I want to focus on aspects of courtship and dating for young adults, for the purpose of this article let’s say between the ages of 21 – 35. Specifically, I want to discuss the fear of becoming “friend zoned” by one’s romantic interest.
Being “friend zoned” is actually good for your prospective relationship
I believe we need to start embracing the fact that our romantic interest considers us a friend first. This applies to individuals of all sexual orientations and any gender pronoun one chooses to use.
If you become good enough friends with someone, their views of you can change over time – as they continually increase their understanding of you and what you have to offer.
Friendship is the key to a lasting relationship
When issues get tough in a relationship and the lovey-dovey initial phase (honeymoon phase) of the relationship has passed, the friendship is what sustains the relationship.
The friendship is like a plant requiring constant watering, it is the backbone of successful fulfilling relationships.
If you have a desire to get married or even just to move toward a meaningful relationship, wouldn’t you want to be friends with that person first? As a friend, wouldn’t you want to know what your partner requires from friends in their life?
Before thinking of a relationship, contemplate if you’d want to be friends with that person
What accepting being “friend zoned” also means though is that you need to genuinely care about your romantic interest for them to ever consider you a friend. When you are on Tinder, Grindr, Okcupid, Match, EHarmony, Plenty of Fish, or other dating websites and contacting the next cute or really hot person you see, stop and pause for a second to ask yourself some questions: would I want this person’s friendship?
As a friend, would I want to support this person through hard times, based on how they describe themselves in their profile?
How do I treat my current friends?
Would I treat my romantic interest any different if they were my friend? (If so, why?)
Think about the prospect of relationship if there was no sex involved
One can benefit from questioning the role that sex plays in friendships.
Would or could I care to get to know this person as a friend, even if I never have the opportunity to share sexual intimacy moments with this person?
I am very intentional about saying sexually intimate moments because intimacy itself can happen everyday life when you share parts of yourself and are vulnerable with friends.
As we are all aware, sex can complicate things. The intimacy and the vulnerability that accompanies sex has the beautiful ability to more closely connect people and the destructive power to push people away from each other if one feels rejected.
Some examples why friendship is integral to a happy relationship
To examine the importance of friendship, look at these everyday examples of
friendship in relationships/a marriage: Changing diapers of the baby, getting the oil changed for your significant other’s car, picking up their favorite coffee, and caring for them when they are sick.
Other examples of caring about someone as a friend can include: communicating your thoughts and feelings, laughing at someone’s jokes, writing a card to someone, or cheering on a friend at a sporting event or art show they participate in.
The reasons these examples sound so similar is because the same level of mutual respect and admiration is being provided in the friendship is also necessary for the successful marriage or relationship.
A final thought to ask oneself if for any reason you are finding you would not want to be a romantic interest’s friend: why do I feel this way? What about this person and me would prohibit our ability or desire to be friends? The answers you discover can help you better understand whom you are compatible with as a friend or possibly more.
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More by Steven Spatz