Dear Literary Lady,
I have a huge crush on someone, and I want to get out of their “friend zone.” Is a book a good Valentine’s gift to turn a friendship into something more?
—C.R., San Francisco, CA.
A book is, bar none, the greatest friend-zone busting Valentine’s gift ever.
We all know what the “friend zone” is. Friend Zone, defined: The interminably torturous state of being in which one person in a heretofore platonic relationship gradually develops romantic feelings for the other, but cannot act on said impulses to change the status quo.
Why is it so hard to get out of the friend zone? Because everyone’s afraid of (1) embarrassing themselves and (2) ruining the friendship. Why do people try anyway? Because we all want a shot at true love.
This Valentine’s Day, give your object of affection a book that subtly professes your love. Here’s why:
1. A book says everything you want to say about your feelings, without you having to say it. No need to write sonnets and no need to articulate your deepest passions—somebody has already done it for you.
2. A book gives you plausible deniability. Give your friend a book, and if your friend doesn’t like you back, just shrug and say, “Hey, I just thought it was a good book. Don’t read too much into it.” Now you can go back to being friends without all the awkwardness.
3. Did you give your crush a book about friends falling in love? Did your crush blow it off? No worries. Just make up a completely different reason for why you gave them the book. Maybe there’s a hopelessly single friend in the novel who reminds you of them.
4. On the other hand, if your crush reads the book, realizes what you’re alluding to, and reciprocates your feelings, you get all the credit for making the first move. A book doesn’t look like an emotional copout (even if that’s what it is). A book looks like the ultimate shy, sincere, romantic gesture.
5. A book is better than any other Valentine’s gift choices out there. A giant teddy bear? You can’t go back to being just friends after that. Chocolate? That gift will get you nowhere; platonic friends give each other candy. Fancy chocolate? Nope, only your boss would give you fancy chocolate. Roses? Definitely not. Roses say “we’ve been married for ages and we’re finally getting a sitter for the kids tonight.”
Trust me—on Valentine’s Day, a book is the best wingman you could have. When you’re revealing your feelings to your crush, the right book can be both a safety net and the spark that starts a long-awaited romance.
Love and paperbacks,