Ask Dr. Nerdlove by Harris O'Malley

Why Am I Getting Friend-Zoned?

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I started seeing this girl after a month of talking and we saw each other for about two weeks. Everything was going good until her ex came back into the picture out of the blue.

She told me that she isn’t interested in pursuing things romantically because she still had feelings for him and needed time to be by herself, but she also said that she really enjoyed spending time with me and still wants to but just as friends. She has been texting me almost daily, though not nearly as much as we used to, and she is usually the one to start it.

I heard from a co-worker that she has said she is basically friend-zoning me, but gave no inclination why. My question is where do I go from here? I really like this one and haven’t felt this way about anyone before. I asked her if she was back with the ex because she seemed to distance me more and if I was being left on the back burner. She basically repeated her original statement without any clarity and it felt like she was attacking me for trying to make sense of things, yet wouldn’t say I am not that interested in you, and that she doesn’t want to be in a relationship with anyone currently.

Is all hope lost, and I should let that ship sail or is there anything I can do to get back the girl I fell head over heels for?


Friend-Zoned 3000

DEAR FRIEND-ZONED 3000: Here’s why you’re having a hard time with all of this, FZ3k: what you’re asking for is for her to tell you that she wasn’t actually breaking things off with you. No amount of asking her for more information or clearing things up is going to satisfy you because the problem isn’t that there’s any misunderstanding here. The problem is that you don’t like the answer.

You’re not being “friend-zoned” or backburnered because a) there is no friend zone and b) she’s not just trying to keep you around for the yuks or the attention. She’s told you exactly what going on and what she’s doing: she doesn’t want to date you but likes spending time with you and would like to be friends with you. So, not surprisingly, this means that she’s going to treat you like a friend, including having text conversations with you.

There really isn’t anything to “do” for getting her interested in you again. Your next step is to decide whether you want to be friends with her… or even if you can be without hoping that this is going to turn back into a romantic relationship. It’s fine if you decide you don’t want to be friends; there’s nothing with that. Just don’t stick around in hopes that you’re going to revive things and get her to change her mind. That’s not fair to her and it’s a waste of your time, when you could be out trying to find someone who is ready to date right now.

Good luck.

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: Should I join social media and create an online dating account?

I have never created an online dating profile or signed up for a social media platform (not even a MySpace account when that was cool), because I prefer to completely rely on going out and meeting people and keeping in touch with people via phone calls and texting. Now with that being said, I periodically feel pressure to get one because of my recurrent feelings of FOMO and the nagging voice in the back of mind basically telling me I am crippling myself dating-wise (I am on the dating struggle bus).

In the past, some women I have approached or talked to have either told me that not having any social media makes me mysterious in the creepy way, or have reacted with an awkward pause and pondered on whether they should give me their number or not. Am I just not taking the wake up call and realizing that social media and online dating are super vital to finding someone special or making connections with people my age (I am 26)?

Lastly, are there any conceivable benefits to dating or forming relationships without social media and online dating that I’m missing? Or, am I crazy for asking this question?

Living Under A Rock (On Purpose)

DEAR LIVING UNDER A ROCK (ON PURPOSE):I think you’re putting a little too much importance on the people who think that not having any social media accounts is weird or creepy. It’s a little unusual in this day and age, but it’s not unheard of. I suspect that you may well be letting your sense that you’re doing something wrong by NOT being on Facebook or Instagram or CuriousCat or what-have-you color how you interpret people’s reactions. But if, for argument’s sake, we accept that yes, they thought it was creepy, then it’s likely dependent on their beliefs about people who don’t use social media. They may associate someone not using social media with having something to hide, with being excessively paranoid or security conscious to an outlandish degree. They may see it as being the 21st century equivalent of “I don’t watch TV” or “I only listen to music on vinyl” — something that’s often associated with snobbishness or self-indulgent hipsterism. Or it could just be that they can’t really wrap their heads around the fact that there’re folks who don’t live their lives online the way almost everyone they know does.

And honestly, if they’re going to have an issue with that… well, then the big question for you is going to be “Would you want to date someone who can’t accept that side of you”?  It seems to me that this would be a sign that they’re just not right for you.

Now with that having been said: while yes, you can meet people and date without a social media presence or an online dating profile — people have been getting together without the benefit of Facebook Dating or Tinder, after all — you are choosing to limit your dating pool. It’s not super-vital, but you are cutting yourself off from a valuable and growing resource for meeting people. More and more people are meeting their partners online — not just on Tinder or Hinge but on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, even MMOs like Final Fantasy 14.

I don’t think there’re any notable benefits to dating without having any sort of social media presence; it’s just a quirk, not a hidden advantage. The biggest drawback to NOT having social media accounts is, ultimately, the fact that most people have them, and they’re increasingly the way that we stay connected with each other. Not being able to take part in those conversations just means that you’ll have cut yourself off from that resource. If that’s a price you’re willing to pay, then hey, more power to you. You’re just the one who’ll have to decide whether it’s worth it to you.

Good luck.

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