real life

The friend zone is the best place to be.

Sometimes, you just have to let good things go.

But in doing so, they can become even better.

You see, there was a boy.

When I first met him, I thought he was a bit pretentious. He was pretty reserved and very proper. But then I got to know him and he even helped me get my first proper job. He became a great mate, and then became my best friend.

He was probably the first person, other than my family, who I truly relied on. I had complete faith in his honesty and sincerity. And I was the first person he honestly called his ‘best’ friend.

And then, as these stories tend to go, we eventually fell for each other.

Couple holding hands lead resize
“As these stories go, we eventually fell for each other.” Image via iStock.

People who know me know that I was utterly in love with him, and we were strong together for one wonderful year. We knew each other better than we knew ourselves.

We would often spend time with each other’s families and made grand plans to travel the world. We talked about how the rest of our lives would unfold.

We were inseparable.

But over these last few weeks, I’ve come to realise something. The friend zone is the best zone to be in. Sometimes, no matter how deeply and madly in love you are, you suit each other better as friends.

I’ve learnt that sometimes life is cruel and it takes a year of love and emotions for you to realise that perhaps you’re perfect best friends.

And nothing more than that.

I’ve realised that yes, I have deep feelings for him and that I will always love him.

It’s because of this love that I was able to speak with him right after we broke up, almost as if nothing had happened. But of course, I’m still an emotional wreck and I know he is too.

Yet, in the midst of all the tears brought on by memories of how he’d held my hand and how he spoke to me, we were still able to talk to each other about what we were eating for dinner.


It was just like before we were dating – natural banter between the best of friends.

We became the best of friends again.

People have become so obsessed with the ‘friend zone’ and always seem to use the term negatively. In my experience the friend zone lets you truly love, care and support one another, even if you’re not quite the best fit.

Looking back, I only treasure and love the memories we share. I spent some time trying to remind myself of his flaws but each time I did that, all I could do was appreciate them more. But at the same time I had to remember that while we were together we were losing the bits we loved about each other the most.

We were always happy. But we weren’t making each other happier.

The term ‘friend zone’ was popularised after this Friends episode from 1994. Post continues below. 

He used to be spontaneous. One Valentine’s Day (before we were dating), he bought me a bag holder with a panda on it, just because he knew I hated putting my bag on the floor, and we always joked about me looking like a panda. He bought me random packets of Tim Tams, all because I needed them to win a competition.

But the spontaneity died a little and things felt more routinized. I would often feel upset about organising most of our dates and felt as though I was more invested in the relationship than he was.

And I’m sure that he felt a similar way. Maybe I was more considerate before we were dating. Maybe I suggested too many things for him. Perhaps I wanted too much out of him.

I slowly slipped away from being his priority, and to be honest, he probably slipped away from being mine too. No matter how much I tell myself otherwise.

Harnsle and her best friend. Image supplied

After we broke up, I read over the card he gave me to celebrate our one year anniversay . In it, he wrote that the past year had been the most wonderful year of his life.  He looked forward to the next year, and many years together after that.

And I guess what he wrote still stands. I look forward to what our friendship can bring over the next year, and many years after that. I still have confidence in that.

That’s how I know this isn’t a bitter ending. It’s probably only the beginning of another journey for us.

I hope we’ll still spend time with each other’s families, do things together, see the world together and be a part of each other’s lives, for the rest of our lives…

We just don’t have to be holding hands.