Dear 100 Hour Board,
So my friend and I were talking about the best way to friend zone a guy who just isn't understanding the signs. And he is a great guy, he is just very persistent in something that is not going to happen between us (and we have talked about this, so you would think it would be clear to him). I want to be nice, but at the same time, when I am nice to him, he takes it as that I am becoming more and more interested in him, and so I have just come to the point of gradually ignoring him and not responding to texts to hang out or anything like that, even as friends because he takes it the wrong way. Which is sad really and I feel bad, but I'm not sure what to do anymore. I don't want to be mean at all.
But that got us thinking, what would Jesus do in that situation and how would He treat someone He were to friend zone but who just wasn't getting the hints? How would He friend zone her? My friend said He would probably use a parable to get the point across to the girl in a way that she could understand, but also in way that wasn't hurtful at all.
This got me thinking... what kind of parable could be told to effectively friend zone someone in the clearest but nicest way possible and just say, hey, you're a great person, but we aren't meant to be?
What parable would you use?
- Trying to be like Jesus
Next conversation you have with him just start waving your arms about in the air all meaningfully and say in a mystical voice, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for you to escape the friendzone" and then throw some needles and dead camel bits at him to make sure, like, he gets it.
That ought to do it.
I wouldn't use a parable in this case (so skip my answer if you're just looking for funny and not for actual advice). It appears to me that the guy needs it super straight because he is very prone to misinterpretation (a potential issue with parables.)
I would suggest a variation of the strategy given in the Anne, Certainly Guide to Turning Down a Date. I'll include the original text here, representing deletions with a strikethrough and additions with bolded text.
Well, to be fair, I can't really claim credit for this. The first time I was going to turn down a date I called Kirke for advice and he told me how a girl had shut him down in such a gracious/tasteful manner that his estimation of her actually rose afterward. I have used this pattern since then, on multiple guys. It works. I'm married now. I thankfully don't have to do it any more.
0. Determine that you really don't want to go on the date. This is generally not valid on the first date. Even if you don't think you like a guy, it won't kill you to spend an hour or two eating pizza and getting to know him better. Once you've really figured out that you're not interested, though, I firmly believe that guys deserve to get it straight. They take the risks of asking us out, and it's not fair for that to be "rewarded" with excuses about our busy-ness or with straight-up disappearance/avoidance. I should comment that when I decide to reject a date I generally give a non-committal response to the invitation ("Let me get back to you on that, okay?") and then call him later to give it to him straight. In order to give it to him straight:(Your friend has already accomplished this step).
1. Call or meet up with him. I prefer to do this on the phone because I am a chicken. When having important conversations I like to have written out in front of me a rough outline of how I expect the conversation to go (i.e. what are the main points I hope to communicate?) If doing this in person, though, just plan ahead.
2. Say hello like a normal human being. Don't just be like "HI NO BYE." Ask him how his day was. Spend a minute or two discussing something random (the weather, his crazy class story, something that just happened to you, etc.)
3. Transition. This can be hard, but it's also fairly easy to plan ahead. A line like "Anyways, I'm calling because I didn't want to leave you hanging for too long about [this Friday/that trip to Guam/the concert/whatever]" lets the boy know that you've called to address The Elephant In The Room....wanted to talk to you about something I'm struggling with/a vibe I'm getting/whatever"
4. Simply and kindly tell the boy that you appreciate the invitation(his friendship, whatever), but that you are not interested in dating him and you've gotten the feeling that he might still be holding out hope because you're maintaining a friendship. Tell him that this makes you feel bad, because it (strains the relationship, means that he's devoting himself where he shouldn't be, whatever). Suggest that because you know it's sometimes possible for feelings to change, if yours do, you will tell him.* This way he doesn't have to be trying to interpret whether any friendship activities or gestures are actually kindling interest, because the way things have been going has been (problematic, difficult, etc.). This is really not as terrible as it sounds. You can literally use these exact words: I wanted to thank you for the offer, and I think you're great [or your positive adjective of choice, or comment that you had fun on previous dates if true], but I'm not interested in dating you.
4.b. I have never met a guy who didn't take that in a mature and responsible way.(Note: That's in reference to the original. I've never tried this variation, but friendzoned like... 3? guys with the original.) If he reacts by demanding reasons, don't feel like you need to give them. Just repeat that you're not interested and that you hope he'll respect your decisions.
5. Discuss something else for a minute or two. If you're in the same class, mention a homework assignment you're going to work on. If you're both soccer fans, bring up a recent game. Plan ahead for this so you'll have something to say. Kirke described this to me as having given him the chance to feel like he wasn't a social failure: the girl was still willing to talk to him and stuff, she didn't just reject him and then jump off the phone immediately. Talk for a minute. Show him you still think he's a decent human being and that you don't plan on awkwardly avoiding eye contact next time you see him or never talking to him again or whatever. We are big kids.
6. Say goodbye.
7. Treat boy kindly in the future. Do not falsely flirt or force conversation if he is uncomfortable, but act as if he is a valid human being. He is. You are.
So, yeah. This is one way that might help. I think a parable is probably not helpful in this situation.
*You don't have to say that you'll tell him if you change. But, if you DO want to maintain a relationship, this might be a way to take the "watching and waiting" vibe out of it, since the only thing he's then watching and waiting for is something that he will definitely be able to recognize: A literal verbal expression of changed feelings. You could also instead say that you're just never going to date him but it sounds like you've already done that and he's holding hope anyways, plus that seems kind of harsh if you say firmly enough to make it clearly true (think of Elizabeth Bennet with the whole "last man on earth I could ever be prevailed upon to marry" bit - and Darcy STILL ended up with her.
Anyway, I'd try to be straight about the fact that a) you don't like him and b) it's harming your friendship that you feel like he's still holding out hope, so you'd like c) to propose a solution (e.g. I'll tell you if it changes).
YMMV, I haven't done this before but it seems like it could work. Good luck.
Bear your testimony about the importance of the friend zone to him, Mormon Pride and Prejudice style. If you haven't seen this little gem, you should definitely look it up. You can find the entire thing on Youtube, and it is glorious. It was filmed in Provo and is about college student Elizabeth Bennet and her roommates. Mr. Collins is the awkward neighbor who tries to propose to Elizabeth, dramatically stating, "Elizabeth, we have been commanded to multiply and replenish the earth!" After being rejected by her, he bears his testimony in sacrament meeting about how terrible she is, saying, "Now, a certain girl in the congregation, let's call her E. Bennet—no, no, Elizabeth B..."
To apply this to your own life, invite this guy to the next testimony meeting you have. As soon as you can, bear your testimony at the pulpit about how grateful you are for guys who understand when they don't have a chance with a girl, and how just because a girl is friendly doesn't mean she's interested. Then to really drive your point home, say something like, "Now, I have a friend in this congregation, let's call him [whatever his name is], and I'm so grateful for his example of living in the friend zone. We both know he has no chance with me, and he has gracefully accepted that. We can only hope that all the other men in Provo can follow his example."
This isn't exactly Christ-like, or a parable for that matter, but it should get your point across.