Why Guys Shouldn't Treat The Friend Zone Like The Twilight Zone

by Kimrie Pham

Recently I’ve come upon a problem that has been plaguing me deeply.  I couldn’t sleep, I tossed and turned, and I even began to do my chores on time, for fun. That’s when you just know there’s something up—nobody voluntarily cleans the toilet while buzzed at 2 AM in the morning.

So, toilet plunger in hand, I found it was some time for some serious self-reflection. They say self-reflection is the first step unto self-improvement.  To understand something thoroughly enables you to come up with a thorough solution.

So you see, at 15 past 2 o’clock in the morning, I kept checking my phone. For a text, or rather, lack of a text, from one of my best friends. The cause of the lack of a text part will be explained in the following segment.

To begin with, let me tell you a little bit about this best friend of mine. For the purposes of this article, we’ll call him Ted. Ted was, in essence, someone whom I truly loved and adored, someone who I felt I could tell all my secrets to.

I could confess anything to him: how I didn’t really go home to sleep after BJ’s Happy Hour ended last Thursday but instead drove straight to Jack-in-the-Box for the two-for-a-dollar taco deal, how I really didn’t quit smoking quite yet like I’d told my Dad I had in order to maintain his normal heart rate after I had smoked a pack and a half of menthols, and how I hadn’t had the time to fix my front headlight yet to clear my fixit ticket because I was too busy listening to the new Drake album while tweeting and eating a Chalupa from Taco Bell in my car after work.

I told him all of this because I truly enjoyed listening to his witty and meaningful responses; not only would he accept me for my bad habits, he’d make me laugh through it while gently nudging me to take a step in the right direction. And the best part was, I had no solid commitment to him anymore, so the guilt I felt when these bad habits were manifested into words between us arose, it was, at best, minimal.

We were so comfortable, and he made me feel so comfortable. And at the same time, if I colored my hair that afternoon, Ted would be the first to tell me the new ‘do looked good on me, because he knew me well enough to notice.

Someone that nonjudgmental, funny, witty, caring, and who spoils you with innocent compliments? And let’s not forget, who didn’t have a vagina, so who was also drama-and-headache free for the most part? Who in the world would want to jeopardize this relationship?

Ted was the best of both worlds—and he was now fuming mad at me and started ignoring my texts, for having started to develop feelings for someone else.

Upset at the situation, I vented to one of Ted’s friends, who ultimately came to school me on, very much unbeknownst to me, a deal-breaking staple in manual of the Male Ego.

Ted’s friend Donald had been presenting to me Ted’s side of the scale, and expressing that he semi-saw the sense in Ted cutting me off at the first signs of a new +1 in my life. I was baffled, thinking aloud: What? But why? We have so much fun! He’s like, he’s like, one of my girlfriends!

And then it happened. It was like Donald had vomited mid-air without the actual sludge projecting from his mouth; the cause of back-to-back shots of cheap vodka on $2 Tuesdays being replaced with a single word I’d said.

“Oh no. Ooooohhhh no, you said it. You said it!” Slapping his forehead, he repeated quietly in devastation, “You called him the g-word.” He sat, looking as sad as Dina Lohan without a crowd of paparazzi.

Well, was it really that bad to be at the subject end of comparison? I mean, I love my girlfriends. They’re like my crazy, fun sisters, extensions of me. Ted was like that in my eyes, and then some. So what was the problem?

After Donald had explained to me that it was the worst thing you could call a guy crushing on you, I saw his point—but let me tell you, guys, there’s just no validity to your being well, crushed by it.

Yes, we’ve disregarded you as a romantic counterpart in our lives. But what was truly so terrible about this? We both can just kick it now, be ourselves around one another, do the things we’re both not comfortable doing around our significant others yet, and there’s no pressure: neither of us have to worry about any awkward moves being made while we’re just chillin’, watching voiceovers of monkey videos on Vine and smoking the last of our glove-compartment-stashed joints for the rainy days.

This is a total win-win situation for us! And you can’t blame us for making lemonade from lemons—you do the same in a situation where a potential win is on the horizon: i.e., when you see a girl who’s DTF and texting you drunk as shit on a Friday saying she wants to come over. It’s not scumbaggish, it’s simply called carpe-diem-ing.

Now I know what you’re thinking, guys. You’ll just say, well fuck, that bitch is just selfish. Well, yes, maybe we are a little selfish. We do hog your time because we simply love your company. We don’t ask anything of you—no deadlocked commitment, no going half on the Plan B, nothing. We simply love your company.

So my solid and honest advice to you guys (Honesty is the theme here; hello Dad, yes, that isn’t just a skunk appearing coincidentally behind our car every time you open my glove compartment) is that there’s nothing you should be mad about when it comes to your lady friend falling for another dude.

You should, in fact, confront those shitty feelings you get when addressing your lady friend and her new boo, and question what makes you feel your position is somewhat threatened. Yes, let’s face it—if you didn’t feel something was threatened, you wouldn’t be uneasy with the fact that she chose to be with him.

Instead, learn to respect her decision and just work on you and closing that gap of uneasiness with an amazing new skill or furthering your knowledge on something compelling—even spend more time at the gym. Take that animosity and multiply your curl-up reps or chest sets. If she falls on her face in love, she will turn to you, because she credits you as reliable and trustworthy.

So like I’d tell Ted, instead of texting your lady friend mean and angry shit and ignoring her, which makes you appear childish and bitch-like, spend that valuable time and energy reflecting and then conquering instead. I don’t mean the ten minutes post-lifting you spend on secret, selfie-action in the bathroom mirror.

I mean the real reflection you have to do with yourself when seeing your ex’s Instagram upload of her and her new man overpriced Minnie and Mickey Mouse ears at Disneyland.

Tackle that ugly feeling you get when you're mad at your friend because she is just trying to get hers with nothing but triumph; opt to come out on top—better, stronger, faster, leaner, meaner, unstoppable, unrestrained to being upset over one case of pussy.

They say reflection is the first step in self-betterment, to see the puzzle clearly is to know the clear solution—and just be glad you’re not out forty bucks with only a stupid plastic hat to show for it at an overpriced theme park only to deal with a lame head of hat-hair and stupid bowl-like tan lines around your forehead after.

Photo credit: WENN