How Do You Avoid Falling Into the Friend Zone Once in a Relationship?

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Becoming comfortable with someone in a relationship can encourage both of you to feel less insecure than when you were first dating. Getting too comfortable, however, can lead to a lack of progress that is essential to growing together as a couple. This lack of progress can cause you to act more like friends, as you fall into the friend zone. Comfort is not the equivalent of complacency, and comfort should be a mutual goal for your relationship. Complacency, in contrast, is the catalyst for a relationship that devolves into a friendship.

Step 1

Schedule regular "dates" such as dinner or a favorite activity, once a week or as your schedules permit. After you have been dating for a while, it becomes easier to forget how much you enjoy your partner's company. Encourage continued closeness by cooking dinner together, going for a long walk or watching a sunset. Engaging in activities that are often a part of the initial period of dating can be forgotten, but they can help you stay out of the friend zone.

Step 2

Communicate your feelings regularly. Deepening levels of communication draw people closer in a relationship. Tell your partner the things you appreciate about him and discuss positive aspects of your relationship. Adding in some talk about a possible future can let him know that you see your relationship as more than a friendship. Encourage your partner to also discuss his feelings about the relationship, but don't force him to do so. Your regular expressions of your feelings may make you a role model for him to begin to communicate his own feelings.

Step 3

Show signs of your affection often, such as holding hands, cuddling, kissing and hugging. These are the behaviors you typically share in abundance initially in a relationship, but they often wane over time. According to "Routine Maintenance Behaviors: A Comparison of Relationship Type, Partner Similarity and Sex Differences" published in the "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships," maintenance behaviors, which also include shared tasks such as eating a meal, watching a movie or even doing the dishes together, reinforce the bonds in a relationship. In addition, being honest and open about your affection also reinforces your relationship and represents a reminder that you feel more than just a friendship.

Step 4

Suggest steps toward a mutual future. No relationship can move forward unless you envision a future. The plans you make for the future reinforce your commitment to continuing to grow past friendship into something deeper. Planning a future doesn't have to instantly include a house with a white picket fence and children. Instead, visualize and discuss smaller steps toward those larger-scale goals. This can include discussing where you what to live, the possibility of moving in together and spending shared holidays with each other's respective families.