The best way to get out of the friendzone is to never let yourself get into the friendzone in the first place. The ‘friendzone’ can be described as a ‘relationship mismatch’ where the hopes and intentions of person A do not match up with the hopes and intentions of person B. It is the dreaded place where you find yourself longing for more than friendship, but other person is determined to keep you in the friendship box.
I am aware a lot of people consider it ideal to be friends with someone before you date them – and I totally agree with that premise – but there is a danger of ‘friendzoning’ yourself in the process. There is a very thin line between being someone’s purely platonic friend, and a friend with the potential for more.
It’s the difference between being in the ‘friendzone’, the ‘potential datezone’ and the ‘datezone’.
It’s essentially how you relate, behave and present yourself that can determine what zone you are in. It is how they relate, behave and present themselves to you that can give you clues as to what zone they have placed you in.
So how do you know the difference? And, if you are in the friendzone how do you get out??
there are three steps to figuring out and getting out of the friend zone. They are:
STEP 1: ASSESS
The first step in this process is to assess which ‘zone’ you are currently in by figuring out how the other person behaves around you:
A purely platonic friend:
1) Makes little to no extra effort with you compared to other friends. They do not text you more, talk to you more, make extra plans to see you outside of a group context, etc.
2) Doesn’t really care how attractive you find them. They don’t put in extra effort into their appearance. They will probably walk around in sweat pants and their nastiest (not in a sexy way) attire possible, not wear make-up or perfume/cologne and probably not do anything with their hair either.
3) Treats you like one of the guys/ girls. They will likely let their ‘walls of etiquette’ down (in other words, they are more prone to be gross around you), not care about what you think, talk about other girls or guys with you, make comments on other guys/girls and their attractiveness, etc.
Someone who is potentially romantically interested in you:
1) Makes extra effort with you compared to other friends. They make the extra effort to spend time with you, make plans with you, etc.
2) Cares how attractive you find them, and so put in extra effort into their appearance… most of the time (you will likely get some days where there is a ‘I don’t really care’ attitude and the choice of attire reflects that) – but it won’t be a consistent thing.
3) Treats you like someone special (ie: not just like ‘one of the guys’).
Basically, if you are friendzoned – you will get to see the worst of them.
If you are in the potential date-zone, well… lucky you. You have less work to do than the poor guy or girl who is well and truly friendzoned.
And if you are already in the datezone then you should know it… because you will already be dating the person of your dreams (so why are you reading this article?).
STEP 2: DIGRESS (WITHDRAW and FOCUS ON YOURSELF)
To ‘digress’ in writing terms means to take time to stray from the original subject before returning to the main point. This is what step two is basically all about: To take ‘time out’ from the relationship, and focus your attention fully on yourself before returning back to the point of the entire process: to get out of the friend-zone. Step two is to get your focus off the other person and onto yourself. By this I do not mean ‘become selfish’ – selfishness is never recommended.
By ‘withdrawing’ and ‘focusing on yourself’ I mean this:
1) Take time to reflect on yourself as a person.
Are you the person you want to be? Have you achieved (or are on the path to achieving) the things you want to do in your life? Or are you depending/waiting on this other person in order to achieve happiness and self-completion?
The moment you depend on someone else for wholeness, happiness or contentment, you become extremely needy. Nobody wants to be with someone who is clingy and desperate. Furthermore, you will never achieve these things through someone else. It is completely up to you to get your life together before you try to join it to someone else’s.
A half person can only offer half of themselves because the other half hasn’t been discovered yet – and so the light they shine is dim. A whole person radiates and people are instinctively drawn to them like bugs to the light. Why would someone want to date only half a person when they can date a whole one?
If you do yourself the grand favour of focusing on yourself, pursuing your dreams and becoming the man or woman you are capable of becoming (without the influence of the person you are interested in), you will find yourself in a position where you are irresistible to them – or at least to others around you. This does not mean to take this time to play the field or become self-important or arrogant. It means that you take the time to truly assess and invest in yourself to become the best version of yourself in terms of character, integrity, goals, knowing what you want and going after your dreams. THAT is attractive.
2) Slightly withdraw or decrease the amount of attention you give the person you are interested in.
This is not a means of manipulation, and should not be used to manipulate the other person. This is simply a necessary step to allow you both the time to figure out what you want.
It’s easy to get used to having someone there who constantly validates us and makes us feel good about ourselves. If you have been friendzoned (or even if you are sitting in the potential datezone) you are likely THAT person who is the source of validation to the person you like. In simpler terms – whether they are aware of it or intend to or not – they are keeping you around because you make them feel good about themselves.
Yes, you are being used. They are using you to get a sense of validation.
The problem here is that the levels of commitment are different and you are giving too much of yourself without reciprocation.
SO… either you can stick around an be completely milked of all love and devotion until you are dry and they find someone else, OR you can take a step back and say (to yourself, not to them) “I am more valuable than this and I am not going to give this much of myself to someone who cannot reciprocate.”
The ironic thing is, when this source of validation is removed, it is often missed. This may lead them to rethink their relationship with you and consider a potential for more than just ‘friends’.
STEP 3: PROGRESS
Once you have taken the time to focus on yourself, reassess who you are and what you want out of life as well as withdrawing a bit from the friendzoned relationship, it is essential to figure out:
1) Does the person you have been pining after fit in with you and your life, who you are and what you want out of it without compromising yourself?
2) Have they shown an increase of interest since your ‘withdrawal’?
If yes to the questions, you have the opportunity to either take a risk and bring up the topic of ‘us’, or never speak of it and live not-so-happily-after in the zone of FRIEND.
A friend of mine says that a defining difference between someone who is in the friend-zone or a potential date-zone is the confidence and the intention that you possess in your approach. Someone who is confident in who they are, knows what they want, and is intentional about pursuing it becomes very attractive (so long as it is not forceful or overbearing). Confidence and being intentional is key to progressing from the friend-zone to the date-zone.
Of course, the other person might not feel the same as you do – they might shut you down, say no, or throw a brick at your face. BUT THAT’S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN.
And the BEST that can happen (and will happen) is that they feel the same way, OR that you move on with your life and find someone who loves and values you for you.
There is no point being friends with someone you have feelings for who will never have feelings for you back. THAT, my friend, is a slow and painful death of the soul and spirit that I would not wish on my worst enemy.
Step three requires courage and it requires risk – but it is courage well spent and risk worth taking. In fact, if we are being completely honest here – the biggest risk of all would be NOT taking a risk – because that would mean that you would slowly die in the land of the friend-zone. (Read: How to be Confident (Without Faking))
But by taking the risk of communicating your feelings, you are potentially conquering much more than the friend-zone – you are building yourself up in courage and in experience. You are conquering fear, and learning to do THAT is something that can move you forward towards your dreams, your goals and ultimately the life you know you want.
Whether or not you progress from friendzone to datezone in this particular relationship, spending time with yourself and figuring out who you are and what you want out of life – learning to love and like yourself in the process – will put you on the path towards the right sort of person for you who will appreciate you for being your true self and set you up for the life you have always wanted.
You cannot convince or control someone to like you or love you in the way you want to be liked or loved. But you can control how much you love and like yourself – which affects your ability to love others and be loved by others.
Nobody likes the friend-zone – but with these three steps you should be able to assess your current friend-zone status, digress and do some self-reflecting while allowing them to miss you (absence makes the heart grow fonder), and progress to either the date-zone or onto greener pastures where the potential dating pool is better tailored to the person you really are or have become.
A final note: Don’t let your hurts define your future or who you are. Your ability to heal without bitterness and anger and to keep going is more than you think – and your future is brighter when you let go and move on. Your future as a whole person is BRIGHT, so don’t let a little bruised ego cripple it. Instead – take off the shackles and let yourself fly.
ALSO READ: 5 Dating Tips You Can Learn from Bad Boys