Zach Miko Big Questions: Friend Zone

Big Questions: Is the Friend Zone Really a Thing?

Trev: Is it just me, or are overweight guys defaulted to the friend zone. Any advice on flirting with romance as a result?

Dear Trev,

Ah, the “Friend Zone”.  I’ve been mulling my answer for a while now trying to find a way to not be overly blunt. I know guys like you and me, guys who weren’t the hot guy in school or the varsity quarterback, grew up cursing the friendzone, forever unlucky in love, never good enough for the girls we had crushes on. It took me years to learn the truth, and here it is:

There is no such thing as the “friend zone”.

You are either someone’s friend, or you are not. No one has to date you because you were nice to them. If you are only hanging around someone in hopes that they will one day take romantic interest in you, then you aren’t being their friend.

What Exactly is the Friend Zone?

The idea of the friend zone is echoed in hundreds of movies and TV shows, where the kind yet not conventionally good looking friend of a girl sits in the wings of all of her relationships, pining and waiting for her to finally realize that he was her one true love all along. This is a heavily romanticized idea of what the friend zone is, and while it may seem adorable and romantic told through a Hollywood lens, it is problematic no matter how you look at it.

Look at it From Another Perspective

If you look at it from the perspective of the person you are pining for, she barely has a friend. Every time she tries to talk to him about something personal, she’s met with not-so-subtle hints that he is the answer to all her problems, that if only she gave him a shot romantically, she wouldn’t have to worry about jerks ever again. Now she doesn’t have a friend helping her through something and giving her advice, she has another person whose feelings she has to be concerned about. Instead of a shoulder to cry on, she has someone she needs to coddle while going through her own shit.

Zach Miko for Bonobos

For a Long Time, I Was That Guy

If it feels like I’m being harsh on you as the guy, I don’t mean to. I’m just frustrated, and most of that frustration is focused at myself. I was always that guy who thought he was in the “friend zone”, and it wasn’t until I got married that I realized how wrong I was. I was never a true friend in high school or college. Every relationship I had with a female friend was colored by the tiny question in my mind “Would this person date me?”. When I say every friendship, I am not exaggerating. Every single one.

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I’m really ashamed of myself for that. Besides not being a true friend to these women, I was also depriving myself of real meaningful human connection, because I was so insecure that I needed my female friends to validate that I was desirable. Women do not live to let men know that they are fuckable, and they don’t have to fuck you because you were “nice” to them. In my own journey, I had to be in a totally secure relationship before I came to the realization that this nice guy always finishing last, wasn’t a nice guy at all. I was a self-centered little kid who put his feelings above those of people who were supposed to be his friends.

I blamed my fatness for everything and thought if people could just see past my size, they would want me.

The Truth Is…

I am not going to keep banging you over the head with how you should be a good friend and how thinking you are in the “friend zone” is wrong. I know it feels real to you. A lot of bigger people feel unlucky in love, and truly think if they were fitter or hotter that maybe the people they have crushes on would like them back. I was convinced that the reason my crushes didn’t like me was because I was fat. I blamed my fatness for everything and thought if people could just see past my size, they would want me.

I know now it wasn’t because I was fat, they just weren’t romantically attracted to me, and that’s ok. Maybe there were people who were attracted to me that I wasn’t attracted to, that’s is also ok. We are individuals with individual attractions. No one has to date us because we really really want them to.

They always say that there are a million fish in the sea, well there are 7.2 billion people in the world.

It’s Time to Switch Your Way of Thinking

If someone needs you to look a different way or be a different person in order to date you, then don’t date them. If you truly believe that your crush doesn’t want you because they aren’t attracted to you, then you need to find a new crush. Pining over someone who has told you they are not interested is a form of self-abuse.

They always say that there are a million fish in the sea, well there are 7.2 billion people in the world. If your feelings are not reciprocated, find someone else who will feel the same way. And if you are lucky enough to have your crush truly want to just be friends with you, that’s great! You made a new friend! If you aren’t willing to reciprocate that friendship then for your sake and the sake of the other person, move on.

You want a person who likes you for who you are. If you are looking for love, love yourself, then be yourself, and keep trying. Chances are, you’ll find someone that fits with you.

You aren’t in the friend zone, you have a friend. That’s a good thing. Be a good friend.