The Other Side Of Friend-Zoning

I was at a party with my friends last night. Originally it was just supposed to be us hanging out at a friend’s house smoking hookah, but some of us brought alcohol and speakers, and more of our friends showed up. I realized that something has been bothering me with some of my “friends” lately, that I didn’t actually realize how much it bothered me until a person on the outside of it all said something to me.

I have this weird thing with touching. I really don’t like it unless I am very close with you. I can do hugs and things, and when I drink I like to cuddle. When I am sober, it makes me uncomfortable unless I know I can trust you, or you make me feel safe. If someone tries to kiss me, I have panic attacks, unless it’s a quick peck. Forget anyone trying to touch me in some type of sexual manner; hello hyperventilating. Now I’ve had my female friends and very close guy friends grab my boobs before as a joke. Not a big deal. I have very above average size boobs, and I understand the allure of wanting to grab them. I have had strangers ask me if my boobs were real before, which they are. I have actually met some of my closest friends by the fact they were strangers who asked if they could grab my boobs. My issues with touch focus mostly on whether or not the other person wants to hook up with me, or shows interest in wanting to. Or if I find you being uncomfortably pushy about my boundaries.

Now, when I met this group of friends about a year and a half ago, I made sure that they understood my issues. I told them point blank that I like to cuddle when drunk, but it doesn’t mean that I like them that way, or will have sex with them. I can’t. Believe me, I have tried. I have dated and felt comfortable of trying quite a few times but the second it hits that point where tongue tries entering my mouth, I have a massive panic attack, and that’s it. Scares the Hell out of the guy. Sometimes that’s it for the relationship, and sometimes they were understanding. Eventually though, they either became guys that I never spoke to again, or some of my closest friends. The point here is that I told these guys about me from the start. I told them not to expect anything from me. Even while drunk, I refrained from being cuddly or getting too drunk around any of them.

There was one exception last year, when I actually had feelings for one of the guys. That entire issue was a mess. He was head over heels for one of the girls in the group and I really didn’t feel like being second place to this girl, again. The guys are very geek oriented and are socially awkward; which I have no issues with normally. We talk fandoms, we talk comics, LOTR, Harry Potter, etc. They like gaming, which I am not big on, and we watch every anime we can find. Something always kind of felt off with them though. Not all of them though; 4 of them I am very okay with, and I’m good with the one dating my friend. There is a new guy in the group that seems cool, but I’m still getting to know him. The guys I am more comfortable with are the ones that I still have from my previous friend group.

Now last night I was pretty drunk. I’m usually the sober one, watching out for everyone else. Last night was my turn to drink and one of the other girl’s turn to babysit. So I was pretty good, keeping to myself for most of the night. The last time I was drunk, I flirted with one of the guys that is sort of part of the group, but doesn’t really come out much. I don’t know him very well, but he is cute and likes pretty much everything I do, and he’s in the fire department, like I am. (Different town though.) Didn’t know that he had a girlfriend, I apologized and now we joke about it.

So the guy that I had hit on was at this party with his best friend, who had just gone on break with his girlfriend. So the guy was trying to explain to all of who were gathered around the hookah, how frustrating his liberal arts class is in college. The couch was a little crowded and I was drunk, so I ended up sitting on the best friend to get a better look at the paper. (As a side note, what the fuck is liberal math? Why is that even a thing? It is unnecessarily complicated for no reason.) After it was explained, I just feel like moving, I was dizzy and comfortable, Princess was sitting next to us so I knew I was good. I’d been friends with Princess for a long time and he is one of the top 5 people that I know I can always count on.

After a while down stairs, the best friend and I went outside to get some air. The smoke filling the basement was making us heady and overheated. I was sitting in his lap because everything but one chair seemed to be wet from rain. We talked. We actually had a pretty deep conversation about the break he was on with his girlfriend, some of my issues with my family, my anger at one of the guys that I have known forever and have been mad at for almost as long. He told me that I was attractive to him. I said thank you and he laughed. I don’t hear that often; I’ve got that my tattoos are sexy and that my boobs make me sexy, but I have only heard that someone found me as a whole, attractive, enough times to count on one hand. Nothing happened. He loves his girlfriend, which they officially got back together again today, and I can’t do anything. Even if I could, I wouldn’t have. I was comfortable just talking with him and he understood that, he understood my boundaries and even though he could have done something, he didn’t. And then he said something that made me realize why some of the guys in the group have always felt off to me.

He told me that some of the guys warned him that I was a tease. These guys that knew that I can’t do anything and told me they understood, warned him that I was just a tease. With all of the thing I had been called by people who I thought were my friends and all the stress I am currently going through in my personal life at the moment, if being called a tease is the worst they can do, it doesn’t bother me. Something was itching at me though with those words and I couldn’t put my finger on it. It didn’t really hit me until my friend in the marines texted me.
Now this man in the marines and I have been friends for a while. Originally our friendship was based off of sexual tension and insults. It’s still based on insults, but mostly it’s understanding over sexual tension now. That may be because he found the balls to date and propose to the love of his life. So when he and I started being friends, he made it very clear that he had every intention to fuck me. He never put up any false pretenses about what he wanted/expected. When he found out about the panic attacks, his goals changed. He was more concerned with trying to make sure I felt comfortable. He helped me figured out how far I can go before the panic sets in and then he’d stop and help me calm down and that was it. He still wanted to have sex with me, but he knew that it was never going to happen. Instead, he just wanted to try and help me be more comfortable. Now, we just joke around and he checks in on me a lot. We talk and have a normal friendship. That is what made me realize that the guys in the group weren’t right.

They told me they understood my boundaries and respected them, but every so often I’d have to remove their hands from places that they shouldn’t be. I’ve had to remind them of my boundaries, and they’d apologize, say they just forgot for a second and that was it. I didn’t really put it together until I heard they called me a tease. They never really understood my issues, or they chose to ignore them. They thought that if they acted like they did, if they acted like good friends that eventually I’d put out for them. My being nice, and being interested in the things they like, my drunk love of cuddling, and if there aren’t enough chairs, my sitting on them so I wouldn’t have to stand, to them all of that meant that I was interested in fucking them. They were nice and seemed to care about the things I did and said, but they were just trying to earn Good Boy Points. I thought we were friends, but they never thought of me as one. I have had them over to my house many times, and they have made nice with my family. My little sister idolizes one of them! To them, I was someone they thought they could fuck if they earned enough Good Boy Points, if they stuck around long enough. They thought it was owed to them that I had sex with them, and when I didn’t they went around and told the other guys in the group that I was a tease.

Do you know how shitty that feels? To realize that people you thought liked you for you, understood your issues, only ever saw you as a potential fuck, and not as a person worth wanting to be actual friends with. That when they realize that they aren’t going to get something out of being friends with me, they call me a tease. They think they are owed something. Woman don’t have to have sex with you just because you are nice. You don’t have to lie and pretend that you want to be friends with a woman if all you want is to have sex. If you are up front about it, there’s a better chance of you getting some. If you never say anything, how the Hell are us woman supposed to know? And then when we find out the entire “friendship” was based on lies, you sure as Hell aren’t getting any then, with the bonus points of you hurting us and ruining our self esteem! If you just wanted sex, then say it in the beginning; while we may not have sex with you and turn you down, we’d also most likely help you find someone who would be willing. Haven’t you heard that female friends make the best wingmen?

In the end, the fact that they called me a tease is barely a blimp on my radar. What bothers me is realizing that these guys are not who I thought they were. They lied to me, they lied to my family and that isn’t okay. It isn’t okay for men to think they are owed sex by being friends with a female.

Contributor ~ Amanda Zober

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