‘Friend zone’ frustration replaced by gratitude

This piece was originally posted as a “Young Voices” blog on JSH-Online.com.

Popular culture depicts the “friend zone” as a pitiful, empty place. One dictionary defines it as “a situation in which a friendship exists between two people, one of whom has an unreciprocated romantic … interest in the other” (OxfordDictionaries.com). This isn’t a new concept. Think Shakespeare or a dramatic novel. It has also been referred to as “unrequited love” or “lovesickness.” In an experience a few years ago, I discovered that, even in the midst of heartbreak, God is still caring for and loving those who find themselves in the friend zone.

It all started when I was getting to know a new group of friends. One of those new friends was a man who had lots in common with me, including a love of discussing deep ideas and spiritual concepts. Within a few months, we grew very close, and I began to feel that I wanted to be more than “just friends.” During one especially great conversation, I heard a voice deep down inside me say, “This is it.” I had been longing for a romantic relationship, and this one seemed just right.

But the voice deep down in my friend was saying something different. As we talked, it was apparent he wanted to remain “just friends.” Based on what I had seen in movies and TV shows, I thought I should be bitter and disappointed at this unrequited love. The problem with that reasoning was, we did care about each other. We both recognized this caring as originating in God, our all-loving creator. So I knew this kind of love we both felt was completely genuine; it just wasn’t the romantic love I thought I wanted.

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July 13, 2015

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