Caught up with an old pal the other week and I was interested to hear a little update in his romantic life.
So my friend has been close to this girl for years. She’s a sweet girl, and attractive.
Early on he liked her. But though they flirted a bit, in the end she’d always date other guys. And like clockwork my friend would bury his feelings (to the point of not really knowing them himself), and befriend her boyfriends as well.
Well, a couple of years ago this girl got engaged.
The chapter was about to be closed, so to speak.
Until she decided finally she didn’t love the guy and broke off the engagement.
And started talking a bit more with my friend again. They got on the phone regularly, laughing, joking… confiding why she broke up with the ex… and how frustrating it was in the dating scene. Soon she was talking about her dates, and how bad they were.
Conversations which reminded my friend that he really did have feelings for her. Which compelled him to send her a letter stating as much.
Now, last I heard the letter was in the mail.
I don’t “know” the outcome.
But given my experience is such matters, I pretty much don’t need the response to know.
She is not going to end up with my friend.
(2020 UPDATE: I don’t know the details, but she didn’t)
A (small) part of it is distance. She lives on the other side of the country.
I say small because people can always work these things out if the attraction is really there.
But it’s not going to work out because my friend handled it wrong.
No surprise, really.
He’s a stubborn guy. And feels very strongly in being “sensitive to her feelings” in the whole matter.
(He’s an ISFJ. I’ll write up about these types pretty soon)
But I’m frustrated at him for not, say, asking me because this isn’t your caricatured friend zone scenario. There was more than a chance – there was a near-guaranteed path to victory.
You see, there are actually two kinds of friend zones.
The manosphere talks about one. Because the manosphere is a black and white thinking place.
This one is the “dead zone” where the guys are kept around just for attention.
She doesn’t like them “like that.” Might not even really like them much at all. These guys are used and abused, with no hope of redemption.
But there’s a different type of friend zone.
One that underpins the main relationship in Vanity Fair (highly recommend if you want a great novel from the mid 1800s).
One that is basically entirely the fault of the guy for not changing.
You see, in these “friendzones” the woman LIKES the guy.She might even love him deep down.
(Such is the power of Personality connection, or psychological attraction)
But she gets all the attention she wants from him as a friend, so she compartmentalizes this attraction.
So much so that EVEN IF THE GUY MENTIONS IT she will probably reject him.Unless he does one thing.
Let me tell you a little story before I circle back to this one.
Years past in high school, before I knew ANYTHING about women, there was a beautiful girl I liked.
We dated briefly the year before (she initiated it, which was crazy to me, because she was one of the most attractive girls in the school.. and I had never even made out with a girl). But since I lacked frame and confidence she broke things off with me a few weeks later.
Months later I shored myself up a little bit and we reconnected… ultimately becoming “friends with benefits” (making out) over the summer.
We had great chemistry and connected easily.
The whole time we spend together was joking, laughing, and kissing.
But there was a guy she had a crush on (ostensibly), and one day they were hanging out and kissed, and they decided to go out.
I was devastated.
We had so much fun together and it was obvious she liked me. Prior to this surprise, it looked like me becoming her boyfriend was inevitable.
But I had the presence of mind to keep it cool.
“That’s great,” I told her. “No problem at all, we can still be friends.”
I kept some distance but every 3 weeks or so I’d take her out, and we’d have fun as always — sexual tension would be high, but we never did anything.
But I knew she liked me more than her boyfriend.
He had been a fantasy for her, but he was relatively spacey and clearly wasn’t taking initiative.
(An INTP, as opposed to me — an ENTP. She was an ESFJ)
So one day I called her up and told her:
“Look, I like you. You like me too. We have incredible chemistry whenever we hang out. We should be boyfriend and girlfriend. But if you want to stay with John, that’s cool, but we can’t be friends anymore.”
She broke up with him later that night and we went out for the next 2.5 years.
What I intuitively did at the time was simple.
I let her know that if she wanted to keep the good thing we had, she had to give more.
My friend had this leverage as well. I am certain his girl friend likes him. I think she’s had feelings for him for years.
But he’s not willing to dash the friendship for a chance with her. And he said as much in the letter.So it’s not going to happen.
It’s like a girl you really liked, who you had great time with, but who put no boundaries about commitment down.
She’d be feminine and sweet, give you great sex, have nice, deep conversations with you… but wouldn’t set any requirements that you needed to be exclusive with her.
Most guys would lock her down in a second if they had to, but if she didn’t make it important, many would put it off.
So don’t misconstrue things.
Some guys in the friendzone are just pawns for female validation and attention.
But others are deeply important to the girl.
And they would give much, much more in order to keep it… if only the guy made it clear.
Such is just a taste of my understanding of sexual dynamics. All context and nuance, zero rough platitudes.
If you want this sort of targeted advice in your dating life, go here: www.patstedman.com/application