Photo by Arnaud Gwaga Mugisha

Have you ever experienced a one-way-feelings relationship; the kind in which you have unreciprocated feelings for a person? I was discussing about the friendzone with a female friend the other day and I realised that this phenomenon affects girls just as much as guys; with the exception that the situation is a bit trickier for the ladies; since our tradition doesn’t really allow them to go after a guy. Now the question is: how does one deal with the zone; or crawl out of it for that matter? I guess I can only speak from a guy’s perspective here…

I, like any other average guy on this planet, have experienced the zone; although I just recently realised that I haven’t quite been as much a victim of it as I thought I was, taking into account the number of times I’ve been sent there Vs. the amount of time I’ve spent in there. I score highest in the latter, which isn’t so much of a bad thing since being sent to the zone by one person doesn’t mean you can’t (successfully) approach another person. You know what I mean? What sucks is being sent to the zone multiple times by multiple people.

Anyway, so there’s this girl I’ve had a thing for, for as long as I can remember – like I had my first major crush on her when I was ten years old. I dated quite a few times between then and now, but the thing for her wouldn’t really go. I managed to become friends with her when I was like twelve or thirteen, but I never asked her out until I was much older. You’re probably going to say I drove myself into the zone since I didn’t “declare my intentions” in time, but first wait to hear the rest of the story.

Although this girl has been part of my “crew” for some time, we’ve only really been friends for a short time; like it’s only recently that we started developing a real one-to-one (friendly) relationship. I realised that I didn’t really know her (and she probably didn’t know me) as a person and it made me ask myself what really drew me to her in the first place. Was it her looks? She is drop-dead gorgeous.

The realisation allowed me to positively appreciate how she turned me down (twice!) as at the time I asked her out (twice!) we didn’t know each other that well either; and I believe that two people have to be 100% comfortable with each other before they get into a romantic relationship – but that’s just me.

Anyway, the woman offered me the most comfortable seat in her friendzone (like she even calls me “bro” once in a while *SMH*) and I’ve been wondering how this whole zone thing is affecting me emotionally. You see, it’s up to me to walk out of this situation any time I want, by either engaging her one last time or just letting it go, which would mean creating some distance between us.

Life has taught me that there are usually two ways to deal with relationships that will never happen (the killer expression most girls use to send you off). One is to totally remove the person from your life. No more hanging out, no more phone calls, no more text messages; nothing! It hurts; and I’m speaking from experience (another one, not the one I’ve just been telling you about). The second option is accepting that the person-of-interest will never be anything more than just a friend and trying to work on that friendship. Although this seems as the most mature reaction to rejection, it isn’t that obvious. Only very few strong minded/hearted people can successfully settle for this situation which can be really awkward when you become the (ex) person-of-interest’s confidant in love matters. Imagine a girl (or guy) you had (and probably still have) a thing for telling you about a crush they have on somebody else; Eish!

This (and many other things) should be considered when thinking about how to move on from rejection; and I think this also applies to break-up situations. I believe that the main thing is to avoid putting your life on hold – which is (subconsciously) very likely to happen when you still have feelings for the “rejector”. You know what I mean? And the funny thing is that when you try to pull back, the person you’re running away from may try to pull you back in – because after all, although they’re not into you, everybody loves some TLC – and this will confuse the hell out of you! Haha!

Anyway, I’m not trying to play the love doctor here; God knows I don’t even have my own life figured out! This was just me introducing TBL’s new section which we have called “Chronicles of a Burundian lover”, which I’m pretty sure you’ll love and I hope you’ll contribute to. We thought it would be fun to dedicate a whole section to what goes on inside the heads of Burundian men and women when dealing with that crazy little thing called love; and since we’re naturally reserved people, all future posts of this section will published anonymously. No names; no saying who wrote what…

And this space is open to anybody by the way; anybody who has experienced love (or attraction – the difference is so vague sometimes) for/with a Burundian. Out there they say that we are a complex people; it’d be interesting to discover what we’re like “in love”. If you’d like to contribute, just send me an e-mail at and we’ll sort you out. Meanwhile, let me go sort my love life out and maybe (just maybe) I’ll let you know how it goes… Hehe!

With love, from Burundi;

Karl-Chris R Nsabiyumva

Karl-Chris currently lives and works in Bujumbura. You can check him out at and follow him on Twitter: Mr_Burundi