Go Ask Garrett: So You've Been Family-Zoned?
Posted 10/26/2017 03:12PM

by Kaitlyn Garrett/Lion Staff


We’ve all got questions, but only some have the answers. This is the maiden voyage of my new advice column, where you offer up a concern or dilemma, and I hit up peers, faculty, and my own family members for advice to help you with your predicament. I’ll throw in my own two cents, of course, since I am wise in all things. You, of course, will have to make your own decision, since we might be as reliable as the guests at the Mad Hatter’s tea party.

“I love you like a brother.”

… A phrase of affection that is used quite frequently nowadays. But if you’re slammed in the face with one of these soul-suckers in the romantic department, I truly wish I could offer you a hug.

For those in need of enlightenment, family-zoning is the equivalent of being friend-zoned to the 23rd power. Maybe you’ve known this person for as long as you can remember, or maybe you just have such a close bond with them that you feel like you’ve known them for forever.

So to kick off this advice column, I feel as if it’s my duty to offer you my humble wisdom from one lost teen to another.

As someone who was once a family-zoner, please, let me just clarify, neither party is responsible.

Let’s be realistic, ninety-five percent of the time the people that we like don’t like us back. And to quote Riverdale’s Veronica Lodge, “Romeo and Juliet were the exception, not the rule.” (And they ended up dead after five days, so perhaps we shouldn’t be looking to them as role models.)

So it’s entirely possible that one of the roadblocks that prevents you from riding off into the sunset with your crush is that they really do like you, a little too much.

Before you trespass any further, I insist you must stop and ask yourself if your romantic ambitions are worth the possibility of losing a close friendship with this person.

Remember, sometimes a best friend is better than a boyfriend or girlfriend.

And don’t forget that some of the most idealized relationships of all time started off as friendship and time turned it into one of the best love stories.

But if you just can’t take the notion of being just friends, you may read on.  

The first step is to make your intentions clear by differentiating your relationship from this person’s other friendships. The key here is to find a balance between knowing enough to appreciate the person’s personality, but not knowing too much at the same time; it sounds irrational, but I promise it's not.

And your closeness isn't exactly a bad thing; you could certainly argue that you’re already at a higher advantage because you’re not starting from square one on getting to know the person.

Next, attempt at flirting or making comments that you just wouldn’t normally make. If they’re observant, your different kinds of comments will cause them to recognize that this isn’t just something a friend would say.

And there’s one more piece of advice that I can offer, but only those who are willing to take a risk will try it: just be honest about your feelings.

If you and this special person supposedly have a bond as close as siblings, you should take advantage of your relationship and present yourself as vulnerable.

And yes, they might not reciprocate your feelings, but at least you’ll have your answer instead of pining in desperation.

But the thing that separates my attempt at an advice column from your average boring one is that I intend on also being brutally honest about how I would deal with the situation.

First, I turn on Taylor Swift’s throw-back “You Belong With Me” while I pretend that the song is dedicated to my life; I mean the lyrics “dreaming about the day when you wake up and find that what you're looking for has been here the whole time,” was obviously written as the theme song for my current circumstance, right?

Then to only add to my depressingly sad mood, I switch over to her “Teardrops on my Guitar” and put on a mini performance lip syncing and playing the air guitar.

After exhausting myself from Taylor’s songs, I stumble into my closet and start frantically searching for novels in which the characters’ love-life situations reflect my problem. This of course leads me to Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter and Peeta and Katniss from the Hunger Games (lovers who started off as best friends, and found their happy ending together).

So basically, I nurse myself back to health after listening to Taylor's heart wrenching songs by hoping that in some miracle crafted by God, my life will become a mirror of one of the characters.

But then, I still don't really have a solution to my problem now do I?

So, I make a decision that I could end up regretting: I ask my family and peers for their advice.

And the final, differentiating factor that makes this advice column unlike any other, is that I’m going to relay this advice from these people back to you.

Since this question was asked anonymously, I think it’s fair for our peer responses follow suit.

A senior boy offered his advice saying, “If your feelings are one-sided, it's not worth ruining a close friendship and making things awkward. Being almost family with someone is so cool in itself, treasure that.”

A freshman girl offered me interesting, unique advice that I doubt I’ll ever hear again, “Walk up to your crush, look them dead in the eye, and say ‘if you’re a bird, I’m a bird.’”

Well, we all have different ways of handling our feelings. If you want to quote Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook, go for it.

And as for the advice from my crib?

Coming from mother dearest: “If something’s meant to happen, it’s going to happen on its own, in its own time. Enjoy your friendship and be thankful for that alone.”

My sister is a bit more proactive in her advice giving, the epitome of go big or go home:

“Go to the mall and buy new makeup and hair stuff and just let your hotness do the talking.”

And to cover all sources, I think it’s appropriate to call upon the elders.

I dial my sweet, eighty-eight year old grandmother. She picks up the phone with her sweet southern accent that appears to sound innocent and charming, but as soon as I request her advice, her scheming side comes into play.

After about 30 minutes of explaining to me why modesty is the key to opening any boys’ eyes to your soul, she finally pauses.

“Or,” she wanders off, “you could tell him how you feel and be honest.”

So my dear, troubled friend it appears you have two options: you can either take the risk and admit your feelings or fight the impossible battle and attempt to bring the turtlenecks and floor length dresses back into style.

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