The friend zone… many of us have found ourselves in it at some point.
We’re hopelessly in love with, or majorly crushing on, one of our friends.
Friendships can form a great foundation for a romantic relationship, but it can be very hard to make the transition from ‘just friends’ to something more.
Bearing in mind that some friends will only ever want to be your friend, we’ve put together some great ways to test the waters to see if you can take things to the next level.
What Is A Friend Zone?
The reality of the friend zone is simply being someone’s friend while having more romantic feelings toward them that you want to explore…
…and they don’t.
If you’re wondering whether or not you’re stuck in the friend zone, it means that you have a friend who you want to be more than just your friend and they either have no idea about it or aren’t interested in you that way.
There are ways to try to break out of the friend zone, which involve admitting your feelings, showing yourself in a new light that may make them see you differently, and doing your best to become their girlfriend or boyfriend.
First, you might want to ask how you ended up in the friend zone to begin with…
Friendships strike up for all sorts of reasons, and attraction can be one, even if it is later pushed to one side.
You may have started a conversation with someone you find physically attractive, only to find that they’re in a relationship.
You enjoy their company so stick at it, becoming friends and spending more time together.
Your feelings of attraction may not go away and that makes things hard – you think they’re attractive and you like their personality, what are the chances?!
Your attraction may even build into love over time.
But perhaps the timing is never quite right (you’re both seeing other people at different times) or the situation is complicated (they’re your other friend’s ex) and you end up being ‘just friends’ with them.
You may have been friends for a while before any feelings cropped up and you find yourself fulfilling the role of your friend’s partner, almost by accident…
You cook together, go on ‘platonic‘ date nights, look after each other when you’re sick, and give each other emotional support.
This can feel really confusing. You may read into the situation very differently to them. They may simply be thinking “what a great friend!”
It may be that you already have some level of sexual relationship with a friend, but want to make it more of an emotional bond, as well. Wanting to transition from ‘friends with benefits’ to partners can be tricky, but it is possible….
Your friend may have no idea about how you feel – to them, you’re just a good friend and they enjoy spending time with you.
Of course, they may be feeling the same way about you but don’t want to bring it up in case you feel differently.
Sometimes, it’s very hard to gauge, so it’s all about planning, timing, and respect.
How Do You Escape The Friend Zone?
So, you’ve realized that you have feelings for a friend who doesn’t appear (on the surface) to have them for you.
You need to decide whether or not trying to transition to something more is worth it.
Remember that it may not go the way you planned – your friendship is potentially at risk here, so think about what you might be losing.
Of course, positive thinking is the way forwards, but this is a big step for both of you, regardless of how things end.
Take some time to really think about what you’re going to do and talk it over, in confidence, with other close friends or family members whom you really trust.
How To Make A Move On A Friend
Your friend is probably very used to seeing you as just a friend at this point.
You want to present yourself as a potential new partner in the best possible way, rather than just launching yourself (figuratively and literally) at someone!
Plan it out so that you’re broaching the subject in a mature, caring way.
If you do it after a few drinks or when you’re going through a very stressful time, your friend may assume that you’re just reaching out to them out of loneliness or a need to be comforted and loved.
Judge the timing before you make the first move. This is where it gets slightly harder, as there are so many different approaches you could take…
Talk It Out
One approach is to be completely open and have an honest conversation with your friend about how you’re feeling.
Find a good time, sit somewhere you won’t be disturbed, and bring up what you’ve been feeling. Indeed, not making your feelings and your intentions clear is one of the biggest reasons a person ends up in the friend zone to begin with.
You’ll really need to judge the situation here – if they seem very surprised or a bit uncomfortable, don’t go into loads of detail about your deep feelings and how you’ve been in love with them for years!
Flattery is great, but you don’t want to overwhelm them.
You also don’t want to make it seem as though you’ve been hiding these feelings from them for a long time, as they may then start to question your motives for certain things during your friendship…
“If you were in love with me when I was with my ex, is that why you suggested they weren’t right for me?”
Make sure you’re being clear without going OTT!
Make A Move
Sometimes, physically making a move can be the right thing to do.
Of course, you really need to be confident that it’s going to be mutually enjoyed and well received – the last thing you want is to make someone feel uncomfortable, threatened, or pressured.
Again, think hard about the time and place before you do anything like this!
Going in for a kiss is a good way to gauge how the other person is feeling – you don’t need to actually touch them for them to pick up the cues.
They’ll realize that you’re moving in to kiss them if you give off the right body language and they can then choose if they lean into it or pull away.
Whatever happens, it’ll lead to a conversation – keep your cool either way, as you don’t want to make them nervous and also don’t want to make them feel guilty if they choose not to kiss you back.
You may also like (article continues below):
- How To Tell Someone You Like Them Without It Being Awkward
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- 9 Signs A Guy Likes You But Is Scared To Admit It
Sometimes, you just have to turn to Hollywood for advice!
Making a big gesture is something that a lot of people associate with love, so if you do it for your friend, they’ll click very quickly that you have feelings for them.
This really depends on the type of person they are, and you obviously know your friend pretty well if you’re experiencing these romantic feelings toward them.
Judge what they’d like without feeling embarrassed – would they want something in public, could you make a big deal of asking them to an event, or should you leave rose petals and chocolates in the living room for when they come over?
Think of stereotypically romantic gestures and go from there…
Champagne is a pretty clear indicator that romance is on the cards, as is a cozy movie night in front of a fire, a fancy dinner date at the restaurant they love (but never get to go to), or showing up with a personalized gift that you know they’ve been tracking down for years (first editions of favorite books with a handwritten note inside are pretty good choices).
We’d suggest steering away from throwing stones at their window in the middle of the night, for obvious reasons…
Play It Cool
On the other hand, playing it cool can be a pretty good way to escape the friend zone.
If the friend you have feelings for is having their emotional needs met by you already, they probably have no desire to change the situation.
You may already look after them, give them all the attention and affection they need, and be 99% a partner to them.
Because they’re getting all of this from you already, they don’t feel the need to change things or are less likely to see you as a potential partner, and maybe more of a best friend, for example.
By stepping back, you’re taking a level of control that you’ve not previously displayed.
This shift in the power dynamic may alert your friend to how you’re feeling or, even more importantly, how they’re feeling.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all.
By having some distance, they’ll start to realize just how much they rely on you and this may cause them to see you in a new light – a romantic light!
Rely On Each Other
It’s likely that, if you have all the feelings for someone, you’re very involved in their life.
How involved in your life are they, though?
It might be that you’re the one putting in all the effort – you run around helping them out, doing errands, supporting them when they’re having a hard time.
This means that they essentially hold the power in your friendship.
As mentioned above, a shift in this kind of thing can really open someone’s eyes to what they actually have, rather than just sticking the label ‘friendship’ on it.
Try to get them more involved in your life, ask them to help you out more often and they’ll start to get more invested in what you’re doing.
The more invested they are, the more likely they are to be interested.
By developing a more mutual friendship, you can really start to work toward creating a relationship – and a good one, at that!
Learning When To Let Go
At some point, admitting defeat is best for everyone involved.
While you can try to show yourself in a new light and encourage your friend see you differently and be more romantically inclined toward you, you can’t control how people feel.
It may be that things just aren’t meant to happen between you and this person – and that’s okay.
We’re firm believers in things happening for a reason, so, if you made a move on a friend and it didn’t work out, it just wasn’t meant to be.
Fate will have someone even better in store for you – someone who feels the same way as you and who will be able to make you happy in the ways you want.
Of course, it can be hard to move back from the friend zone to simply being someone’s friend.
Once you’ve tried to create a relationship with someone, or when you’ve spent so long thinking about it, it’s very difficult to switch those feelings off.
You’re letting go of the idea that something would work between the two of you…
You’re letting go of the hope and potential that you built up in your mind, so it’s perfectly natural to feel some level of grief, upset, or anger.
Remember that these feelings are healthy, but that you should keep them in check.
You can’t blame someone for not having romantic feelings toward you, and you should avoid making them feel guilty.
They probably already feel some level of guilt as they care about you and want you to be happy, but just don’t feel the spark needed to form a relationship.
If things are feeling uncomfortable between you and your friend, take some time apart.
They’ll understand if you drift away for a while, so long as you let them know why!
Explain that you need a bit of space to start seeing them as just a friend again, and stress that you’re doing it for the sake of your friendship because you value it, and them, so much.
Taking this time apart will help you deal with your emotions around the situation and will assist you in moving on, which you will absolutely manage to do, however hard it seems right now.
Stick to your word – if you’ve agreed to move past this and go back to being friends, you have to commit to that.
It would be very unfair on your friend if you bring this situation back up again and again, as they’ll start to feel uncomfortable and guilty all over again.
Support their new relationships as much as you can as this will help you normalize them.
Seeing someone you had or have feelings for with someone new can be tricky at first, but by having a healthy interest in it, you’ll learn to be okay with it soon enough.
Don’t bring your feelings up months down the line, or when you’ve had a few drinks, as this adds unnecessary pressure to a friendship that’s already been through a rocky patch.
Stick to your decision to move on and do your best to get back to that friendship you loved so much!
Escaping The Friend Zone With Respect
Make sure you’re being respectful to the other person throughout all of this.
People are entitled to see their friends as just friends, and this applies to every gender.
If someone doesn’t want to become sexually or romantically involved with you, they are well within their rights to stick to that.
Trying to pressure someone into becoming more than a friend is never okay!
There are so many things that could be holding someone back from becoming more than just your friend, and you may never find out what they are.
The important thing is to be honest, respectful, and honor the basis of your friendship – you care about them and you want them to be happy.