Why Being Put In The Friend Zone Hurts So Much

When you have your heart set on someone you really like and their feelings aren’t reciprocated, it seriously sucks. You see them as a potential romantic partner, someone you could build something real with, and they see you as… a sister or just a close pal. You know there are other fish in the sea and all those other cliches, but that doesn’t make it any easier to digest or get over. Here’s why being put in the friend zone hurts so much.

  1. You feel disappointed. Disappointment is a really hard emotion to define in the moment. It can feel like anger, or like you’re a balloon that got deflated. It’s often only in retrospect that you look back and realize, yes, that’s what that feeling was. It can be hard to admit to yourself too. You will have got all your hopes up, and for what. In the moment, it feels like a waste of time. But it’s important to remember that this is all an opportunity to grow. If you got what you wanted all the time, you’d never evolve or appreciate it when things do go to plan.
  2. You feel embarrassed — humiliated, even. No matter how kindly your ex-crush goes about it when friend-zoning you, you can’t avoid that twisting feeling in your gut. Embarrassment is unpleasant. It makes you feel sweaty and flushed all over, and not in the fun way. Even if they’re kind, you still feel all too exposed and that will make you feel vulnerable. That’s the thing with emotions that are difficult. You get better at dealing with them over time, but you just have to get some practice in. Embrace that embarrassment and know that it won’t be permanent.
  3. You put a lot of time and energy into your feelings. When you start to like someone, suddenly they take over major real estate in your head and heart to the point that they’re nearly all you can think of. This is normal, and it even feels like it’s right when the object of your affection is on the same page. However, when you get put in the friend zone, you suddenly realize what a waste all that time and energy was. That sucks, and it’s a serious blow to your ego too.
  4. Everything seems to go wrong at once. Sometimes these things come in triples. When one thing goes wrong, you find that others follow suit. But again, surely they might as well. That way, you get them out the way and you can have a little doom spiral when you feel sorry for yourself. Then you can dust yourself off and move on after. It doesn’t have to define your whole week. Maybe just a pity party for a day or two… Get in your feelings and don’t bottle them up. Better out than in, after all.
  5. You forget how good friendships are. Beware of thinking only in absolute terms. They friend-zoned you, they didn’t tell you to get lost. Friendship is still valuable. That’s something that lots of guys forget when they’re thinking about their other organs. Relationships shouldn’t be reduced to just physical contact. If it is, then that’s not a relationship that will serve you. Think about and be grateful for the prospect of friendship in your life. You will grow with this person and that knowledge will soften the impact of the hurt. Unless, of course, you’re so smitten that being with them as a friend hurts too much. In which case, maybe don’t hang around.
  6. You felt ready for a relationship. This is another reason why it hurts so much when you get friend-zoned. When you felt like you were finally over your ex, or ready to commit. These things don’t magically align overnight, though. Just because you’re ready it doesn’t mean that another person owes you those feelings in reciprocation. Growth isn’t linear, and this isn’t the end of your journey. Hang tight and accept the hard feelings. You can’t just accept being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t love you — that’s not right. Let them go.
  7. Having a crush is fun. Having a crush is a little like having an enemy in school. It’s someone that you look out for. Someone whose movements define your day and anchor your week, for better or for worse. You become very attuned to these people and it becomes part of your routine to track them. They probably won’t know it, but that’s another thing you lose when you get friend-zoned. Having a crush!
  8. You’re feeling lonely. This can accentuate your hurt when you get friend-zoned and you’re feeling alone anyway. Maybe you were looking to them for the wrong reasons, or to fill a hole in your life. It’s for the best then, because you can generate your own relationship with your life that way. Rather than relying on other people and fearing getting hurt.
  9. It feels like a step backward. Maybe it feels like you’re backsliding, or like people around you are making progress in life and relationships and you’re getting frustrated. You can’t force anything, though. Nothing easy was ever worth having, we know that. Just because your journey isn’t following the same trajectory as other people’s doesn’t mean that you’re behind or that there’s something wrong with you. You’re on your own path, and that one doesn’t follow a specific game plan or timeline. Learn to embrace the chaos.

There’s no shame in being put in the friend zone. It doesn’t say anything about you as a person at all. You’re not lacking anything, you are good enough, and you’re worthy of a fantastic love. The fact that this person wasn’t capable of giving it to you speaks more to them than it does to anything else. Try to remember that and keep your chin up.

Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.