My September Issue: The Chandler Bing Syndrome

There are fictional television characters and then there is Chandler Bing. He’s the reason I watched Friends religiously while on the air and why I somehow find myself now watching reruns instead of sleeping on school nights. Why can’t I fall asleep after just one episode? Because I’m laughing too much at everything he says.

Chandler’s the nerdy sweetheart whose love language is unapologetic sarcasm. He’s got a solid job, dresses relatively well and is always there to help anybody and everybody, usually Joey. He’s the guy everyone assumes will do well with women, but he thinks too much and says the wrong thing, usually in the form of an ill-timed joke in lieu of facing the question at hand. Thus the Chandler Bing Syndrome.

The Chandler Bing Syndrome involves being trapped in your head, easily freaked out at the first sign of commitment, over-analyzing every detail, being emotionally stunted, finding problems where there are none…and never getting past the initial stage of dating someone new.

Guys suffering might say any or all of the following:

When I first meet somebody, it’s usually panic, anxiety, and a great deal of sweating.

What if I never find somebody?

Am I right? I know I am.

Let her know I like her? Are you insane?

The heart wants what it wants – see you never!

I’ve met, dated and almost-dated several guys with said syndrome – I’m sure you have to and please, I want to hear your stories. Some I knew were trouble when they walked in but others took a month or six to decode the symptoms, more so the slow and steady type. My latest Chandler Bing seemed like the perfect mix of smart and funny, with a great job and an even quicker wit. We know a lot of the same people so I knew enough of him to make me want to learn more, and learn more I did. He tells me he’s not good at dating, that everything is perfectly fine until the “obligations” start to roll in. Any previous thoughts of late night movie dates went out the window when he told me, unprompted, that he’s extremely indecisive and is most comfortable in the friend zone because that’s when things are still guaranteed to be carefree. Why’d he break up with perfectly nice girls? No reason. Well, he got stir crazy. Usually very quickly. The most ironic part? He told me all of this, and more, through jokes and humorous comments. He referred to himself as a caged animal, a prairie dog, in relationships – insert a couple “haha” – then added he spirals and doesn’t know why. Could he BE anymore on the Chandler Bing spectrum?

So the best thing about Chandler, his classic one-liners aside, is the fact that he grew up. He stopped over-analyzing, stopped letting the possibility of an actual relationships freak him out and despite all odds, married the hot girl who had always been in the friend zone. He manned up and guess what? He was a happier man. So to all the women out there who are plagued by the Chandler Bing syndrome – stay strong. Hope for the best and keep at it, with or without that guy, and soon enough he’ll start to get it. You might not be the woman to make him want to grow up and be a man but you very well may be the one who made him realize what he can have.