Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Breaking Out of the Friend Zone

My friend L once said it best when he described the friend zone as a "maximum security prison with no chance of parole."

But after a great deal of consideration, I've decided that assessment isn't entirely accurate. There are ways for a guy to break out of the friend zone, even in some cases where he thinks he's firmly entrenched.

My most recent boyfriend started out as a friend in the firmest sense of the word. We hung out platonically constantly, made fun of each other, asked each other advice about the opposite sex, had little inside jokes about each other, and I trusted him entirely. I remember one Sunday night he even coached me through a phone call with a guy that I liked, sitting in the background and giving me thumbs up signs.

I won't bore you with the details, but one day, things started to change and for some unfathomable reason to me at the time, I began to see him in a new light. And one day it hit me that I had feelings for him. Shortly after we began dating.

Months later, we were discussing how this had happened and he told me it had been his plan all along, and has aptly coined it "The Roundabout."

The Roundabout entails befriending a girl, getting into her inner circle, and planting the seeds of being together until one day she suddenly breaks down and wants to date you.

I was obviously skeptical, and laughed at him, but he swore up and down that this was the case, and it had obviously worked on me since we were together, and really I couldn't argue that this wasn't the case.

With some more thorough examination, I had to admit that his argument had some solid points. Normally, if I know a guy is interested in me, or I am interested in him, I tend to be more guarded, which isn't the case with guys who are my good friends. Since I considered him a good friend, I totally let my guard down and was totally at ease hanging out late, watching movies together, going out drinking, and talking about my life/thoughts/dreams.

Then once he had access to all this information and part of me, he just had to be there and show me he was a good guy that was all the things I was looking for in a boyfriend. And over time, it morphed from platonic affection to a real crush.

Basically, he got close enough to me to make me take my defenses down, and then kept getting under my skin, like that itch you can't scratch, until I just gave up. It's really quite a brilliant tactic.

I would normally argue that once a girl and guy are that close as friends, and are advising each other on their love lives, that crossing the friendship boundary would be impossible, but I guess I'm proof that this isn't always the case.

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