Friend Zone: A 4-Step Foolproof Method To Get Out Of The Friend Zone

Friend Zone

How To Get Out Out The Friend Zone?

In case you haven’t noticed, there are countless movies, TV shows, and songs about being stuck in the friend zone (think Ross and Rachel in early seasons of Friends). Why? Because it’s a super common conundrum. Once you’ve established this dynamic with someone, it can feel next to impossible to break out of it. Here’s the good news: it’s not impossible to transition into something more. If you’re wondering how to get out of the friend zone, I can help – after all, I’ve seen this situation with my clients many times. First, though, you need to understand why and how you got into the friend zone in the first place.


One of the reasons why the friend zone exists is that apparently, both men and women have trouble detecting when someone is actually interested in them. Research has shown men are more likely to be attracted to opposite-sex friends than women are, and tend to overestimate how attracted their female friends are to them. Meanwhile, women tend to underestimate how much their male friends are into them. Not only that, but men and women also enter into opposite-sex friendships with very different motivations. A 2000 study published in Personality and Social Psychology, found that while men and women both forge friendships based on companionship, conversation, good times, and laughter, men are more likely than women to initiate these relationships with the intention of having sex at some point down the line. But women are more likely to be attracted to male friends when they view them as potential long-term partners, rather than just hookups.


So, what can you take from all this? You need to shift your friend’s perspective. Once you change your behavior, they might have an easier time imagining you as the person they spend their life with — rather than just the buddy they talk to about it. Here’s how to escape the friend zone once and for all.


What does friend zone mean?


The friend zone is essentially a metaphorical place in which you feel like someone only sees you as a pal, but you actually have romantic interest in them. Odds are, they have absolutely no clue about your feelings. But since your relationship feels so platonic, you don’t know how to get them to see you as a potential partner.

Why am I in the friend zone?

Let me tell you a secret. The reason why you’re in the friend zone is probably not because you’re not attractive enough, don’t make enough money, or aren’t tall enough. It’s also not, contrary to popular belief, that women only like jerks and nice guys like you finish last.


Every relationship is an exercise in give-and-take. When you met this person, maybe you initially only saw them as a friend, and then your romantic feelings grew. The problem is that now, your relationship isn’t even anymore — you’re giving them everything they need (emotional support, quality time, advice, etc.) without getting what you want in return (affection, romantic or sexual experiences, etc.). For example, one study discovered that women report feeling like they receive protection from their male friends. It may sound archaic, but safety is a basic human need.


Now, once you realized that you caught some feelings for your friend, you obviously had the option to share that with them. But that requires immense vulnerability and courage. What if she doesn’t feel the same way? What if the friendship is ruined? These are typical concerns. The truth is, many men get stuck in the friend zone because they lack the confidence it takes to try and break free. So, while your initial exchanges with this person — devoid of any flirtation — may have gotten you into the friend zone, it’s usually self-doubt that keeps you there.


This isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault. But you can’t leave it up to your friend to make a change — after all, they’re already getting everything they need out of the relationship. And the longer you let your friend think that you’re satisfied with things the way they are, the harder it will be to transition into a different kind of connection.

How to get out of the friend zone


Let’s get straight to the point, shall we? If you’re ready to dig yourself out of the friend zone, you’ll want to follow these foolproof steps:


Get your flirt on.

The reality is, relationships that skip the banter almost always end up in the friend zone. It’s those flirtatious exchanges that generate sexual interest — which is precisely what will make her stop thinking of you as merely a friend. If all of your convos with this person are serious — think: venting about her boss, analyzing some family drama, etc. — then you don’t have any opportunity to flirt. So, make it a point to have more lighthearted conversations in which you can insert a playful question or compliment.


For example, try texting saying “by the way, I don’t know if you’re doing something differently but damn, you looked amazing today,” after the next time you hang out together. This will accomplish two things. One, it will make her feel really good (and then she’ll associate you with those positive feelings). Two, it’ll probably make her wonder whether or not you’ve ever thought about kissing her or making a move – which in turn might cause her to start unknowingly having those same fantasies.


Remember: there are non-verbal ways to flirt, too. Let your eye contact linger a little longer during conversation  and consider breaking the touch barrier just a little bit more by placing a hand on her leg when you’re laughing or on her lower back when you’re walking behind her into a room. Notice how she responds, because of course, you don’t want to make her uncomfortable. Even your body language can make a difference. Try sitting next to her next time you go out for drinks rather than across from her, and see how that generates more intimacy.


Make yourself slightly less available.

You know that old saying “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?” Well, she can’t exactly appreciate you if you’re always around whenever she needs you. I’m definitely not condoning playing hard to get — or any mind games for that matter. But if you’re constantly dropping everything to be there for her, it’s time to start putting your energy into building up your confidence by going on more dates, pursuing your hobbies and passions, and seeing other friends. Not only might this stoke a sense of competition in her, but it’ll also make you seem more independent and attractive. Plus, when you’re not available quite as often, she’ll start to miss you — and perhaps even think about how much you mean to her.


Be intentional about how you spend your time.

If the ways in which you bond with her involve listening to her guy problems, giving her dating advice, running errands, or anything else she could be doing with her girlfriends, it’s time to make an intentional shift in how you spend time together.


Next time she invites you over for any of these kinds of activities, you can pretend to be busy, or you can suggest a different hangout option entirely. Specifically, you’ll want to start suggesting things that feel more date-like. Drinks after work, dinner on a Friday night, checking out that new exhibit at a local museum — these are the types of outings that will allow her to see you in a whole new light.


Don’t underestimate direct communication.

Ideally, once you’ve built up a more flirty dynamic, the object of your affection will start to be able to see you as more than just a friend. Things will naturally progress once you start going on real dates, and if you can read the vibe well enough to make a move, it’s easy to seal the deal by going in for a kiss. But sometimes, no matter how many hints you drop, it’s hard to tell whether or not your friend is picking up on your advances or reciprocates your feelings.


In those cases, it’s time to just be upfront with her. She may be fearful of compromising or losing your friendship, and of course, she may not feel the same way. That’s why it’s important to present your proposition as a question, rather than pressure her into expressing whether or not she’s on the same page. For example, you might say, “I’ve been finding myself wanting a little more than friendship here — but what do you want?” or “I’d really love to take this a step further with you, is that something you’re interested in?” This gentler approach is less likely to put her on the defensive or make her feel like she’s backed into a corner. Then, she can be more honest and forthcoming with you, too.


Are you taking a risk here? Sure. But as they say, no risk — no reward. Studies have proven that people feel more regret about missed romantic opportunities than they do about unsuccessful attempts at asking someone out. Rejection is tough to swallow, but honestly, hiding your true feelings is more painful in the long run. And if you’re feeling anxious about making the transition out of the friend zone — I can help. I’ve coached countless men (and women) through this process step by step, and no matter your situation, I can not only give you pointers that will boost your confidence, and up your flirting game, but also increase the odds that you get out of the dreaded friend zone and into that special someone’s heart.


If you always wind up in the friend zone, I can help. That’s one of my favorite issues to work with men on, and it can be an easy fix.  You can definitely make this a problem of the past. Don’t go your entire life hearing your love interest just wants to be friends. I can tell you why the bad boys get the women, and you don’t. Email us here and say good bye to the friend zone.  


HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, Dylan McDermott, Charles Durning, Robert Downey Jr., Holly Hunter, Cynthia Stevenson, Anne Bancroft, Geraldine Chaplin, 1995, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

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