Getting Out of the Friend Zone

There are a million different reasons we become friends with someone, but what if that friendship has become more for you. Getting out of the friend zone without stepping on too many toes or pushing your friend away can be tricky business.

It may not sound like it, but this has everything to do with staying positive and realistic. First of all, if you truly believe your friend will not return your feelings, don’t be afraid to let it go.  You don’t want to jump into something that you already feel is pointless only to ruin the friendship you have.

If this person is fantastic, you aren’t going to want to lose them to an uncomfortable confession of love.  On the other end, once you begin to cross lines with friends, you want to be sure that if it doesn’t work out the way you hope it to, you can still maintain a relationship with this person.

After all, you wouldn’t be falling for them if they weren’t important to you. It’s a slippery line to walk, but if you gauge the situation with these easy steps, you may be more than “just a friend” in no time!

One of the key factors in any relationship is the friendship. Couples who generally enjoy each other’s company have the best chance at having a happy, healthy relationship. So in that case, you are probably one step ahead.

The Deeper Level: Try asking your friend to hang out more one on one. It doesn’t have to be “a date.” Just give yourself the opportunity to hold their attention, and see if you still want to hold theirs. Some people are different outside of large groups- it could be a good test to see if you really click.

Get Personal: Since you already have the foundation, the next step is to show your friend how you can be genuinely interested in them romantically. If the time you spend is moving in the right direction, as in, they have agreed to hang out with just you on more than one occasion, try showing them you pay attention.

Most people reveal little things they “always wanted,” or “always used to buy” in casual conversation. If you pay attention, and present that small thing as a “just because” gift, you should touch them on a deeper level. People need to feel listened to, appreciated, and admired.

A twenty six year old Bostonian native shows how this strategy worked for him: “My “just a friend” mentioned that she was obsessed with Bubble Tape when she was young, but her mother almost never let her buy it. I found myself in the candy isle days later and I was compelled to buy it for her cause I knew it would make her happy. She gave me the best hug I’ve ever had and I think it was one of the first moments that showed her who I can be for her.”

When you first approach a friend in a more friendly way, it helps to be subtle. Another way to do that is with your body.

Change your body language: There are those couples you instantly know are together because of the way they engage with each other. Try being more touchy–not in a creepy way of course. See how your friend responds.

Keep in mind this may not be an overnight development. This may include moves such as: touching their arm when you are talking, asking them to dance, offering to give them a massage, tickling, or wrestling (but keep it playful!).

If you get to the point where you notice your coveted one returning the favors, you may be in luck, but don’t jump the gun. You will notice in body language. Say you have your friend over to watch a movie, does he or she move close to you? Do they want a blanket? How are their arms or legs?

No matter what, if your friend sits stiff, even if they are close to you, don’t move in. If they have their arms open and available, if their legs are crossed towards you, or if they try to engage you in a cuddle of sorts, you’re in.

Taking the Dive: It helps to have a proper conversation about your feelings.  Being on the same page is what you are hoping for, so make sure it stays that way.

No one can tell you how to express your feelings. All I can offer is that honesty is key and there is such thing as a right place and right time (go with your gut).

Whenever you decide to reveal your feelings, try your best to make sure you wait until they are on the same page. This way, if you find they aren’t very responsive, you don’t have to say anything. If you find they are, you may have given them enough time to realize it themselves.

What advice do you have to get out of the ‘friend zone?’

 Photos by Gregory Jordan and Natalia Balcerska.

Lisa Bonofiglio I've just made the exciting move from my home base in Massachusetts to sunny California where I plan to build the rest of my life. I graduated Emerson in Boston this Spring and worked my butt off waiting tables all summer. Now, I am eating cheap food, sleeping lightly and spending a little too much time on Netflix. But I figure, since I'm studying screenwriting, I can call it research.

View all posts by Lisa Bonofiglio

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