How To Get Out Of The Friend Zone, By People Who've Actually Done It
So you caught feelings. Now what?
Falling for a friend is something too many of us can relate to - and catching feels for someone who calls you ‘buddy’ is about as fun as getting a root canal. Every day. For months.
Thoughts of how perfect you’d be together if *only* this pal would realise you’re meant to be can be all-consuming - and while there’s literally no way to make someone like you (just ask Romilda Vane, amirite?)*, it is possible to break free of the friendzone.
Here’s some practical tips from people who have done just that.
*If you didn’t get that Harry Potter reference, you have bigger problems than being stuck in the friendzone. Soz).
Be the Best Version of Yourself
"Very simply, become the best version of yourself. Find your ambition, get in shape, find out what makes you so 'you' and do it. If somebody isn't in love with for being that, it's just not meant to be. Accept their friendship, and wait for the person who rocks your socks." - Reddit user
"My SO did it by actually being a real friend. I didn't want to date him and he was fine with it, and we instead just had fun together and got to know each other. Just the same as plenty of guy friends I have. It changed with this guy eventually though - the attraction that had always been there grew the closer we got, and it was actually me that made a move eventually!
"The really important thing was that he didn't continue the friendship with me with the intent of changing my mind. He was actually okay with just being friends and even dated others. It worked out because he was just being him, it wasn't a ‘game’ that was won." - Reddit user
Carve out Some Alone Time
"There was a big group of us at uni who hung out all the time, and I caught seeeerious feelings for one guy. We’re together now, but for me, the most important thing I did to get out of that friendzone was to engineer some situations where it would just be me and him, or me, him and just a couple of others, so that he could actually get to know me outside of the group ‘hang’ situation. I didn’t actually ask him on a date, it was more casual than that… but it worked!" - James, Facebook.
Explore Other Options
"I was totally and utterly in love with a friend, to the point where it was ruining our friendship because I just couldn’t bear being around him but not being ‘with’ him. I decided enough was enough, and started pushing myself to go on dates, and meet other people. It helped me get out of my own head, realise there were other options out there, and break the ‘obsession’.
"It also meant I started acting like MYSELF around this friend again… which worked, because a few months later he told me he had feelings for me. If I hadn’t decided to get on with my life and stop pining for him, I’m not sure that would have happened, I was trying too hard to be what he wanted, and ultimately that’s not attractive, or healthy." - Reddit user
"I harboured secret feelings for my best guy friend for months, and was convinced that he’d never feel the same. Then, one night he made some comment about us getting married at 40 if we were still single, and I couldn’t hold it in any more. I told him that I was half in love with him already (yeah, playing-hard-to-get clearly isn’t in my vocabulary), and at first he was just… silent.
"It was terrifying. But then, he said that he’d actually been feeling the same way for a long time too - we’d both wanted to make a move but were too scared this WHOLE TIME. We’ve been in a relationship for two years now - proof that speaking up and actually just letting someone know how you feel can work." - Marie, Facebook.
And if none of these work…Know When to Give Up
"I held off telling my friend that I had developed feelings because I didn’t want to damage or change our friendship. Eventually though it was just eating me up inside, so I laid it all out on the table, and she… she said she was so sorry, but she didn’t feel the same way.
"Our friendship did change after that - how could it not? And that hurt - but it hurt way less than not knowing where I stood. Once I knew it was never going to happen, I could start trying to move on. Does that count as getting out of the friendzone? Because technically I did, by knowing when to give up, and getting over her!" - Neesha, Facebook.
Good luck! And remember, never put pressure on someone to feel or act a certain way towards you, even if you want it more than anything in the world. Free will and consent are non-negotiable aspects of not only a healthy relationship, but just general life and being a human.
- Words by Lizzie Cox.