Oh no! You’re in love. But the object of your affection thinks of you as more of a brother or sister than anything else. While it’s notoriously hard to get out of the “friend zone”, if you really want to escape, follow these steps.
Break the “nice guy” or “sweet girl” stereotype. Most guys and girls who find themselves in the “friend zone” are usually susceptible to many of the characteristics of the “nice guy” or “sweet girl” stereotype. This means pretty much someone who wants to avoid making other people uncomfortable at any cost, but does so usually at their own expense by not communicating their own needs. Where you’re romantically attracted to someone, but you don’t want to “pressure” them into a relationship, or “ruin” the friendship by expressing your interest or making a move, you’ll end up holding back in a variety of ways. The trouble is, when you make other people’s feelings more important than your own (instead of finding that happy balance), you’re unconsciously communicating to people that your own feelings don’t matter. This may make it seem like you have low self-worth, which is the opposite of confidence.
- While some people are attracted to ever agreeable mates, the person who assigned you to the “friend zone” probably is not. If nothing else, inaction tells the other person that you’re simply not interested (chances are, even if they never felt attracted to you, they wondered about your intentions).
Stop being needy. One of the reasons you might be interested in this person more than they’re into you is because you are giving off signals that you really want to be in a relationship! You might be coming off as a little desperate, which is quite the attraction killer. You might be rushing things emotionally and maybe physically.You might also be placing this person on a pedestal, because you’re so caught up in the idea of the relationship, that you’re quick to assume this person is “perfect”.
- Examine your own neediness. In one word, relax. There will always be many more encounters besides this one, so stop treating it like the last one you’ll ever have. Also, don’t force yourself to reveal your hopes for intimacy, let your actions display your confidence. Your demeanor should speak for itself.
Think about the difference between a friendship and a romantic relationship. If you think a romantic relationship should just be a great friendship with physical intimacy thrown into the mix, then it’s understandable to look for common ground first, and wait for the physical attraction to kick in sooner or later. But not everyone sees relationships this way. Some people expect a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” to play a particular role in their lives in order for physical attraction to emerge. The person who you want to be more than friends with probably makes a bigger distinction between “friend” and “romantic partner” than you do. Realize that many people (both male and female) expect to be courted in some way. And many psychological issues play out in the relationship arena that don’t ever arise in friendships. Some people, for example, look for a romantic partner who can play more of a parental role than a friend would.
- Figure out what the person you’re pining for wants in a boyfriend or girlfriend. Then decide whether you want to be that for them.
- Note that some people are attracted to toxic relationships. If your love interests keeps getting involved with people who treat them badly, despite your advice, you might just have to accept that they’re working through some issues. You could spend your entire life waiting for them to “see the light” or you could move on and find someone who actually (through their actions, not their words) wants a healthy relationship.
Break the touch barrier. For many people, a big distinction between “friendship” and “relationship” is the way they touch. There are platonic ways to touch someone, and romantic ways, and the boundary is different for different people. But if you’re terrified of touching someone the wrong way, to the extent that you hesitate and never touch them first, your intentions may be good but your “touch paralysis” isn’t helping you at all in the romantic department. Take a few little “touch risks”. Reach for their hands, hair, shoulders, ankles, and back. Don’t just always wait for them to do it first. If they don’t like it, they’ll definitely let you know. But touching someone communicates to them that you find them attractive, and also that you’re reasonably confident. Both of these things can make someone feel more attracted to you.
- Note that some people are very affectionate with their friends; the person you’re interested in might be all about cuddling with you, and think nothing more of it than friendliness, while you feel like you’re getting mixed signals. At some point the person you are interested in needs to give out or give in.
Realize that you’re “tying up” your feelings by staying friends with someone who isn’t romantically interested in you. In the instance where you’ve already followed the previous steps and you’ve left your pushover habits behind, you’ve stepped up to role that he or she is looking for in a relationship, and you’ve crossed the touch barrier, but this person still wants to be “just friends”, you’ll need to make some hard decisions. Maybe they’re simply not attracted to you, for reasons you’ll never know. But you still have feelings for them. Is it wise to continue spending time with them?
- Consider that it’ll be difficult to develop feelings for someone else if your feelings for this person are fueled every time you hang out. You’ll struggle with feelings of jealousy and frustration when that person dates. Consider that even if you do manage to develop feelings for someone else, your heart might always be torn and confused, and it’ll be hard to give your new flame your undivided affection.
- Sometimes, the best thing to do is to take the friendship down to the level of acquaintance. The person might feel offended, perhaps it will seem as if you don’t value them as just a friend, but remember (and explain to them if necessary) that you can’t control how you feel, just like they can’t control how they feel, and you need to make room in your life and heart for someone who feels about you the way you feel about them.