Always The Friend, Never The Girl


I didn’t date for most of my college existence. But I had lots and lots of guy friends.

It usually went like this:

“Hey, your nice. Can I sit by you?”
“You just used the wrong you’re.”
“But I’m talking, not writing. How did you know?”
“It’s my superpower.”

Wait. It went more like this:

“Hey, you’re nice. Can I sit by you?”
“Great. Can I look at your notes? I was busy and missed class.”
“Ummmmm. What were you doing?”
“Helping orphans. Or taking a cute girl to Billingsley for coffee.”
“Not today. Try getting to class. There are cute girls here, too.”

Most of my college life was The Friend. The one he sat with in class, chose for group projects, had inside jokes with, and asked for opinions on anything with a heartbeat and an exposed midriff. Why did I put up with it? I would rather be a friend than completely ignored. Didn’t realize how messed up that was at the time, but we rarely understand these things at 19.

One friend needed someone to go watch basketball. I didn’t really care for the game, but it was better than studying what I was already going to get a perfect score on come test time.

“Will you go to the Lions game with me? As friends, of course. We’re totally just friends. Nothing else.”
“Cool. I need to go home first to change. Ride along?”
“Who else will be there?”
“Ummm, does it matter? Nothing would ever happen between us. Like never.”
“I’ll stay in the car if your mom isn’t home.”
“Cool. But it doesn’t matter.”

“Mom, this is Lyndse. We’re just friends.”
“Oh, she’s lovely.”
“What? No, we’re just friends.”

“Hey, guys! This is my friend, Lyndse. We’re just friends.”

After telling 14 different groups of people at the game that we were just friends, I introduced myself to the fifteenth group.

“Hi, I’m Lyndse! I’m K’s fiance!”
And showed them my purity ring. Which was a cathedral set solitaire.

My night was made. As I silently chuckled and witnessed this kid, bright red and choking on his own amazing cologne, I felt power. If they didn’t love me, they would at least know I was there. Standing out among girls as the witty one. Funny. Slightly obnoxious, but not crossing the line.

I started using my sarcasm with all my guy friends. It made it a lot easier. I felt less undateable and more like I was calling the shots. I used the fiance line with a few other friends. Got the same results each time. Because nothing scares a Freshman Flirt more than commitment. Even when it’s a joke.

I spent many semesters being the sarcastic, smart friend-who-is-a-girl. I didn’t get to date any of the boys, but they still bought me lunch and carried my backpack and made sure my car started in the winter. There were perks to not being the girl who gets the guy.

But then I finally dated someone, because he wanted to introduce me to his friends as his girlfriend. He was a gentleman. He was kind. He didn’t lead girls on or chase every fake blonde. Things didn’t work out with him, but the few months we dated were fantastic. I was the object of his affection.

As a woman in her thirties, I look back and wonder how I became such a magnet for guys who wanted a girl, but didn’t want the work of a relationship. I was like a G-rated prostitute. Hanging out with a guy who didn’t love me, because I could make him laugh. And he would bring me snacks as payment. I obviously taught them how to treat me. But how did they know to even try in the first place?

Most of them are now married to dropdead gorgeous women. They have adorably perfect kids in boutique clothing. And dogs that could be in that dog show on Thanksgiving Day. And don’t get me started on their homes. It’s like an episode of House Hunters.

Maybe I secretly thought if I was around long enough, I would move from the friend column to the girl column to the dropdead gorgeous wife column. Maybe I just liked having someone sit by me everyday and bring me food. Who knows.

What I do know, is that I ended up marrying a guy who loves literature. Always brews my coffee. Never fails to introduce me as his wife, especially when he’s left his wedding ring in one of three places while working on the house. He isn’t scared by yoga pants, laundry piles, kids in clearance finds, and brushing the teeth of a piranha disguised as a beautiful soon to be four-year-old. And he cooks and grocery shops and bleaches bathrooms. Loves me everyday, even when life is messy.

Twelve years ago, I somehow got the boyfriend I didn’t think I deserved and didn’t realize I needed. He took me on real dates. Genuinely laughed at my jokes. And helped me heal from being the study buddy to a lot of insecure and immature college guys. Who were still somehow sweet and charming. It’s like they all learned from the same textbook.

Dave was my Junior year miracle. So unbelievably corny. But true. And the best part…he didn’t care about basketball.

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One thought on “Always The Friend, Never The Girl

  1. Ida Still says:

    Lyndse, First, I love this piece! Second, from an outsider’s perspective; I think God allowed the friend-zone, not because YOU were not “good enough” for them, but perhaps they were not “good enough” for you and by that I mean, not the ONE God intended for you.


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