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My Journey in The Friendzone

Somewhere hidden in the dark recesses of the deep web are thousands upon thousands of words strewn across Livejournals, website blogs, Myspace blogs and more from myself complaining. Most of these come from a time period in my late teens and early 20s, just spewing out my heart and soul into the subject the matter. The subject matter?

I can’t get girls I like to like me back.

That’s pretty much it. The general strife most young male Westerners go through when learning about themselves and others. The problem was I didn’t treat it as so simple. It wasn’t something wrong with me. It was something wrong with women.

They were putting me in the Friendzone.

I’m sure you’ll find a thousand MRA articles and PUA tips on how to escape such a thing. Personally my favourite video talking about it is a College Humor video giving tips on how to get out.

The thing is, I didn’t escape it. I stopped being a selfish asshole.

Here’s the facts. I had self-esteem issues. In elementary school I had a big Jaromir Jagr mullet and I had no idea how to approach girls. My grade 5 crush consisted of me literally just looking at this girl in my class and turning my head whenever she looked back. My grade 7 crush once pulled me up to slow dance with me to “For You I Will” by Monica from the Space Jam soundtrack and I never told her that I liked her until we were in high school several years later. I would use ICQ to try and meet girls from town that weren’t from school and I met a lot of pretty cool people. Rarely did I appreciate it.

My self-esteem issues were rooted in the fact that my mother is an extrovert and my father is an introvert. I can have all the confidence in the world in myself but I struggle with when someone has to have confidence in me. My parents are also pretty funny, so when stuff about relationships would come up, I’d get the jokes instead of the life lessons. My dad told wonderful stories about his dating history and it made me think this stuff was supposed to be easy. But walking up to a girl, striking a conversation and saying I liked her? That was terrifying. I would rather be arrested than tell someone I liked them and not get a positive response.

I have hundreds of these. I should be too ashamed to admit that.

I have hundreds of these. I should be too ashamed to admit that.

The first time a girl told me she wasn’t interested in me I was devastated. I wondered why the hell it’s so easy for others but hard for me. It made me race to the Internet, where dating websites loved my webcam pictures with lots of light to make me look really good. I once got called on it when I moved to Windsor, where a girl straight up told me, “You look a lot better on Myspace than in real life.” Guilty.

My selfishness carried even to the girls I wasn’t actively trying to be with. I had a friend in high school I hung out with all of the time. She was a cute girl but I didn’t have a crush on her. Instead, I wanted to always use her to help her introduce girls to me. Now let me be clear, this is good in theory. A great reason to have a lot of women as friends is that they are much better to vouch for you being a good person than your dudebros. But a good portion of why I was friends with this girl was the expectation she introduced me to her friends. And that’s disgusting. If the only reason you are friends with girls is so girls feel more comfortable around you, you’re a vapid douche.

I still had some good times with girls but not as much as I thought I should have been having. Afterall, Hot or Not said I was 98% hot. I should be the fucking man. So I blamed it on where I was from. And hey, I won’t lie. It’s partially true that Chatham-Kent, Ontario is a terrible place to meet single people. But hey, so is everywhere. I eventually moved and started hanging out with more people and having more experiences.

I still had several experiences where I liked someone and never told them. I just thought they knew. This is one of the biggest problems I’ve seen men do. They start talking to a girl and they never express their interest or intentions. They think just because they are friends with a woman that the woman should realize this isn’t a person treating them like a human being but is avidly interested in being inside them. When I’d eventually tell them, gaining my courage, it was usually disappointment. Validation on my fears right? Well no. Some of these girls really did like me when we first started talking but I took so long to capitalize on it, the feelings went cold. And then they just appreciated me as a friend.

There were things I came to realize that a David Wong article in Cracked said much better than I can years later. Specifically #4. Basically, I wasn’t bringing much more to the table than, “good qualities” and most girls I knew felt good qualities makes a good friend. Especially a guy who can’t be bothered to tell a girl he’s interested. It was here I realized two extremely important things:

It took some time, but I’m much closer than I was before. Not going to say I’m perfect. But the women I’m friends with I’m friends with. I can strike up a conversation with someone I’m attracted to without feeling like I need my attraction validated by her later. I’m not trying to figure out a masterplan on how to get someone to like me. I try to be up front if I have feelings, and if I have feelings, I try to say it. Sometimes that self-esteem gets in the way, but I am working on it.

There’s nothing wrong with being attracted to a person and in a situation of comfort for both of you, you should be able to tell them in a tasteful way and make it clear that if they don’t feel the same way? It’s okay. It’s not some stupid space where you’re being “imprisoned” for liking them. It’s best to have this conversation early, and if she can’t be friends with you because she will feel you’re just going to use her? That’s okay. That’s up to her.

The most important thing you need to understand is the problem is you. The problem isn’t them. Oh sure, there’s deceptive assholes in every walk of life but if this is constantly happening, it’s not because every woman you meet is using you for your “good” qualities. The problem is you. The problem is you. You need to change yourself. You need to consider how you treat people, how honest you are, how much integrity you carry in an interaction. There’s no big puzzle. No step by step guide. If you can’t treat women like human beings you deserve to be alone.

A lot of guys treat women like a video game, something they need to accomplish. Because of this, when they have trouble, they look to the Internet for strategy guides. The truth is that they just need to level up. Love comes and goes. It comes a lot more when you know who you are better, and you treat the people around you better. Stop focusing on the pricks who get the girls you want. The problem isn’t the girl or the prick. The problem is you’re a prick that cares more about what you want than what those women want.

The friendzone still exists. It always existed. That’s the twist. But it’s now a zone with zero deception. It’s where relationships can grow. If I like someone “that way” and they don’t reciprocate those feelings, it’s fine. There’s a friendship to cherish and appreciate. Few things make me happier than seeing my friends happy, and if I can contribute to that by being there for them when they need it, especially in their relationships, that’s great. The same “rewards” accredited to being friends with a fellow man come with being friends with fellow women. It’s great. It’s fucking great.

I look at the person I once was and feel bad about all of the friendships I was deceptive about and all of the relationships I missed out on because I only thought about myself. It’s the weekend. Time to see what my friends are up to.

photo credit: via photopin (license)

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