“There’s more to life than love.”
These words would probably be the most refreshing insight to the brokenhearted, coming from the YouTube show “Tales from the Friend Zone” (TFTFZ), which stars all-around funny guy Ramon Bautista.
The TV host, radio DJ, and self-proclaimed “Internet action star,” has been making waves on the relationship advice scene—aside from answering questions on love and lovelorn on his Formspring (the Most Smiled account of 2011), TFTFZ has become popular for its tips on how to avoid being “friend-zoned.”
Of course, being the comic that he is, Ramon dishes out equally hilarious (although somewhat effective) advice. On Formspring, one person asked, “Sir Ramon, dapat ko po bang sabihin sa BFF ko na in-love ako sa kanya kaysa itago ko na lang?” (Sir Ramon, should I tell my BFF that I am in love with him, or just keep it to myself?)
Ramon’s reply: “Itago mo at maging malandi ka sa kanya para siya unang magsabi ng ‘I love you’ <3” (Just keep it to yourself but flirt with him so he will be the first one to say ‘I love you.’)
TFTFZ focuses more on how people can avoid the friend zone (a relationship in which one person is in love with the other, but the other isn’t and just considers him/her as a friend). Actors reenact real-life stories of “friend-zonees,” and at the end, Ramon analyzes the situation and gives his tips, sometimes through a diagram or “methods” like “preemptive supalpal” and “counter preemptive supalpal.” (See sidebar.)
Inquirer Super got the chance to ask Ramon our own questions on love, the friend zone, and what keeps this “next boyfriend material” (another self-proclaimed title) busy:
Apart from being a self-proclaimed “Internet action star,” what else do you do?
I teach at UP. I join “Boys Night Out” once a week on Manyak Mondays (on FM radio station Magic 89.9), and I’m writing the follow-up to “Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo.”
Are you strict with your students?
I’m not really sure if I’m strict or not with my students. You should ask them.
You seem to have a natural flair for comedy. Are you really humorous in person? Are there any comedians you look up to?
Thank you. A lot of people tell me that. I think I’m a pretty serious person. Maybe I’m just funny-looking or they find the way I say things humorous. I think Rowan Atkinson is very funny. My local comedic heroes are Tito, Vic and Joey, Rene Requiestas and Michael V. Also Babalu and Panchito and, of course, the king of comedy, Dolphy.
What do you think of the “friend-zone”? Is it just a recent phenomenon? Is it so bad that people must get out of it?
It’s a fairly new term but people have been friend-zoned for generations. I think it’s better than being outright rejected without having the privilege of staying within communicating distance. It’s just embarrassing because, oftentimes, there’s a certain consolation involved—people getting too nice to completely kick out of their lives the others they rejected.
How can we really avoid being friend-zoned?
Don’t declare your romantic feelings. Otherwise, you can’t really avoid it. The best you can do is to lessen your chances of getting friend-zoned. Just be an amazing person and make it hard for your crush to reject you.
What can you say about the dating scene nowadays?
There are more channels to express landian because of social media. I don’t think there were smileys being exchanged over Twitter during my Lola’s era.
You have given some tips or “methods” for “moving on” in your Formspring. Care to share one?
Umeerna sa rim method: Just imagine your crush with his/her feet on the rim of the toilet bowl while taking a number two. That’s an instant turnoff.
How did you come up with TFTFZ?
RA Rivera and I found that so many people obsessed with finding love end up in the friend zone. We decided to make a show dedicated to them. Instead of turning to bladed objects and jumping off tall buildings to cope with after-rejection depression, we give them the option of just laughing at themselves and learning in retrospect from what happened.
Where do you get your actors for TFTFZ? Do they get paid?
The actors for TFTFZ are our talents from the Pasisikatin Kita Hija Foundation. These are our friends who support us and believe in our cause. Some volunteer in a desperate attempt to gain popularity on the Internet. We pay them with love, friendship and a T-shirt.
How long does it take to shoot an episode of TFTFZ?
Shooting takes around a day on the average. It’s the editing that takes a lot of time. People don’t know how hard it is to make a TFTFZ [episode]. RA and I do it for fun and love.
Do all your material for TFTFZ come from your Formspring? Or do you have other sources?
Yes, but sometimes, friends personally e-mail their letters to be made into a TFTFZ [episode]. If we find them concise, interesting and unique, we select them.
You always end your show by saying, “There is more to life than love.” Can you give some tips for people who want a meaningful life, regardless if they are single or in a relationship?
That quote is self-explanatory. It’s a big world out there. You have to find yourself and grow, and becoming too obsessed about finding romantic fulfillment could be stagnating you. A meaningful life is relative, so you better find what that meaning is for yourself. We all have to keep looking and moving.
Do you consider yourself a love guru, now that people turn to you for relationship advice?
I’m not really an expert, but I’m accessible. They can reach me on Formspring, so I’m like a friend they can talk to and give them straight answers.
What are your best tips to guys who want to become “soldiers of love”?
Don’t be a soldier of love. You will get hurt. Just work and contribute to the Philippine economy.
Any message for those who aren’t looking forward to Valentine’s Day?
Okay ’yan. Isipin niyo na lang na sa hindi niyo pagbili ng flowers, chocolates at hindi pag check-in sa motel, nakatipid kayo.
Visit the Ramon Bautista “Internet Love Trapezoid”: formspring.me/ramonbautista, ramonbautista.tumblr.com, twitter.com/ramonbautista, instagram.com/ramonbautista