Imagine you ask your boss if you could get a certain qualification, of course sponsored by the company. At first he is a bit skeptical yet mildly supportive, telling you that you should hit some milestones first or maybe just put in a few more years. You diligently do that. Later, you revisit this topic. Your boss is happy with your progress and says that he’d like to sit down some other time to talk about that particular qualification. This goes on a few times, and the outcome is always the same: he acts supportive, yet you never get any concrete response but you are promised one at some vague point in the future. For how long would this charade have to go on for you to realize that your employer will never pay for that qualification?
Some of you, particularly if you have worked in larger and/or slow-moving organizations, may be familiar with the example I just gave you. Maybe you know that your boss is leading you on, but for whatever strange reason you play along. Well, it’s probably not so strange because many men do the same in dating if they don’t wizen up. Surely, most of you have met at least one woman you were really into. She met up with you, every once in a while. You did a few favors for her every now and again. When you tried pushing the interaction further, you were told that now is not the right time, that she needs “more time” (she always needs that), that she will stay for her boyfriend for a bit longer as she thinks that things will sort itself out (if they don’t, she somehow finds another boyfriend quickly who isn’t you). Meanwhile, you keep investing time, money and emotions into this one-sided relationship. How long would it take you to realize that she is only leading you on, i.e. that you are in the friend zone and the only reason she contacts you is to tap into your resources?
Probably all of you have been led on at one point. It does not matter if it happens in your personal or professional life. To break out of it, you need to step back and objectively assess the situation. Don’t think of a hypothetical future that may never happen but look at the past and consider how much you invested while not getting anything in return. Then ask yourself how much abuse you are going to take. Sure, if you’re good-hearted, you may believe only the best in people, but there has to be a point at which you realize that enough is enough and admit to yourself that “it”, whatever it may be, is just not going to happen and that you have fallen prey to a manipulator. Don’t tell yourself that it was a master manipulator. This may have been the case, but you happily went along and enabled your own abuse. You are at least as much to blame as the other party involved.
Going through this once is cathartic. If it happens to you twice, you are probably naive, but if women repeatedly friend-zone you and you accept it over and over, it is time for drastic measures. Just admit to yourself what you should have admitted way earlier. Admit to yourself that you were being misled, that you were taken for a fool. Once you realize that, make peace with the past. Then move on. Don’t look back, and the next time you are in a situation in which someone dangles something shiny in front of you but takes it away whenever you want to grab it, realize that you are getting played.
Did you enjoy this article? Great! Here are some further steps to consider:
1) If you want to read more from Aaron, check out his excellent books, the latest of which are Sleazy Stories II, Sleazy Stories III, and Meditation Without Bullshit.
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