The Friendzone: Platonic Facebook Divorces and Overly Devoted Worshippers


Welcome to Friendzone, Jezebel’s new column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life who you’re not humping. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email [email protected].

I’ve been “Facebook married” to my best friend since elementary school for about seven years now, ever since I first got an account when I was in college and it was super cool to be married to your bff. But the two of us are no longer close — a development I feel guilty about, because it’s mostly my doing — and, regardless, now that I’m a working professional it seems kind of silly to be fake-married on Facebook. How can I divorce her without making her feel bad?

Most of us busy gals have at least one dormant friendship that we wish we’d tended with more love in the past. It seems you still care about this friend, even if you haven’t really nurtured the relationship over the past several years. Why don’t you give her a kindly heads-up right before you change your status? Write her a funny, light-hearted message that says “After years of convincing the world that I’ve got a hot wife, the time has come for me to admit the truth: I am single.” Then segue into a nice bit of inquiry about her own love life, her job, her kids, her bicycle, her pet donkey, etc. Maybe this will spark a conversation that will revive the friendship; maybe not. Either way, you’ll have made a nice gesture.

Sometimes I sense that an acquaintance or coworker really likes me in a friendly way, and I’ll like her back, and then I don’t know what to do. Why am I so nervous and bad at taking it to the next friend level? Asking someone out on a friend date? It seems so simple. But I don’t know how and it feels terrifying.

I love this question, because it’s so full of potential and hope and cool possibilities. You are most likely a lovely person, which means that other women would be delighted to have you as a closer friend. Now let’s say, hypothetically speaking, that you take a shine to another gal in the office. It’s completely natural and not at all weird to ask her if she’d like to have lunch with you, whether you go offsite or sit across from each other in the break room at work. I would recommend working towards an offsite lunch if possible, because what we want is to expand your friendship beyond the physical limits of the office. So take it to Applebee’s, I say! Or to Friday’s! Or to your local, organic, biodynamic, free-range, grass-fed, handcrafted, free trade, independently owned café, where you can fall in friend-love whilst eating seitan, all to the tune of some tie-in CD from “Morning Becomes Eclectic” or “World Café” that the owner received when she participated in her local NPR affiliate’s annual pledge drive.

After you’ve bonded with the coworker offsite during work hours, it’s time to kick it up a notch. Give it a couple days or a week (whichever is more comfortable for you), then ask her to lunch again. While you’re there, casually mention that she’s totally welcome to come engage in some amusing activity with you after work later in the week — yoga class at your gym, flip cup at your bar, artisanal broom-crafting at your Quidditch Club meeting. She might have plans, so don’t lose hope if she says no the first time around! The purpose of this initial invite is really just to demonstrate your interest. Give it another week, and ask her again. If she still says no, she’s probably just really busy these days. Turn your attention to another potential BFF, while still maintaining a nice relationship with the first gal. You might even pick a third new friend to work on, as well. Don’t put all your friend eggs in one friend basket — spread the friend love. Good luck!

So, my best friend is obsessed, and I mean, obsessed with being in love with me. I have told her time and time again that I am not attracted to her in that way, that I love her as my best friend and nothing more. It’s even worse since I since I have been in a relationship for almost 4 years and her feelings have made my partner really upset. It seems that no matter what I do, she can’t get over these feelings. HELP!

Oh gurl. There is no easy way to say this, but I’mma say it: you don’t have a friend. You have a worshiper. A supplicant. A superfan. And one who’s a glutton for punishment, it would seem. I’m sure you get a lot out of this relationship — she’s probably funny and smart and cool and kind and all those other things that make us declare a lady our BFF. But her perpetual hurt/disappointment/sadness over your continued romantic rejection of her — well, that ain’t healthy for either of you.

I know she is a big part of your life, and that you love her in your own way. But your way is never truly going to make her happy. You’ve stated repeatedly that you aren’t interested in her romantically, and yet she has chosen to stay around. This makes me think that the girl has some real issues with self-esteem that need to be addressed, stat. It also makes me wonder why you’ve stuck with a “friend” who so clearly doesn’t respect your four-year relationship with an intimate partner. Does it stroke your ego in some way? Do you stick with this buddy out of guilt?

It’s time to stop enabling this girl’s addiction to you. Is it your fault? Of course not. But by maintaining a close relationship with her, you feed her fantasy. And you risk doing serious damage to your serious long-term relationship with your partner.

I think the kindest thing you can do for everyone involved in this situation is to sit your friend down and tell her that you can’t move forward like this. Urge her to get counseling to help her get over this obsession. I’m hesitant to tell you to cut her out entirely, but you need to have far less contact with her while she goes through this process. Set some boundaries around communications. Be clear and forthright. This is not abandonment. You are holding her responsible for her own behavior.

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