The Gray Zone Between Friends And More Than Friends

Friends. More than friends. The line between the two should be easy to see. However, relationships whether platonic or romantic, are complicated. Sometimes lines that should be very straight and visible become a bit blurry.

Think for a moment of the things that you do with a good friend. Now think of what you do with someone you consider more than a friend. Then, compare the two.

What is the difference?

The main difference is usually physical chemistry.

With my friends, I share everything. Good moments, bad moments. Laughter, and tears. We make time for each other in our crazy schedules, frequently going to get coffee or dinner. We go places together, whether it's to the new restaurant in town or a city we've never been to. We could just as easily spend that time inside, enjoying each others company. My best friends are the people I never get tired of, the few whom I trust and can't imagine life without.

In a relationship, I want many of those things. Someone to share both the good and the bad with, coffee dates and small adventures, date nights in with a movie and good company.

In fact, I've often said that my perfect relationship would be one similar to the relationship I have with my best friends, with an added physical level.

Unfortunately, it never quite works out like that. 

For the past two years, I've found myself in the “gray zone”. I define the “gray zone” as that area where the line between friends and more than friends becomes hard to read.

It's the worst version of being friend-zoned, because you're not really sure what's going on or what may become.

These relationships often start as a crush. The desire to know a guy better has turned me into his friend – his best friend. I am the one that he tells everything to, the one he spends all of his time with, the one he puts before anyone else, the one he goes above and beyond for. It becomes late night confessions, and the telling of darkest secrets after a day spent on the beach.

Sometimes, there's chemistry – or at least it appears so, as there's not a day that passes without someone asking, “So...are you guys dating yet?” There are moments between the two of you – a shared glance, your arms around each other as you walk, the way he brings you dinner just because. You cannot imagine having these moments with anyone else. The only person it would make sense to have these moments with is your boyfriend....

Except, for as many signs pointing to being more than friends, there are just as many pointing to “just friends”. Shared hotel rooms but separate beds, jokes about hooking you up with his friends, and the occasional comment about an ex here or there.

It's not quite friends with benefits because, well, the benefits are no different friendship, and there are no negative signs of being used because he's just as appreciative, genuine and giving in the relationship as you are.

After two years and a few boys of this absolutely frustrating, what-is-this gray zone, I've learned two things - talk about it, and then embrace the friendship. Talking about your feelings is never easy, but the reality is that if the friendship is as real as it feels, the worst thing that will happen is “I'm sorry, I don't feel that way” before carrying on in the same manner as before. Once it's clear that nothing more is going to happen, embrace the friendship (as long as it doesn't hurt you). 

The guys I've had this type of relationship with have never become my Forever and Always. However, they have given me the absolute best friendships I could imagine and sometimes, that's even better.