And...yet you seem to treat this as a one-way street because you're not giving them the same agency. After all, what you do impacts them, how you feel impacts them.
Yeah, of course.
The difference is that not responding to someone else's clumsy sexual advance or confessional is fundamentally a reactive position. Someone else puts something onto you, and you respond.
It's not like you're just sitting there watching a movie one day and suddenly someone says "listen, I don't want to bang you because I think you'd be really clingy and needy and might go a bit psycho on me, plus I normally date people who are taller than you" and the other person is expected to turn around and say "I respect this feeling you are having." If it works like that then by all means get the fuck out of there, but let's be honest, it doesn't. People don't generally turn around and tell you that they won't have sex with you unless you're actively
giving the impression that you might want to have sex with them, in other words, unless your actions are imposing on someone else
You are, I hope, not the person who is sitting there thinking you are already in a relationship and that the sexy time is just around the corner simply because someone of the opposite has agreed to hang out with you. If you are, then you have bigger problems than the "friendzone". But regardless, your friend has no reason to believe that you are anything other than friends. If you would like to be more, then that is you imposing. That is you seeking something more from someone
Now, let's move on. You've made your big confession of undying love and it turns out your friend really did just see you as a friend and wasn't secretly biting their tongue in quivering expectation of erotic bliss. I know it's hard to imagine that anyone would consider a friendship to, you know, just be a friendship unless proven otherwise
, but let's assume we're dealing with an insane person here.
What has changed about this situation?
Because from the perspective of that person (and unless they're extremely neurotic or have had some terrible experiences) the answer is almost assuredly "nothing". You were friends. You brought up the notion of changing that. The other person wasn't okay with that. Nothing has changed. You have not transitioned from this weird ambiguous state of being a potential sexual partner to being in some alternate reality called the "friendzone". You are in exactly the same position you were before. In other words, you are friends
. You always were friends.
All that has changed is that the purely imaginary
possibility that a friend might have some theoretical craving for your penis is now gone.
Now, this is disappointing. It's potentially very disappointing. But if it was bearable before there is absolutely no reasonable
cause why it should not be bearable now. That is unless, and this is very important, you were actually just deluding yourself (or even worse, deluding someone else) into thinking that this friendship was okay when actually it wasn't okay for you. That's not ethical, in fact it is lying, and in fact in this context it doesn't really matter whether you were lying to yourself (which indicates a failure to adequately care for yourself and thus imposes a presumed expectation that other people will look after you) or lying to your friend (which indicates a lack of regard for their feelings). Both are your failings. They are forgivable, but they are failings.
Again, from the perspective of your friend nothing has changed. You are friends. You were always friends. Only now it suddenly turns out that you, in particular, weren't
friends, because you weren't happy with friendship and yet you continued the pretense on the basis that merely being close to someone for a prolonged period of time might lead to something else when there is absolutely no reason for that to ever happen.
It is you who has done wrong in this situation, it is you who has imposed yourself and it is your mistake, perhaps not a deliberate or a malicious mistake but a mistake which was in all likelihood avoidable or preventable if you had simply been honest from the beginning, which is now causing both you and your friend pain. In this context, if your pain is so unbearable that you can no longer stand to be around your friend, then fine. That is how you feel. But don't expect me or anyone else to treat it as anything other than a failure, and don't deny people the right to feel disappointed in you, because your behavior in that situation should be as disappointing to you as to anyone else.