In the Zone

“No one wants to be caught up with a hot dog just in case a steak walks by.”  Me, on online dating.

In honor of Super Bowl Sunday, I am giving you this mini-installment. I don’t sport, but I do know that football includes an end zone. That’s where the touchdowns happen—the SCORE!

But in dating, there is a different kind of zone….and it definitely does NOT include scoring. (Unless you want to enter into an emotionally draining situation that never leads anyone to anything good.)

That zone is the friend zone.

I am overly familiar with the friend zone. I’m haven’t decided what this means yet. I’m good to know, but not too good? I’m a cool chick to hang with, but…..??? You see what I’m getting at.

Being friend zoned isn’t always bad. And, it’s definitely not always personal. Often times, it really is timing, life issues, placement, personal struggle, a smattering of things that contribute to a person’s reluctance to become intricately involved with another. I have actually made some good friends throughout the course of my dating expedition—and don’t worry if you’re that guy and you are reading this—I won’t blog about you. Sometimes the friend zone is the right call. Other times, the goodbye zone is the better call. It’s hard to tell when those times are.

Having been friend zoned, oh, about an hour ago, I decided to think about the emotional roller coaster you ride when you lock down that handle bar and buckle up for the dating ride. I’m not sure what to do with these feelings right now, so I will present them to you. That seems smart.

The emotional cycle of the friend zone.

Excited! So exciting! You matched with someone who seems like they could be the one you have been looking for. The search could be over! Excited!!!

Curiosity….now to find out as much as you can so you can decide whether to invest or not. You want to know all about them. You want to talk to them, meet up with them, and then decide if you want to go for it.

Hopeful….as the discovery phase continues, you start to think about the future, what it might look like. You hope the search is over and you are ready to end the treasure hunt. You imagine them in a tux. You laugh at yourself for that imagining. You stop that! You imagine them making pancakes instead.   

Nervous….the more time you invest the more you doubt yourself, the situation and that there really is someone out there for you. All the what-ifs rush in like the wind velocity of the downhill plunge of a roller coaster. Or maybe it’s bumper cars for you, and you go back and forth, bumbling your way through deciding to go through with it or not. You do it scared, or you can’t bring yourself to do it. Or any combination of the two, more than once.

Friend zoned……you get it. You are fine with it. You will get over it….but at that same moment your hopes are dashed and you think about starting this exhausting process over again and you are just DONE. You are cool….BUT……insert reason for friend zoning __________________. Bottom line, you are somehow not good enough for their pursuit. (This is a lie. Don’t do that to yourself.)

Exhausted…the thought of doing this again is exhausting. You are tired of the cycle. You are over the hunt. You are done with discovery. You can’t even with the nerves anymore. YOU ARE OVER IT!

Assessment/Overthinking/Analysis…let’s review…where did you go wrong? Was it your unabashed genuine attitude? Your responsible lifestyle? Did you say something tacky? Are you boring? Ugly? Too fat again? No one can decipher the whys of the friend zone. I have often wondered if it would be in poor taste to send past dates a short survey so I can assess and correct my strategy. I think that might be the marketer in me. No matter though, because it doesn’t matter. Bonnie Raitt said it, you can’t make them love you if they don’t. Don’t even try, just move along to the next lucky contestant.

*Remember the dating motto: Everyone is entitled to their own pursuit of happiness, which may or may not include you.  It’s not personal. You are still awesome.

Frustration. Ugh. Why isn’t this working?? I—just—no…I can’t…I don’t get it!

Quitting. *&^$#!@. I don’t’ have time for this. (Delete profiles. Uninstall apps. Resign to life as a spinster. Look forward to closing the library each night.)

Sadness. I am single. I am alone. So sad.

Moving on. Wait, I still have a goal here. Maybe I can try this again.

But not today….

Special thanks to all of the dudes who friend zoned me and meant it! I am happy to be your friend. And the ones who didn’t, well, sorry about you.

While I hate this movie, this is a FACT.

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