How to avoid the Friend Zone
Ah yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve written anything in the blog and i do apologize. for those who are still kicking around as my readers, I’d like to say that the technology field hasn’t really been exciting enough to me that I’d want to really weigh in on it as of late.
Of course, there is the obligatory posts about the new and improved Second Life called Sansar (I think i got that right?) but I’m not as excited as I should be about it. Maybe I’ve reached a maximum hype allotment for all of this and am saturated?
I could write something about HoloLens, but again I’m not very excited for it. It’s a good step forward but definitely underutilized comparative to what it could actually be. As far as existing Second Life stories, well... over the years I’ve seen the typical use cases so much that none of it really piques my interest. This goes back well before Second Life existed as the same use cases have emerged elsewhere of the years.
So I think I’m really waiting for something to once again get me excited about the industry.
Doing Hard Time
Instead of a technology post, I’d like to focus on a conversation I’ve had multiple times about something that we can all likely sympathize with: The dreaded friend zone.
What can I say about this state of being other than what it is?
The friend zone, as opposed to actually just being friends, is a sort of limbo that guys end up in between friend and boyfriend. It’s where the guy is definitely interested in a woman but the woman sees the generosity and affection/attention as an endless supply without any of the commitment to a relationship.
How does this happen?
Well, I’d like to say that from observation and personal account, it occurs when you are being too nice and accommodating. You end up being all the things she wishes she had in a boyfriend without actually being her boyfriend.
You’re the one she comes to at two in the morning when her boyfriend ditches her at the club. You’re the guy she comes to when she needs something. When she goes out, and brings you along, you end up playing surrogate boyfriend in his absence but always introduced as “just a friend”.
You know this is happening when other people assume you’re a couple and she has to correct them.
The hallmarks of a friend zone situation are actually easy to spot. You take one woman that continuously finds herself in bad relationships, and add a “friend” who treats her like gold. Essentially, she can count on you to make her the center of the universe and spoil her rotten.
Now, the most common thing you’ll hear in that situation whenever asked why she doesn’t consider her “friend” as a potential to date is something along the lines of “Oh, I wouldn’t want to ruin our great friendship!”
Well, of course not.
Being in the friend zone is vastly different than just being friends. It is a one sided situation where the guy is showering her with attention and favors to an almost absurd level. Trying his best to prove he is worthy of her attention and affection, all for naught. All she has to do is show up and there isn’t any reciprocation.
Effectively, the guy is being used.
The typical phrase a guy hears in that situation is something like “Why is it so hard to find a great guy like you?”
Which can be translated to:
I want to date a guy that is just like you but isn’t you. Because I’m at the receiving end of all these favors and attention without any commitment, why would I want to get rid of that dynamic? You’re like the perfect boyfriend without my having to reciprocate anything!
We can ask ourselves how this ends up happening to us, and the answer is simpler than you might expect. You’re simply putting up with her manipulation and bullshit. You are simply being too accommodating and nice, too predictable.
The reward for her behavior (punishment) is a string of guys that aren’t you, and usually end up treating her like shit. Which is why she’s constantly crying on your shoulder about how she just wants a nice guy that’ll appreciate her... but not you.
From my best guess, women don’t like predictable guys. This is more of an observation from personal experience. If you’re too available and always eager to be there for her, you’re boring and they look elsewhere. Did you ever notice how you end up getting passed up time and again for the guy that ignores her and acts like she needs to prove herself to him?
Yeah... and you’re sitting there doing the exact opposite.
The best way to escape friend zone Alcatraz is simply to harden up and start being an asshole. Is she texting you at 2 in the morning with some sob story? Ignore it. Are you carrying her bags at the mall? make her carry her own bags. Buying her drinks? She can buy her own.
If she wanted a guy to do that for her she should have brought her boyfriend. Are you doing all the things that a decent boyfriend would do but isn’t?
Then stop doing it.
That doesn’t mean you have to be a complete asshole all the time. You really shouldn’t. You’re not a fucks vending machine, so tell her giving a fuck is out of order.
What it does mean is that you should find yourself having other things to do than make her the center of the universe. If she calls out of the blue and expects you to be there for her all the time, simply tell her you have other plans and maybe another time. Start dictating your own schedule instead of trying to work it around hers all the time.
Don’t answer every random text she sends, don’t pick up the phone all the time when she calls. You have a life and it doesn’t revolve around her. Make that completely clear.
There is a difference between being her friend and being her surrogate boyfriend.
I think that’s where most people blur the line. Whenever I point out that I don’t put up with attention whores who friend zone me, they immediately say I’m being a bad friend and an asshole.
Which isn’t true, because I’m drawing a line between friend and friend zone. The line between being a friend and being used.
From personal experience, I’ve seen this happen in my own life. My mother, for instance, has been in a few bad marriages and through countless shitty boyfriends throughout her life. She asked me why she can’t find a decent guy that treats her good and appreciates her... and I pointed to her “friend” Jake.
He’s been there for her since they were in high school (which is a very long time) and to this day is a wonderful, caring guy who is the nicest man you’ll ever meet.
I asked her why not him?
“Oh, we’re just friends... I wouldn’t want to risk ruining our friendship!”
To which I told her that the reason she has such shit luck with guys is because she put the one guy she actually wanted into the friend zone and never considered dating him. It’s a textbook case if I ever saw one.
Friend zone means all the benefits of a boyfriend without any reciprocation or commitment on her end. In essence, you’ll endlessly do for her and she’ll just show up and thank you for it.
Is it all about getting laid?
Well, for most guys I suppose it might be. But to be honest, you’d have a better chance if you didn’t act nice, accommodating, sweet, caring, etc.
In reality, the dynamic should be reciprocated. If we ultimately exclude sex from the equation, and just keep it clean for a relationship dynamic, you still find yourself in a very one sided situation where she is using you.
Ultimately, being in the friend zone depends entirely on you and how long you are willing to continue being used.
Now, that doesn’t mean you’re going to have a shot at actually dating her. It very well may be that she had no intention of giving you a shot at all, and if that’s the case, then why bother being used to no end when she’s just holding a carrot on a stick you’ll never get?
Planning Your Escape
This is actually pretty simple and can be narrowed down to a few bullet points. Knowing how people (in general) work in their head goes a long way to getting a situation under control.
- Don’t let her treat you like her boyfriend
If you want a girl to day dream about you, do not let yourself be treated like her boyfriend. It may stink to put yourself into this kind of situation especially if you know deep inside that you really like her. But if you want to capture her attention and let her feel the incompleteness due to your absence, stop hanging out with her or calling her. The thought of winning your friend’s heart by staying by her side at all times does not really work. The more you are acting as a boyfriend, the more she will treat you like an older brother. So do not let your friend treat you as if you are her boyfriend unless you already are.
- Show her that you are wanted
Jealousy can be a powerful thing, and makes a woman think twice. If she really has any feelings for you, this is the fastest way to find out. The moment she realizes that she cannot have you at her beck and call, and she has to compete for the attention, you’ll find out a lot of the time she’ll start competing for you. It’s the old adage of being told you can’t have something which makes you want it more.
Make her work for it and earn it. There’s nothing wrong with introducing a bit of competition to break up her monopoly.
- Be unpredictable and mysterious
How can she fantasize about you if you leave nothing to her imagination? Being predictable takes all the mystery out of the dynamic and so she has nothing to think about. If you’re not always available, that will give her time to wonder what is more important than her and what you’re up to. Twice as effective when you take the last bullet point into consideration.
- Be a sheep in wolf’s clothing
This is usually the hardest point of advice for the nice guys in the friend zone. It is contrary to how they actually are, and they find it very hard to act contrary to their disposition. I can say, from experience, that this actually works... ridiculously.
So much so, that to this day it baffles me.
Years ago, I put this theory to a test with my then girlfriend at the time. I called it the Double Blind Asshole Test.
My friend Brad couldn’t figure out why the woman he was interested in was blowing him off and putting him in the friend zone. I explained all of this to him and gave the same advice. The last bit of advice was to be a bit more of an asshole to her instead of constantly the nice guy. Effectively, balance being a sheep in wolf’s clothing. You don’t want to be completely at her whim and you don’t want to be a complete jerk to her.
If she jerks you around, don’t be afraid to jerk back. If she can’t give you a straight answer, don’t be afraid to drop her like a bad habit and move on until she comes to her senses.
She can take it or leave it, and if she doesn’t like it then she knows where the door is at. This is called setting the rules of engagement instead of letting her dictate them all the time at your expense.
You’re probably wondering how well this works... I mean, being an asshole with an ego can’t possibly work, right?
Let’s take a look at the guys she usually ends up dating instead of you.
The difference is that you aren’t an asshole by nature, whereas the other guys actually are. So if you learn to be a sheep in wolf’s clothing, you give her the bit of dominance she is looking for... the take no shit attitude, but then she is happy to also see the “real you”... that nice, caring, sweet guy under the rough exterior that really just needed a good woman to bring out... but only if she earns it.
For whatever reason, women seem to like the idea of changing a guy into their ideal. They see a bad-ass jerk and think he’s hotter than hell... he must have something going on if he’s that confident... I’m sure I can mellow him out over time... he’s a fixer upper!
No, he’s almost always just an inconsiderate jerk and you’re not going to change him. Which is why those women always end up in bad relationships and crying on your shoulder about it.
The trick, then, is to seem like the guy they are attracted to and balance being the sweet, caring, nice guy that you actually are underneath it.
That’s how you attract and keep a woman.
Now, I know a lot of women will be reading this and likely will be up in arms about how manipulative this is or how it’s not the truth at all...
But I offer only real life experience to back up what I’m saying.
My girlfriend at the time of the Double Blind Asshole test was lukewarm to me. She’d maybe show up to go on a date. Maybe she’d text me back or call. But the minute I started acting like a wolf, she couldn’t get enough. Suddenly she was texting, calling, wanting to go out constantly... it’s like I flipped her inner nymphomaniac switch.
That relationship ended years ago, and the reason why was because I stopped acting like the wolf. I decided that if I had to act contrary to how I really was for her to stay interested, then it wasn’t worth it. I predicted, before the Double Blind Asshole test began, that the moment I stopped acting like the wolf she would lose interest and the relationship would fall apart.
Which is exactly what had happened.
Every time I acted like a wolf, she couldn’t get enough. Whenever I switched back to being the kind, caring, do anything for her guy, she got bored and lost interest.
I kept this volley going for years and the result never changed.
You’re probably wondering what happened to my friend Brad when he took my advice?
Well, he was skeptical at first, but he went ahead and tried it. He figured he had nothing to lose anyway. What happened was exactly what I had predicted. She went from putting him in the friend zone to almost obsessing over him.
Being a wolf also means doing the one thing women constantly insist you should never do, which is to know when to objectify them.
Of course, Brad was raised to be a gentleman, and so he was a bit uncomfortable doing this. I told him to just balance it out and know when he should go ahead and act like this. The result was that Penny... the woman he was interested in, went from prude to constantly wanting to have sex with him.
The proof is in the fact that they’ve been married now for years and have five kids.
What about my failed relationships?
It’s no big secret that I “suck” at dating. But is that really the case?
Well, for the most part, no.
I am keenly aware that my problem was simply that I refused to be a wolf. Curiosity more than anything led me to try not being an asshole to give the other side of the coin a fair shake. Instead of just smugly sitting here and saying to be manipulative and a wolf... so I spent a lot of years giving women the benefit of the doubt and letting them prove me wrong.
But they never did.
Not even once. Which thoroughly disappointed me.
Every single time I went into a relationship being the generous, caring, nice guy... always attentive, there for them when they needed me, and so on... it ended the same every time.
Take from that what you will, but to me that says women seem to act contrary to what they tell you they want. Sure, they’ll go on and on about how they want a nice guy who will treat them right, but then they’ll blow that guy off for the asshole.
Go down to the book store and look at the Nora Roberts section. There’s a reason the guys on the covers of those books aren’t anything like you. That’s why those books are soft porn for housewives. It’s their fantasy man in that book.
If you’re in the friend zone, then look at the assholes she actually is dating instead of you.
Notice the pattern here?
That doesn’t mean you have to be a total asshole. It means you should refuse to be a welcome mat, stop taking shit, and make them earn the praise and affection instead of spoiling her like a brat.
Learn to tell Verucca that she cannot have a Golden Goose. It’s that simple.
Ultimately, the point about being in the friend zone is that you’ll stay there so long as you allow her to get away with it. Again, there is a difference between friend and friend zone. You can be her friend, but never in the friend zone.
I have plenty of friends who are women, but at no point are they treating me like I’m in the friend zone and using me, because they all know I won’t put up with it.
Currently, I have taken my own advice about all of this and balance being a sheep in wolf’s clothing in my relationship today. I haven’t been single in a long time, and my girlfriend is amazing.
I’ve decided that there’s nothing wrong with being a bit of a jerk, sometimes an asshole, and not putting up with shit from anyone. It’s actually a good idea to make people earn your good grace instead of giving it freely like water on tap.
They won’t take you for granted, and they’ll appreciate you a lot more.