So you're in the proverbial "friend zone."
You like this girl, right? You do little things for her, buy her little presents, let her know you think she's pretty, always invite her to do things with you. You even let her talk about how big of a scumbag her boyfriend is, and you let her cry on your shoulder if she needs to. You're unfailingly kind to her and you are always chivalrous. Hell, at this point, you probably love her. You might even be in love with her. And you constantly worry whether she's figured it out yet. And then you tell her you have romantic feelings for her, and she shuts you down with a polite, "Sorry, but I don't see you that way," or a "But you're like my brother," or even a "I don't want to ruin our friendship." So you walk away, feeling ashamed and hurt because the rejection stings and you secretly resent her not understanding that by letting you down when you told her about your feelings, that THAT was the REAL thing that ruined the friendship, for you anyway. And let's be honest, you think she's kind of an idiot for not seeing how well you treat her and that you truly respect her. And so you begin to separate from her.
No. No, you don't respect her. She probably sensed all along that you had a thing for her, because you do little things for her that no other boys do. Oh, you ask, if she knew I liked her the whole time, then why didn't she say anything? Because, young man, you behaved exactly like one of her female friends, and the only thing to tip her off that you felt more than just friendly was that you have a penis. And what makes her so arrogant, that she must tell you she doesn't want to date you if you so much as ask her how her day was or bring her coffee? There is no line in the sand that tells us the difference between being generally nice or being genuinely interested. Secondly, unless you make your intentions known from the get-go, she generally thinks you're only interested in being friends. Of course, it's a shot in the dark and a hell of a risky move to just say right in the beginning that you are romantically interested, but hey, that early in the game, no harm no foul.
But, how does that mean you don't respect her? You're right, nothing in that paragraph suggests you disrespect her. But this paragraph will explain it. You don't know what that girl wants in a boyfriend, husband, or a future. Hell, not even her friends or family knows what she wants. Only SHE knows what she wants. And who are you to think that just being all cute and nice to her is exactly what she wants from someone? Oh, you're thinking, this explains why she only dates assholes, she must LIKE being disrespected because that's all she dates and that's the exact opposite of what you've been doing. Wrong. Her tastes are just as picky as yours. You picked her out of a crowd because you see something in her you wanted. Could be her warm smile, or those large and deep eyes, or her heart-touching laughter, or how she was always kind to strangers, or that she wasn't afraid of dancing in the grocery store, or she had excellent taste in books. Whatever it was that she had that you absolutely adore about her is oddly specific. Now, whatever it is she looks for in a man is also oddly specific, so you doing what you THINK she wants and ASSUMING that it's EXACTLY what she needs, is pretty damn arrogant of you.
If she doesn't like you that way, it's nothing you did or didn't do and it's nothing she did or didn't do. It just is what it is. You aren't what she's looking for. So why is that so fucking offensive? She still wants to be your friend, but you add insult to injury, because now, since she doesn't want you as a significant other, her friendship just isn't good enough for you anymore, and you dip out. Also, gentlemen, do you not realize that women have also felt what you've felt? Except tenfold and for centuries. Traditionally, it's the man who is the initiator, but in this day and age, women can easily ask a man out. But what of the majority of women who still do not ask a man out, and what of the women of the past? When they like a boy, they text him sweet things and ask for his opinions and bake him goodies and are like super-attentive lap dogs who just try to be as nice and adorable and lovingly loyal as possible, and just pine and wait for the guy to finally figure it out. Unless she tells him. Again, same cycle. He rejects her, and she's friend zoned. Women have also been constant inhabitants of the friend zone, and dare I say, more often than men, and never, have we ever whined about it. Instead, we write sad poetry about it, continue being the loyal faithful friend that we were to begin with, let the feelings die down, and we RESPECT. HIS. DECISION.
So fellas, remember this. If a girl decides she'd rather have you as a friend, let it be. That means she likes and respects you enough to keep you in her life. Maybe not as what you WANT to be to her, but as something, and that's better than nothing.