Well, yes, you read that right, eight years. This is an unusual story from the perspective of the person who friendzones.
It’s unfair really, when you think of all the memes, tweets, status updates, and jokes about the person who gets friendzoned, but not a single social media post from the perspective of the ‘mean person’ who does the friendzoning.
I had known him for 16 years, and we had been best friends for 10 out of those 16. We literally grew up together. I still recall, in vivid details, the late night “Bank el 7az” (Monopoly) games, the hours spent playing hide and seek.
And the teenage years, the debates and novels they brought with them; we shared Nicholas Sparks novels, explored the songs of the then new artist called Taylor Swift, and discovered the very first iPod together.
It wasn’t always smooth though, we had ups and downs, several of them. One night he confessed his love to me over a Google-talk chat window, after I had teased him over his lovey-dovey personal message (think of it as a status, only it was called a “pm”, no we did not have Insta Stories back in 2012).
I was only 18, I wanted to experience the world, I wanted a new guy; to me the comfort of having had him as a best friend for so long made a relationship with him sound boring. I was not looking for safety, I was looking for an adventure.
But I did not stop there. Oh no, I was extremely selfish. Whenever he would even mention the thought of crushing or liking another girl, I would take every opportunity to let him know that having a girlfriend would automatically signal a change in our friendship.
Why are us girls like that sometimes?
It was a really evil plan, I knew he loved me, and I knew he would not compromise our friendship for anything, so all I had to do was exaggerate how much things would change between us to push him away from liking someone; if I could not have him, no one could have him.
For the rest of my college years abroad, we maintained an on-again/off-again friendship, and eventually I woke up one morning and decided to completely disappear on him for a year. My disappearance ended when I was 20 years old and I moved back to Cairo, after deciding to take a semester off.
It seemed like so much had changed about me. I had experienced my adventures, enjoyed my cocktails, and not to mention dated a man who helped me recognize what I did not want in a man. I was going through a rough time, and once more, my best friend was the only one there for me. I was delighted when he mustered the courage to ask me out.
I think I was finally ready for a man like him. He knows the issues and the personal history, simply because he has truly experienced them with me, as a natural consequence of having had grown up so close to me. I learned that the stupidest thing anyone could possibly do was walk away from someone who had already been there, regardless of situation or circumstance or distance.
Most importantly, I learned that safety was not synonymous with boredom, so long as it was with the right person. In other words, our debates continued to be heated, our late night conversations continued to contain high levels of honesty and philosophy (and maybe even discussions about sub-atomic particles), and we still share music with as much excitement as we did a few years ago.