Miranda Santiago has a degree in Psychology from Boston College and is now a freelance writer who covers dating topics, appealing specifically to relationships involving Latin women. When she isn’t writing about love and everything involved, you can find Miranda windsurfing on the beach, playing the piano, or enjoying a glass of dry red wine.
I hear a lot about the infamous “friend zone” — the suffocating space that exists somewhere between he-likes-her and she’s-not-into-him-that-way. Everybody has their own method, but I find that the best way to combat the friend zone is through preventative measures.
I know this isn’t always an option. Sometimes, a girl (or guy) you’ve known since you were kids suddenly becomes appealing to you – and I’ll touch on that. But most of the time, if you get put into “the friend zone”, it’s your own damn fault.
The Secret to Avoiding the Friend Zone
The secret to avoiding the friend zone is staying out of it in the first place. I know this sounds like something a Kung Fu master would say, but I absolutely mean it. Too many men approach women with the idea that you should be friends first and then work your way into a relationship.
This might work some of the time, but usually it doesn’t. I’ve never experienced this problem in venues where I’m obviously trying to meet men – usually disco bars or Latin dating sites for me – because I’m obviously looking for someone to be intimate with.
Outside of these situations, it’s always the same. You start out as acquaintances and then, all too often, the guy slides into the friend seat. This happens for a number of reasons.
Guys think that being friends first is a good thing. You approach a girl, you show her your funny/sweet/sensitive side, and one day she just falls in love with you. Right? Wrong. This isn’t some Ryan Reynolds movie and a friend is just that: a friend.
A guy may think that he’s making his intentions clear when he’s really not. I’ve done the same thing myself before. When I suggested “getting lunch” together, he thought I was just asking for a friendly lunch when really I was asking for a date!
Guys move too slow, you get used to them being friends and then BAM! – they tell you they want more. In this case you’ve been in the friend zone all along, you just never realized it.
This one is the worst: sometimes a woman will tell you that she just wants to be friends after a little bit of romance, and the guy goes back to point #1 or literally thinks she wants to be friends. C’mon guys. Really? “Let’s just stay friends” almost never means “let’s be friends-friends”.
From the get-go, your number one priority should be honesty. Making your intentions clear from the start will save you from wasting on time on someone who’s not into you that way.
If you’ve ever been friends with a woman you’re not attracted to, imagine her suddenly springing “I want to be more than friends” on you. Is there much she could actually do to make you feel any different about her?
And if you were attracted to her, wouldn’t you have skipped the friendship part and just gone for it in the first place? Furthermore, what if you found out that she was just trying to get in bed with you the whole time you were friends? You’d think she’s crazy!
This is exactly how guys who “start in the friend zone so they can score in the end zone” are to us. Don’t be one of those men!
Be Open and Assertive
Being open, assertive and honest will help you clear up the friend-fog before it has a chance to build. Call it a “date” instead of just “getting lunch” and make light physical contact. Make sure you’re being honest with yourself when you read into her responses, too!
Don’t fall victim to point #4 above, and recognize what it means when she says “Let’s just be friends”.
The Unexpected Friend Zone
Finding out that you’re in the friend zone with somebody that’s always been your friend is the trickiest situation out of any friend zone situation. I don’t recommend playing games with her to make her attracted to you, though George does have a good and relatively honest set of guidelines on how to escape the friend zone.
My suggestion, once again, is honesty. Chances are that your relationship is going to be affected either way. You can either go crazy pining for her or pop the big question and get it over with: might as well take your chance with the latter.
No Place to Be
The last thing that I want to say about the friend zone is that it’s no place for a man or woman to be. Do what it takes to stay out of it – and leave as soon as you can if you find yourself in it. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and if one woman won’t appreciate everything you could bring to her life, she doesn’t deserve you—but somebody out there does.
Just remember to avoid the friend zone when you find that somebody!
Have you ever been in the friend zone? Or maybe you friend-zoned somebody else? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think about the tips in this article!