Yes, it happens to all of us. Regardless of your gender, sexual orientation, or physical attractiveness, at some point in life you have or will be friend zoned. Probably more than once.
Maybe you’ve been chatting online with someone, or you’ve met them in person. Maybe you’ve even been friends or colleagues for some time. However it began you’ve had that feeling, felt that spark, gotten excited, and have hit that moment where you want to be something more. You gather your strength, build up your self esteem, and work up the courage to make your move. You invite them on a date, suggest a weekend away, or maybe even just go in for the kiss. Then BAM! it happens. They tell you they would rather just be or stay friends. Ouch.
That’s right, ouch. It’s ok to say it. Let it sting. However noble their intentions or how gently they do it, it is a rejection. It’s ok to feel that way. You put yourself out there, offered yourself, and it wasn’t what they wanted. Let yourself feel it, even if it’s just for a moment. Don’t wallow in it or get angry about it, but do acknowledge it. What’s important is what you do next.
What comes after ‘let’s be friends’ is entirely up to you, and it’s an important decision. Don’t blow by it. In order to be fair to yourself and to the other person you need to ask yourself a couple of serious questions.
First, do you feel like you can just be friends with this person? Can you set aside the romantic feelings, for good? It isn’t fair to you or to them if you are agreeing to a friendship only out of hope that it will be more one day. That will lead to a lot of resentment on your part, and will poison the relationship down the road.
Second, is there value in the friendship? We become romantically interested in people for a lot of reasons, and not all of those reasons will translate to a good friendship. You will need to ask yourself where you see this friendship going, what this person will add to your life, and what you will add to theirs.
If the answer to either of those questions is no, that’s ok. It doesn’t make you a bad person, just an honest one. And it will save you both time and possible hurt feelings in the long run. You don’t have to be friends with every person you meet. Agree to be friendly acquaintances and move on.