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Guilty about friendzoning

I friendzoned a guy. He took it well but the guilt is making me feel sick!

Don’t worry, says our elder. You didn’t do anything wrong. Just try and stay friends.

Dear EWC

The other day I told the guy I had been talking to for a few weeks that I just want to be friends. He took it decently but I still know it hurt him a lot. I think I’m scared of change and relationships. I get embarrassed easily (so PDA is mostly a big no-no) and I’m also scared of commitment. I also have generalized anxiety disorder which I’ve been told can sometimes make your guilt feel a lot worse. I feel really guilty about all of this and I’m super scared to see him in class (I sit across from him) and I just feel physically sick about it. I also think I really regret friendzoning him but I can’t tell if it’s because I really like him or if it’s just the guilt talking. If you have any wisdom on this, please share.

Folk replies

I’m glad you decided to write to us. I get that you are feeling sick right now about telling the guy you had been talking to that you just wanted to be friends. But I think that what you were told is right: your anxiety is what is making you feel so bad and guilty.

You didn’t do anything wrong. You and this guy had just been talking; you weren’t officially boyfriend and girlfriend yet or anything. When you think about it, all you really did was let him know early on that you weren’t interested in a romantic relationship with him. The reason he reacted so decently to this news was that in saying this, you actually did him a big favor. Guys want to know how girls really feel about them. They wonder: does she like me? Does she like me *that* way — or just as a friend? Girls, of course, wonder about guys the same way. So, by telling him upfront that you wanted him as a friend, you saved him a lot of wondering and worry. Good on you.

Don’t be afraid to see him in class. He took the news well — which may mean that he wasn’t as hurt as you suspect. Maybe he was even relieved that you said this. It’s a lot easier after all to talk to a friend than it is to talk to a girlfriend. Maybe by friendzoning him, you took a lot of pressure off your friend.

I have just one more thing to say to you: If you can, try to take things one day or even one hour at a time. Just keep talking to this guy like you were; talking to one another is, after all, what friends do. Avoiding him because you’re too scared to face him is much, much worse than friendzoning him. If you avoid him, he may think you don’t like him at all, not even as a friend.

If you just keep talking to him casually, you will know in time if you really like him for himself or if it’s just the guilt talking. Meanwhile, I hope you are getting treatment for your anxiety disorder. Friendships and relationships are an important part of life and your life would be fuller and happier if you could learn to manage your fear of them.

I hope this helps. I am always here if you’d like to talk more about this. Please try to write back to let me know how you are getting on. I will be thinking of you.

Letter #: 448786
Category: Dating/Relationship

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