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Let’s say you’ve gone on several dates with a woman. You’re still getting to know her, but you’re into her and you believe things are going well.
She asks if she can talk to you and you see the look in her eyes you’ve been hoping not to see. You hear those four words that every guy who likes a woman dreads, “Let’s just be friends.”
Some guys call it being “friend-zoned” or the ultimate put down. A bit dramatic, but we get it. Rejection is tough.
There’s the potential for confusion and disappointment as you try to interpret and decode her words. You really like her and don’t want to lose her, but you are faced with decisions about moving on and being friends.
Here are a few clues about what she means and how to respond.
She’s come to the conclusion that she is no longer interested in dating you. She may think you’re a great guy, but she isn’t physically attracted to you, doesn’t see a long-term relationship, or realized she is not ready to commit to any person.
Consider if you want to be friends with her and what is best for you. Be honest with yourself to determine if:
Remind yourself that you have choices and don’t rush your decision if you are unsure.
She acted on her truth (which was not to date you), so give yourself permission to respond with your truth (I can be friends, I can’t be friends, I need time, etc.).
Avoid being friends with her out of guilt or due to ulterior motives to win her back.
She doesn’t see a future friendship, but she thinks she is being nice and hurting you less by using this phrase.
She is preparing you to move on and is genuine in her intention to let you down easy, although her words and her thoughts/actions don’t match. It’s your best bet to move on.
She isn’t sure if she is ready to say goodbye for good, so she is using the phrase to keep you close by. This option is tricky because it may lead you to believe you still have a chance.
Be careful here – you may quickly become the guy she strings along, the guy she talks to about her dates or the guy who is in one day and out the next.
Again, it’s your best bet to move on.
Give yourself time to process the breakup and take space if you need to, but keep an optimistic attitude and don’t let your temporarily shaken confidence take you out of the dating scene for too long.
Are you in the friend zone because you didn’t take the next step or tell her how you felt? Did you miss important signals? Was she asking for something you weren’t able to give? Were you moving too fast?
Although it may be difficult to pinpoint her exact reasoning, use this opportunity for learning and growth.
It creates distraction, lack of clarity and gets in the way of truly moving on.
Remember, it is healthy to move on regardless of how you decode her words.
There may not be a one-fits-all solution to the “let’s just be friends” dilemma, but when you act in authentic ways that are aligned with your goal to find love, you can’t go wrong. Just remember you can’t force feelings or a relationship, and if it’s not there, it’s best that you’re both clear on that.