A situation in which a friendship exists between two people, one of whom has an unreciprocated romantic or sexual interest in the other.
"I always wind up in the friend zone, watching them pursue other people"
I will tell you its a concern for me when I meet a women with a lot of guy friends. So yes, I proceed a with an abundance of caution and I recommend ladies you do the same with the fellas you meet like this.
What's "Just Friends" means to a man-
This "Friends" question comes up a lot honestly and some people get defensive about it, so I just want to say from the start, I am only speaking for myself. In saying that, I mean it's probably reflective of 90% of most average guys out there, if they are willing to admit it or not.
Me, as just myself, I don't maintain relationships with any women unless on some level there is some type of attraction. You can label those relationship whatever you like, "just friends", "possible girlfriends", or "Women I would date if the opportunity presented itself." Again for me, I definitely would never maintain any type of relationship with a women, unless there was some type of romantic interest on some level.
For me, the women I would call, "Just Friends" are the women I maintain semi-acquaintance with, because I have some romantic interest in then. Either they are currently taken or otherwise unavailable at the moment. I maintain the acquaintance in order to remain relevant on some level to them without getting to close as to fall into the Friend Zone Trap. Once you fall into the Friend Zone Trap, that means she is only thinking of you as a friend and has made it very clear that is all you are to her. Once a women considers you as being "Just Friends" they tend to only see you as such and nothing more. Yes guys, they get the get the "Just Friends' thing in their head and see right past once they start looking for a romantic interest because you got too close without expressing your desire or sense of expectation. Once this happens any possibilities of a romantic relationship becomes a very long odds type of endeavors. As a man if you think there is some type of chance later you maintain the relationship on some level with your fingers crossed.
The other type of acquaintance guys maintain are the "possible girlfriends". This is the girl where you seriously see her as some one you would consider dating and maybe even on a committed level. But for what ever reason your are not sure about her. She not in a place yet where you think she would or is ready to date. There might be some other factors involve were you are not sure she is would be ideal girlfriend material, but you still have some level of interest. So you maintain some type of relationship with her, but again you don't want to get to close, just remain relevant in some way so you can try to move it to a romantic situation if the opportunity presents itself.
"Women I would date if the opportunity presented itself."-
These are the types of women that you feel might be beyond your reach or other wise out of your reach. But if they wanted to date you or showed any interest you would jump on the opportunity immediately. So again you maintain the acquaintance on a more flirty level. You do this in order stay relevant, without getting too clos, there by avoiding the Friend Zone Trap.
So why does it mean when they claim to be or what to be "Just Friends?"
So guys with a lot of "Just Friends" that they clam are "Just Friends" in there lives are the type of guys with a lot hooks in the water. So as a women when you met this type of guy you have to ask yourself; why does he have so many women as friends and still available? What is it you don't know about him that possibly all these other women do and just want to be friends and not romantic with him? What makes him so likeable, but not dateable? Or is he a guy that is attracted to these women beyond his reach and is interested in you, until something better comes a long or one of his other prospective prospects pops up?
Let's be honest ladies there are a lot of guys out there that worm their way into these friendships, and once he starts dating someone else he suddenly becomes more attractive to you. Because you never saw him as someone you would date, until you see him with someone else, and you as his "friend" become less relevant in his life. He suddenly become the guy you never seriously consider, until you see him with another women and all of sudden you start thinking he was a lot more dateable then you thought.
I believe most guys fall into these "Just Friends" situations, because they honestly believe at some point, usually when you are at your most vulnerable, that you will see him as something more. They would much rather keep a girl they are attracted to at arms reach, rather then having no prospective chance later. Or they are just the type of guy that doesn't know how to advance a progress in a romantic relationship and they get to close on the friendship level and miss the opportunity. These types are the ones that will for ever wonder why it always happens to them. Sometimes, they eventually break the code with some one else then armed with knowledge and real romantic experience pop back into your lives later.
Don't get me wrong, these types are not necessarily bad people, or undateable. They just lack a degree of confidence or experience and unwittingly fall into the "Friend Zone." They do it to themselves either unknowing or subconsciously, and for women they seem to look past the romantic possibilities, or they like all the benefits of the friendship without the romance... its like dating someone for free. But be wary because at some point it will click in their heads, and they will become cold and distance, or more assertive, or suddenly more desirable to someone else that previously took them for granted.