Men Share What Happened After Distancing Themselves From a Female Friend Post-Rejection

September 25, 2023

Getting rejected by a female friend can be tough. You value her friendship, but you also have romantic feelings for her that aren't reciprocated. While it's tempting to cling to the friendship in hopes she'll change her mind, this rarely leads to a healthy dynamic. Often, the best course of action is to distance yourself from the friendship, at least temporarily.

But what happens after a period of distance? Does the friendship recover? Do romantic feelings fade? I asked the men of Reddit to share their experiences distancing themselves from a female friend post-rejection. Here's what they had to say:

The friendship ended

For many men, distancing themselves ultimately severed the friendship completely. Once romantic intentions were revealed, things could never totally go back to the easy banter of simple friendship. As one Redditor put it:

"I lost what could’ve been a really nice friend because I was too caught up in my feels. This was freshman year of HS 20 years ago."

Unfortunately, this seems to be a common outcome, especially if one person needs time and space to move on from romantic feelings.

"Every really close girlFRIEND I've ever had where something more was possible has been reduced to the occasional social media "like" as our only form of interaction if that tells you anything"

While losing a friendship is painful, many commented that moving on was necessary for their emotional wellbeing. Pining after someone unable to reciprocate feelings is a difficult road that often requires distance.

Romantic feelings faded with time

The passage of time seems to be a major factor allowing men to move on and regain platonic feelings. Even months or years later, some are able to pick back up a casual friendship without lingering romantic notions.

"Met a girl in college. Developed feelings, she didn’t. Was hurt, but distanced and met someone else eventually. Still fb friends with the first girl, but that’s it."

One man described a situation that took years to resolve, but ultimately ended in marriage:

"Had a female friend growing up. We were thick as thieves. All was good. I caught feelings and admitted it to her. Friendship was a little strained after that but we still did everything together. We hooked up one night. And then the friendship was weird. According to her. And she pulled away completely.

Fast forward many years and I’m happily married going through life and best friend reaches out to reconnect. I'm hesitant. Wife encourages me to go have supper a beer with best friend. I do. Best friend tries to convince me she made a mistake and that she should have ended up with me not my wife. I stopped her. Told her she doesn’t get to have this conversation with me anymore. We aren’t friends."

While time doesn't heal all wounds, it can lessen the intensity of romantic feelings, allowing friendships to reset.

Healthy boundaries formed

Rather than cutting things off completely, some men found setting strong boundaries allowed them to maintain a casual friendship without pining. This seems most successful when romantic intentions are clearly communicated.

"I told her how I felt. She told me "but you're a friend, you're like a brother to me" took the rejection and went on to the next. She a year later said "I miss us". I agreed. "I am so sad...." I told her "Stop, that's boyfriend stuff, I'm just a friend."

Boundaries may include limited one-on-one time, or avoiding emotionally-charged conversations. The friendship becomes more superficial, but can still be maintained without toxicity.

"We went from talking a few times a week to a few times a year and only in person unless there is an emergency."

Things got messy

Unfortunately, distancing doesn't always go smoothly. Some women reacted poorly, even escalating to harassment or other concerning behavior.

"She came around randomly a year later when I was with someone else to confess her love for me."

"She ended up stalking me while I was on dates with other people. At first I didn’t even know, but then I would get weird notes left on my car, or she would call my cousin (who lived with my family) and mention seeing me someplace."

While not the norm, extreme reactions reinforce the need for clear communication and strong boundaries post-rejection. Don't be afraid to take more formal action if warranted.

Dodging bullets

In some cases, men realized after the fact they'd dodged major bullets by being rejected. Watching from a distance as female friends made poor life choices was a wake-up call.

"She's married, got a kid. I'm enjoying my freedom. Only after I got rejected did I start to notice some character flaws that would be a pretty big issue down the road if we were in a relationship. So, bullet dodged."

*"Come across an article about her killing her boyfriend by running him over at a drug deal that went south. Basically she turned into a meth head with this dude, they went to buy drugs, got into an argument and she pulled away from him and ran him over.

Now she’s in prison and I am happily married, live in a nice ass house with a pool in the back yard, good career and no worries. Dodged the hell out of that bullet."*

While painful rejections sting in the moment, they sometimes end up being blessings in disguise down the road.

She came back around

Perhaps the most gratifying outcome for some men - the female friend who initially rejected them came back around wanting a relationship. While pride may make this a tempting opportunity for payback, most advise proceeding with extreme caution if at all.

"A few weeks after THAT, he hooks up with another friend of ours who had apparently liked him for a while. A few days later I get a call from his ex- our first direct contact in at least a year-, about this and she’s in absolute hysterics. “How could he do this to me? What did I do to deserve this? What is wrong with him?”

A few weeks after THAT, the dust has finally settled. My friend and his new girlfriend are very happy. Basically the entire friend group has taken his side in all this. One weekend I’m getting ready to go out to a barbecue or something with the whole group and she calls me to very sweetly and more than a little flirtatiously ask if I can pick her up for the barbecue. And my old life and my old relationship with almost literally flashes before my eyes and I realize: Holy shit, she’s trying to get back in."

Proceed with caution if a female friend has a sudden change of heart. Her intentions may not be genuine.

Just move on

At the end of the day, most men agreed the healthiest option is just accepting the rejection and moving on, whether it means ending the friendship or not. Lingering in the friend zone won't make romantic feelings disappear.

"I moved on. I always thought of asking someone out as an invitation. When someone declines an invitation, you just move on."

Each situation is unique, but taking time and space to heal is often wise post-rejection. Invest in yourself, and new relationships will follow. Don't pine after someone unable to reciprocate feelings.

Dealing with unrequited love is a nearly universal human experience. The men of Reddit prove there are many potential outcomes when distancing yourself from a female friend after rejection. While the healthiest path forward varies for each individual, maintaining boundaries and allowing feelings to fade with time seems the most constructive approach.

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