please keep me in the (lesbian) friend zone.

In mid-July, I broke up with my girlfriend. For the first time, in a very long time, I didn’t feel the pull…the “I want someone to laugh, cuddle, be active, share moments and spend time with” pull. In the past, when relationships ended, I always felt like I should get back out there so that I could find what I was truly looking for, or at least find what had felt missing. I believe that feeling sure who you end up is right for you requires trial-and-error. You have to experience different characteristics, personalities and driving forces in a person to understand what, for you, is a must-have vs. nice-to-have vs. get the hell away from me. Otherwise, you may start wondering…and wondering is no bueno.

All of this to say that, for the first time, I didn’t want to explore what had been missing…I just wanted to be alone. In all honesty, I wanted to be selfish. I didn’t want to have to think about or act on anyone’s priorities besides my own and I didn’t want to feel like an asshole for doing that. I wanted to go to the gym when I wanted, twice a day if I wanted; I wanted to spontaneously go for a solitary bike ride; I wanted to sit on my couch doing nothing; I wanted to cook; I wanted to spend time with my friends and to leave the bar to go home and read a book…if that’s what I wanted.

And that’s when I noticed the “push”…the “you’re my friend, but I think I like you as more than that” push. Girls I had considered good friends started coming out of the woodwork, professing their “like” for me — girls who were in relationships, girls who I had previously hooked up with but had decided the friend zone was a better place for us, girls I had never even considered flirting with because they were my…friends.

I can’t tell you if it was because I was so disinterested in being with anyone at that point, but each time it happened, a feeling of frustration, sadness, and the desire to hibernate in a faraway cabin rose up like a bout of nausea.

Such admissions by the people I consider close friends make me question if I’m only desirable to unavailable people (maybe I subconsciously only allow my true personality to show through with people I consider off-limits?), if I’m desirable only as a “second option,” if there is something about the friendship I proffer that screams “I’ve always wanted more,” if I seem like a girl who would be willing to be the “other woman,” if I’ll ever be approached by someone who doesn’t come with a Subaru full of baggage.

I try to get out of my own head, reminding myself that it’s probably not me…it’s a product of being a lesbian, being a part of a community in which the line between friend and girlfriend can be as blurry as a night out at Cubby Hole. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I’m starting to feel like I need to be cautious around the very people I’m supposed to be comfortable with.

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Colette is a 26-year-old lesbian from NYC, working at a brand strategy consulting firm during the day and functioning as a people-watching, sarcastic, nerdy jock at all times.