How to avoid the Friendzone
What is the Friend zone?
The “friend zone” is when there is an idealistic difference in romantic feelings between two individuals. The feelings of sexual attraction are not mutual. She’s into him or He’s into her but those feelings are never at the same time. One party wants to “just be friends”.
Another version, is when the friends are already sexually involved (i.e. friends-with-benefits), but there is a commitment mismatch, where only one person wants a “relationship” as a committed girlfriend or boyfriend.
The friend zone occurs in relationships where both people’s emotional needs are not getting met. one person is not getting what they want and need. Because all good relationships mutually-satisfying social exchange and trade. They make funny memes, but friend zone situations ultimately are not very fun to be in.
So when you get stuck in the friend zone, you’ve entered into a situation that is not fair or equal. The other person is getting everything he/she wants…but the person stuck in the friend zone is not satisfied. In a nutshell, the friend zone person sold themselves short. They gave their “friend” everything, without making sure they got everything they wanted in return. So this will help you break that cycle.
Why The Friend Zone Happens… and How to Avoid It!
By understanding the feelings mismatch above, you can often stop a friend zone situation from even happening in the first place. There are various ways to prevent such mismatching goals and make sure everyone is satisfied. Those include…
1) Being Attractive
One of the reasons people end up being “just friends” is that they are simply not attractive to the other person they desire. They don’t light the attraction spark, they only create feelings of Attachment/Comfort around them (like a good friend), without any Attraction, Lust, or Seductive feelings. For all kinds of reasons then, the “friend zoned” individual just doesn’t spark the chemistry to make the other person desire them, lust after them, and want them in return. Therefore, the attraction is one-sided, with them receiving nothing in return.
There are some things you can try to be more attractive physically. Change your grooming habits, get nicer clothing, and get in better shape. Also, work on those social skills like approaching others with confidence, and find the balance of conversation and creating sexually stimulating conversations. Don’t be afraid to make your intentions known out the gate with more flirting. and being a bit coy, non-needy, and elusive. work on “sex appeal”, individuals can be more likely to be put in the category of “lover” than “friend”. But as always please be prepared for rejection. You can do all of this and still not get what you want. Don’t get hung up be prepared to move on.
2) Finding a Match
People who end up in mutually-satisfying relationships often match each other on a number of levels. They are both similar in traits such as physical attractiveness, or education, or social status. Although there are exceptions, people tend to attract and mate with others who are similar to themselves.
How does that relate to the “friend zone”? Well, sometimes a person is in the friend zone because they simply don’t “match” the individual who they are trying to be more-than-friends with. They are just too dissimilar to ever really have a mutually-satisfying and equal relationship. Essentially, they are shooting at the wrong basket…
This problem is easily remedied by picking potential lovers who are a better match – and more interested from the start.
3) Being Bold and Asking
Another reason why people end up in the friend zone is that they are too afraid, uncertain, or passive. Many people approach someone they are attracted to as “just a friend” because it is easier and less emotionally-risky. In other situations, they may desire a committed relationship, but begin as a “hookup” or “friends-with-benefits” because that too is easier.
In any case, these individuals begin the interaction by not clearly communicating what they want – and settling for less. Sometimes, this is honestly done out of insecurity. Other times, it is a bit “sneaky”, using friendship to work their way in the “back door” – rather than simply facing rejection up front. No matter what the reason though, the process seldom works. Sure, there are exceptions of hookups turning into lovers, or “friends” blossoming into love, but those are rare – and usually involve some sort of mutual interest in dating to start.
Therefore, rather than getting stuck in the friend zone by being scared or devious, it is often more productive to state what is desired up front. It is better to make an even and honest trade. If the other person is not willing or interested, then it is better to simply walk away and find someone else who is. Deception doesn’t avoid the friend zone…neither does settling for less than is desired.
Besides, asking for a date outright can be pretty successful. Research by Hald and Høgh-Olesen (2010) found that 68% of single men and 43% of single women agreed to a date request by a stranger of average attractiveness. Therefore, with a little help, it is more easy and productive to simply ask for what you want up front.
4) Making Them Work
The final reason why people end up in the friend zone is because they are simply too nice. They do all of the work. They make all of the concessions and sacrifices. They make it very “easy” for the other person to be with them.
In the process, they also tend to get taken for granted, devalued, and forgotten. Put simply, people value what they work to obtain and invest in. They have more attraction and respect for individuals for whom they perform favors (Jecker & Landy, 1969). They also find relationships more valuable and commit more fully, when they invest in them in various ways (Coleman, 2009).
Therefore, by doing all the work, an individual puts himself or herself “in” the friend zone. When they do all the investing…they develop all of the loving feelings. The other person does not.
Thus, to avoid the friend zone, effort and investment must be balanced on both sides. Each person must give and contribute in equal amounts. Both people’s needs must be satisfied at roughly equal measures. If the other person doesn’t offer…then ask!
People end up getting stuck in the friend zone for a number of reasons. Sometimes they simply don’t make themselves attractive to others. Sometimes they pick the wrong person, who doesn’t match them as a lover. Sometimes they are not bold and do not demand a fair trade where their needs get met upfront. Other times, they do too much and don’t allow the other person to invest and fall in love too.
Fortunately, with a bit of work, all of those situations can be changed. The friend zone can be avoided. All it takes is a little personal development to be more attractive, finding better partners who “fit”, being a bit more assertive about what you need, and/or motivating others to give back and invest in you too. It may seem daunting at first – but you are worth it. You deserve to have what you want – so don’t settle for a “friend zone” situation that makes you miserable. Find someone who will be good enough to give you what you need too!