Love, Lindsay

'I Think I've Been Friend-Zoned. Should I Ask Her Out Anyway?'

All your relationship questions answered — right here, right now.

Lindsay here, A Plus's resident relationship guru/columnist. While I may not know everything, I do know a lil something about love and our seemingly endless pursuit of it. Having written dozens of A Plus articles about dating, relationships, and sex, I'm ready and willing to investigate all of your romantically-inclined questions (submit here!) — because I've asked them myself. What I hope to bring to A Plus's readers is a sex-positive, body-positive, and most importantly, you-positive perspective on modern love. Consider Love, Lindsay your digital Cupid. 

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Hey Lindsay, 

I need some clarification on whether or not to tell a girl I like her, and ask her out. I've been close with her for about a year now. She is an amazing person with an over-the-top personality. We've hung out often, given each other gifts, and shared classes together. She has been single for about a year now. 

I was going to ask her out [this] past week, but I realized that she stopped responding to my comments and tags. She takes a long time to text me back, too. However, from her activity on social media, I see her responding to other guys' comments and tags, while leaving mine untouched. I don't know if she has lost interest in me or if I have been friend-zoned. I also don't know if I should ask her out, before I lose the chance. Please send advice my way :). 

- Kyle 

Dear Kyle,

First things first: let's talk about the "friend zone." If you've been hanging out with someone, talking to and texting them regularly, and tagging them on social media, you haven't been "friend-zoned." You. Are. Friends. 

Because as far as the other person knows, you have no romantic interest in her since all the interactions you've described are normal, platonic activities. This whole friend zone doesn't exist until after you've dated someone, realized it wasn't a match, and decided to just be friends.

Speaking as a heterosexual woman (and for no one other than myself), I tend to view all my heterosexual male friends as friends — and only friends — until proven otherwise. And that's regardless of my relationship status. My point is that when I become friends with a man, I don't automatically assume he wants to date me. In fact, I assume the opposite. I, and many other women, figure that if someone wants to date us, they'll let us know — by trying to date us. 

So if your friend has started to become a bit distant, it may not be because she lost interest in you. It may be because she never viewed you as a potential romantic interest and, over time, she has become interested in other people. Or maybe she thought you weren't romantically interested in her and decided to move on. (Am I blowing your mind yet with my expert insight?) 

From what you've written, it seems like your friend has no idea you're trying to date her because you haven't done the one thing that would actually show your romantic interest: ask her out. While it may not seem like the best time if you feel like she's pulling away, there's never going to be a "best" time to take this kind of risk. The second best time, however, is now. 

Asking your friend out will immediately clarify your intentions, and honestly, what's the worst that can happen? She says, "No," and your friendship may not be the same? Seeing as you weren't actually seeking a friendship for its own sake, and some distance has already occurred, a "no" doesn't really change the situation that much. Ultimately, whatever she says will answer that nagging "What if?" question because, hey, you never know until you know. 

Regardless of her answer, it's important for you to respect it. Please don't try to change her mind because, well, this isn't an 80s romantic comedy written by a room of straight men. It's your life, and hers. Having known you for a year, she can easily make an informed decision on your romantic potential, now that you've explicitly given her the option. 

Whatever the outcome, this is, if nothing else, a valuable learning experience when it comes to understanding friendship dynamics between heterosexual men and women, why it's important to distinguish friendship from the "friend zone" concept, and why you should always make your intentions known.

Love,

Lindsay

Cover image via Courtney Clayton I Unsplash

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