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[updated: 9/30/20]

No doubt about it. It hurts to tell someone you have feelings for them, and find out they feel only friendship for you.

That’s why we’re going to talk about dealing with rejection in the friend zone, so you can learn from and grow through that experience and move forward. After all…

You can’t enter a relationship with the right person, while holding onto hopes for a relationship with the wrong person.

And just to be clear, if someone isn’t interested in a serious relationship with you, they are the wrong person.

No. It isn’t your job to convince them otherwise. If they get to know you better and subsequently change their mind about that serious relationship, then congratulations. However, nagging, begging, or manipulating someone into “liking” you won’t enable them to get to know you better.

Not in a good way.

Time to Change Your Perspective

Last week I divulged that I might have been exiled to Friend Zone Island on more than one occasion. In fact, I shared the lyrics to a not-so-nice song I wrote for one particular girl after being friend-zoned by her.

But it probably wasn’t a month later that I wrote a 2nd song for that same girl. Not only was it far more gracious than the first, it reveals the reason for my changed feelings: an acknowledgement and better understanding of her feelings.

In other words, I experienced a change in perspective. And I’m hoping my perspective change helps you change yours, so you can let go of any bitterness you may harbor for being friend-zoned.

For starters, here are those lyrics:

The tears that fell from your eyes were for me.
You said you never really knew I felt that way.
The scales are gone from your eyes. Now you see
That I meant every single word that I did say.

Although you hold the smoking gun, I don’t hold you to blame.
I simply dropped my guard to find you didn’t feel the same.

You look at me. I look at you.
What have I done? What can I do?
Now that I know what you’ve gone through
The tears that fall from my eyes are for you!

You’d heard those same words many times before.
Your innocence and loneliness let you believe.
The hurt you have for many years ignored,
For once they’d taken all you’d give then they would leave.

Now that the smoke has cleared I find there’re others holding guns,
So if I am a casualty, I’m not the only one!

You look at me. I look at you.
What have we done? What can we do?
Now that I know what you’ve gone through
The tears that fall from my eyes are for you!

Between the first song of bitterness and that second of blessing, my relationship status had not changed. I told this girl I liked her and she told me she liked me too.

But not like that.

However, recognizing that all my flirting seemed inauthentic to her, because of how other guys had “wooed” her in the past helped me understand our miscommunication.

And, in truth, my flirting oftentimes wasn’t the least bit sincere. I may have been serious with her, but the reality was that my general mode for relating to attractive members of the opposite sex was flirting.

I’m sure she probably noticed.

Actually, she didn’t even have to observe it. My reputation preceded me. In fact, one of my nicknames back in college might have been MC Scammer. (Yes. Actually it was.)

Even more meaningful, was to realize how hurt she been by other guys who’s smooth moves she had given into, only to find out they were after more than a serious relationship. They wanted a sexual one.

Who’s Wounded & Who’s Wrong?

Is it possible that the one who friend-zoned you is just as real as the girl I’m describing? Someone who’s just as lost as you are, trying to navigate the right path to the right person. Someone who’s been hurt as much as you have by the wrong persons.

Whether or not you can believe such a thing, the reality is this:

Being friend-zoned wasn’t your choice, but holding onto or letting go of your bitterness very much is your choice. So what are you going to choose?

And while you consider your right to be hurt, angry, and even bitter, you should understand that bitterness is a huge reason people get friend zoned in the first place.

I know that probably seems backward. Right now you’re thinking you’re bitter because you got friend-zoned, but what about before that? Odds are you didn’t suddenly catch a case of the “bitters” over this one experience of unrequited love.

1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love is not resentful. But are you? Not just about this friend zone thing, but in general. The Greek word for resentful conveys the idea of “keeping a record of wrongs.” Is that a tendency you have to fight?

What if keeping a record of wrongs has become something you not only do habitually, but unconsciously? And while you don’t even realize it, what if this inclination was something the person who friend-zoned you couldn’t help but notice?

Forgiveness is Necessary for Healing

What if your bitterness over your present broken heart keeps you from receiving the healing love of Jesus who is anxious (for your sake, not His own) to prepare you for the right person?

Think that’s unlikely?

Then you need to know what happened to me only a couple months after writing that second friend zone song I just shared with you.

I had a reason to write a new song.

A love song for another young lady who did like me back.

As more than friends.

In fact, it was the very same young lady who eventually married me two years later.

And even funnier?

I met her in the friend zone.

In other words, we grew a friendship for over two years before we ever started dating, even while I was trying to get into a serious relationship with that girl I wrote the other songs for. (Hear more of our story here.)

Would you like to find the healing and wholeness you need, so you can be ready for the right person?

It’s going to require you being able to forgive and let go of your bitterness.

Is that as simple as writing a song?

No, it’s not, but I actually wrote an entire book to help you. It’s called Forgiveness 101 and it presents five Biblical realities to set you to forgive.

And just like true forgiveness, the book is free in PDF form just for the asking. Check out that offer here. Or check out our LoveEd playlist on forgiveness below.

Date Night Advice (DNA) series: The Friend Zone Files
Part 4: Dealing with Rejection in the Friend Zone
Click here for the next post in the series.

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

Dug this weekend’s DNA? Be a good friend and share with your friends on the social media platform of choice: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.

The LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE you fall in love!

It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.

Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.

[originally published: 7/25/18]