M: Rivea is close to Matthew. They’re both nurses in their mid-20s and have been friends for three years now. She developed feelings for him, but it seems like she’s being friend zoned. She brings him food, organizes surprise birthday celebrations, showers him her full attention but to no avail. They’re still just friends. She’s perpetually available while he is perpetually busy. How can she stop being friend-zoned when they work together in a hospital? First, being friend zoned is not so bad—after getting over one’s feelings. The key here is to get over the feelings by distancing oneself, not necessarily physically, but being decisive in cutting off emotions that trigger those feelings. Sounds complicated? It is. There is no easy way to move on when there is close proximity to the subject of one’s affections.
DJ: The difference between her being his girlfriend and being a girl friend is that gap in between called the friend zone. I’ve read it somewhere. It can be heart-wrenching. There’s the tendency to sacrifice personal happiness in the hope that he will like her more than a friend. But every relationship should have a balanced equation. Both parties have to give and take. In this case, though, Matthew gets something he wants, which is friendship, while Rivea is on the shorter end because she wants more. My opinion? The friendship is likely to break anyway in the long run. Even if she tells him what she feels or not. Might as well tell Matthew her feelings and take it from there.
M: A practical advice would be to make sure that you and Matthew do not work together alone. Sounds complicated? It is. Try to ensure that there are other people in your team present so that you can focus on your work rather than on Matthew. Most likely it is easier to be in the same room when there is a third or fourth person. As the saying goes, the more, the merrier. If possible, try to arrange for a change—in shifts, work days, so you can concentrate at work while he has his day off. And vice versa.
DJ: Being desperate means just getting the bread crumbs instead of the bread. Make herself scarce by faking it in the beginning until she finds new friends or new activities she can busy herself with. I know the current Covid-19 situation can open even more possibilities. If Matthew values her, he’ll miss her. If he doesn’t, well he’s just not into her. Time to broaden the social net. People who like us do things more for us rather than us doing them a lot of favors. Just like where she is today as far as Matthew is concerned quite frankly. She surrendered her power over her feelings to him. But she can take it back hard as it is. Like most things in life, getting what we deserve is not only about feelings. At times, self-respect is a decision we ought to choose again and again, and again.
M: It is painful to be friend zoned when you want to be more than friends. But as my favorite recovery quote goes, “pain is inevitable, misery is optional.” So do not wallow in misery. Go out with your other colleagues. You are young, free and single! Enjoy and savor this time to meet new people, learn new things, discover and discern the possibilities that your single status brings. Don’t dwell so much on what you do not have (yet). Remember there is a time for everything. A time to love and a time not to love. Move on. Get out of the zone.
DJ: Rivea has to know her worth. Trying harder isn’t always the answer. Staying stuck in this zone can put her so deep under the debris it might be hard for her to be pulled out by the rescue team. She might even be so lost that even her own self will have difficulty finding her. It is okay to walk away if the situation no longer serves her right. Like Matthew, she deserves happiness too. How can she stop being friend zoned? The answer is already in her question—stop. Focus on the foot that’s already out of the door. Then move the other one. She’ll be out of the zone one step at a time.