THE BLOG
10/09/2013 07:57 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

How to Get Out of the Friend Zone

The Friend Zone is a place we've all been at one point or another in our lives. Some of us have been there so long, we might as well take up a sublet and get a parking permit. If you're one of the lucky few who don't know what it is, the Friend Zone is a kind of relationship purgatory where one party is in love with the other party but poses as a very close friend. Basically, it's the saddest party on the block.

According to popular belief, once you're in the Friend Zone, you're in it for life, but that is actually completely untrue.

There are things you are inadvertently doing that are keeping you in the Friend Zone much longer than you need to be there. There, we said it. It's not your friend's fault. Your friend is not a horrible person for holding you hostage in this dreaded place. You are doing it to yourself.

Fortunately for you, we wrote a book on it. And it's called, you guessed it, "How To Get Out Of The Friend Zone"! There are things you can do right this very minute to start digging yourself out. And we are going to start by giving you a big fat shiny shovel.

male female friends
1. Admit You're In the Friend Zone.
What you're doing isn't working. There, we said it. The thing your friends, family, and, yes, even crazy Linda from the Coffee Bean are thinking. You know that "special person" you think about every night as you fall asleep, a.k.a. your friend? You think that if you answer the phone on the first ring every time your friend calls, and free up your weekends just in case they need someone to help them move, eventually your friend will come to their senses and realize they absolutely have to sleep with you, not only today, but for the rest of their God-given lives. We're not talking about just sex, we're talking about loooove-making, the kind where you gaze into each other's eyes, weep tears of joy, and shoot rainbows into each others' hearts. We are talking about babies, and white picket fences, and home for the holidays. The real deal.

But here's the problem: everything you're currently doing is taking you further away from transforming this fantasy into reality. Your instincts are wrong, your gut feeling is wrong, your intuition is wrong. If this weren't the case, you and your friend would already be together. It's time to take a different approach. Take everything you think you know and chuck it. Now you are a blank slate. You are the hottest blank slate to ever walk the earth.

It's much easier to bury your head in the sand and pretend that your situation is different, that you aren't in fact living in the hell that is the Friend Zone but like finding any other solution to a problem, the first step is admitting that you have a problem. Stop making excuses and admit it. You're here.

2. Define How Your Friend Sees You
When your friend looks at you, they see you in some way that is not boyfriend/girlfriend material, hence your place in the Friend Zone. Identifying how they see you in an honest way is crucial. If they see you as a sibling, or a parent, or a therapist, you've got an uphill climb. But again, it is possible to change that dynamic. If your friend sees you as a shadow, a human pillow, or a backup boyfriend/girlfriend, then they think you are too available and they most likely take your friendship for granted. The dynamic between the two of you needs to change, and we'll show you how very soon, don't worry. But first, before we do anything else, you need to ask yourself one very important question: Are you willing to risk it?

You've got to look at yourself from your friend's perspective and try to figure out what role you are playing in their life. Many times, people are stuck in the friend zone because they are playing the role of a therapist or a parent for their friend. Most people don't want to date their therapist or their mom or dad (hopefully). So, change the role you're playing and you will be climbing out of the friend zone hole in no time!

man woman talking
3. Confess your Feelings
There are many ways to begin the Confession. Basically, all that needs to come out of the conversation is for you to tell your friend how you feel about them and to get a response letting you know how they feel about you. Pretty simple stuff. But getting into it is the hardest part. You don't want to come out of the blue with, "Yeah, that sucks that you dropped your cell phone in the toilet. . . . Anyway, I really like you."

A huge part of getting out of the Friend Zone is telling your friend how you feel about them. However, there are good ways to do this, and definitely bad ones. If you are drunk, on the phone, or sitting in front of computer screens, don't even think about it. A good confession is in person, in a quiet, private place, while you and your friend are in clear and sober states of mind.

4. Separate from Your Friend
We know what you're thinking. You hate this part. You want to scream and cry and kick your legs and say, "No! I can't!" Well, crack addicts hate to stop doing crack, too. You're thinking, "If I'm not always in their face, they'll forget about me," when in fact the exact opposite is true. The more you're out of the picture, the more your friend will be thinking of you. It's like that beautiful piece of art at your parents' house. You don't see it because you've been staring at it your whole life. It takes someone else coming in and pulling it off the wall for you to even notice it existed, let alone how fabulous it is. That's what the Separation is for: to force your friend to realize what life is like without you and stop taking you for granted.

"The Separation" is the most important stage of getting out of the Friend Zone. If you don't give them a minute to miss you, they never, ever will. Promise.

friends on beach
5. Get A Life
Getting a life does not mean "getting a fake life." You really must become unavailable; you can't just pretend. This isn't about updating your online status with "Having a great time on the beach!" when you're really popping a zit with an old earring back and your roommate's magnifying mirror. It's too obvious. Truly getting busy means anyone can tell from a mile away that you've changed. People are on to you when you fake it.

Getting a life is very important in getting your Friend Zone friend to see you as a real person, with other things going on in your life besides fantasizing about smelling their hair. The minute you make yourself less available is the minute they start wondering what you're up to.

makeover
6. Change up Your Look
When you come in with a brand-new look, all of a sudden your friend will start wondering what else you're capable of. Your friend will think you are deep and mysterious, with special talents that they can't even fathom. People like surprises. It's exciting. The fact that you didn't consult your friend about this big change will make them wonder what else is going on with you.

A makeover will make you seem mysterious. When you come in with a brand new look, all of a sudden your friend will start wondering what else you're capable of. Your friend will think you are deep and mysterious, with special talents that they can't even fathom.

We hate to be superficial, but we are. And so is your friend. A lot of times the one thing separating you from a love fest with your friend is your NO FEAR t-shirt from the 6th grade that you swear still fits you. Change it up, you never know. That might be the one thing they're waiting for you to do.

7. Change Your Attitude
Have you checked your attitude lately? How's it looking? No one wants to sleep with the sad sack in the corner moaning about the economy. Is that you? Here's the thing: if you aren't happy at least half the time, you are in serious trouble. It's hard to get people to want to be around you if you are full of poison. You'll need to make some changes.

Are you sexy? Didn't think so and your friend doesn't either. You know what's missing? A change in your attitude. Sometimes a slight attitude adjustment can completely change the way your friend sees you. And that's exactly what you want to do.