I remember when I would try to get a girl to like me. The worst thing a girl could tell me was that she viewed me as “just a friend”. If a girl said she saw me as a friend, I saw her less. If she didn’t want to date, I couldn’t handle the friend zone, so I bailed. I’m afraid that many other people might think this way too.

People are eager to date, but people aren’t always as eager to be friends. The real fun, for some people, is when you’re dating. That’s the mountaintop many are trying to reach. The goal is a date – so when dating is no longer a perceived option, they move on just like I would. This needs to stop for many reasons, but the primary reason is that fearing the friend zone devalues the importance of friendship.

People want to skip friendship and jump right into dating, or they think it’s wise to try and develop a friendship while dating someone. They care more about getting a boyfriend or girlfriend than getting the friend. They see someone they want to be with and are willing to do whatever it takes to be with them, even if it means to acting unwisely. Dating isn’t always the best place to develop friendship.

Sometimes you can go on dates and become preoccupied with what you’re doing on your date rather than the one you’re out with. I’ve had dates where I had a lot of fun, but my enjoyment had nothing to do with getting to know the girl. I was having a blast, but I wasn’t having any meaningful conversations. Dating can also be drenched with unmet expectations and stresses of worrying about nonsense like “how does my hair look?” or “do I go for the kiss tonight?”. Dating isn’t always the healthiest environment for a friendship to flourish.

Fearing the friend zone can also lead to unhealthy relationships. Being good at dating doesn’t always mean you’re going to be good in a relationship. Lots of people love the rush of dating someone new and the excitement of dating, only to find themselves bored when they finally get in a relationship. Things change as they spend more one-on-time together and find out they have no clue who they’re dating. They’ve never really been friends with the opposite sex , so they don’t know how to interact with them, including when they’re in a relationship.

Friendship is the foundation of a relationship. If you can’t have the time of your life just talking over tacos with someone, without the glitz and glam of some insane activity you’d probably do on a date, then you shouldn’t even consider dating them. Being friends first before dating gives us a chance to see if we could hang out, but remember that the focus isn’t dating, but friendship. You shouldn’t be looking ahead to what could be, but indeed just look at the girl or guy in front of you.

Dating has all those expectations, but push those to the side, and just enjoy getting to know the person in front of you. It’s only when we are truly fulfilled with the friendship stage that we should consider dating. To be clear, I’m not saying we have to be friends for years before dating. I’m just saying there should be a commitment to building a lasting friendship.

I eventually realized the way I viewed dating girls was all wrong. The majority of my time with girls was either on dates or getting them to go on a date. I didn’t have friends that were girls. If a girl acted friendly, I immediately fell in love and I was planning what we’d do on our 50th wedding anniversary. I didn’t see the benefit in just being friends with girls. I thought it was throwing in the towel and surrendering.

Eventually I ended up realizing that being friends with girls without an expectation of anything more than a friendship was more beneficial than going on thousands of dates. I learned so much about girls and, in turn, so much about myself. I even became best friends with a girl. She was a blast to hang out with and she could give me advice on all that I was doing wrong and she eventually gave me advice when I finally starting dating the women who is now my wife. I had finally seen the value of the friend zone. And it really helped me.

Being friends first with the person you want to date is helpful in many ways. You can spend more time around them in a low-key environment where you don’t have to worry about things you’d worry about on a date. Instead, you can just focus on seeing if you two get along. And, if you find out that you two don’t really get along, it’s a lot easier to end a friendship prematurely than to end a date prematurely.

As a guy, I feel there is a generation of guys who have no clue how to interact with girls on a strictly friendship basis. There’s usually two types of guys: 1)guys who gets date, 2)guys who don’t. However, I don’t think there’s enough guys trying to build friendships with girls. I’m sure this could be easily said about girls, as well. Our goal is getting a boyfriend or girlfriend, while neglecting friendship.

The friend zone is our friend. We shouldn’t view the friend zone as an end, but as the beginning. Being friends first shouldn’t be the worst thing to us. If you want to truly get to know someone, be friends. One of my favorite things to do is doing nothing with my wife. I don’t need anything more than a conversation with her to keep my attention. We valued friendship in our relationship and I hope you do, as well.

Jordan Kranda
Follower of Jesus. Husband to Ariel. Master’s of Theology (Greek Track) Graduate. Future Pastor. Present lover of cheese, Blink-182, & watching sports.

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