“Aye, you gon' put me down with your friend?"
If anyone has heard this line more than anything, it's me. From setting up the secret kiss under the monkey bars to playing a couple's therapist on the phone, I was the ultimate love middleman.
And I hated it.
I never really meant to live in the friendzone my entire life, it just seemed to happen. But after years of hanging with the guys and hyping up my girls from the sidelines, I couldn't shake it from my resume.
I was a friendzone connoisseur and, as I got older, I desperately didn't want to be one anymore.
Growing up, my life was surrounded by wrestling and making mud pies with all my guy cousins. While I could still pick out a bomb Barbie outfit or steal the show at a dance recital, I formed this natural instinct to follow what the guys were doing.
And where did that leave me?
Super single and ultimately insecure. Because although I am friendly in nature, I secretly wanted to be noticed like my other girlfriends.
It's not like I had a problem talking to guys. I could instantly create chemistry and good conversation. It just happened to be about what to get their boo for Valentine's Day or how Dez caught it.
I wish I could tell you that I attracted these relationships based on my down to earth personality but the truth is that it was out of fear. I dreaded playing the matchmaker because it constantly reminded me that I wasn't loveable. No matter what I did, I believed that I just wasn't worth fighting for.
As I'm finally trying to grow up and be poppin' at 26, I realize that this was a fear I needed to slay once and for all. From putting myself out there to getting advice from the bros, here are three things I'm learning to help abandon the friendzone syndrome for good:
Mindset is Everything, So Change It
Many times, we decide our outcome before it even happens. When I met a guy that I was attracted to, I would immediately default him to the 'he loves me not' pile. This is commonly described as the Law of Attraction, an energy that you attract based on what you truly believe. So, if you assume that no one will take you seriously as a quality, wifey-type woman, then you're right. You will block yourself from opportunities based off your assumptions of others.
The biggest way to shift this mindset is through loving yourself more than any attention could give. When you are secure in who you are, the world will notice. You can do this by being open to new opportunities and staying positive. I often say affirmations like “I am worthy of love today" or “I will abundantly give my love and I know it will return." Have confidence that you deserve to be loved on like you desire.
Wear It Out Loud
People say looks don't matter but they are lying. When I look back on those dreadful Facebook memories and go through old MySpace photos, I stare back at a very insecure young girl. For the longest time, I had the philosophy that I shouldn't put effort into my appearance unless I knew I was going to be seen.
The problem is that you don't know where the stars may align. You just might run into “him" at the grocery store or in the airport (I stayed busted when I traveled). Now, I'm not saying that you must be in full YouTube tutorial makeup all the time but when we put effort into how we look, it boosts how we feel internally as well. I've definitely noticed that I'm receiving more attention because I feel super confident with a mean wand curl and a red lip. If you struggle with this, try taking your look up a notch for a month and see if you discover differences.
Be Social and Talk to Your Guy Friends
So, I changed my mindset and boosted my confidence in my appearance but I still cuddled up with a glass of wine every night. I'm the biggest homebody ever but realized that future bae wasn't going to tear down my door to watch episodes of Insecure with me. I had to get out there and be seen. You shouldn't go to an event just to attract guys but putting yourself out there will help you be open to attention if he just so decides to hand you a drink.
In addition, if you have established respected friendships like I have, ask them for advice. I often hear that I'm oblivious when a guy may be trying to holla because I automatically assume that they aren't interested. The guy friends I trust have been really great about giving me feedback on the vibe I give off to other men, especially when we are all out together.
Although terrifying, I'm learning to put myself out in the world because they deserve to see the amazing person I fell in love with. Embrace the process of learning yourself and I promise the rest will follow.
Alaina Curry is a Las Vegas publicist, freelance writer and owner of her website The Glow Up, a post-grad survival blog for the lit and educated. Embracing the raggedy moments of adulthood, she is always looking to push the narrative of loving your truth and chasing your dreams. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter at @hotlaina_.