So there’s a new song out by Marshmallow and Anne-Marie (No I had not heard of them either) called Friends. It’s all over pop radio right now. The song and video encapsulate what we call the Friend zone. In fact it is often called the Friend Zone Anthem.
Now I’ve written extensively about the friend zone and avoiding it here at the blog for years. (Some posts are linked below). But I haven’t written on it in a while and I know that there are a lot of people, especially younger guys, who find themselves in these situations.
Back when I was in college the show ER became a sensation. One of the best parts about it was that the characters were believable. One of the intriguing relationships that developed on the show was between Doctor Mark Green (played by Anthony Edwards) and Doctor Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield). They were both sort of the “good guys” in the ER. They also developed a sort of friendship/relationship.
In the third season Susan decided to move away. In her final episode, Mark had to decide if he should (or could) tell her how he feels. They were great friends and had chemistry and it’s been obvious for years. Dr Ross (George Clooney) tells him, “Tell her what you’ve wanted to for years. Tell her how you feel. . . ”
Then comes the scene I’ll always remember. Mark leaves work and goes to her house but he’s too late. Then he goes to the train station. I mean it’s an epic deal. He goes to the wrong place as the train’s leaving point changes. But he makes it just in time. He calls out to her. The train is about to leave.
He tells her that he loves her and should have told her long ago, and he wants her to stay. I’ll never forget her response to that. She says that she knew, he is her best friend, and that she is leaving. Then she gets on the train, waves good by and says, “I do love you.”
I remember watching that scene and just being smacked upside the head. For years I thought about that scene because it pretty much defined me. Always the friend of the girl who I liked. Always carrying some sort of hope that at the right time, if I just shared it in the right way, everything would change. That scene was a picture of how I felt.