Navigating the dating scene is tough enough as it is, but it’s even worse when your love interest sees you as a friend instead of a potential romantic partner. Yup, we’re talking about the dreaded friend zone.
There are countless Reddit threads, YouTube videos, and articles devoted to helping dudes make the leap from friend to boyfriend. Few have pulled off this elusive feat, but with the right mindset and a little luck, you can make it happen.
However, before you devise an elaborate plan to escape the friend zone, you have to get intimately familiar with the territory.
What Is the Friend Zone Exactly?
The friend zone is the frustrating situation in which one person craves romance (and most likely sex), but the other person just wants to be friends. Traditionally, this refers to women who friend-zone their male friends, but anybody can get friend-zoned regardless of the relationship dynamic.
There are two subcategories of friend zones. The first is when you have a sexual attraction or romantic feelings towards someone, but it’s unclear whether those feelings are mutual. This type of friend zone is like relationship purgatory: you’re not in a romantic relationship, but you haven’t been rejected either. It may be frustrating, but there’s hope.
Then there’s the type of friend zone where your romantic interest explicitly says you’re a friend and nothing more. This scenario is much harder to climb out of, but we won’t stop you from trying.
Not sure whether you’re in the friend zone? Here are five red flags:
1. They say “You’re like a brother to me” or “You’re like my best friend.”
2. They don’t make an effort to look nice when they’re around you.
3. They try to set you up with someone else.
4. They vent to you about their dating issues.
5. There’s never any sexual tension.
If you misread your friend zone situation, you could ruin your chances of escaping. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you try getting out.
The #1 Mistake Guys Make When Trying to Escape the Friend Zone
Traditional dating advice says to be upfront with your love interest and tell them exactly how you feel. But that doesn’t fly when you’re trying to get out of the friend zone.
We’re no relationship experts, but we estimate there’s a 0.03% chance that pouring your heart out will win your crush over. This isn’t a rom-com movie—it’s the real world, dude.
Spilling all of your feelings and pleading your case to become more than friends will make you look desperate. Some might even call you a simp, AKA the “nice guy” who rolls out the red carpet for women without getting anything in return.
There’s nothing less sexy than guilting or shaming someone into a relationship or sex. Don’t try to persuade this person like you’re a used car salesman. The key is making yourself an object of desire so they come to you.
Here’s how it’s done.
How to Get Out of the Friend Zone
Let’s cover five ways to get out of the friend zone that won’t make you look like a creep or a simp.
1. Start with Self Improvement
Half the battle in winning someone over is confidence, swag, big dick energy—whatever you want to call it. How do you think Pete Davidson landed Kim Kardashian?
If you give off friend zone energy, you’ll get the same thing in return. The only solution is to jack up your confidence and become the best version of yourself: make some gains in the gym, start manscaping, maybe even read a book.
Your goal here is to get your prospect to see you in a new light. Then you can start plotting your friend zone getaway.
2. Let Her See Other People Are Into You
People want things that other people want. It’s called the mimetic theory of desire, which was demonstrated by some psychologist way smarter than us. The theory applies to the dating world too: if your suitor notices other people taking interest in you, they might reconsider your position in the friend zone.
Tread lightly here: you don’t want them to think you’re off the market. You just want them to acknowledge you’re a catch. A little reverse psychology never hurt anyone—just don’t become a full-blown sociopath.
3. Have One of Their Close Friends Vouch for You
Most people trust recommendations they get from good friends, whether they’re talking about stuff to buy or people to date. Tap into this trend by having your crush’s friend vouch for you as a potential romantic partner.
If they get the hard sell from you or a stranger, their guard will be up. But if someone they trust says something like, “I don’t know how he’s not taken, I’d date him in a heartbeat,” they might start to see you as more than a friend.
4. Don’t Be So Predictable
Mystery is sexy. If you spend a lot of time with your crush or text them nonstop throughout the day, pull back a bit. Wait a few hours to respond, maybe even cancel plans to hang out. Don’t be a dick, but don’t be the nice guy who follows them around like a puppy.
5. Communicate with Body Language
There are subtle differences between how we act around friends and how we act around people we think are hot.
For example, leaning in when you talk, uncrossing your arms, and extra eye contact all signal: “Let’s be more than friends.” If they reciprocate, you’ve got the green light. Just be careful when it comes to physical contact, or else you might come off like a pervert.
Also, pay attention to how they act around you—mirroring body language is another way to subtly convey affection.
When to Abandon Your Friend Zone Escape Plan
Believe it or not, you probably won’t be able to seal the deal with every single person your heart desires. If your crush calls you out on your schemes or straight up says she’s not into you, back off. Remember, desperation is a turn-off.
Things can go one of two ways when you abort your friend zone escape mission. You two stay friends and proceed like this whole charade never happened (awkward) or the friendship dissolves because you can’t handle the sexual tension.