“Dude, she friend zoned you.”
It was almost autumn. Summer’s sweltering humidity had departed. New York’s weather was cool – perfect for leather jackets and jeans. A buddy and I had been hanging out with a girl and her friend for awhile. It started with great conversations, then mini golfing and going over to their apartment to make dinner. The four of us hung out several times and it felt like there was some chemistry. I was planning to ask her out, after the four of us hung out Saturday.
“We’re not feeling well. So, we’re not coming.” I was stunned at the text message.
“So we’ll reschedule,” I thought. But I knew something felt different. As quickly as things had started, they stopped. Her text replies became less frequent and the replies took hours or days. My buddy confirmed what I already knew you be true: “Dude, she friend zoned you.”
It felt like the worst thing that could happen. That was two years ago.
Today, this girl and I are friends. I’ve gotten to know her better. I’m genuinely excited about the things she’s doing and the awesome person she’s becoming. Just one thing has changed: I’m thankful we never dated; we make way better friends. I don’t think it would have ever worked.
In hindsight, I was so afraid of being “friend zoned” because I was afraid of NOT getting what I wanted. The situation was more a blow to my pride than anything else. She was wise to “friend zone” me—I think I wanted a relationship more than I wanted to be with her. If I had taken the time to know her better, I would have understood she wasn’t ready- and I would have put myself in the friend zone.
In our culture, it seems we are afraid of being “just friends” with an attractive person. But is the friend zone really that bad? What if there are moments we are “called” to the friend zone? Let’s explore some reasons we should think about choosing the friend zone:
Just because someone is a beautiful person, doesn’t mean you should pursue them romantically.
Sometimes we meet awesome people, but that doesn’t mean we should pursue them just because we’re magnetized towards them. There are many reasons God may have allowed your paths to cross. First and foremost, we should assume that God places people in our life for His Kingdom purposes and not necessarily a romantic relationship.
Get to know someone because you genuinely want to discover who they are.
When you meet someone, the first thing in your mind shouldn’t be, “could I marry this person?” Nothing is more self centered than trying to decide if they are relationship material before actually knowing them. Instead, we should be thinking about how we can love, serve, and get to know them, regardless of who they are or what they look like.
Have the right motives. Don’t pursue a friendship to test drive a relationship.
Don’t be someone that chooses the friend zone in order to find out if you can be with someone. If you’re interested but can’t commit, you should try to keep things at a distance until you’re ready.
Moreover, if you’re thinking, “we’re friends that like each other,” you should take a serious look at the motives behind the relationship. It can turn into an uncommitted pursuit under the label of friendship. It’s easy. It’s avoiding the possibility of rejection. It can be selfish. Inevitably, without a firm foundation of commitment, it’s usually the path to a broken relationship.
A lot of times we pressure ourselves into making a relationship happen, because we want it now. Like my story earlier, I wasn’t willing to be her friend at the time. If I had really asked myself, “who does she need me to be?” I would have seen she was still dealing with fallout from a serious relationship and just needed good guy friends at the time.
Ultimately, if we’re only looking for romantic relationship potential, we’re going to miss out on a lot of quality relationships. The best part about choosing the friend zone is that it gives the keys to God. It’s a form of simple surrender: “Hey God, I’m going to love this person as you love them, regardless of what they can do for me. You guide and drive the friendship forward, whatever that means.”