Gandalf slamming down that staff and swinging that gargantuan sword is a pretty accurate visual of how hard it is to successfully escape the grasp of the….
Dun Dun Dunnnnnnnnnnnnn
For those of you not familiar with this term, according to Urban Dictionary, it’s a very simple concept.
“A state of being where a male inadvertently becomes a ‘platonic friend’ of an attractive female who he was trying to intitate a romantic relationship. Females have been rumored to arrive in the Friend Zone, but reports are unsubstanciated.”
I just want to say, it is ENTIRELY possible for females to arrive in the FZ, and it is ENTIRELY possible for us to remain there forever.
Trust me. I know from experience multiple times. More than I actually care to admit. On the same token, I’m guilty of putting people in the FZ as well. It’s actually reallllllllly easy to do, but Hell to escape.
Speaking of Hell….
Dante’s Inferno is what I like to compare the hallowed existence of living in the FZ to. There are many different levels, each with their own unique challenge. Just when you think you’ve gotten out, *bad Italian accent needed* they pull you back in!
“Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”
One man loses his true love to Satan (The Friend Zone personified) and has to battle his way through nine levels of Hell to rescue her. Satan, being the stand-up guy that he is, kindly puts challenges of varying degrees on each level, each one equipped with it’s own sub-boss for Dante to face before he can find and rescue his love, Beatrice. The real bummer in this is that Dante is tormented through the whole story by Beatrice’s voice pleading with him to hurry, because Satan is getting his mack-daddy on with her. On the plus side though, Dante has his wicked cool sidekick with him throughout this whole adventure, the poet Virgil, who can actually do some pretty neat things and gives him some advice before dealing with each level.
Dante ends up saving Beatrice, and even though she dies, he manages to purge her soul from the fiery depths of Hell. He returns to Earth, where the author, Dante Alighieri, wrote a second and third installment to complete the series of Divine Comedy. You’ll have to read to find out what happens to the ill-fated lovers!
Sound familiar at all?
Admittedly, this comparison is off-the-charts melodramatic, but if you’ve ever experienced the FZ, you relate to Dante even if you’re not battling Lucifer himself.
LEVEL I (Limbo):
This is the easiest level to get out of but also the single most important level there is. Limbo flows easily, much like the River Styx. This is the moment in you and your friend’s relationship where you first meet. You gauge each other, assess each other’s physical attractiveness, exchange a few courteous words, and within an instant, you can already tell which way this is going to go. Limbo is normally the place where we all get stuck. When you’re familiarizing yourself with this person, you know the standard “Got a boyfriend/girlfriend? Married?”, and they follow with a no to any of those questions OR volunteer a “I’m talking to someone”, you DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT respond with, “Oh, that’s cool. we can just be friends.”
If you tell them that, you have already put yourself there in the FZ. You are now descending into the second level.
LEVEL II (Lust):
Lust. Ah, lust. That is what drives our society today, and it is what starts to tangle up the boundaries of your newly established Friend Zone. You look at her (or him) and you notice how her hair falls into her face, or how her baby t is hugging her curves in all the right places.
You no longer are going to be satisfied with the platonic boundaries you set, or allowed her (or him) to place on you.
You now have a problem, especially if the object of your desire has a significant other.
Your hands start to sweat around the person, and you don’t know where to put them so you’re not awkwardly fumbling around. Don’t worry too much at this point however, your friend is completely oblivious of your desire. So, in order to get closer to this person, you’re now hanging out with them 24/7. BIG MISTAKE!
LEVEL III (Gluttony):
Gluttony by definition means “excessive eating or drinking”, so we’re going to take this a bit out of context here 🙂
You have arrived at the third level of the FZ, and in my opinion, one of the hardest to deal with. This level is what I consider to be the gateway into the deeper issues that you’re bound to develop because this is the part where you start surrounding yourself with your “friend” at all times. You are gluttonous (see what I did there?!) with their presence and their attention. You absolutely, without a doubt, for sure, cannot get enough of this person. You want to surround yourself with them, go with them EVERYWHERE.
The problem here is that you are now willingly putting yourself closer to them.
Oh, you don’t see the issue there? Let me break it down.
You have to give this person an opportunity to miss you. See, most of the time, you’re aware that you’re shoving yourself further and further into the abyss of FZ, but you’re so caught up in never wanting to leave their side and telling yourself that it’s worth it, you’re not thinking clearly. You’re not stopping and really evaluating the sometimes irrevocable permanence that you’re stamping on yourself. I get that sometimes we forget how to draw the lines and we just throw caution to the wind, but you have to remember, seriously, this is a requirement, that you are not going to be able to reign your feelings back in for this person. If you don’t get a handle on these feelings now, it only turns into….
LEVEL IV (Greed):
Congratulations!! You are now greedy, or what I like to call, CLINGY. You’re now the one initiating every text conversation, you’re probably the one dialing out on every phone call, and you’re probably starting to make the rest of their friends jealous because you are sucking up ALL of their time. Did you not listen to me when I said you have to let them miss you?
Seriously, STOP right now. Red light, red light, red light!
Most people stuck in the FZ start making the biggest mistakes at this point. They get cocky. They think, “Oh, she wants to hang out with me instead of going to the mall, she must like me back.”
Dude, no. She doesn’t like you ‘like that’. At least not yet. (There’s still hope!) At this point, you’re now her best friend, and you do not want to be her best friend. Don’t believe me? Just wait until she (or he!) starts talking to somebody new….
LEVEL V (Anger):
Hey, don’t get mad at them. It’s not their fault that you volunteered to get to this spot. You’re mad because you like them oh-so-friggin-much and they don’t know it? Better get over it playa, you did this to yourself.
Anger is normally where you start to realize what you did and you start to attempt damage control. Damage control is kind of iffy-sometimes this is where you successfully get out of the FZ, annnnd sometimes this is where you get in deeper. It really all depends on how much intestinal fortitude (guts) you possess. Are you going to:
A) Make a move
B) Wuss out and accept the sixth level****If you chose Option A, you can stop reading here. Congratulations! You’ve successfully exited the Friend Zone!*****
LEVEL VI (Heresy):
Heresy by definition means the willful and persistent rejection of any article of faith by a baptized member of the church. But you already know that we’re not talking about church, right?
No no no no no.
You can’t believe it! You can’t accept this. Your “friend” has officially told everyone that you’re “just a friend”. Seriously, at this point, you’re pretty much screwed. Once you get that title, whether you want to accept it or not, there’s almost no turning back. You’re now tagged on Facebook with a status that sounds something like “Hanging out with my bestie! Gah, I love him!”
You’re friends. It’s the gospel. People now know that when they see you two together, no matter where it’s at or what you’re doing, you’re not together.
Do you hate this yet?
LEVEL VII (Violence):
Don’t be a douche. Don’t be so mad at this person that you completely do a 180 and start drinking so much that you fist-pump your way into ex-friend territory. That’s even worse than hanging out in the FZ. At least here, you get to hang out with them. And you always have a chance to maybe one day make a move.
LEVEL VIII (Fraud):
If you ever get to the eighth level of the FZ, then it should pretty much tell you that you were never really their friend in the first place. At this point, you’re now trying everything you can to sabotage their existing relationship with John Doe. I don’t care how much of a tool her boyfriend is, there is absolutely NO excuse for making up bad stuff to tell her about him. Don’t start gossiping. It’s not a good look for anyone, but especially for someone who’s hopeful to climb out of this one day. The last thing you need is for her to find out that you really didn’t see John making out with that slutty blonde from work. It makes you look bitter, and bitter is another sure-fire way to get evicted out of her good graces and off of her Instagram account.
LEVEL IX (Treachery):
Saving treachery for last, this level is tough to deal with. Sometimes you really don’t know that what you’re doing is wrong. Her tool boyfriend broke up with her, and now he’s trying to get back with her. She’s crying on your shoulder (because obviously you skipped Levels Seven and Eight) about how much of an ass he is, and he’s texting her asking her to come over, he just “wants to talk”.
Don’t do it.
Don’t you dare text him.
Seriously, put your phone down. DO NOT come in like Superman and try to save your Lois Lane. If you text him and start telling him to leave her alone, it WILL, I repeat, WILL blow up in your face. She needs to be the one to cut it off for good with him. If she never gets that closure and you beat her to it, she’s eventually going to get mad at you because now he doesn’t want to see her.
This sounds complicated, but it’s not. Just don’t text him.
Actually, in any battle she has with anyone, don’t automatically stand up for her. Let her come to you and ask for your help (if it’s an obvious situation, this does not apply). If you always rush in, she’ll feel like you think she’s delicate. And take it from a woman, we don’t all like that.
Alright, this has been a long road, but I’m not done yet.
The Friend Zone is not always a forever thing. Sometimes things happen, someone opens their eyes, realizes how they really feel about their best friend, and they do something about it. But (!) these people are few and far between. Sometimes they need a little motivation. Sometimes you need to approach the subject with them and try to see where they’re sitting at.
You’re still thinking it’s hopeless, huh?
My baby sister was friend zoned by her soon-to-be-husband TWICE. (Told you females get stuck there too!) To be honest, I’m not sure of the exact circumstances of how they got out of the FZ, but they did it. It’s possible. I wouldn’t lie to you.
I have a of couple friends in New Orleans that were best friends for what I think was a little over two years, and (I think this is how it went) he made a move. She reciprocated, and boom! Five months later, they are hands down the COOLEST couple I know.
You have to realize, the FZ is NOT a permanent place if you choose to make it temporary. You don’t have to go through every one of these levels and feel the heartbreak of watching the person you love fall in love with someone else. In my experience, coming out of the FZ and being together results in some of the best and most rewarding intimate relationships there are.
(Don’t you confuse that with Friends with Benefits, which is a whooooooole different topic!)
What’s my success story you ask?
Lol, I don’t have one.
I’m guilty of putting people in the friend zone. In fact, I hung out with my best friend over the weekend and probably posted 5 pictures to Facebook about how much I love my best friend. Does he want to come out of it? Hell, I don’t know. He’s never said so. Do I want to come out of it? No, he really is my best friend.
I do have another friend that has put me into the FZ. I’m “one of the guys” and he actually uses that to describe me…a LOT. Do I want to come out of the FZ with him? Hells yes! But I’m still sitting somewhere in Level Three and Four with him and I’m alright there. If it happens, it happens, if not, I still have a great friend.
My goal with this was not to make you think that every relationship where you’re stuck as friends is permanent. It’s not. Take a chance. It may end up being worth it. Don’t accept your temporary situations as everlasting because it’s all up to YOU and what you have the courage to say and do.
Thanks for reading!
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