You’ve landed dead center in the friend zone, and now you’re wondering: Is it possible to get out of the friend zone?
Will your crush ever see you as something more?
We won’t lie: It’s not easy — but it can and has been done.
So today, we’re looking at escaping the friend zone.
What are the clues you’ve been “zoned”? What’s the likelihood of breaking the barrier?
We’ve got romance tips for everybody, so prepare to take notes.
What Does It Mean To Be in the Friend Zone and Is it Permanent?
Being “friend-zoned” means having unreciprocated romantic feelings for a buddy.
Anyone who’s been through the experience knows it’s rough on the heart. Moreover, getting out of the friend zone isn’t easy.
But if you look more objectively at the situation, being in the friend zone isn’t always terrible. After all:
- Many friendships blossom into romances.
- You can gather “insider” information.
- The two of you already get along on some level.
- You get to be around someone you enjoy.
We want to slip in a note of caution, though. It’s impossible to make someone love or lust over you. In many ways, attraction is instinctual. We like who we like. Rhyme and reason have little to do with desire.
So try not to set yourself up for disappointment.
Billions of people walk this Earth.
The chances of eventually finding a cover for your proverbial pot are high.
And even if you don’t, life is still a fascinating journey.
Please don’t waste it pining after people who don’t appreciate your awesomeness.
Fun Fact: Joey Tribbiani coined the term “friend zone” in a 1994 episode of Friends called “The One with the Blackout.”
7 Clues You Are in the Friend Zone
How can you tell if you’ve landed in the friend zone?
We’ve got seven tips.
1. They Tell You (In Not So Many Words)
In the first season of Downton Abbey, there’s a scene where Edith (plain-faced, prickly aristocratic woman of marriageable age) asks cousin Matthew Crawley (eligible, handsome bachelor) to go church sightseeing (hot stuff!).
He quickly offered a rejoinder that went something like: “Yes, we should invite my mother, your sister, and anyone else who wants to come along.”
Don’t feel bad for Edith. She eventually lives happily ever after with an outrageously wealthy man who loves her dearly. But the scene is a classic example of friend-zoning.
Another version of friendly rejection may sound like, “I want to find someone just like you, but not you, ya know. I would never want to ruin our friendship.”
2. They Don’t Rush To Get Back to You
When someone likes you romantically, they’re usually all over your messages. The second you send a text, you get one back. If you call, they pick up immediately.
But things aren’t quite the same when someone sees you as a friend. It may take them days — even weeks — to return your call, text, or email.
3. You Have One-Sided Conversations
When you’re with your crush, are you the one who always keeps the conversation going? Do you ask questions about them, but they rarely ask questions about you?
If so, it indicates that they see you as a friend. But not always.
Sometimes, shy people may behave this way, even when they’re interested in someone. So use contextual clues. Is your crush shy or just too busy to be bothered getting back to you promptly? Try to be as objective as possible.
4. You’re Their Sounding Board
Do they come to you when they need advice? Are they constantly bugging you about how to attract this person or that one? Are they always stressing what a great PAL you are?
Finding yourself in this position can be frustrating. It can also cause the “rejected friend” to act out when their object d’amour starts dating someone else.
Neediness is never a good look, so avoid this behavior if you want to salvage any chance of your friendship transforming into a romance.
5. Their Ideal Isn’t You
When they talk about their ideal partner, do you fit the bill? If not, you’re probably in the friend zone.
Be careful not to change yourself for the sole purpose of trying to fit their mold. It’ll make you miserable. Some people aren’t for us, and that’s OK — because plenty of others are.
6. They’re Always Talking About Other People
Does your crush constantly talk about how hot other people are — to an annoying degree?
People do this when they sense someone they only like as a friend is romantically interested. It’s a way of letting someone down easily – or just being oblivious.
7. They Tell You (Explicitly)
Earlier, we discussed how someone might drop heavy hints about how they only see you as a buddy. Other folks may tell you, flat out, that they’re in no way attracted to you. Ouch!
It’s tough to handle. Direct criticism and rejection are rough. But going through it builds tremendous character. Plus, be thankful for the certainty.
After all, knowing exactly how your crush feels will prevent you from wasting precious time trying to win them over.
How To Get Out of the Friend Zone: 15 Tips To Help You Escape
Your goal is to escape the friend zone. So we’re breaking down how to get out of the friend zone with a girl or a guy.
1. Analyze and Remove Yourself
The tricky part about giving tips on how to get out of the friend zone with a guy or gal is that every situation is different.
Think about who you are and who they are. What are your preferences, and what are theirs? Do they fit, or are you two oil and water? Assess their previous relationships. Would yours look anything like that? Would it be better or worse?
In other words, give a lot of thought to why you want to date this person. Is it purely because of lust and physical attraction? It’s common when we’re younger, but relationships founded solely on a heat score rarely work.
So if you want to get out of the friend zone, perhaps one way to do it is to be more realistic about your crush. Are they worth it? Or is it just a passing fancy?
If you discover your reasons for wanting a relationship are flimsy, remove yourself from the competition.
2. Redefine Your Category
You’ve thought about everything carefully, and you’re positive you and your love interest would fit together like a hand in (a well-fitting) glove.
So what now? What’s the next step?
The first thing to understand is that it could take a very long time. Prepare for a long haul.
Next, pull back. That’s right; if you want to change your relationship status, start by not being a pal. Make yourself less available. Humans are wired to want what we can’t have. So the more scarce you become, the more reason they have to wonder where you are and hopefully miss you.
Also, stop doing friend things. The goal is to get them to see you in a different light. To accomplish that, you’ll need to approach the relationship from another angle.
3. Focus on Yourself
This is the frustrating point where we tell you to focus on yourself.
We get it. Being told to “focus on yourself” is one of the more annoying pieces of advice. You want answers, not vague platitudes.
But alas, sometimes the best advice is what you don’t want to hear — and focusing on yourself is often the best action plan.
But be careful. Don’t do a dramatic makeover in the hopes of catching someone else’s eye; any changes you make should be for yourself. It’s near impossible to pretend to be someone you’re not for a long time. And those who manage it often suffer intense mental health issues.
Plus, when we focus on building our skill set and becoming better people, sometimes, after working on ourselves, we find we’re not the same person who fell for a friend in the first place.
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4. Get Advice
Don’t be ashamed to get advice. Talk to your friends and family. You may be surprised at how great mom or dad is at doling out love advice.
Plus, they’ll probably love that you trust them enough to talk about your crushes. Who knows, you may discover that mom and dad are a lot cooler than you imagined.
If talking to your parents is out of the question, consider enlisting a relationship coach or therapist. You may even want to try services like RelationshipCoach.com, which focus on fielding love advice questions.
5. Cultivate Patience
Crawling out of the friend zone is not a wham-bam-thankyou-ma’am process. It could take years. So if you’re determined to make a move, don’t expect things to move along swiftly.
Since the process is slow, many people end up falling out of love with their desired paramour.
7. Initiate Interest
Life is long — or short — depending on your thoughts. Either way, sometimes, taking the risk is worth it. In the prophetic words of hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky, you miss100% of the shots you don’t take.
Play it cool. Don’t rush anything. Wait for your moment and be honest. You could be flat-out rejected, or you may discover that your crush has a crush on you too.
And if it doesn’t go your way, at least you know. Sometimes, it’s better to know than spin your wheels for no reason.
8. Get Your Flirt On
If you want to move from friend to lover, you need to become a contender, which means getting your flirt on!
Step one: don’t overdo it. Bad flirting is awkward and could push you further into the zone.
So do your research.
Read articles that break down the fine art of flirtation. Check out some YouTube or TikTok instructional videos.
But whatever you do, don’t listen to advice from the “man-o-sphere” quarter of the Internet. (Word to the wise: Women like to be respected, not nagged.)
9. Build Up Your Crush
Everyone loves to know that others think well of them and notices the small things. Remarking on their positive actions, small wins, and preferences can be a wake-up call for your crush. They may see you in a new light.
Once again, though, we must stress to avoid over-eagerness.
The goal is to trigger their hero instinct, which everyone has. It’s the delightful emotion that dances through our veins upon realizing that we’re wanted and needed by other people. Technically, triggering someone’s hero instinct releases dopamine, a powerful bonding chemical.
In other words, building up your crush is, arguably, a scientifically backed method for boosting yourself out of the friend zone.
10. Make Eye Contact
Building romantic tension with your would-be flame is essential, and eye contact is a potent tool — especially for folks with great eyes. Flaunt those babies.
Also, incorporate some light touching, but nothing too creepy. Respect everyone’s bodily autonomy, and stop if asked.
On the flip side, don’t immediately crucify people who engage in harmless contact.
Some folks are just more tactile. A simple, “I’m sorry; I’m just not touchy-feely” should suffice.
11. Stop Texting Like a Friend
Do you weigh down your texts with emojis? It’s a friendly thing to do. OK, some couples are constantly up in each other’s smartphone grill with hearts and kisses.
But that happens afterward. Be a bit calmer and more sophisticated when you’re still in the courting stage.
Also, don’t always be available. If they text you, let a couple of hours — or even days — go by before you get back to them. There’s a reason why people play hard to get: It works.
12. Be Your Best Self
We cannot repeat enough that you should never change for someone. It’s no way to live.
Improving ourselves and making adjustments after learning something new about how the world works is admirable. But don’t try to be Bettie Boop when you’re Ada Lovelace.
If you’re determined to win someone over, do everything in your power to be the best you can be — confidently. Develop skills, work out, lose weight, and get your groove on.
But never brag.
13. Don’t Act Needy
The worst thing you can do is act clingy. People who require lots of attention are exhausting.
But here’s a word to the wise: ensure you’re not unfairly labeling someone as attention-seeking because they stick out in other ways. Humans tend to do this, and it’s unfair to the “oddball.”
Always triple-check your assumptions.
14. Be Complimentary
Everyone enjoys a compliment, so give them out. It works exceptionally well for people trying to woo ladies. If she looks nice, tell her about it.
But don’t be creepy. If you can tell that something makes another person uncomfortable, stop. Moreover, don’t take it as a rejection. Everyone has a story; you have no idea why flirting may be triggering for another person.
15. Start Dating Other People
It’s normal for people to want things we can’t have. And sometimes, it may take you dating others for your true love to take notice.
And should you dive in, tell the people you date it’s 100% casual for you, so they don’t get their hearts broken. Or just maybe your strategy might lead you to find someone you don’t have to work so hard to get.
If these ideas don’t work for you, you could just bite the bullet and be upfront about your interest. You never know. It could work.
The friend zone is not a fun place to be – rejection, in any form, is painful. But the friend zone isn’t the end zone. Life is all about change. Nothing stays the same.