Stuck In Friend Zone? How To Escape Without Ruining Everything

It's a minefield.

It’s a predicament as old as Joey Tribbianni himself. Symptoms include blue heart emojis, meeting for coffee rather than drinks (unless you’re super deep) and the soul crushing, “who else is coming” response to romantically-laid plans.

The ‘friend zone’ is like the penalty box of dating, only you can never get out. Once a girl decides you’re her ‘friend,’ it’s game over. You’ve become a complete non-sexual entity in her eyes, like her brother, or a lamp. – Ryan Reynolds

Whether it’s been going on weeks or years; the ‘9th circle of hell’ is hard to extract yourself from. This is made worse by the fact that, chances are, you friend-zoned yourself. Worse still, by attempting the climb, not only might you lose a friend, but you risk of being lumped in with the dreaded (and often mischaracterised) “nice guy” movement.

To say the least; the stakes are high. To prove that you are not in the minority of humans who would only pursue a friendship with the singular aim of “taking Grandma to Applebee’s (where would we be without Conan O’Brien), we asked leading dating coaches for their advice.

According to Gad Krebs, a relationship coach, prevention is better than cure.

“I can’t say that this never happens, but far more hearts end up broken than filled.”

As to making it clear you value the friendship and don’t expect anything out of it—at the same time as hinting you would be open (remember: play it cool) to something more—he said:

“I don’t know if the topic can be broached unless you are prepared to lose the friendship. Your desire for something more will not ever erode, it can only be replaced by finding love elsewhere.”

According to Wingman, however, it’s better to be subtle.

“Don’t beg for her to give you a chance, EVER. She made a conscious decision to not be anything more than friends with you… You’ll do much better if you start putting less focus on her and more focus on you.”

Aside from the obvious: working out, dressing better, etc. it is also important to start flirting with other people.

“A twinge of jealousy that comes from knowing other people find you attractive is priceless.”

Not only will this make her curious, but will help you practice flirting.

“The more women you meet, the better you become at playing the game and getting the girl you want.”

Once ready, try out your banter. If it’s going well couple it with some non-creepy body language. What’s key is how she responds—if there’s sexual tension it’s normally pretty darn obvious. If not: she’s just not that into you. You can now casually tone it back to how things were before, without having embarrassed yourself, accept reality and move on.

Whilst this is well-meaning advice, Chris Manak, a Melbourne-based dating coach for men, disagrees. He says (especially in the casual dating scene) it’s better to be direct.

“If you’re having a good chat, just ask. Don’t be weird about it.”

Watch this video to see exactly why courage might be all you lack.

“The friend-zone is a psychological state in which you put yourself when you behave like a friend with the person you like, because you don’t have the courage to behave otherwise”.

And this, to see the brutal process happening live on national TV…

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