Robert + ???I watch Scrubs every once in a while. It’s a great show. One in particular from years ago stuck in my mind, though. In this episode, the guy (I don’t remember any of their names) is after the girl who is waiting in some closet for him to arrive and have sex with her. The entire episode has a countdown clock going for no apparent reason until time runs out just before he shows up.

At this point, you see him open a door labeled “The Friend Zone” that leads to a room full of men who have supposedly been after this girl at some point in the past. They welcome him with smiles and, attaining full loser-ness in the eyes of the show, make comments like, “She’ll come around, really.” From this point on, it’s clear that the guy and girl will be good friends, but never anything more.

This doesn’t haunt me, but I do wonder with some girls I’ve been interested in if there was a point where we became friends to the point that we could never be anything but friends. The result has been that in recent years, I’ve backed off on cultivating a deeper friendship for fear that it would somehow hinder a romantic relationship.

I remembered something important this week, though. That was my first girlfriend back when I was in high school. We were great friends before we started dating. In fact, us being friends was a big part of the reason she started being interested in me at all. To this date, that relationship is the only one I’ve had to speak of (some folks who know me will add a second to that, but it was such a pitiful situation that it barely counts to me).

I’ve noticed a change this week after this realization. I’m relaxed again. I’m being myself again. I’m trying less to impress and more to just be (and if that impresses, there you are). And people respond. The girls do, but so does everyone. For the first time in months, there are people I talk with daily who have started to come to me instead of waiting for me to start the conversation. It says a lot to me about a friendship when the person on the other end makes an effort, however small, particularly if I’ve been the one making all of the effort.

I don’t know where this will lead, but I feel like I’ve rediscovered a part of who I am and what I believe that was dormant and hiding in a cloud of fear and worry. I don’t know how long it will last, if it ends at all. But I’ve had a good week because of it and hope to continue that as the days go on.