My girlfriends and I have been talking a lot about being “friend zoned” lately. Maybe it’s listening to too many new Adele songs but it got me in the mood to mull over this topic. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the concept of falling for someone only to find they see you in a purely platonic way. It’s rather disappointing isn’t it? However, the writings may have been written on the wall all along and you were just too into your crush to see them. I think this brings up the salient topic of whether girls and guys can be strictly friends. This is a polarizing subject that I have only broached with a few people but the occurrence of “friend zoning” is directly linked to this topic. All the signs you mistook for affection may just have been gestures of an endearing friend. So, how do we distinguish the difference? Should we first assume attraction or friendship? I’d like to think men and women can be friends as one of my dearest friends is a guy. However, I have heard some differing views. One hypothesis I like is the “missed connections” theory in which both people in the relationship will ultimately like one another but this will occur at different times. The only intersection of romantic feelings between friends would thusly happen in movies and very few real life circumstances where the lines of liking cross. There is an instinctual reaction to say that girls and guys can’t be friends because we are driven to couple up but this argument seems rather ridiculousness in modern society because we are not driven to mate per say. I am intensely curious about thoughts on this subject, as there are sure to be more opinions out there.
But back to the friend zone, sometimes we mistake kindness for sweetness, affection for attraction etc. This is not to say these things can jive together as they often do but one should be wary of lumping all actions to one side or the other of the balance. There are very sweet people out there and very touchy people out there and weirdly enough that’s just who they are. It’s probably best to think rationally about actions and never forget context. Say someone asks you to get coffee and study. Jumping to the immediate conclusion of “this is a coffee date and he/she loves me” may not be the most thoughtful conclusion. Think outside the current situation i.e. do you have a test coming up? Does this person suck at calculus and you are really apt? This process might help to draw reasoned conclusions. It’s true that some situations are downright confusing and make no sense. Maybe think of them as irregular variables in an experiment or correlation versus causation in statistics. Okay, that’s a lot of mathematics talk but the point is in there somewhere.
To be completely honest I’ve seen my friends and even myself burnt by misconceptions of the truth way too many times. Therefore, I am a bit more on the cautious skeptic side. Erring on the side of caution is not necessarily a bad thing because it allows you to be surprised when someone ends up expressing romantic feelings towards you. My ultimate argument would be that people should be explicitly clear about their feelings but I guess where’s the fun in that? Dropping hints and misreading signs are all part of the endless love game that we love to play.