If you are one of the 3 or 4 people on the planet unfamiliar with the Friend Zone, it’s when a man or woman (USUALLY a man) has a romantic desire for a friend of the opposite sex and that friend, while they like you, don’t see you as “romantic” material.
And I’m coming to realize that what gets put into the Friend Zone is highlighting just about all that’s bad about being single in America and dating in 2015.
Now, if you’ve ever been in the Friend Zone…or put people there…you know the phrases that go with it:
“I like you and I like to hang out with you, but I don’t like you that way.”
“I really look at you as a confidante more than a potential husband/wife.”
“I don’t want to risk our friendship by exploring further.”
Now, the trendy thing on most social media and other sides is to try and claim the Friend Zone has to do with sex and that it’s A) a way for guys to soothe their ego when they get rejected or B) a way for women to easily let down guys they know but find very physically unattractive. And in some cases, that may be the case…however…
I think it goes a lot deeper than that and the excuse that it’s just about sex is a way to cover up the insecurity and issues that lay beneath.
I have a friend whose name rhymes with Hefanie. Hefanie has been single for most of her dating life save a few 6-9 month dating relationships. Hefanie SAYS she wants to marry a Godly man, with good values, who values children and family, works hard and would take care of her as Christ called men to do for their spouses.
She SAYS that’s what she wants.
But when she meets those guys, she immediately puts them in the Friend Zone. Why? Because guys like that aren’t exciting on the outset. There’s no “spark” that guns your adrenaline and makes you feel giddy and tingly inside. (And it’s the same for guys with girls, just reverse the scenario from my friend.) The body actually works against us on that…my counselor and I were talking about this issue today and she reminded me the chemical your brain makes when you see someone you consider physically attractive has the same properties as drugs like heroin. You basically get high on what you see.
This, you don’t go looking for what you say you want…you go looking for the emotionally driven high without even really thinking down the line whether or not this person is truly that which you claim you most value in a relationship.
I really think that’s why we have such a high divorce rate. Even in the church.
And a lot of folks on counselor’s couches saying “I just don’t feel the love for them I used to feel.”
People want to feel that physical, emotional high again which they can’t get with their spouse because they already know them. They know how their feet smell at night. They know they’re going to hang their bras over the shower curtain to dry. And they discovered the other person pooped. The illusion and fantasy is gone.
A good marriage is not built on passion and emotion alone.
In fact, for the long run, those things are actually bit players.
The men or women you put in your Friend Zone are very likely the ones you should look at most for a potential spouse.
1. You already like being with them. You already spend time with them, you go out and do things you both enjoy, you likely spend time in conversations so you know how to communicate. All of those things are important to a relationship going the distance.
2. You’re comfortable with them. Now, the world makes “comfortable” out as bad (i.e. boring.) However, that comfort is the furthest thing from being boring. That comfort means that person makes you feel safe! They make you feel appreciated, welcomed, and accepted. That person makes you feel like you could tell them anything.
3. You can depend on them. You don’t keep people around most of the time (if you’re healthy) who just run you down, use you or that you just can’t depend on. This person in your Friend Zone is the first one you’d call when you have a flat tire, but you’d never call them for a quick date to a concert. Why? Because in your mind, that friend is the safe person who is there to help you in your worst times, not the one when things are going well. (And a lot of Christians see Jesus that way…but that’s a blog for another day…)
4. You know they like being with you for more than sex. Let’s face it, society is driven by sex. People are shoving their sexual choices in your face and if you go onto a dating site you’ll see so many profiles reading “if you just want sex, move on.” That’s not on profiles without a reason. But the person in the Friend Zone, while they may want sex with you, aren’t driven by it. It’s not their end goal. They’re not looking at you as just a potential conquest. Sex is a necessary part of a healthy relationship because of the intimacy it creates (and if someone in the relationship is incapable of any kind of sexual activity, there are ways to find other intimate connections.) The Friend Zone person just has that sexual desire in check and in the right amount versus all the other parts of a healthy relationship.
5. You share many of the same values and likely sync on all of the “important” ones. If you didn’t have a connection where you shared a lot of similar values, you likely wouldn’t spend a lot of time with them or talking to them. You probably have friends that differ from you on some things, but chances are the inner circles of your friends are a lot like you when it comes to things like family values and beliefs on world affairs. While some high profile couples with differing views appear to be doing great, in reality, most couples that differ on the big issues don’t make it. Most of the time, those in your Friend Zone meet you on those marks.
Now, I’m not dismissing physical attraction. Yes, physical attraction is necessary to a degree. But remember, looks fade. We’re all growing older and one day we’ll all look like Abe Vigoda. Even the women. What matters at that point is who the person is on the inside, their values, their commitment to you as a spouse. So in the grand scheme of things, looks are not #1 on a list of things to look for in a spouse. It’s not even in the Top 5!
So perhaps we need to stop demonizing the Friend Zone and using it as an excuse for misguided sexual activity, socio-psychological domination, easy “let down” method or any other of the surface level things for which it’s been come to be known and used. Let’s step back and see it as a place where you can find people that really do line up with the things you say you want in a relationship…
And what you really need.