How I Met Your Father: The One where I friend-zoned perfectly nice guys

Kids, as you know, I’ve had my fair share of always being the friend and never the girlfriend but, and I am ashamed of this, I have friend-zoned some perfectly nice guys over the years too.

I was so bad, I made what Daenerys did to Jorah look like mercy…

friend zoned
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1999 …

Zunaid was my be all and end all during that first blissful year of my teenage hood and needless to say, I only had puppy-love filled eyes for him but that did not stop other guys from crushing on me.

Imran and I had known each other since kindergarten and because he was a year younger than me, he was the kid brother I had never had.

A funny, sweet guy, Imran somehow didn’t seem to fit in with his own grade so he hung out with my click and quickly became one of us.

Initially, when he started making snide remarks about Zunaid, I put it down to him being super overprotective in a brotherly fashion.

It was only when Imran set fire to the school field one day while Zunaid and I were making out that I realised that my “little brother” and I needed to have a chat.

The heart-to-heart that followed is one that still haunts me…

When I explained to Imran that while I loved him, I didn’t love him the way he loved me, he turned those sad, honey brown eyes at me and said:

“I don’t want to be just your friend …”

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Imran eventually went on to date Lameez, one of my friends, but it killed me to see that sadness in his eyes every day …sigh.

2012 …

Thirteen years later, I was working at a tourism company and unexpectedly, my friend’s then-fiance Ted joined the team.

We’d hung out before, of course, in social settings and Ted and I were, if not completely chummy, at least well enough acquainted to have lunch together occasionally and chat up a storm on Skype.

Even when the company domestic made remarks about how I seemed to laugh too much and glow when Ted was around and he kept bringing me treats all the time, I still didn’t think there was anything more to our friendship that just that – being buddies, bros, amigos etc.

Then, a text message from my friend arrived out of the blue, to say that she really appreciated everything I did for her and Ted, telling me what a good friend I am to both of them and that she hears a lot about me from him.

Keep Calm he's yours
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Ok … weird, when I hadn’t heard from her in a while and extra suspicious because the tone of the text seemed to imply lines being drawn.

You guys know, though, that I am utterly clueless when it comes to guys hitting on me so if that is what Ted was doing during our work day, I wasn’t picking up on it and any way, he was my friend’s man – hoes before bros and all of that.

Fast forward a year later and both of them had disappeared out of my life like mist before the sun. It hurt me greatly but like all break-ups, I got over it and moved on until a few months later.

My friend reached out and invited me for lunch, where she explained she had dumped Ted and was getting married to someone else. No explanation as to why I had been iced out of their lives but seemingly willing to put whatever chilliness had arisen between us to rest.

By 2014, she was married with a kid and I was about to set off on my US trip when Ted reached out, to commiserate about the break-up and wanting to meet for “coffee” or dinner.

Again, my intentions were completely friendly and anyway, I was head over heels for Monroe at the time so yeah, a dinner with an old friend sounded like fun.

Said dinner turned into an awkward group hangout with your Uncle Tendai, which included a ghost tour hunt (sorry T!) and one where I realised that maybe, just maybe there was more to Ted’s reconnection request than meets the eye.

A month later, Ted contacted me on the day I discovered Monroe had friend-zoned me (the audacity!) and I was feeling emotionally vulnerable.

I figured we were still just friends so I told him about my heart-break and bless his poor kind heart, assured me that Monroe, the jerk, didn’t know what he was missing out on.

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A lot was still left unsaid and it’s something I’ll always regret …I’m sorry, Ted, I’m really sorry!

As the search for your father continued, I vowed to friend zone guys as little as possible – after all, aren’t the best relationships born out of friendships?  😉




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Creative writer with a penchant for all things Cape Town,communications, magic and travel

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