The Ultimate Wingman: How to Know You’re Stuck in the Friend Zone

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friendHey, guys, have you ever heard the phrases, “I could talk to you for hours” or “I feel so safe hanging out with you” from a woman? If you have, chances are you are a guy who’s been exiled to the notorious “friend zone.” The land where hopes and dreams of being romantically involved go to die! There you will be relegated to shopping trips, hanging with her and her girlfriends and of course, late night counseling sessions. Let me be clear, there is nothing at all wrong with platonic, wholesome friendships with the opposite sex. But when your desire is to be more than friends with her, a brief stay in the “friend zone” can feel like a 20-year prison sentence.

As your official “Wingman” it’s my duty to give you the truth. It doesn’t look good dude. You are investing hours upon hours with her and she just doesn’t see you that way. Why? It probably has a lot to do with how you two got started. I see what you were trying to do. You figured you’d slip in under the radar and before she knew what hit her, she’d be head over heels in love with you. Better yet, you knew she had a boyfriend so you showed up as the sympathetic shoulder and sounding board she could use in tough times. Now you are stuck in cell block D because your approach was nothing short of dishonest.

I know what you’re thinking… how in the world did I get here? It all started off so innocently didn’t it? You guys were talking at work, or you let her know through a mutual friend you wanted to grab a coffee and next thing you know…BOOM! You’ve been friended! Here’s my definition of “friend zone” and next we will share exactly how you can tell if you are there.

Friend zone is a situation in which a friendship exists between two people, one of whom has an unreciprocated romantic or intimate interest in the other.

As a coach in the area of relationships, I constantly drive home the reality that how your connection begins has tons to do with how it will be maintained. In fact, you set the precedence when you first meet. That’s the barometer on how you two learn to function with one another. If it starts out shaky or less than honest, that, my friend, is your foundation. And once the cement hardens, it’s crazy painful to adjust.

Now that you know what the “friend zone” is, let me help you identify if she’s got you stuck there. Here are three easy ways to know:

  • She tells you all her boyfriend problems…and you’re dumb enough to listen: You might be thinking this is harsh but it’s not. When you get involved in her relationship junk you are doing a dis-service to three people at once. First, you are not positioning yourself to be seen or perceived as a viable mate. You think by being so nice and listening to her issues, she appreciates it, but you’re killing any chance of a romance. Next, she is getting the intimacy of male companionship without the emotional responsibility. And last, there’s her boyfriend. Remember you are only getting one side of the conversation. And besides, if she’s willing to do thatfriend to him, she will eventually find someone to vent about you to down the road.
  • She volunteers you for all her “grunt” work: Grunt work is the painting, errands, playing IT for her new MAC and dropping her off at the airport. You know, all the crap no one else wants to do for her. But here you are willing to be her personal valet at any moment. Dude, have some respect for yourself! She doesn’t need a flunky, she wants a suitable mate. And running yourself to the ground in hopes she’ll one day wake up and see you as her Prince Charming is a long shot. What she’ll appreciate more than anything else is you standing up, being honest with her about your feelings and letting the chips fall where they may.
  • She reminds you often that you two are “just” friends: You’ve got to believe her. If you don’t, after a while you’re just coming off as the desperate stalker type. Her friends see it and are laughing behind your back. She’s benefiting from you running all over town to get her silk blouse cleaned and you feel horrible. So it’s just time to quit. While you have a few shreds of dignity left, let her know you hear her and you will respectfully step back. If you are honest, she’s been dropping hints from day one, you just refused to acknowledge them.

If you’ve been to the mall or those outlet stores you have undoubtedly seen the big maps outlining the area. Along the surface, they list all the stores and locations. You may be ready to find your favorite spot and spend some money, but first, you have to figure out where you are in relation to where you want to go. So you find the big red dot that reads, “You Are Here.” Now you’re ready to make some moves.

My friend, relationships are just like that. First, figure out where you stand so you can strategize your movements. If you don’t, you’ll waste valuable time spinning your wheels hoping something happens when anyone with eyes could see the signs saying otherwise a mile away. Trust me, you deserve so much better.

Written by Early Jackson
(Edited by Cherese Jackson)


Book: The Modern Princess: the 21st Century Guide to Fairy Tale Relationships

Photo Credits:

Top Image Courtesy of New Direction Coaching Associates
Inline Image by Patrick Weishampel Courtesy of Portland Center Stage – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Jonathan Potter – Flickr License