Just rolled your eyes right? And then pictured ‘that person’?
You hear that phrase and all sorts of awkward, painful, funny, and frustrating memories come flooding into your head I’m sure. Take a second, breathe, and remember that I’m on your side here. I’ve been on both sides of this too. And if you think you’re immune to having ever been the giver of slow death here, well you just hold onto that cloud of innocence for a little bit now. In Latin the term actually reads as ‘Amicus Zonus’ and oddly enough has been in circulation since St. Valentine joined the church after his love interest rejected his profession for a younger, wealthier man.
Ok I made that up. But you wanted it to be true. I know you did.
Getting to the point: Why does the zone exist, and which party is really at fault here? The zoner for not drawing a clearer line, or the zonee for not reading the signs? I’m a 29 year old dude living in Atlanta with a pretty active social life, and can say that no party is the victor here. So let’s break it down, and you can be the judge and tell me who deserves to walk the plank.
Knee-jerks: WTF. Succubus. Player. Romeo Must Die. Burn down the building.
So you’ve used your wittiest banter, dressed to impress, brought a bottle of trader joe’s finest, and made subtle references to his or her known interests, but you’re stuck in relational purgatory (definitely not me, happened to some other guy). So was it all an illusion from the start? Did you make a mistake somewhere and involuntarily knock yourself out of the running? Or maybe were you being led on?
I can only give the best advice I’ve gotten on this one, and it comes from my dad. You like someone, let them know early on, maybe not “Hi my name is Kris, we should totally go steady” early, but before you start using common likes interests from their Facebook to prove they’re the one. Guys, humor is your friend here. Be honest but keep it light. You don’t want the girl to feel like she’s going to put you on suicide watch if she says passes. You do however, get massive amounts of points if you actually say ‘go steady’. Ladies, don’t ever feel like you need dumb yourself down. Being said, sometimes having a good volley is before the smash is more fun than getting an ace. And to both parties, try to be honest and ask yourself that if the person you like told you bluntly that they had zero interest in you romantically, could you take it? If the answer is ‘no’, then you have very little reason to be mad about being zoned. Most people do it because they don’t want to hurt your feelings.
Knee-jerks: Again? Why doesn’t this happen with someone I like? Typical. What am I doing wrong here?
Unless you’re super honest and upfront, or a cold robot-person who enjoys shutting people down, you’ve probably been in the hot seat here. Nobody wants to not be attracted to someone who wants to be with them, but datgumit things just happen sometimes and you have to do the humane thing and drop the guillotine. Now there are some horrible people who enjoy playing with the emotions of people whom they know are interested; I’m sure that the deepest circles of the X Factor reruns are reserved for them. But for the rest of us who may find ourselves in this uncomfortable situation from time to time, you have to ask yourself a few questions: Am I knowingly leading this person on? Am I throwing the stiff arm for legitimate reasons? Am I keeping this person close because I feel insecure about myself?
So, who is really at fault here?
This is where you make the drumrolls.
Honestly, I think it’s a mix of both. I’m all for keeping some mystery in the relationship, but being clear about how you feel and putting a couple of your cards on the table might help everyone out in the long run. The FZ is a terrible place to live in, even if it has helped produce some of the best art and motivation to be successful in the last 100 years, so lets all do what we can to shrink it. Of course, I make no claims at being a relationship expert. This is just one man’s take on things, and I’d love to hear your opinion whether you agree with mine or not.