You Need To Become A Better Friend Zoner
My Dear Brothers,
You are pursuing a girl, actively initiating and expressing romantic interest. You are trying get to the next stage of the relationship. And for whatever reason, you don’t succeed. She says no. Later on, you reflect on that situation, and you realize that, for any number of reasons, that relationship was always going to be a non-starter. In the subsequent weeks and months after getting rejected, you have had opportunities to interact with this girl, and better understand exactly who she is. You begin to observe character traits that you either didn’t notice, or chose to disregard, when you were first interested in her. You finally come to the realization that either 1.) this girl is not who you thought she was/who you made her out to be, or 2.) now that you know her better, it is clear that she is not the kind of girl that you would want to be in a relationship with in the first place. You then realize that her rejection of you was a generous demonstration of God’s Grace on your life. As painful and disappointing as rejection can be in the moment, you understand that that momentary sorrow is so much better than entangling your heart and energy into a bad relationship. You begin to see that God loves you, and is deeply concerned about your heart, and chose to guard and protect your heart preemptively on your behalf. You even begin to confess that, in reality, and for whatever reason, you were already SETTLING AND COMPROMISING when you decided to pursue that girl to in the first place (*More on this in an upcoming blog post! Stay tuned!).
Has that ever happened to you?
Her Friend Zone: The Place of Shattered Dreams
I contend that at least part of the reason that this kind of situation occurs is because we as men are so deathly afraid of being castigated to a woman’s dreaded “Friend Zone”. We will so often, after being rejected by a girl, start asking questions like:
Why doesn’t she like me?
What did I do wrong?
Then we try to learn from, and draw meaningful conclusions about the rejection:
Well , if I was just more_____ …
Maybe if I was just less______ …
Here’s the problem:
You made it all about gaining the favor and affection of some girl. You have effectively broken the first two of the Ten Commandments. In that moment of rejection, you reflexively found your identity in something other than the finished work of King Jesus Christ. You have become an idolater.
So before we continue…
If you realize that you have been guilty of this in the past, or you are currently in a state of idolatry over some girl, then in the words of Jesus,
Repent of your idolatry and rebellion against God. Turn away from your sin! Believe the Good News that Jesus Christ is eternally better than that girl is. Believe that the life, identity, steadfast love, and acceptance that is found in King Jesus, the Originator and Perfecter of your faith, the compassionate High Priest who sympathizes with your weaknesses, and the Living God of the Universe, is eternally better and truer than the love and acceptance of any woman.
Okay, moving forward…
An aching, lingering suspicion
I suspect that for many of us men, something happened in our lives that communicated to us that we were, to some degree, undesirable to others, and not desirable to attractive, quality women, in particular. There was some abuse or trauma, some reinforced discouragement, some social stigmatization that took place at some point(s) in our early lives. It may have been overt, or perhaps it was subtle. But somehow, somewhere along the line, Satan tempted us with a vicious lie about who we are and what our true value is, and we took the bait.
As a result, we began to deeply believe that we were “less than” the more popular, more desirable people in our midst (however one quantifies desirability).
Subsequently, in practical terms, perhaps when for example, we finally mustered up the courage to ask out the really attractive, cool girl that one time and got rejected, it so rattled us to the core, that we viewed that rejection as an all-encompassing indictment of who we were: undesirable.
And so, to prevent such a stinging, humiliating experience from ever happening again, we, consciously or subconsciously, began to lower our standards and expectations for our relationships with others, and with women in particular. We began to settle and compromise. We started to become interested/intrigued by the more socially awkward and relationally dysfunctional girls. We wanted to be their Knight In Shining Armor. We wanted to save them from themselves. We wanted to fix them. We wanted to sidestep and avoid dealing with our own issues. We wanted instead to feel Needed. Special. Important. Attractive. Vindicated. Validated. DESIRABLE.
And then that backfires, because now even the awkward church girls are rejecting you. Uggghh…. Even with lowered standards, you still get turned down. Double Burn. What gives?!?
This is, in large part, what it means to be a Christian Nice Guy, experiencing things just like this.
This is why the Friend Zone is such a Big Deal.
The very notion of the Friend Zone reinforces this entire pathology of relational failure and misplaced identity. And thus, it needs to be addressed through healing that can only come from the transformative power of the Gospel. Only when we see God the Father as a Loving Provider, Jesus as a Loving Savior, and the Holy Spirit as a Loving Encourager, will we then be totally free from the identity-threat of the Friend Zone.
With that said, here is my hope: Whenever you begin to contemplate the possibility of winding up in a girl’s Friend Zone, I want you to ask yourself these two vitally important questions:
Whether or not you are in some girl’s Friend Zone should be the most unimportant, insignificant, irrelevant, meaningless, and useless information that you ever receive. You, as a grown man of God, should be so thoroughly about you Heavenly Father’s business, so committed to Christ-likeness, so determined to develop your own character, personality, and social skills to the glory of God, that the last thing on your mind is being on some female’s no-date list. In fact, you should be such a confident, secure-in-Christ, stand-up guy, that ideally, there would only be three reasons that a girl would ever say no to you:
1.) She’s married/engaged/in a committed relationship
2.) She has a niche attraction (she likes middle-aged Asian punk-rockers/Eskimo bodyboarders/one-legged tap dancers/nomadic Gypsy beatboxers/etc.), and you just don’t fit that niche, because God simply didn’t make you that way
3.) She has an unhealthy attraction to immature or low-quality guys, and she is drawn to inherently unbalanced and dysfunctional relationships
That should be the mindset.
Furthermore and Finally:
Women aren’t the only ones who are allowed to have a Friend Zone, you know. Instead of worrying about being weighed and found wanting by a girl, you should be asking:
Is she in MY Friend Zone?!?
Remember: You are not a Christian Nice Guy anymore. You are now an ever-striving, Holy Spirit-enabled Godly Man. God loves you deeply. In Christ, you are eternally desirable. ETERNALLY DESIRABLE. Your identity is forever secure. You don’t need anybody’s approval or acceptance. You don’t need a woman to love and validate you. You’re free from all of that. Finally free!
In Christ, you have talents and gifting. As you continue on in pursuing Christ-likeness, you will have more and more to offer the people and community around you. You will naturally bring more to the table, if you will. You will be able to bless, speak life into, and add value to people’s lives. To a woman’s life. That special woman’s life. The woman worth patiently waiting for.
You’re not beholden to a scarcity mentality; there are lots of awesome, beautiful, godly women out there, and you don’t have to put all of your hope into one relationship resulting in a happy marriage. There is freedom to fail. God is in control, so you don’t have to force things to work with any girl. You don’t have to settle. You don’t have to compromise. You get to go for The Gusto! And since you are secure and content in your singleness, you get to be more selective and discerning about who you consider to be worth pursuing romantically.
Again, this is the mindset.
But this mindset requires that you guard your heart closely. This mindset demands vigilant spiritual and relational safeguarding. When you consider who you might want to be in a relationship with, you need to be prepared to say NO far more than you say YES. You need to be on the lookout for any lingering Christian Nice Guy tendencies that might rear their ugly heads to sabotage you. Because you trust God, and you believe that He orchestrates all things for your benefit, you need to be okay with preemptively pre-declining certain women from dating eligibility.
Or in other words….
Let’s leave it at that for now. Until next time,