You know when you meet someone and you instantly click? They give you butterflies when you see their face. You say cheesy and romantic things to each other not to be cheesy and romantic but because they are the only words that seem to make sense to say when you're around them. And then, right when you think it's about to go to the next level, you hear, "You're great. But. I. Think. We. Should. Just. Be. Friends."
BAM! Those words hit you like bullets.
This phenomenon is called being "friendzoned," and it's within the Friendzone that I am being held captive.
The truth is that it is human nature to seek love and affection. We crave relationships and bonds--I've just never been so good at finding them.
For a long time, I've questioned what was wrong with me. After all, a strong relationship is really just an amazing and intimate friendship, right? So if you want to be friends with me, what's to keep you from wanting to take it to the next level?
Oh, I must be too ________.
Ugly. Fat. Boring. Tall. Wide. Young. Old. Black. White. Fem. Masc. No matter how you fill in the blank, the first thing we do when rejected is look to blame it on ourselves. When we start to idolize the person we are falling for, we put them on a pedestal so high that it seems there's no way they could possibly have any faults. Therefore, their lack of attraction to you must be because of your own shortcomings.
As someone who struggled with body image and an eating disorder, my first direction to go in is that I must just be too "ugly and fat" to be worthy of any man's love. So I sometimes feel the delusioned and disordered need to do something about it. I eat salad and run countless miles for a few weeks with the hope that maybe after losing a few pounds he'll come back to me with open arms. It never seems to happen that way. Instead, I become more upset and self-critical and get to the point of really needing a few sandwiches thrown at me.
And for what? For the affection of someone who clearly doesn't want me?
Not too long ago, I fell into this trap. I met a guy who gave me butterflies. We did the cheesy and romantic talking thing for a while, and I fell for his personality. I saw him perform, and I fell for his talent. Then we did something sacred--we went to a Beyoncé concert together and danced our hearts outs. That's when I realized that the long-term potential with him was so apparent and could be so fruitful. And he saw long-term potential with me as well! As a friend.
It upset me more than I expected. I started to question my worth and fall into the cycle of self-doubt. And I mean, damn! ... how was I ever going to listen to a Beyoncé song again? Then I thought of the lyrics to a song of hers:
"I wanted you bad
I'm so through with that
'Cause honestly you turned out to be the best thing I never had."
It was like a lightbulb went off. Maybe being in the Friendzone is the place that I should be. Because if someone doesn't love me for who I am, why would I want to be with them anyway? Maybe those words weren't bullets after all; maybe I actually dodged a bullet.
As I started to examine things more deeply, I realized that I did everything I could to make him feel happy and loved, but I wasn't spending enough time making sure that I was getting the same.
That is surely going to change. I know the love that I have to give, but I'm finally realizing the love that I deserve in return. So, fellas, if you decide you're ready to fight for me, you can find me over here in the Friendzone.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.