Within every friendship lies the possibility for feelings to develop. However, sometimes common interests and a committed friendship are not enough to spark the fires of a romance. Once you are in the "Friend Zone" you may think that you cannot be viewed as serious dating material, but remain hopeful: Your advances may one day be taken seriously. Although no guarantee exists that you will be successful in gaining a romantic partner without risking your friendship, getting out of the friend zone requires timing, patience and the willingness to open up to your friend.
Be less available to your friend. Although it may sound counterproductive, providing a constant shoulder to cry on and coming to your friend's rescue whenever your friend needs you may keep you locked in the friend zone.
Stop engaging in friendly activities. Going to dinner and a movie with your friend can spark romantic appeal if you are alone with each other, or it can solidify your standing as a friend if you invite a group of friends along. Plan your encounters to include just you and your friend.
Try to be attractive to your friend. Just as you have physical preferences that you find more attractive than others, so does your friend. Examine your friend's physical preferences and try to alter your appearance to match your friend's preferences when possible to create a spark of interest when you are out together.
Give it time. Dr. April Bleske-Rechek and her team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire suggest that age may be an indicator of whether your platonic relationship has the potential to evolve into something more. In a study of 88 platonic friend pairs, these researchers concluded that emerging adults, in their late teens to early 20s, showed more attraction to platonic friends than middle-aged women and young adults. This research suggests that when in your friend's life you approach may play an impact on whether you remain stuck in the Friend Zone.
Talk to your friend to describe your feelings. Dr. Bleske-Rechek also concluded that while men in their study overestimated the level of attraction that their female friends felt toward them, women in the group, paradoxically, underestimated the level of attraction that male friends felt toward them. Even though bringing up how you feel may only solidify the fact that you are just a friend, your friend can't be held accountable for keeping you in the Friend Zone if your friend never gets to know that you are interested in the first place.
- Know when to walk away from pursuing your friend. Spending time alone with a platonic friend may send the impression to other potential dates that you are seeing someone. If your friend has not reciprocated your offers, consider backing off to pursue other people.
- Even if you perceive a mutual attraction between you and your friend, the influence of social peers can sometimes determine whether your friend would consider a romantic relationship with you.
- Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: Benefit or Burden? Attraction in Cross-Sex Friendship
- Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: Motives to Remain Platonic, Equity, and the Use of Maintenance Strategies in Opposite-Sex Friendships
- Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: Romantic Intent, Relationship Uncertainty, and Relationship Maintenance in Young Adults’ Cross-Sex Friendships
- Psychology Today: Avoiding the Friend Zone: Becoming a Girlfriend or Boyfriend
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