So, what if you just wanna be friends?
Here are a few tried and true tips to ensure a wonderfully platonic relationship.
1. You have to be honest with them and demand the same respect and courtesy. If you are attracted to them from the get go or build an attraction and would like to date them, have sex with them, or hold their hand with a more than friendly purpose, then you cannot approach the relationship with dishonest intent.
2. Don’t pretend to be their friend then be surprised when they return the sentiment. The idea of the “friend-zone” is misleading and insulting. There is value in the relationship between friends that significant others cannot experience. Platonic friends are confidants and close to each other without the entanglements of romantic drama. Both people in the relationship should value that.
3. If you are on the receiving end of unwanted feelings, you have to set your friend straight sooner rather than later, and not in a round about ask-a-mutual-friend-to-drop-hints-that-you’re-not-interested kind of way. Have a private conversation with them, without an audience, that reinforces the value that you place on the friendship.
4. Don’t play games. Don’t play games. Don’t play games.
5. If your friend continues to give advances, talk to them again. I cannot emphasize communication enough. If you have already talked to them multiple times, try to be more direct. Tell them point blank that you love them as your friend and you want to keep it that way.
6. Then, if no other methods or interventions work, there is always the nuclear option. If your friend is clearly not respecting the wants and needs that you have taken the time to express, then it is entirely possible that they are not your friend. Coming to this realization can be painful and take time, but if they
don’t respect your feelings, then they don’t respect you. Respect is the most important aspect of any relationship between two people. Period.
Your feelings have just as much validity as the feelings of the people whom you choose to surround yourself with. So, don’t let yourself get railroaded into a relationship that you don’t want. That would neither be healthy nor fair.