A male colleague friend comes to my cubicle for a chat, as we often do, to discuss life, love, movies, office gossip etc. This time, there’s something different. His mouth and fingers are both moving at furious speed as he speaks to me and chats on his phone at the same time. He looks like a man on a mission. Perplexed, I ask him what’s wrong. “Yaar, I’m chatting with Preeti (his latest crush) and I have to steer the conversation in a direction that makes me sound interested and mysterious at the same time. Just can’t be `friendzoned’.She is THE girl for me.“
With all his Punjabi genes in the right places, the 6-footer’s moves are usually far more confident. This time though, the sweat on his forehead is visible, the tension palpable. The friend in me says, “C’mon, give it time… it’ll all work out.“ The social psychologist (without certificates to boast of) hidden in me gets incredibly curious. What the h**l is being `friendzoned’?
(see box) And do guys fear it much? “Whoa! You have no idea,“ says a colleague a few days later, as he hears yours truly discuss the matter for a possible article. In fact, such is his passion for the topic that he leaves his article midway, draws his chair beside me and another colleague and narrates his tale about being friendzoned in college, and how he still hasn’t got over it. Soon, more male colleagues join in. Some avoid the topic, pretending to be too busy, but most nod like those bobbing head dolls…“Yes, girls are born with the art of friendzoning,“ says one, popping out his head from his workstation. From despair to comical, nostalgic to anger, I see a riot of emotions across faces in front of me. Something needs to be done about the grave danger facing the male species and their love lives. And before you ask, no, friendzoned isn’t re stricted to just one gender, it happens to women too.
But the ratio reads more like 85:15, men to women.
In the season of festivities the risk of being friend zoned is higher than at normal times simply because it’s the time to dress up, meet friends, mark territo ries and declare, albeit with just your body language, your `relationship status’. It often results in disaster! The girl realises that the ambiguous status of feelings is in danger of a `declaration’ as people are getting curious about the `relationship status’. She may pan ic and run away! So, how does one really balance being friendly, yet not be friendzoned?
Mumbai-based Sahil Chopra, brand manager of an entertainment channel, talks about the lessons he learnt from his own experiences and of learnt from his own experiences and of close friends. “First, you should never ask about past relationships early on it’s a clear recipe for be ng friendzoned rightaway! Cheeky is good sometimes but don’t take it to the `cocky’ level. Don’t always be hat `nice guy’ in front of the girl, which means, be a gentleman but never a puppy. Let her know you are rying to impress but be subtle about it. And yes, abtain from using words like buddy, bro, yaar, etc.“
You know what happens when in an institution the boy-girl ratio is almost 90:10…Loads of confusion on she loves me, she loves me not“. What I don’t like is the silence or pretending nothing exists. What I’ve learnt from experience is that if there’s palpable chemistry, it’s better to have an honest chat. Building stories in your head and then realising nothing exists can be quite hurtful.
Be afraid. Be very afraid, guys.When festivities are in full swing, one often falls into the `friendly’ trap.The good news is that you can steer clear of it if you play your cards right
If one doesn’t make the right move at the right time, one loses his chance. You’ll be friendzoned. And once there, it is really hard to get out. Maybe, at some stage the girl will feel attracted to you. But that will be mostly because of lack of options. It isn’t a good feeling. FYI, the male colleague, who got yours truly thinking about this topic, is getting married to THE girl he was wooing. Guys, be wise. Don’t rush. Play your cards right this Diwali.