1. You're a woman and the guy you like addresses you as "bro," "man," or "dude." (On the other hand, if you're unromantic like me, if the guy you liked addressed you as "the most beautiful woman who ever lived," you just might respond by throwing up.)
2. He reaches out to you, not to hold your hand, but to high-five you.
3. You compliment him on his appearance and he immediately changes the subject to something less flirtatious, like the national debt.
4. You mention that you're considering online dating, and rather than act jealous, he says he might join the same online dating site too.
5. He says that you remind him of his sister/mother/grandmother.
6. He talks about other women that he's interested in, while you resist the urge to run home and lie face-down on your bed while listening to angry girl singers from the nineties.
Unfortunately, it seems like as far as Small Town Guy is concerned, I am firmly in the Friend Zone. To most guys I've liked, I've always been the "funny" friend, the "smart" friend, or the "friend who thinks coffee is one of the food groups." I'm never "the one they can't stop thinking about." It's disappointing, but it's not like I can try and change their minds. You don't get to choose who you fall for.
With this guy, I tried not to get my hopes up too much, because even at the beginning of our friendship I had the feeling that it was not going to turn out the way I wanted it to. When you're still single at thirty-five, you tend to be more pessimistic than you might have been at fifteen.
Sometimes, the possibility that I'll be alone for the rest of my life is depressing. On the one hand, it makes things easier as far as my work is concerned. If I find a good job at another school somewhere across the country, I can just pack up and move.
But on the other hand, I do want to get married and have children, and now that I'm getting older, it feels like that fantasy is becoming more and more unattainable.
There is one silver lining in this whole situation. Like I mentioned before, Small Town Guy has been kind enough to include me in his circle of friends, who have all been very nice to me. Recently, they all took me out for dinner and drinks to celebrate my thirty-fifth birthday. Several of them brought gifts for me, which I hadn't been expecting. It made me feel glad that I moved here, met them, and finally stopped working long enough to let these friendships develop.
What about you? Have you ever been in the friend zone?
In honor of the theme of this today's post, here's Danielle Bradbery's song, "Friend Zone." (Yes, it's country. Blame it on the fact that apparently 90% of the restaurants and stores in this Small Town play nothing but country music, and CMT is their favorite channel, other than Fox News.)
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