship or breaking it off completely. Only you know if you handle a platonic friendship or if you’d be better off looking for love or friendship somewhere else.