Sucker4LoveMixtape: That Time I Got Friend Zoned
When reality, and friendship aren't enough
This post is the first in the Sucker4Love Mixtape Series: Things I have learned from the women who dumped me. Click here that time I got dumped in a letter.
I’m not gonna hold you, I’m wasn’t sure how to start this off. The breakup story I’m about to share isn’t really a break-up story. in order for us to “break up” we had to have been dating, and I can assure you that we weren’t. Actually, while we had a relationship, there was nothing romantic about it. Instead, this is the story of what happens when friendship isn’t enough.
Gloria and I became friends while attending college at Suny Old Westbury. We weren't super close on campus, but a lot of our mutual friends hung out so we were pretty familiar with each other. Gloria was a fair-skinned Dominican from Brooklyn, she had brown eyes that looked hazel in the light, curly hair, and a smile that could brighten up a room. She was fun to be around, loved to laugh, and had a magnetic personality. Normally, I would be all over a girl like her, unfortunately, my time and energy were being monopolized by side-nigga duties (More on that in a future post). That all changed the year after I graduated. Now single, and in deep need of therapy and self-reflection, I had the time to become infatuated, project all of my ideas on to her, and decide that we needed to be together. It looked like the ancestors were on my side as well.
Just as I was building my infatuation, news broke on Twitter that Gloria had ended things with her long-term boyfriend, Nate. Her own tweets confirmed this. Not only was she single, but she was also “very ready to mingle.” Before following my first instinct and diving headfirst into her Direct Messages (DM’s) I asked myself, “Isn’t it kind of messed up to go after someone fresh off of a breakup?” Just as that thought was about to take hold, I realized that it didn’t matter, because I would treat her much better than her ex would.
After a couple of hours of talking through text, Gloria and I set up our first date. It went really well, so we went on another one, and then another. About six dates in, I popped the question and asked her to be my girl. She said no. I was sad, but not too surprised. Gloria was never shy about her feelings. She had been telling me since the first date that we would never be more than friends. To drive the point home, whenever we hung out, she would call it a “Friend Date” so that I wouldn’t feel like she was sending mixed messages. The problem was, as much as I enjoyed her company and wanted to take her at her word, I was convinced we had chemistry. Maybe she was rejecting my advances, but that probably meant I needed to try harder.
Once again, Gloria and I did not break up, we were never dating. Instead, after what was turning out to be a pretty great friendship, I decided to screw things up. One night, Gloria sent me a text telling me she had met someone. They went on a date that started in the afternoon and had just concluded at 3 in the morning. I was devastated. Not wanting to look soft, I channeled my inner Drake, congratulated her, turned my phone off, opened my laptop, and wrote a 2000 word rant about the friend-zone. I was a “good guy” so I didn’t ghost her, I just distanced myself enough that she caught the hint. Eventually the relationship kind of petered out. We were still cordial when we saw each other, and there were no hard feelings, but we would never be as close or as cool as we were before that text.
Gloria and my friendship taking the turn it did was absolutely my fault. I resented her for putting me in the “friend zone” and was bitter about all of the “time and energy” I put into that relationship. The final straw was when she formally rejected me for someone else. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. Why did this guy get to be with her when he didn’t “work as hard as me”? Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and talk to Stanley in his early 20’s. If I could, here’s what I would tell him.
There is and there has never been any such thing as a “Friend Zone” the people you are attracted to/like do not owe you, mutual feelings, sex, attention, love, or anything really. If they offer you friendship and that upsets you, what you’re saying is what they are willing to give is not enough because their body is not tied to it. I know that seems like an exaggeration of the facts, but the truth needs no extra filters, it hits hard all on its own. That’s why, if I liked her as much as I said I did, friendship should have been enough. It wasn’t, because I wanted sex and all of the other physical components that come with it. If Gloria told me she didn’t want a relationship but was happy to be sex friends, I would have happily accepted.
That was almost always the reason I would get so pissed when someone I liked “put me in the friend zone” sure, the rejection sucked too, and that rejection can sometimes make you feel like you are flawed, but the source of that anger was the outrage of being denied the cheeks.
I would challenge anyone, especially any man who has ever been “friend-zoned” to really unpack what bothered you so much about it. Sure, rejection sucks, but it's a part of life, and it happens to all of us. What is it about being told you are only seen as a friend that gets you so hot and bothered?
Does friendship feel like pity or a consolation prize? If yes, you might want to unpack why the absence of sex and physical intimacy feels like you’re not getting anything of value.