How to Escape the Friend Zone

Tamsen Butler
friends greeting each other

You start spending time getting to know someone because you're interested in them but then suddenly you realize a bona fide friendship has formed -or, at least, the other person has started viewing you as a friend. You may feel as though your chances of having a romantic relationship are gone thanks to the dreaded "friend zone," but for some couples, this phase is merely a step toward a lasting relationship.

How to Get Out of the Friend Zone

It's unlikely that your relationship status with the other person will spontaneously change without some effort on your part. If the other person has settled comfortably into a scenario where you're a friend, they may need some nudging to start seeing you in a different light. An important thing to remember is that none of your friends - opposite gender or otherwise - are obligated to be anything more than your friend. Someone being nice or flirty with you does not equal a guarantee of eventual intimacy.

Read the Signs

Does it actually feel as though the other person is attracted to you as more than a friend? Do they attempt to spend time with you one-on-one and make you feel special? If so, pay attention to whether they do that with everyone else too. If someone makes you feel special, it may be because they think you're special, or it may be because they make a habit of trying to help the people in their lives feel special. If you feel as though the other person may have feelings for you, or you feel as though the two of you are compatible and would make a great couple, move forward in your efforts to get out of the friend zone.

No Games

If you set out to make the other person jealous by aggressively pursuing other people in an attempt to show how desirable you are, this may have a negative impact instead. The other person may see you as someone incapable of a mature, dedicated relationship. Allow the other person to see who you truly are; this will make it easier to move from friendship to a couple.

Open Communication

You can't be upset about being in the friend zone if you've never made it clear that you want more - or, worse yet, if you've tried hard to hide your feelings from the other person. You're going to have to reveal your hopes of a relationship to the other person. A grand, romantic gesture may be too jostling if it comes out of nowhere, so an honest discussion is probably the best tactic. Reveal to them that while you value your friendship you can't help but think there might be more between the two of you. Listen to their perspective; do they feel the same way about you, or might they have the potential to?

Ask for a Date

Start the new step in your relationship as many relationships begin - with a date. It may feel awkward at first to ask your friend for a date, but it's a tangible way to not only announce your intentions but also to feel out if there may be a romantic future between the two of you. Asking for a date doesn't have to be weird; try something along these lines:

  • "You and I should try spending some time together just the two of us. May I take you to dinner Friday night on a date?"
  • "I have an extra ticket to the game tomorrow. Will you be my date?"
  • "Let me take you on a date this weekend."

If the date feels right, use that time to discuss the potential of a relationship together. "This date feels great and we should do this again. What do you think about moving into 'dating' instead of just being friends?"

From Friend Zone to Friends With Benefits?

Do you want to slip out of the friend zone and slip into a relationship, or do you want to merely have a sexual relationship with no strings attached? If your sole intent is to enjoy a "friend with benefits" agreement, make your intentions clear. In this instance, letting the other person know you what you want - and what you expect out of the arrangement - is crucial so as not to confuse them about your intentions.

Decide All or Nothing

The problem with working your way out of the "friend zone" is two-fold. Not only do you risk the embarrassment of rejection, but you also might lose your friendship entirely - especially if you decide the friendship isn't valuable and the only way you want contact with the person is if you're together as a couple. Decide if the risk is worth it, but know that any demands you make of "if I can't have you as a couple, I don't want you" will likely be the end to any relationship you have.

How to Escape the Friend Zone