Nothing’s more frustrating than being into a super hot guy, only to have him call you his “buddy” or tell you that you’re “like a sister” to him. Just like that, you’re in the friend zone. However, getting out of the friend zone isn’t impossible — it just takes a little effort.
- Play it cool. You might lose him altogether if you start begging and pleading for him to give you a chance. You’re not getting out of the friend zone overnight. Take your time and play it cool. Patience is definitely a must in this case.
- Date other guys and talk about it. If he’s treating you like one of the guys, then act like it. It’s amazing how a guy suddenly notices a woman as soon as she starts dating someone else. Avoid dating within the circle of friends or he might avoid you due to the bro code. While you don’t have to get serious, date someone while you’re waiting and don’t forget to tell him all about it. A little jealousy can be healthy.
- Flirt with him. This should be a given, but some women give up when they’re labeled as a friend. Don’t give up! Try some friendly flirting. It doesn’t have to be anything overtly sexual, but make sure you’re giving off the right signals. As a plus, his friends will likely notice and ask him about it.
- Dress up a little. The guy’s probably used to seeing you dressed casually. Suggest hanging out at a nicer restaurant, bar, or club. The idea is to have a valid reason to dress up a little. Of course, you could also tell him you have a date later and didn’t want to have to go home to change. Make him see you as a woman, not one of the guys. Go ahead and break out your little black dress and heels.
- Get him one on one. Guys get distracted easily when they’re with their friends. You might be flirting your ass off, but he’s oblivious. The solution is simple — get him one on one. Find an activity you know he loves and ask him to hang out with you. Try making sure his other friends are busy at the time. Now’s your chance to really flirt and show him the signs he’s been missing.
- Focus on quality time. It makes sense that spending more time with someone would be a great way to win him over and get him to see you in a different light, and that certainly seems to be the case. One study found that the more time you spend with someone, the more likely they are to become attracted to you. Given that spending more time with someone allows them to get to know you on a deeper level and see more of your personality, it makes sense that he would begin to realize just what a catch you are.
- Play a new role. No, I’m not talking about sexual roleplaying. You’re in the friend zone, so no sexy time allowed… yet. Try to figure out how the guy sees you. Does he think of you as a little sister? Are you more like his best guy friend? Are you his wing-woman? Maybe you’re his problem solver. Work to change how he sees you. It’ll change your friendship a little, but if you work slowly, his perception will change.
- Give him some space. No, he won’t forget you. The problem is that he sees you all the time. How does he even know what he’s missing? Make some excuse to spend less time with him. It could be you’re dating someone or you’re involved in a new hobby. Whatever it is, give him a chance to truly miss having you around. The more he misses you, the more he thinks about you. Suddenly, you’re stepping out of the friend zone and you have a real chance.
- Ask him to help out. Give him a reason to spend more time with you and get involved in your life. Ask him to help out with small or big things. Maybe you need help moving or painting a room. Maybe you need a partner for a charity event. The more things he can help you with, the more one-on-one time you get. Plus, he’ll start seeing how valuable he is to your life.
- Tell him how you feel. After you’ve done some legwork, it’s time to finally tell him how you feel. You should probably reserve this conversation for when you think he’s starting to show interest or if you’ve given it your all and you still can’t tell. Sometimes being upfront is best. Maybe he was just afraid of ruining the friendship. If he turns you down, at least you know how he really feels and you can move on.
- Make a move. You’ve given every obvious sign, but he’s still not responding how you want. Get him alone and make a move. Now’s your chance to make things physical. Tell him there’s something you’ve wanted to do for a while and kiss him. He might be shocked at first, but if he’s into you, he’ll respond. If you’re not quite that brave yet, do small things like touch his arm, hug him, lean against him, or whatever type of physical contact you can get.
- Make him sensitive. I’m talking about emotionally, so minds out of the gutter! You’ll need him away from his friends for this one. Steer the conversation to an emotionally charged topic such as past heartaches or deep fears. The idea is to get him to pour out his heart to you. We all know what happens now. You’re both all mushy and the next thing you know, the two of you are tangled up together on the floor, ripping each other’s clothes off. You’re definitely out the friend zone at that point.
- Do something adventurous. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that men tend to mistake adrenaline for sexual attraction. They ran an experiment with 34 men, having them cross either a shaky bridge or a stable one. As they crossed, a woman approached them and asked for their number. On the other side, those who had crossed the shaky bridge were way more likely to be interested in the woman who approached them, seemingly suggesting that a highly adventurous activity is a good way to win him over and help you when it comes to getting out of the friend zone.
A few things to keep in mind when trying to get out of the friend zone
- It’s important to respect his boundaries. Just because you’re sure you’d make a great couple doesn’t mean you should force yourself on him. While there are some circumstances when trying to change how he sees you is okay, if he’s been pretty firm about his feelings, you’ll have to accept it. As therapist Darcy Sterling, Ph.D., tells Men’s Health: “If someone has told you that they don’t have romantic feelings for you, respect their boundaries. Don’t flirt. Don’t touch them. Don’t make sexual innuendos. Don’t have unrealistic expectations.”
- It’s important not to take it personally. If it turns out that he’s not into you and there’s nothing you can do to change it, remember that this doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. “Remember that you’re not the first person to go through this. Take some time to yourself and recharge. It’s okay if you need a break,” Darcy says. She adds that it’s understandable if you feel like you can’t just be friends with him. “If you’re unable to return to the friendship in a platonic way, don’t return,” she advises.
- See rejection as an opportunity rather than a failure. While it can be tempting to be down on yourself when getting out of the friend zone proves unsuccessful, the key is to find the silver lining in the situation. Marriage and family therapist Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D., tells SELF: “It will free [you] up to go out and find a romantic and sexual relationship that has the potential to be gratifying rather than frustrating.”
- Be proactive next time around. While it’s not your fault that a guy relegated you to the friend zone, there are some things you might be able to do differently in the future to avoid it happening again with someone else. “When you first meet someone, you oftentimes have a window of opportunity to make your feelings known. If you hesitate or freeze you could be relegated to the friend zone,” Darcy says.
- Don’t forget yourself in all of this. If you’re dedicating yourself to getting out of the friend zone with a guy, don’t forget to make sure you’re not expending all your energy on him and forgetting about yourself. As relationship expert and Wingman founder Tina Wilson tells the Daily Mail, it’s all about self-care. “You know your friend better than anyone and you know what they seek in a partner. Therefore, you should firstly show them you are ‘the one’ they are looking for,” she explains. “To do this properly, you must look within yourself and practice self-care. It is key to prioritize yourself and work on your goals and needs. Don’t be all consumed with your friend that you are crushing on and remember that everything happens for a reason.”