When you’re trying to pursue a romantic relationship with someone, one phrase you never want to hear is, “You’re such a good friend.”

During this process, you become either the friend zoner, friend zonee, or just the friend watching it all unfold from the sidelines. The sense of belonging is a vital mental health concept which entails the need to be needed. In some cases, a person must feel like he or she is accepted in the realm previously anticipated. 

“I look at friend zoning as, ultimately, losing that friendship altogether,” said Brennan McNitt, senior in kinesiology. “If the friendship isn’t lost, then the relationship is just awkward.”

According to McNitt, there are three types of friend zoners. The first type is the person who is in complete denial that his or her friend is in love with him or her. The second type is the person who is extremely blunt and to the point. The third type is the person that simply turns a blind eye in fear of losing a good friend.

It is always going to be a disadvantaged outcome for the friend zonee, no matter which type of friend zoner is present, unless the friend zonee finds love in a hopeless place, as Rihanna once said. This disadvantaged outcome can be devastating to the friend zonee's self-esteem and hopes to pursue relationships in the future. Once friend-zoned several times, people begin to lose hope. Losing hope in one area of life is known to have a domino effect on other areas as well.

“If you’re performing the friend zone, don’t lead the person on,” said Austin Kreber, senior in journalism and kinesiology. “Tell them early on that you aren’t looking for more than a friendship.”

This early-on approach will save friend zonee's from future hope and losing that sense of belonging they seek to have.

According to Kreber, there are also three types of friend zonees. The persistent ones who can never take a hint, the heartbroken ones that don’t want to be your friend anymore, or the ones that remain your friend but there’s always that awkward tension between the two of you.

“Both ends of friend zoning suck,” said Cassie Garrett, senior in elementary education. “It’s hard to let someone down and it’s even harder to be let down.”

If you are currently in a friend zone dilemma, take some time to think about what you really want out of the relationship. What will you get out of it if it ends up working out? 

“It seems like a lot of guys think they are friend zoned, but in reality, they are just too shy to make a move and be denied,” Kreber said.

Whether you are the friend zoner or friend zonee, it seems like it’s always going to be a sticky situation.

“My advice for someone in the middle of a friend zone is to seek out someone who can reciprocate the feelings that you feel towards them,” Garrett said.

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