On The Friend-Zone

Someone rejected me lol. In between feeling sorry for myself I generated some thoughts. This essay comes to you in 3 parts.

Part I: “why don’t they like me? :(”

I cannot help but wonder, would they have liked me had I been prettier / cooler / smarter, whatever. If I had talked less about this thing. If I had done that thing more. But the truth is, someone who likes me will like me, and someone who doesn’t will not. There is no set of objectively attractive features that I can / should emphasise.

I mean, I have had crushes. Their hair, personality, sense of humour, hobbies, it all adds up to a person I find attractive. Do I like this person because I like this thing or do I like this thing because I like this person? Sure, there are a few features, like sensitivity, emotional availability, social status, that many people find attractive, but everything else is pretty much up in the air.

How it works: person likes you because they happen to think you are cute

Not how it works: person likes you because you happen to hit upon and emulate the exact combination of words/actions/features that makes them like you

Facing rejection, perfectly normal questions that come to mind are “what is wrong with me?” and “what could I have done, or said differently?” And the answers are nothing, nothing and nothing. Just continue to be you. Carry the fuck on.

Part II: “Am I in the friend-zone? :(”

I want to talk about the friend-zone. It’s the popular theory that if you are too friendly people will think of you as a friend and not consider dating you. Well… no, that is not the reason they don’t want to date you. The main reason someone would not consider dating you is that they don’t find you attractive. And as we have just discussed, there is no ONE reason for that.

I can appreciate the appeal of this idea. It’s an excuse I make for myself when someone tells me they “don’t see me that way” and “have never considered it”. I’ll be like, “omg the friend-zone is real”. It’s a classification error, I tell myself. They would date me had they just “given me a chance” and not foolishly placed me in the friend compartment. But no. I am in the friend-zone because they, in fact, HAVE assessed it and do not find me attractive. Attraction is not something you have to consciously consider; you are either attracted, or not. If they would have liked me they would have “seen me that way”, come on. We have to accept it and move on, not sugar-coat it with a made-up theory about compartmentalisation.

Part III: “What’s the chance that someone I like will like me back?”

Despair, frustration. If we cannot control who we are attracted to and who is attracted to us, then it’s pretty much like picking names out of a box and hoping that the person you happened to get happened to get you? What are the chances?!?!

In some ways that’s why rejection isn’t a bad thing. Now that we KNOW and no longer have to guess, we can start putting the name back and picking another one. To quote Mike Falzone, internet giver of advice and number 1 advocate of getting over yourself, “oh woe is me, now I can’t be together with someone who doesn’t want to be together with me”.

Secondly, so what? There is so much more to life than dating. There is so much more to LOVE than dating. Banish the idea that romantic love is the only kind of love worth having. Banish the idea that your worth is dependent on X person liking you. Like yourself instead. Live your life. Build your world for yourself.

Addendum: The politics of being single

Have you noticed how we as a society talk about singlehood as if it’s the saddest thing ever? There is economic benefit to heterosexual monogamy for society. To quote this excellent article, “It’s about organising people into isolated, efficient, self-reproducing units and making them feel bad when it either fails to happen or fails to bring them happiness.” Highly recommended reading.

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On The Friend-Zone

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