You want your friend to become your romantic interest. You’re also painfully aware that this situation could get really awkward really fast. How do you move from just friends to something more? What can you say or do to tell how you feel without coming off like a creep? How to get out of the friend zone without torpedoing a great friendship?
Let’s talk about it. For this, it’s important to understand what the friend zone is, why so many women cringe at the notion that their guy friends think of themselves as being friend-zoned, and what you can do to learn how to get out of the friend zone.
Before you learn how to get out of the friend zone, you need to understand what that means. The way you think about the friend zone determines whether you have a healthy view of friendships between men and women.
Let’s do a quick test. Which one of these statements resonates with you most?
The friend zone is:
a) Any friendship between a guy and a girl when the hook up failed
b) When a woman takes advantage of man’s friendship and never intends to have sex
c) A situation where a guy wants a friend to become a romantic interest but her feelings are unclear
d) When a girl doesn’t understand what a nice guy her friend is and she needs to be convinced to date him
If your thoughts about being in the friend zone come from a place of resentment or entitlement, please step back and reevaluate. It’s important to be neutral about the friend zone before you can get out of it.
Haven’t you noticed that the term friend zone has some baggage attached to it? Like being friend-zoned is always something negative. While there is nothing wrong with developing romantic feelings for a friend, many women have had disappointing experiences in these situations.
Why so? Because both sides feel hurt. The person who wants a romantic relationship with a friend experiences the pain of the dreaded friend zone. But the person who denied someone’s romantic interest doesn’t feel OK. Because they realize that every kind of thing a friend ever did was for the sole purpose of having sex. It was not sincere, and that hurts.
It’s one thing to fall in love with your friend. It’s another thing to become a go-to guy and good pal to a woman because you think that will get you access to her body. Always value the person and their friendship more than your desire to escape the friend zone.
You want out of the friend zone, but how far do you have to go to enter the world of romantic relationships? If she sees you as a someone to date, that’s great. But if you are just a friend, they you have your work cut out for you.
Here are signs that she only views the two of you as those friends but not boyfriend material:
Does they call you when they want to rant about their romantic interest? Have they ever asked you for gift ideas for someone’s upcoming birthday? If so, you are starting things firmly entrenched in the friend zone.
The only time you interact with them is in group situations. If this applies to your relationship, you can assume they are not interested romantically in you. They may think you are a great person, but you are definitely just a pal.
When people like someone, there are certain topics of conversation they will avoid – like bodily functions, for example. They’ll also avoid exposing things that embarrass them.
You are called a pal, a brother, a sister or a soulmate. All these things are a clear indication that they don’t see you as a potential partner. You have a long way to go before you’re going to be seen as a potential romantic partner. Welcome to the friend zone.
You decide to put yourself out there with a bit of mild flirting. Their response is lukewarm. You don’t know if your efforts have gone over their head, or if they are deliberately not responding.
In any case, you don’t need a certified relationship coach to tell you that they just don’t see the possibility of a romantic relationship with you.
This is a tough one. If they actively put a stop to anything that would lead to some alone time to you, they doesn’t think of you as relationship material.
Worse, there could be something more going on. If they need mutual friends to act as a buffer, they might not feel comfortable around you. Even if you’re romantically interested, it may be best to back off a bit. Don’t create a situation where you can’t even remain friends.
If there is any kind of romantic or sexual attraction there, she’ll want to look their best around you. Look for them suddenly wearing makeup and nicer clothes than usual.
That said, there is one big caveat here. People dress up and look nice for themselves and their female friends as often as they do for the gaze of men. Take this as a hint that she might be interested in a date or a bit of flirting. Don’t assume that her efforts mean she wants you.
Physical touch happens between friends. But, if it’s limited to a fist bump or high-five, you have definitely been friend zoned.
On the other hand, if they let you touch linger for a bit, that could be her way of flirting with you. Pay attention for other signs like prolonged eye contact.
Related reading: The Art of Body Language: How to Guess What Your Dater Is Thinking
The mark of a close friend is being familiar enough to tease mercilessly. Friend groups will roast one another about anything ranging from physical traits to embarrassing teenage misadventures. Sometimes, it’s your turn in the fire.
When that happens, how does they react? If they actively take part in the teasing, your relationship status is definitely stuck in the friend zone. But if a woman goes quiet or even takes up for you a bit, she might see you in a bit of a romantic light.
You realize you have feelings for her. Now what? Can you get her to realize that there is hope for something special between the two of you? There are no guarantees, but these tips could help you escape the friend zone.
There is a better-than-average chance that she is never going to see you as a possible partner. That could be because she just doesn’t have those strong feelings for you. It may also be that she doesn’t want to make things awkward among your other friends by introducing something like this into the friend group dynamic. The point is, your place in the friend zone might be permanent.
You need to be okay with this. You need to be more than okay with this. Because it’s much better to be in the friend zone than it is to be kicked out of the friend group for making things weird or acting like a jerk to someone who is supposed to be one of your close friends.
Shoot your shot, but if she just wants to be friends, back off. Don’t continue pursuing things, and don’t sulk about it either.
Related reading: The Best Flirty Conversation Starters
Your escape from the friend zone won’t come from some big romantic gesture. That’s just going to weird her out. Instead, start with a bit of flirting. Make eye contact with her, and hold her gaze for an extra second or two. Then, gauge her response. Does she seem a little interested, or does she make it clear that what she wants between you is exclusively non-romantic? If yes, you can proceed. If not, respect that this person feels uncomfortable with moving things in that direction.
Related reading: How to Flirt With a Girl – And Get a Date!
Sometimes, the biggest mistake is acting out of fear. If you are interested in pursuing a relationship with her, the best approach may be the direct one. Yes, it’s nerve-wracking, but so is bungee jumping. Once you take the leap, things can get really exciting. At least take some time to consider talking to her about your feelings. If she’s a true friend, she’ll appreciate your honesty and be flattered. Just be sure you respect her answer no matter what it is.
Related reading: Coloring the Grey Zone – Is Flirting Cheating?
Read the room. Whether you try the direct approach or test the waters with a compliment, make sure your timing is right. Consider the current topic of conversation, the vibe in the room, and what she might have going on in her life right now. You don’t want to come off as an insensitive jerk, and you don’t want to earn the frustration and exasperation of the rest of your friend group.
Related reading: Right Person Wrong Time – It is Really All About Timing
You made your move, now let it go. Yeah, it’s basic psychology that you’re going to be tempted to review every single thing you said or did, but that won’t help anything. It’s really in her hands now. So, stop second-guessing yourself. She may see you in a different light. She may make it clear you are only a friend.
If you want this person to continue to be in your life, and have a positive relationship with them, let everything else unfold naturally. If it doesn’t work out they way you planned, maybe this wasn’t meant to be your special someone after all.
Related reading: Moving Forward: Your Guide on How to Stop Loving Someone
Men, particularly straight men, are often told to go for what they want in life. That’s good advice if you’re working towards those gains at the gym or you want that promotion at work. It’s the absolute worst advice if you hope to have a good relationship with a person who has just told you they are not interested. Stop treating women like a product to be obtained. You won’t get a new partner, you’ll just lose a good friend.
Related reading: When No Response is a Response – How to Know
Sometimes, men fail to realize the power of sincerity and quiet confidence. Women appreciate a guy who can be himself, not one who needs to posture or adopt a persona to impress people. So, start with relaxed, friendly body language. Smile, and engage her in some interesting convo. That will help you take the first steps out of the friend zone.
What if you don’t feel confident? Fake it ’til you make it. Try this. Put on your best clothes for just one party or one might on the town. Make an effort to talk to her. You don’t have to ask her out just yet. Maybe try to learn something about her, or get her number to text her directly later. Any little step counts, and this will build up your confidence.
Related reading: Double Texting in New Relationships – When It’s Not Cool
You may have been told that the best way to land the ideal partner is by engaging in conquest culture tactics. There’s certainly more than one YouTube channel where a so-called relationship expert tells you that your end game should be to diminish the confidence of women to make them feel dependent on you.
First, you shouldn’t do that with any woman, but especially not a friend. Also, it’s just not how human behavior works. Instead, treat her with respect. Don’t engage in begging or other creepy behavior. Instead, come as the best version of yourself, and give her space to do the same by respecting her as a person. Otherwise, you’ll never get that next date.
Related reading: How to Play Hard to Get
This may not help you get the person you are pursuing, but it will allow you to build up a large circle of new friends and potential lovers. Don’t make the mistake of putting all your eggs in one basket when it comes to your social relationships. Even if she keeps you in that dreaded zone of friendship, you will open yourself up to so many other girls that could be romantic interests.
This could be disappointing. Make sure you are ready for that. You’re feelings matter too. So, be prepared to lean on your friends if you find out that she’s dating another guy or just isn’t very interested in you. Only you know what you are capable of handling in terms of rejection. If that blow is going to be too hard, take a step back.
If you can get just one person in your group to talk you up, that will increase your chances of success. Tell a trusted friend or two how you feel. They can make an effort to brag about you a bit, and they can give you some feedback on how she feels.
Here’s something to consider. It’s an honor to be someone’s friend. These relationships can be just as deep and meaningful as your romantic partnerships. Think twice before you ruin that connection in your efforts to get out of the friend zone. Remember that she is a person who gets to make her own decisions. Don’t create an uncomfortable situation for her or anybody else.
Also, while you can go for it in the pursuit of love, you aren’t the only person who is going to be impacted by this. Think ahead to a potential breakup. Will your pals feel the need to take sides? It may be worth figuring things out if this is truly love, but don’t risk the entire friend circle because you’re feeling horny.
Here’s how you make it out of the friend zone without being a jerk. Focus on being a good person. Be considerate of her feelings and of the friend group dynamic. Put your best foot forward, but also be yourself. You want her to agree to date the person you really are. You just might get out of the friend zone. If nothing else, you will stand out as the kind of pal everybody wants.