(This is a semi-color coded story. If your first answer is A1, follow the red. If your first answer is B1, follow the green.)
You’re really lonely one night and tired of single-dom. As a millennial, you do what everyone’s doing:
You download Tinder.
You’re swiping through a few hots and a lot of nots. One person, however, catches your eye. They make self-deprecating jokes in their bio and there are cute pictures of them with fluffy animals. Instinctively, you swipe right. A few moments of swiping continue to go by, and the little voice in your head says It’ll never happen, it’ll never happen, it’ll never happen.
It does happen! You make a match. The pressure’s on for someone to say something. Do you…
A1.) Compliment their listed Spotify anthem
B1.) Let them say something first. Your bio should make them come to you
If you chose A1… Congratulations, their Spotify anthem is “All Star” by Smashmouth and you’ve just asserted yourself as a total dweeb. Not to fear; dweebs are a delicate and delightful breed. You anticipate their response with joy, only to be disappointed when they say “Haha thx” and you have to ask another question to get the ball rolling. Do you…
A.) Ask them to tell you more about what they like to do
B.) Unmatch them. No need to waste time on someone who can’t carry a conversation.
If you chose B…. You didn’t even make it to the friendzone. Game over.
If you chose A…They eventually tell you about how they play guitar and do stand-up from time to time. You have hope; if they do stand-up, surely they must be funny. You ask them to tell you their favorite joke, and you force a laugh when they hit the punchline. You’re an understanding person who likes to take time to get to know people, so you get this person’s Snapchat ID. In your first Snap to them, do you…
A.) Send them a picture of what’s in front of you
B.) Send them a selfie
If you chose A… Chances are they’re going to ask what you’re doing, and you can prolong your conversation on your interests. On the inside, your yearning to talk about something else. Maybe they’re just bad at digital communication? You suggest meeting up so that you can get a better feel of the situation. Do you…
A.) Suggest a time and place
B.) Let them suggest a time and place
If you chose A… A coffee-shop date is set. When you meet them, they’re surprisingly… boring. That’s what you get for not going with your gut and pursuing someone you couldn’t hold a conversation with. F. Friendzoned, if you’re even worthy of that much commitment.
If you chose B… They pick a sketchy afternoon activity: a nature walk. You realize you’ve never met this person before and that it’s dangerous to just meet up with them on some vaguely established trail, so you send your friends all the information you have on them. When you meet up, it turns out they’re not creepy, nor did they intend on being creepy. They’re just awkward. You’re awkward, too, so you hope you can be adorkable together. It turns out, however, that you genuinely cannot have a conversation outside of your interests. F+. It isn’t a terrible date, but you have no intentions of getting past the friendzone at this point. Your story is over before it really ever began.
If you chose B… They think u cute. You already knew that, given that they swiped right on you, but it’s nice to hear them say it again. You remind them they’re also cute, because fair is fair. You flirtatiously suggest having the Two Cutes meet up, and they agree to it. Do you…
A.) Suggest a time and place
B.) Let them suggest a time and place
If you chose A… You tell them to meet you at a local bar. If the date is bad, at least the burgers won’t be. When you see them walk through the door, you pat yourself on the back for making such a good decision.
If you chose B… You low-key stress about what you’ll wear and what you’ll order to eat at the restaurant they chose. All things considered, however, you relax. You know you can carry a nice enough conversation with this person, so you’re confident you can make it through the night.
(scroll past B1 to finish your story.)
If you chose B1… They notice some obscure Harry Potter regalia in the background of one of your pictures, and they ask you what house you’re in. They assure that it’s vital for you to have been sorted on Pottermore, not somewhere like Buzzfeed or Quizzes. Your heart is pounding; you think you’ve found your Tinderella. The rest of your conversation turns into playful debate over dumb stuff, like “Who’s the best NFL team?” or “Does pineapple belong on pizza?” After you two finally agree on something (that something being Beyoncé is a damn queen,) they give you their number for further conversation. The ball is in your court. Do you…
A.) Text them and promise to advertise their number to everyone you know
B.) Feel awkward about them having your number, so you keep messaging them through the Tinder app.
If you chose A… Texting soon proves you have a lot in common. They like DIY projects, prefer dogs over cats, and admit that their guilty pleasure is ice cream. This person certainly has good taste, and you long to meet them. Eventually, you both throw subtle hints back and forth until you agree on a place and time to meet. Do you…
If you chose B… The conversation still stands, but it’s not as frequent as before. The same jokes are made and the atmosphere is still lively, but it isn’t as genuine as it used to be. In an effort to save a potentially good relationship, you extend an offer to meet up. Do you…
A.) Tell them it’ll be casual
B.) Open up like the honest freak you are and subtly admit you’re nervous
If you chose A… Your date is set at a local festival and you’re excited to meet them. You have no expectations, other than to have a nice evening.
If you chose B… It’s ok! People like honesty, and odds are they’re nervous, too. Just don’t let that nervousness overcome your soon-to-be date at the bowling alley.
In a nutshell, your next few weeks of talking to each other are excellent. This person gets you, and you feel like you get them. Eventually, mutually understanding each other becomes a threat: will you allow yourself to ease into a relationship, or will you become so comfortable that it’s not even fun anymore. Even worse— will you become so comfortable that you’re afraid of it?
As time passes, one of you decides to take a step back— but when someone says “take a step back,” they most often mean abandon the project and run for the hills. For whatever reason, that level of trust and comfort isn’t welcome at the moment in one or both of your lives.
No matter what you chose, you would’ve never made it. The friendzone isn’t an attack on your character, but a defense of theirs (and vice versa if you’re the one implementing it.) Being vulnerable in an intimate setting is just too much to handle sometimes. Take a deep breath and know there’s nothing you could’ve done to change the outcome.
If you’re in the friendzone, I get it. It Sucks, capital S. Dwell on it, obsess over it, cry about it, but let it go eventually. You don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you, as generic as that sounds. I know you’re thinking But I do, and you know nothing about my life, blargh blargh blargh, and if you hold out for something to change, power to you. Just stay strong if things don’t change.
If you’re the friendzoner, for the love of God, be more considerate. Don’t keep talking to them right away like everything is ok. Don’t send them Snaps of every day life— even though you’re just trying to be friendly, I guarantee that’ll just give them hope to hang on to. Sorry, but now is not the time for hope. If you really want to be their friend, come back casually in a month or so. Very, very casually. CASUALLY. Or, don’t come back at all.
‘Til next time, y’all,