Proceed With Caution: Friend Zone Ahead

It happens to the best of us. You meet someone (an old friend, a neighbor, a fellow yogi or a perfect stranger). You get to know each other casually over run-ins or shared interests. And then, like a freight train, you realize that you feel something more. After countless inner dialogues and imagined expectations, you finally work up the nerve to tell them how you feel and hope that they feel the same. You bare your soul and, suddenly, you’re hit with that ugly “F” word. “I really think we are better off as just friends,” he (or she) says. Inside, you probably feel embarrassed, disappointed, and want to bolt straight for the door and pretend this awkward incident never happened. Instead, you pull yourself together and end the conversation gracefully, with that seven-letter word still lingering in the back of your head: “Friends.”

Later, at home, you conjure up and overanalyze all your times together, wondering where you misread the signs. How did this happen? How is he / she NOT attracted to me? Should I just not have said anything? We’ve all been rejected by that unexpected crush, and yes, it stings like a bee. But aren’t you glad you no longer have to feed into a false fantasy of the relationship, or (better yet) limit yourself from other possible opportunities, when that crush just ultimately isn’t a match for you? Instead of feeling hurt or rejected, realize that person valued you enough to be honest with you up front and probably really does want to be a good friend to you. As hard as it is to be rejected, it’s often more difficult to disappoint someone that you care about – and having to tell a friend you’re just not that into them is never an easy task.

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