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October 4, 2012

Why It’s Okay to Be in the Friend Zone

This post originally appeared on http://thecamspuscompanion.com and was written by a staff writer.

When you hear “friend zone,” there are probably two things that come to mind: 1) one of MTV’s mediocre ‘reality’ shows featuring the finest examples of American youth, and 2) a situation that totally blows. I mean, what can be worse than being stuck in the friend zone? You know, besides murder and giant tsunamis and Jimmy Fallon’s Capital One commercials.

Being in the friend zone can be a tough situation – if you tell your friend how you feel, you could risk ruining a great friendship, but if you don’t say anything, how will you know for sure that you’re not missing out? But when it comes down to it, being “stuck” as friends really isn’t such a bad thing for college students.

Friendships Last Longer Than Crushes

College represents the transitional period between childhood and adulthood and as a result, many of the friends you make in college are the people that you remain close with for the rest of your life. Not so sound like a cheesy, straight-to-DVD kids’ movie, but crushes are only fleeting while great friendships can last forever.

Because college is the time to establish such close bonds with your friends (spending 24/7 with the same people without wanting to kill them might have something to do with that), college friendships are typically stronger and deeper than many college relationships, especially because of the strong emphasis on campus hook-up culture as opposed to dating.

In this way, being “just friends” with your crush may end up better for you in the long run because “just friends” has a stronger meaning attached to it.

Everyone Can Relate To Being In The Friend Zone

This may be generalizing a bit, but nearly everyone you know has probably been in this situation at least once in their lives and can probably agree that it’s no fun. After all, friendship is a crucial part of successful romantic relationships, and when that’s combined with attraction and chemistry, it’s perfectly natural to want to be more than friends.

While being in the friend zone can be a frustrating, isolating feeling, always remember that you’re not alone. We’ve all been there, we can empathize, and we can try to make you feel better about the situation, most likely by taking you to a bar and pointing out how attractive those rugby players look now that you’re drunk.

Or, if your friends are terrible people, you’ll be force-fed My Best Friend’s Wedding on repeat and cringe at the downer ending. (Spoiler alert: Everyone dies of scurvy.)

When it comes down to it, every relationship is different. However, you do have your other friends to share their own experiences and provide perspective on how your situation can potentially play out. While telling other people about how you feel about your crush can seem a bit imposing, you’ll probably be grateful you did.

They just probably won’t be able to give you any practical advice on what to do, and that’s because…

…There’s No Easy Way Out

When it comes to the friend zone, there’s really no “right” way to go about dealing with the situation. Part of the reason why the friend zone is such a frustrating place to be is that you feel like there’s too much at stake. You can either bury your feelings and deal with being just friends, or you can risk telling your ‘friend’ how you feel and potentially ruin what you already have. This is the main reason it’s seen in such a negative light: you probably feel as nothing good can come from what’s going on simply because there are no straightforward solutions to your dilemma.

Of course, this assumption is purely psychological – if you treat the friend zone as if it’s a problem with no solution, then it’s going to be just that. Your attitude about your relationship with your ‘friend’ is more important than trying to figure out you can do about it. Chances are, being friends with your crush is better than not being friends with them at all, and that’s definitely something to be positive about instead of upset.

The point is, college doesn’t have to be the time for you to get all worked up about that one relationship that may or may not work out. You can save that for when you’re thirty-two.

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