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How to Not Get Locked Into the Friend Zone

by MaryBeth Augusta

The awkward state of being in a platonic relationship while having undeclared romantic feelings for the other person: the friend zone. It's a phrase that was added to the Oxford dictionary in February. "When someone gets stuck in the friend zone, they have entered into an exchange friendship that isn't even. The other person is getting everything he/she wants ... but the person stuck in the friend zone isn't," says psychologist Jeremy Nicholson, the Attraction Doctor. If you are interested in being more than friends, study up on how to avoid the dreaded friend zone, or Oxford dictionary just may add your photo to their definition.

Become less available. Psychologists have researched the "scarcity principle" (where people value something more when it is rare or taken away from them) and it can be applied to the friend zone problem. If your friend-crush is interested in you and you aren't always around, it gives him or her the chance to miss you and want you.

Stop being so nice. "Get your partners to invest in you back, as you invest in them," the Attraction Doctor says. If you make things too easy, by being too nice and accommodating, your friend-crush will not have to invest in the relationship. Think about other life investments -- like a house or a job. The more you invest money, time or effort, the more you care. Same with relationships.

Spark chemistry by becoming physically and psychologically attractive. When you are friends with a person, it becomes OK to avoid dressing up and being on your best behavior. If you put effort into your appearance and remain confident you seem more like a potential date instead of a potential buddy. (This goes for flirting, too! Stop acting like a friend and act like a potential partner, by flirting and being affectionate.)

Make a move. What says "I want to date you" more than asking the person out on a date? At the end of the date, if it went well, go in for the kiss and ask for a second date, advises Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger. It shows you're interested!

Tips

  • Remember your mom's favorite idiom: No one wants to buy the cow when they can get the milk for free. If you are acting like a partner to your friend-crush, when you are really just friends, what incentive is there to change?
  • Pay attention to the signals you are getting from your friend-crush. Sometimes you are in the friend zone for a reason, and unfortunately that reason can be that your friend is just not into you. Move on and find someone who is!

About the Author

MaryBeth Augusta began writing in 2002 for her college newspaper, "The Troubadour." She has written legal briefs and psychological research articles, covering topics such as international human rights and gender roles. Augusta holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Juris Doctor.

Photo Credits

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