It is your first day at college. You see him from across the room, trying to be discreet but definitely staring at you. You revel in the attention. This isn’t new to you anyway…
You make some new friends, hang out with them, and get introduced to this guy via a common friend. You think he is pretty decent. After a couple of days, you see this guy’s friend request on FB. By now, he is an acquaintance, so you click ‘Accept’.
He likes all of your pictures, comments on your shares and statuses, and you guys spend time chatting online.
One day, he asks for your number. He has become a good friend, so you give him. You guys start chatting on WhatsApp. Daily forwards, images, ‘good morning’ texts. The ‘good night’ ones are actually the conversation starters. When it gets late and you politely excuse yourself, he starts yet another interesting topic, and you guys chat for hours.
Then begin the phone calls- He calls you the first thing after your good morning text; calls you at night and you guys talk until you drift off to sleep and the phone falls from your hand. He says he loves listening to you. Everything you do or say is important. You call him your best friend; you tell each other everything- from your annoying roomie who won’t clean up the kitchen, to his best guy friend who is into a girl who doesn’t like him back.
One day, the conversations stop. You don’t understand why. You text him, he doesn’t reply. Call him, he doesn’t pick up. You wonder if he is angry or hurt by you. You mentally go through your past conversations. You find nothing. You ask him, he says ‘Its nothing, don’t be paranoid, Gawd! Just busy with new office work, need some God-Damn time alone!’
You are hurt, but you say nothing. Then one day, he is back with his usual caring self. When asked about his behaviour, he tries to brush it off. Yet you are adamant. That’s when he tells you that he has started to like you.
It doesn’t faze you though. You respect him for telling it to your face. You respect his feelings, but firmly tell him that you don’t feel the same, and never will. You are ready to end the friendship if that might help him find peace.
He balks and says NO. If not as a lover, he still wants you as his best friend. You are apprehensive. He manages to convince you and promises this conversation won’t ever happen again.
And you believe. YOU BELIEVE EVERY WORD. You keep your intuitions aside and believe it when he says he just wants to be friends, and will surely be able to handle his one-sided love. ‘It isn’t even love’ he says. ‘Just liking..’
The story continues. You are initially constricted, as you don’t want to fuel his feelings. He assures you day in day out that you can be yourself, he won’t misunderstand. You believe, and go back to your usual carefree self. He is your best friend again.
You fall for another guy. You tell it to your best friend, and he encourages you to go ahead. The guy turns out to be a jerk. You are put through a lot of emotional turmoil, and you finally end it. Your best friend then says he knew how the guy was beforehand. You demand to know why the bloody hell did he not tell you this before. He shouts back ‘So that you could see for once how great a guy I am and love me back!!’
Your brain just does a 360 degree flip
Yet again, the calls and the texts stop. One night, he sends you an angry text which starts with ‘You know you are so mean, I loved you with all my heart and you couldn’t see it ever’ and ends with an ‘I hate you, just get lost!’. You read it, and simply go to sleep. The message hasn’t reached your brain, and you are too sure about the ‘Best Friends Forever’ pact you guys have. There surely has been some mistake.
There is no ‘Good Morning, Buddy!’ text the day after. Or the week. Or the month. Or the years.
You can’t stop thinking of him the day after. Or the week. Or the month. Or the years.
You bump into that common friend of yours, and he tells you that your best friend had given him an ice cream treat for being introduced to you. Some crap like ‘he fell for you the first time he laid his eyes on you’ reaches your ears. Your sanity is questioned, as to why you couldn’t see his obvious love. People call you a player for egging good guys on and friend-zoning them.
You now have immense respect for people who speak their minds. And you know to trust your intuition more than the other person. Blind trust disappeared ages ago.
The last time you checked, he is happy with someone else, while you are rife with trust issues. Your ‘Best Friend’ spot remains vacant till date.
Congratulations, you have been successfully ‘Lover-Zone’d.
P.S: Check out my short story on the ‘Friend Zone’