Friends, Friendly and Friend-Zones.

Or “getting the job you want”.

The topic of friend-zones, or when a person (usually male) believes that they can build their way up from friendship into a relationship with another person (usually female) is always a bit of a hot topic. The core of the matter is that no matter how much people say it’s not a clever idea, so many others will still try it once, twice, a thousand times. And sometimes it will work. Sometimes a friendship really does develop into a long-lasting, meaningful or at least sexual relationship. Which feeds the millions where it doesn’t.

So, in an effort to shine some light on the actual interactions taking place, allow me to use an analogy: your life is a company. You are not usually the CEO of your company, but most people are pretty high up in management. Therefore most people you have relationships with, from acquaintances to husbands and wives, will end up being below you: your employees. We generally have a good handle of this and whenever someone tries to move into our lives we will evaluate  how good they are for the job before letting them in at one level or another, or cutting them out.

However, the same works in reverse. You are an employee in the life of everyone you have a relationship with. Which we’re not so good at working with. Everyone you still interact with, from your best friend to your coworker to your ex to your sister are all employing you in their lives and they have placed you in a certain job. Oftentimes we get no choice in this job, especially in work, friendships and family. There is very little that can be done to change your role short of quitting the job: cutting ties.

This is all well and good when it comes to forced socialization such as work and family or spontaneous relationships like friendships. But it’s dreadful when it comes to planned relationships. Which is why it’s a terrible option for trying to establish a romantic connection.

You see, on the “jobs” scale for non-relatives, we have several positions:

ENTRY LEVEL:

Colleague.

Acquaintance.

Helpful person.

NOVICE LEVEL.

Friend.

Close friend.

No-strings.

SOME EXPERIENCE OR QUALIFICATIONS.

Best friend.

Friend with benefits.

Multiple partner.

SOME EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS.

Long term relationship.

A LOT OF EXPERIENCE AND SOME QUALIFICATIONS OR VICE VERSA OR MORE.

Live-in partner.

Marriage partner.

Each step up requires an increase in “salary” provided by the other person. The salary? Their time, money, trust, attention and exclusivity. And you might notice that there is a massive jump from a helpful person to a friend or a multiple partner to a long term relationship. There are some very large gaps between these job positions in terms of how much the other person invests in you.

Which is why so many people stay in the friend-zone. You see, when you try and worm your way into someone’s heart by being helpful or friendly, you are putting in your resume for a job you don’t want. Then, when you get that job there is a lot of work you have to do to catch up. It would have been wiser to alter your resume to try and sound like a good prospect for a higher rank, at the very least a best friend or a no-strings, which has a smaller jump into romantic relationship territory.

Imagine there are 10 job positions in a company. X= job.

XXXXXXXXXX

You qualify for 4 of them, but would accept 2 and in particular want 1. R=rejection, N=no, M=maybe, Y=yes.

60% RRRRRR, 20% NN, 10% M, 10% Y

If you go to the interviews for the 6 you don’t qualify for you’ll be insta-rejected. R= rejection.

100% RRRRRR

If you go to the 2 you qualify for but don’t want, you could end up in them, which means you weren’t rejected, but you didn’t get what you want. NA= no, accepted; NR= no, rejected.

50% NA, 50% NR

If you go for the 2 you qualify for and would accept you’re placing a bet: either you get the one you really wanted, you get the one you’re comfortable with or you get rejected. M= maybe, Y = yes.

50% M, 50% Y

If you go for the 1 you really want, you either get it or get rejected. R= rejected, Y= yes.

50% R, 50% Y

When you go for friendship, you’re choosing to enter the company of them in a role you don’t really want, but where you know you won’t be rejected outright.  Thing is, not being rejected doesn’t mean being accepted. And not being rejected isn’t a foolproof way to climb to the job position you want. Maybe they will let you. But it’s far more likely that the position you really wanted, that Y, has been taken before you get there, that you would never qualify for it or that there is no internal promotion in their company.

There is no surefire way to make your decision. After all, it’s your time and investment, but avoid these mistakes:

1: Applying for a job you don’t want, but know you’ll get, and hope for promotion.

2: Applying for a job you want, but know you won’t get and wasting your time.

3: Applying for too many jobs and coming across as strange and desperate.

4: Applying for various options when you would only really be happy with one.

5: Accepting a demotion and continuing the relationship.

If you don’t avoid these and you end up stuck in a job you didn’t want watching some other person getting the job you wanted, then you have nobody to blame but yourself.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

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One thought on “Friends, Friendly and Friend-Zones.

  1. This was tremendously helpful. I’m going to be mulling it in depth, but really tremendously helpful… I’m forever trying to “get a job” as a helpful person for people who don’t think they have that position open….Yes, very helpful indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

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