BLOG » reader submission: ‘the friend zone’

Dear Alexi,

I’m 20. I’m at my top choice college, have amazing friends, an awesome job, and, after years of misery and self-loathing a pretty fuckin’ solid self-esteem.

My biggest issue right now seems to be that, with almost every guy I’m interested in, I get slammed into that dreaded place known as “the friend zone.” I kind of hate the term “friend zone” because I feel like it’s really negative and too often used by “Nice Guys” who get super butthurt because women won’t sleep with them, when they actually just befriended them with the hopes of getting laid.

But honestly, it feels like no matter what I do, I can’t win. I’ve been honest and up front with how I felt and gotten the standard “Aw, I don’t feel that way about you, I think we should just be friends.”  I’ve sat back and done nothing, waiting for him to make the move, just to have it fizzle out.

Just a few weeks ago, I had my most brutal case:

A guy and I were strolling around a yard during a party (think a Jane Austen-style turn about the room but with more liquor). We held hands, kind of snuggled, and flirted a lot (and the flirting had been going on literally all day). And then, at the peak of all of it, he started telling me that he had *one* girl he wanted to hook up with at the party — which turned out to be a girl I can’t stand. And then he told me how awesome I am and how he wished I would come visit him where he lives — an hour away — more often and how we should totally hang out more because I’m SO COOL.

I just have to ask: what the FUCK? Granted, if a guy doesn’t want to go out with me, that’s totally fair — we’re all attracted to different kinds of people and I can’t fault someone for not being attracted to me. But at the same time, when it happens time and time again, it starts to sting. How do I keep handling being told I’m cool enough to have as a friend but not cool enough to be anything else?


I give up.








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27 Responses to “reader submission: ‘the friend zone’”

  1. Yeah, Alexi, tell us what to do.

  2. This was so my life. I got too tired of dumb boys not knowing what they wanted. Friends told me if he likes you, he will make the move. No moves were happening. So I decided to take it into my own hands. I know this sounds creepy but I made an ad on Craigslist. My friend told me she had met men on it before, but I was so scared. However, it is how I met my current boyfriend. So I guess don’t worry because not everyone is a creeper on there. You probably won’t want to go to that extreme, but hey, it worked for me.

  3. Don’t make an ad on Craigslist.

  4. Maybe being a bit more not so OUT there in the open, leaving a bit of ´´mystery´´ or something like that.

  5. Join the club, love. We take new members everyday.

  6. yeah what the fuck it happens to me all the freaking time. i hate it! I’m open and honest, why can’t they be? then they decide they dont want to hang out anymore and that’s it. wasted.

  7. Follow Scarlett O’Hara’s lead…Go for an older guy.

  8. I don’t know what to tell you except that you’re not alone – SO MANY of us are in the same situations and just don’t understand any of it.

  9. Seems like the more you’re yourself and honest and all that shit that is supposed to be the best thing to attract people the more you get it up on your ass. I’m sadly realizing that being a selfish manipulative cunt it’s the only way to make men respect you.

  10. As soon as you start focusing on something you want (ex. kickass career) a guy will show up that wants to make you dinner, hear your voice after a long day, confide in you, and pleasure you endlessly until you’re red faced and breathless.

    trust me.

  11. i’ve began to realize that boys (note the term BOYS) aged roughly 16-25 are 99% of the time not to be teen seriously. as penny lane once wisely stated, “I always tell the girls, never take it seriously, if ya never take it seriosuly, ya never get hurt, ya never get hurt, ya always have fun, and if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.” just don’t take it all so seriously until you meet the guy that you know is worth taking seriously, i.e. talks to you first, and makes the effort.

  12. He just wants to have sex with you. Don’t take it to heart that he lead you on all day and spoke about another woman he is interested in to your face. He probably just thought you were “that girl”. Boys are ridiculous but no man would pose you the question of driving an hour to his house. If there was a real interest in anything about you he would make the effort to see you. Keep going strong because real good guys are out here waiting for a woman like you.

  13. majority of guys don’t really want a relationship. it’s too much work. lots of them like insecure wimpy chicks who they can control. they just want to fuck around. i rather be “friended” than with some moron who wouldn’t appreciate me.

  14. it does sting.. but try not to let it make you feel unworthy of a boyfriend/relationship, cause i’m sure you are! also, maybe the guys think you are so cool they never want to lose you as a friend? some guys think like that 😛 i have been friended by guys like that in the past, and ten years later, they are still one of my best friends and i’m glad we never got serious.

  15. Being a guy and reading this submission and the comments really saddens me to see what you woman have to say about guys in general… But this is unfortunately truthful for the majority of us. I believe you do have to be flirtatious with the guys and do play “hard to get” we really do like what we can’t have. But you should stick with the guys that don’t see you more than a friend as they will stick around and probably don’t want to ruin it with a relationship. I’m in the “friend zone” with 7 amazing chicks but you know what? I’m glad that it’s that way because nothing can ruin a friendship as quickly as girlfriends/boyfriends can. 😉

  16. The only reason I can think of coming from a male point of view is that you could be overweight. A guy will sleep with any type of skinny girl but “fat” girls are always in the friend zone. If you are average size or skinny, dress sexier! Wear some leggings and a cute tank, wear some heels and brush your hair. You don’t have to be slutty, just tighter clothes.

  17. seth, fuck you. guys like you are the reason i have such high standards.

  18. “I have friends. Life is hard.”

    So a dude doesn’t want the bones put to him? Who gives a shit?
    If he’s cool, hang out with him. If you were only hanging out with him to get done, bail. It’s not his problem and it’s not a reflection of your worth.

  19. Step 1) Read the signs. A guy at a party usually is on the prowl for poon.

    2) Guys like sex. They will always follow the path of least resistance. At the sme time, they don’t want someone who’s reaking of desperation.(fuckin men ey).
    Treat em mean keep em keen has ALWAYS worked for me. (not too mean hahaha)

    3)I don’t care what men say – they are shallow when it comes to selecting somewhere to place their penis. It’s all about aesthetics for initial selection process.

    4)Get a vibrator. Learn to satisfy yourslef without a man first. It doesn’t replace that connection with another human being. But it is SO MUCH FUN and liberating!

    5)Girrrl! You’re a star! Shine bright, shine hard and don’t let guys dictate your direction! One day you’ll meet someone. Fall in love, get your heart smashed and wish you were back to the care free young thang that you are!

    6) Focus on yourself, love yourself and care for yourself. Never give away your self respect, dignity, reputation or heart to someone who isn’t going to cherish it as you can!

    Good luck doll!xxx

  20. i agree with seth actually…that was my frist thought.

    i have a bunch of guy friends, and with several of them i think it’s mutual that we would never date, we’re in each others friend zones, but that being said, as long as we find each other physically attractive (obviously since we’re friends we’re emotionally attracted to each other), there’s always a possibility of a physical relationship, but it’s the emotional things that make us not want to date….

    so i guess what i’m saying, is either these guys don’t find you physically attractive enough, or they’re lying and they really don’t like you emotionally as much as you think they do.

  21. I doubt this will soothe you but what you describe is a problem of being 20 and in college. I suspect once you graduate and start interacting with more mature men that have a more serious take on life, you’ll have a lot easier time.

    If you are noticing a string, and don’t like it, it may be saying something about the guys you are choosing. Plenty of us have a ‘type’ that we gravitate towards and it ends up being completely self-defeating. This type results in multiple failures – and then by happenstance we meet someone who is completely different and find this is the one we should have been seeking all along.

    For now, treat dating and relationships very lightly. Primarily have fun, be social with both women and men. Get involved in areas of interest – volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or Big Sister or with the Student Union. I would not necessarily endorse being mean or a manipulative cunt – in the long run you will reap what you sow. Life’s too short for drama and meanness.

    Good luck, sweetheart. Have faith that it will get better.

  22. I do tend to agree with the whole mystery and focus on other stuff advice. I used to have a really close friend who always pulled. She was really smart and funny, except when we were around guys, out would come her inner-princess. All of a sudden, she would shut down and be really quiet. She would just sit there smiling, ignore all of her female friends and be uber attentive to whatever guys were around. When she did actually talk, it would be in this cutesy voice. I don’t know why, but the whole shy, I need to be taken care of act would work everytime. I mean this girl was cute, but far from supermodel material. Even our boyfriends would dote on her. I never really got why men went crazy for her, but I suspect it had something to do with a) she made them feel important by giving them her undivided attention, and b) maybe the whole submissive quiet thing gave her some fucked up sense of mystery. I don’t really know though…

  23. This may sound silly but you may not be giving off sexual vibes. I have a friend, cute, not overweight, who is constantly in the friend zone and i’ve heard from mutual guy friends that they see her as asexual. I’m not sure what to advise you but I would say maybe do whatever it takes to make sure you feel sexy when you go out, maybe buy some great lingerie or change your hair, wear red lipstick, whatever does it for ya.

  24. So many good points raised.
    For example: You may not be giving off sexual vibes. You may be unconsciously going for losers who aren’t into you or going for the wrong type. You may need to go for older guys, seriously the average guy below 25 has no clue what he is doing and whatnot so you may as well aim higher.
    Also are you overweight? Hey, I’m not saying it’s OK FOR GUYS TO BEDOWN ON OVERWEIGHT GIRLS, nor am I saying that I AM, I’m just saying….facts are you’ve got more chance of ending up in the friend zone if the friend zone is in fact the ‘she has a nice face but she’s kinda chubby’ zone… But even overweight or slightly chubby or WHATEVER, it’s all about the vibes and confidence. Be sexually confident without being sexually intimidating! If you can. Ha! good luck, darling. I’m sure you’ll have guys falling all over you soon.

    Also one last piece of advice:
    It’s never coming if you’re waiting for it….


  25. Its all about Emma and Elemento P.
    Especially Elemento P.

    I graduated from liberal arts college about a year ago and was single pretty much for the duration of it. I had my trysts and melodramas…but in the end nothing worked and nothing remotely resembled what people call a “healthy relationship”.

    TO be honest, the guys in college who actually date are either above and beyond in coolness and maturity because they’ve caught themselves the college version of a super model…or…they’re needy as fuck.

    As I said, I graduated a year ago and I have had two (real) relationships since then…one that lasted a few months and my current one (going on seven months). I am technically not my current dude’s type (he usually goes for “no tits brunettes” and I am strawberry blonde with boobs and, according to him at least,…smarter than he is) but from the instant I met him, he has paid for every meal, called me almost every day to see whats up…or to hang out…. and there was never a doubt in his mind as to what to do about me.

    Being the recently graduated liberal arts child I am, his gentlemanly and mature behavior was quite shocking. at first. but I got used to it.

    What Im saying is…don’t waste your energy feeling shitty about yourself and your apparent date-ability on a college campus. buy a vibrator. spend your time getting smart and getting money.

    if you need to, keep a low profile and have sex with the younger boys on campus.

    After graduation, see what happens. You are a queen. trust.

  26. Men love bitches. And I don’t mean the kind that belittle people or act like cuntbags. They love women who know what they’ve got and how the fuck to work it. And the more of a catch you are (or at least act like you are, “fake it ’til you make it”) the better the kind of man you’re going to attract. And believe me, better men do better things. What’s your best personality asset? What’s your best physical asset? Enhance it, work it. Most importantly, if you feel like a total knock-out you are going to ooze sexy confidence. And fuck walking around with the same guy all night. Always leave them wanting more. Men are turned on by competition so let the games begin!

  27. For all the talk about the difference between “men” and “boys”, there’s not much discussion of “girls” vs “women”. Who the fuck lives out their love affairs as if they were characters is a fucking Jane Austen novel?

    If you want to date a guy, or fuck him, or whatever, don’t take him on a jaunty garden excursion Lucy Farnsworth’s débutante soirée, just say so. Otherwise you’re doing the fully-grown-but-emotionally-stunted equivalent of playing fairy princess.

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