Friend-zone. Probably the most feared term in recent times. Maybe even more than all the different types of influenzas that crop up every single year! Unrequited love hurts a lot and most of us know the pain of falling hard for someone unattainable. But being constantly reminded of the fact that there is no way in hell, heaven or between that your feelings will be reciprocated is bound to leave you feeling hopeless. Falling in love with your friend is not a sin. Most relationships that are born out of friendships last longer than the ones between complete strangers. It is a nice concept to fall for someone you are comfortable with, someone who likes the same things you do, someone who knows and accepts you for who you really are. A guy-girl friendship, in most cases, passes through a stage where either the guy or the girl considers expanding their friendship into something more. It is an ordinary thought and considering such a situation in your mind will not cause troubles. But it is when you are tortured by such thoughts that things could turn ugly. And the major reason that acting upon these feelings that make you feel claustrophobic fails, is because your friend (in worst cases, your best-friend!) has no idea that you have begun to see them in a different light.
There are a few who friend-zone people unnecessarily and repent later when the ‘zoner’ develops feelings for the ‘zoned’ exactly when the ‘zoned’ is cured of the infatuation and is way past the ‘moving on’ stage. The future of such friendships is quite bleak. Then there’s the ancient ‘bro-zone’ (‘sis-zone’ is rarely heard of) which is bound to hurt more than the friend-zone because there is no way out of it! The biggest crime that someone can do is to take advantage of the friend-zoned person when they are fully aware of the intensity to which the person likes them. Love is blind and some friend-zoned people can go beyond that stage where they are so deep in love that they forget what they are worth and are reduced to masochistic slaves. Even when the rest of the world openly pities them, they are happy being able to spread a smile across their loved one’s face. Well, may their souls rest in peace!
Let’s consider the ‘zoner’s’ perspective now. Unless Cupid decides to strike his arrows at you and your friend at exactly the same time, being told that your friend, the one you have no qualms in sharing embarrassing details of your life with, the one who has seen it all and been through it all, has an immense crush on you (because even if the words used by her/him indicate otherwise, your subconscious mind will not let you hear the magical three words you wanted to listen to from someone else being uttered by your friend instead) is not a pleasant experience. Suddenly, things become awkward between the two of you and the stupid mistake that your friend made messes with your mind so much that you start considering whether all the fun and the happiness that you got from spending time in their company was part of some big plan to get you to like them back. Friend-zoning, in this case, is only a natural reaction to the horror story that came true in the ‘zoner’s’ life. It does leave you feeling helpless when the only one you can talk about your problems with, is the cause of the problem, right?
Friend-zoning is also, in a way, a phenomenon that arose out of politeness. ‘Let’s stay friends’ is a much better response than ‘I don’t like you’ (ouch)! People who are in the zone are watched at all times, their every movement, every gesture is analyzed by the one who is responsible for their gloom because being cautious is better than struggling to push a person back into the zone, farther away from their initial spot from where they managed to crawl out. It is a zone that is liked by neither of the parties involved, unless one is heartless enough to overlook the misery they put the other in. Attempting to escape the zone and get into the spot they wished for initially is a feat that only a few manage to achieve without destroying the sacred friendship that led to the hullaballoo in the first place, and not coming off as a creep. Meticulous planning, proper timing, elimination of external factors (return of the exes, the like) and above all, destiny, have important roles to play in the success of the one-sided love story. And if you are lucky enough to win (like Chandler Bing), the one who refused to go out with you even if, hypothetically, only the two of you remained on planet Earth, would be the one who spends the rest of their life with you, willingly and happily!