You are now entering… THE FRIEND ZONE

Meghan Baucum, Robert Schiavi and Brandon Shores sit together and share laughs. Similar situations can cause confusion when trying to understand and cope with “The Friend Zone.”

It may sound pleasant, but anyone who has found themselves in the friend zone knows the misery and frustration associated with this particular situation.

The term “friend zone” refers to a situation where one partner wants to move things to a more intimate level while the other prefers to stay friends. This tends to be more of a problem for males than females. However, while women can also find themselves in the friend zone, it is much easier for them to escape and move things to an intimate relationship than it is for men. According to a 2001 survey, 71 percent of respondents hoped they would fall in love with a friend. Oh, if only it were so simple.

UNA student Molly Stell likened a possible relationship with a guy friend as “trying to be attracted to your brother.”

“All of my friends in high school were guys, and I could never look at them like that,” she said.

There are numerous reasons a man can fall into the friend zone, according to “How to Succeed with Women,” a 2009 book by dating coaches Ron Louis and David Copeland. It is not always based on her inability to be attracted to you. Some of the reasons include being too available and accommodating in the beginning. They suggest making your intentions clear from the start so there will be as little confusion as possible.

“You have a month or so of being friends to make a move-otherwise you get stuck,” Stell said. gives a bit of insight. They suggest that a male friend for a woman gives her the best of both worlds. She gets to have a man around for things such as advice or the strength to move her couch while not having to complicate things with sex.

UNA student Natalie Wilson sees it differently.

“I think the misstep here is overthinking, which harbors a strong tendency to disturb the organic quality of human courtship, which is undeniably the best part about it,” she said.

If you are wondering if that certain someone has placed you in the friend zone, there are some phrases you are likely to hear if indeed you have landed in that dreaded area. They include, “I can talk to you about anything,” “You’re like a brother to me,” “You understand me” and-if you do get around to asking him or her out-the stomach-churning, “I don’t want to risk losing what we have as friends.”

Face it. When it comes to the complicated messes of relationships, the nice guy finishes last. Take some initiative. Let him or her know how you feel as soon as you feel that way.

There are no known good solutions to escaping the friend zone. By the time you realize you have ended up in the friend zone, it will more than likely be too late, so do whatever necessary to steer clear.