Generally speaking, the friend zone is where romance goes to die. However, I use the friend zone as an opportunity to figure out if the object of my affections and I would actually be a good fit.
- It lets me know if he’s going to have time for a relationship. First, I need to determine if there’s even a place for me in his life. Some guys are busier (or simply less available) than others, which is why it’s important to see if we can make time for each other even if the relationship is platonic. If he can’t make time for me as a friend, he’s not going to see me as important enough to make time for me if we were dating. Quality time is imperative for a healthy relationship and my peace of mind.
- I can pay attention to the little things. Being friends first gives me time to observe him. I learn how he treats his family, his friends, and even strangers. It gives me the time to learn his quirks and bad habits to see if they’re ones I can deal with on a daily basis. Spending time with him also gives me the opportunity to see what we have in common. Do we like the same movies? Is he someone I can game with? Of course, we don’t need to have the same taste in everything. A little diversity is good.
- I find out if we have legit chemistry. I want a mutual attraction, playful banter, and fun flirtation. Without chemistry, a relationship can be pretty stale. The closer we get as friends, the more I learn what I need to know about our chemistry (if any actually exists between us). Conversation should be easy. If we don’t click and it’s always awkward when we’re together, it’s not going to get better if we dive into dating.
- I learn how he treats other women. Next, I examine how he treats the women in his life, from his mom to his ex. His relationship history can say quite a bit about him. The closer we get, the more he’s going to talk about his exes and the more I’m going to learn. If he has a history of “crazy” exes, he may be the real problem in his relationships. If he disrespects his mother or yells at ladies walking down the street, he’s a no-go for me. If he’s close with his mom and treats women as human beings, he could be dating material.
- He gets in with my family and friends. It’s so much easier to introduce a guy to your family when he’s only a friend versus introducing a new boyfriend. The situation is more relaxed and chill. As an added bonus, my family and friends can spend some time with him. My closest people are pretty good at knowing if someone is good for me or not. They have my best interests at heart, after all.
- I find out if I can drop my mask around him. At the end of the day, I need to be able to be myself around him and he’s gotta feel just as comfortable with me. Friendship makes that so much easier. When you start dating somebody brand new, there’s that pressure to be our perfect selves. It’s like putting on a mask to hide the real you. As good friends, we’re getting to the nitty-gritty of our true selves. There’s no need to hide or be fake. He’ll already know all my ugly and my flaws. The transition to dating is smoother and there’s already that strong bond of truth.
- I see if I can lean on him. When tough times hit, I need someone supportive that I can confide in. That’s a must-have in a friendship and more so in a relationship. If he’s a friend I can text at 2 a.m. when I’m feeling down and out then he’s definitely relationship material. Once I realize I can rely on him, he has the key to my heart.
- He has to push me to do better. I need a driving force in my life. I need a partner who motivates me to strive for better in both my career and personal life. As a friend, he has to show me that he can push me forward. Good friends reveal their ambitions and dreams; best friends lift you up when you’re working to improve your life. If he drags me down as a friend or encourages you into bad behavior, he’s not a best friend nor will he ever be a great boyfriend.
- It helps me to determine our overall romantic compatibility. I crave a best friend in a guy—a best friend with benefits. Friend-zoning a guy gives me the chance to examine his priorities, his philosophy on life, and if we’re going to make as a couple. It’s how I protect myself from unwanted heartbreak inflicted by men who can’t commit or toxic men who want to bring me down. I don’t have time for that.