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It backfired, and a year later he was still professing his love for me.

He would say he ‘wasn’t like other guys,’ but he was also so angry he walked around at a local football game and talked about my sex life.

You may or may not have communicated how you feel, so either you expect they’ll return your feelings, or you’re waiting around to see if they’ll all of a sudden be into you.

The “friend zone” happens when two people are friends, and one person wants more while the other doesn’t. Or maybe you actually stay friends, and both find new love interests.

You’re truly present for the other person; you want what is best for them, and you want them to be happy…

even if those things don’t align with what You also want those same things for yourself, which means you support healthy boundaries for the friendship as a whole.

You don’t “owe” anyone your body or heart; likewise, you should never enter a friendship feeling like the other person is obligated to return romantic feelings on the basis of how much work you put into it. The “friend zone” is sexist to men, too, because it suggests guys should always get a physical return on emotional investment (um, wrong), and it reinforces the stereotype that men can’t be friends with women without wanting to sleep with them (not fair either). I’m by no means suggesting these discussions are easy — they’re not — but having them frees you up from the very “friend zone” you want to avoid.

Being honest might hurt someone’s feelings or your own, but it also clears the air, puts everyone on the same page, and reduces the sense of wasted time. Life is not usually a movie dreamland where the other person you’re crazy about *just knows* how you feel; you generally have to speak up.

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