The Friend Zone

For most of my high school and college years, I resided in this trying place known as "The Friend Zone". Because I am now happily in a relationship that was well worth the wait, I think it is finally ok to share my tales of woe. An episode of MTV's Girl Code, a hilarious show I have grown somewhat fond of, sparked a memory for me. Since the pseudo-scars of early womanhood have healed, why not make a joke of it. For a giggle, or ten, check it out.

In high school, I was blissfully busy with schoolwork and extracurricular activities. If possible, from what I recall, I was not super preoccupied with finding a mate. Sure I had crushes, and many awkward let downs. When you hear the guy you were pining after found a super hot girlfriend. Haven't we all? If not, just pretend to understand. I also kept in the back of my mind the belief that high school guys were a tad immature and just made better friends, and I would find a companion in college. Also, I did not have a lot of game. I think my Dad maybe even told me this once, but he meant it lovingly like, "Oh Francesca, don't be concerned, other girls just have more game than you. But never change. You are perfect, and someone will adore you like I do." Aw, thanks Dad.

College came and there were indeed handsome and bright guys all around. Many had girlfriends, or just worked the masses with their dimples and long LAX bro hair. Nice to look at no less, but alas they were not my match.  I developed a considerable crush on a guy in one of my classes, who was genuinely a kind and intelligent person. I thought we were connecting on many levels, and I guess in retrospect we were. But he fed me a classic "Friend Zone" line, that he had just gotten out of a long, serious relationship. Today, he is dating a young man as equally as handsome as he, so I suppose it wasn't me that was the issue,  just my gender.

I think I probably tried too hard, mostly because I really wanted to find a companion. Over-thinking every word and deed, and generating in my mind these elaborate justifications that the guy I liked really did like me too. Until I read this, and it became clear. He was just not that into me.

I met a few guys older than me, at church of all places. Thank you Jesus, for hooking a sister up! One was a grad student, and the other an alum about 10 years older than me. Another lightbulb in retrospect: Francesca, look for older guys.  Nothing ever got too serious, but I do believe that everyone you meet has something to teach you if you look hard enough. I came away from every encounter more capable of navigating the WTF moments of dating/ trying to date.

There were always warning signs that I was in the "Friend Zone" and now I can identify them. Some of the more obvious ones, I failed to recognize:

"You will make a wonderful mother someday" - This melted my heart, of course. What a compliment. But when coming from a young man it typically meant, you are a nurturing and kind soul, but I do not want to date you.

"Want to study with me?" - Again, super flattering. Someone admires my intellect? He must want to be my boyfriend. No, sorry. If he wants to be your boyfriend, he will ask you to dinner or try to bed you, ASAP. 

"I really enjoy your company, but..." - The but is never, ever good. If a guy wants to be with you, he will break down a wall to do so. Although I tried ever so diligently to prove myself otherwise, it just wasn't meant to be in many cases. 

I wish I had known some of these things then, but I have emerged from the battlefield and am doing just fine. It was not all for naught. For other wallflowers that may have a hard time dating, do not be discouraged. Celebrate who you are, and don't change for anyone. Although it will be saddening in the moment, the best is yet to come. Relationships that do not materialize prepare you for different and hopefully better things and well, people.

Someone will love every part of you.