Unreciprocated Love. A Gentleman’s Guide On Friend-Zoning.

The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her.
Bob Marley
As the whirlwind of Valentine’s Day dies down, some of you were surprised with the knowledge of someone you didn’t expect has feelings for you. And if you have feelings for them, great. This might mark the start of something more than the friendship it once was. But what if you are not interested in the person past a friendship? What if you don’t want to risk losing what you already have?

And there lies the “FriendZone.”

Plenty has been said about this rather uncomfortable situation, a source of innumerable Memes, where the general assumption is one person wanting a relationship while the other isn’t interested. We have seen plenty of comments and articles from the perspective that of the person friend-zoned should just accept and deal with it. But how can a Gentleman handle this when HE is the one who isn’t interested in a relationship, or at least not with the person who professed their love?

Society has changed and have become a lot more open minded and people tend to have a “take charge” attitude to survive, so a Gentlemen must be willing to understand this and deal with unsolicited approaches from a close friend with the proper attitude and behavior. Women are a lot more willing to let a man know about their feelings and even other men are willing to openly show their romantic interests to a Gentleman. Can we casually dismiss these acts with a “Thanks but no thanks”?

Before you say “Yes,” please take into account the following. It takes a lot of bravery to open up emotionally to someone, especially when you are unsure how they will react. Also consider how people are told that they must “win” over a person, how they must “work” to prove their love or their qualities as a potential partner. Now consider that the person doing this is risking rejection and possibly losing a friend in the process.

That alone takes more bravery to take control of their lives than most people demonstrate in their entire existence, and that alone deserves more respect than “thanks but no thanks.”

With that cleared up, you have to understand that you are not responsible for other people’s emotions. What you ARE responsible is how you handle the situation and how you treat the other person who has just placed themselves in a very vulnerable situation. So with that in mind let’s consider a few things.

There is no hell bad enough for those who lead others on fruitless romantic hopes. That being said, do not get into a relationship you have no intention of having. Consider your words and your actions as you should never give a false hope if you are not interested in the person. Consider how the other person might interpret phrases like “if only I found someone like you” or similar. Consider how the other person might interpret your accepting a gift that basically screams romantic intentions.

Don’t ignore the situation, but also deal with it in a proper manner. Don’t just consider how flattering it is for you, but also how embarrassing it might be for the other person. Please avoid the “you’ll find someone” cliché, as it’s condescending. Avoid complaining to this person about your current relationship, as it just adds salt to the wound. And consider the very real possibility that this person hurts every time you call them “friend.”

The fact that this person IS a friend to you, they deserve all the respect, dignity, understanding, and love you should give a friend.

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