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Into the friend zone

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

By Hattie Reader, Age 20.

When you are in a relationship with someone you really love, it can make you feel like you are invincible and like nothing could ever break you. It’s a feeling that no-one ever wants to lose, but sometimes things happen that are out of your hands.

It could be something that someone did that can hurt unbelievable amounts, but personally I think it’s worse when it is of no fault of either person, but when things just don’t fall into place. I find that when you break up with someone because they did something you didn’t like then the sadness and the anger has a direction and you can get upset and slowly you will realise you were probably better off without them anyway and can move on because you deserve better. But when you are breaking up with someone because of distance, for example, it’s much tougher because you may still be in love with this person and you are having to leave them through no fault of your own and there is nothing you can do about it. There is no one to take out that anger on and before you know it you are blaming yourself.

So, one or both of you makes the decision to break up and stay 'friends'. But, can this really work when such strong feelings are involved?

The difference between giving someone space and ignoring them.

Giving someone space can be a an emotionally draining experience. You don’t just want to remove yourself from their life and give them the chance to feel what it’s like without you. You don’t want them not to miss you, and as selfish as it sounds, you don’t really want them to feel okay without you.

But space is good because it gives you a chance to be okay without that person - because you will be. Space gives you a chance to put yourself back together and think about yourself for a little bit. But don’t ignore them or let yourself get ignored. Get some perspective and then when you do start to talk again you have a clear mind and a better perspective on what it is that you want.

Friendly texting or too much?

Do you remember the feeling you got at the beginning of the relationship when your phone buzzed and it was them sending you a text? You would get all excited and make sure you had a reply ready that would not just answer their question but would make sure that the conversation continued so you could talk to them more? Well this stage comes back after you break up too.

When you end up back as just friends you feel the need to impress and keep them interested and talking to you this way, so that you don’t lose them completely. But, there is a fine line between making sure you stay involved in each-other’s lives and being needy because you miss them. Never send a message when you are feeling at a temporary low point, and especially never when you are under the influence of wine or gin!

Will it ever feel normal again?

Time is the healer of all things. When you do start talking again it will feel weird, but also nice. You might write things in messages or send them a meme that you would have when you were together, but not one you would just send to just a regular friend. It will always be a bit more. But that’s okay, because you need to remember that you were more than just friends and the good memories are still there and neither of you will have forgotten that.

Slowly you will stop talking about what was and you will find new things to talk about and then before you know it you are real friends again. It will never be like the friendships you have with your other friends, but it’s just as good and it can even be better.

I find that you can be more yourself around someone you have dated and know intimately. You can talk to them about anything because they know you better than anyone. They have seen you first thing in the morning when you’re not looking your best and when you want to rant about your brother (because they have met them before and can understand your pain).

Don't get me wrong, it is a hard and bumpy road to becoming friends after a relationship, but if you stick at it you can end up with a best friend with no strings attached. Believe me.

Hattie x


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