Ways to Avoid Falling Into the Dreaded Friend Zone

It most often happens with men, but even women are not immune to the risks of being in a “friend zone”. Popularized by a highly popular US television sitcom Friends, a friend zone implies a virtual zone in a platonic relationship where a person is strictly within the confines of a friendship with no possibility of romance. In fact, a person in the friend zone is, oftentimes, a romantic counselor and finds access to every place in the other individual’s life except between the sheets.

For someone who was hoping to start with a friendship with the sole intention of gaining trust and then taking the relationship to the next level, being trapped in a friend zone can be an extremely frustrating prospect. Adding salt to the wounds is having to watch your dearly beloved winking at you while swaying in the arms of another lover. If you’re the “best friend”, then you’ll need superhuman self-control while having to hear all the steamy details after his/her romantic outing. Ouch! But there are ways out of this conundrum that effectively threatens your friendship and wanes the remotest chance of developing romantic feelings.

Steering Clear of the Friend Zone
If you’ve had past experiences of being stuck in a friend zone and wish to start anew with your latest love interest, here are some strategic tactics that may help you avoid being seen as “just a friend”.

Tips for Guys to Avoid the Friend Zone

Turn On Your Flirt Quotient

This comes easily to most guys but the key is to time your actions perfectly and keep it brief. A friend will hold or hug much longer (and perhaps more sincerely) than a flirt! Remember that your intention is not to be insensitive but bring in that “distance” or “line of control”, so that she gets the hint that you’re not comfortable with all the touchy-feely unless you’re in a relationship that warrants that!
Take advantage of lonely times with her and drop the subtle clues without getting too physical. Try to work up just enough chemistry to leave her thinking about what just happened.

Ensure you Have a Chance
If the woman is already attracted to another guy and heading towards a serious relationship with him, don’t slide yourself in between them. If eventually they’re not meant for each other and you’re willing to wait, you may be blowing your own chances by being a jerk.

Don’t be a Doormat

This is true for any relationship, but more relevant if you’re looking for a romantic future with a person. Don’t be too available for running errands, helping out or as a shoulder to cry on. Use your discretion because this is different for every relationship. You don’t want to come across as a callous dork but you also have “other engagements” that you cannot just drop and rush to be with her at all times. Be there for her at times and at other times, not so much.

Don’t be an Agony Aunt
Is she sharing her every emotional struggle with you, especially concerning guys? Don’t counsel her to the point that she sees you as her father figure to turn to in case of failed love affairs or guys being mean to her. Be supportive and protective, but don’t offer too much advice, and state your views in a matter-of-fact manner. You may use this opportunity to convey subtly that you’re not all that comfortable discussing her other love liaisons.

Man Up a Bit
Don’t switch off your chivalrous instincts, instead grow one if you don’t already have it. Even in this day and age of active feminism and gender equality, women are invariably turned on by reasonable acts of chivalry that are not over the top.

So don’t give a lot of thought and be self-judgmental about say, giving her a ride to the airport or being present in a time of severe personal loss. However, be careful not to become her regular “on-call” chauffeur or a regular babysitter to her sister’s kids. Quit walking her dog every evening.

Date Other Women

Unless you’re almost sure she’s attracted to you and you’re close to making her your girlfriend soon, be normal around other women. Look around, date other women like you would do normally. Not to sound like scorning your lady love, but you can watch her reactions and look for that streak of jealousy just to reassure yourself that she is at least a slight bit interested. Everything is fair in love including using her jealousy to your advantage.
Again, don’t overdo this or you’ll scare her away for good.

Pop the Question
The above techniques are for consciously avoiding the friend zone. But sooner or later you have to quit trying and face up to the results of your strategic tactics. Yes, find the right moment and let her know your true feelings. Do this as soon as you know she also may have the same feelings. If you’re not sure after all that while, well, there’s only one way to find out. You may be potentially throwing away a friendship, but then that’s not what you were looking for anyway, right?

Tips for Girls to Avoid the Friend Zone
Well, most of the above tips with the exception of being chivalrous and manning up would work for girls as well. In addition, here are some more tips for the women who want to avoid the friend zone.

Dress Up

If you’re hanging around the guy (with secret desires in your heart) in your gym clothes or night clothes just because you think it’s alright, think again. Not to undermine your need to feel comfortable, but if you want him to take notice of your feminine charm, dress up like a girl at least around him, at least most of the time! If he has never thought of you “in that way”, surprise him and make him aware of the very desirable woman standing before him that he already knows.

Stop Whining
If you don’t want to be stuck in the friend zone, keep your sob stories for your girlfriends, unless you can really pull off a damsel-in-distress episode without making a fool out of yourself.

Acknowledge His Presence

If you want him to be more than just your friend, indicate your intention in a subtle fashion. While
dating other men and showing outwardly that he is just another guy is alright for starters, once you have his attention, let him know that you are aware of his presence, make an impression, flirt your way to physical intimacy, work your body language and there, you have him and not as a friend!
Women have a way of overdoing sentiments, emotions and indulging in dramatic histrionics. Exercise some restraint or you will find him gone as soon as he arrives!
There are several instances where people graduate from pure platonic friendship to lifelong marital relationships. There’s no rule that you can’t be romantically involved with your best friend. But if you find yourself in relationships where you’re constantly being sidelined to witness intimate relationships between your love interest and other people, then you have to tweak your attitude just a bit and follow the recommendations given in this article.