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Friend Zone

If you’re trying to get into a relationship with someone and they don’t seem to be responding. Or worse yet, they are, rather, not in the way you expect. Then you might be in the “friend zone.” This is word used to describe when two people have different expectations about what a relationship should look like.

Disclaimer: If you’re struggling to make connections with others and are feeling like this is a serious problem, it can be beneficial to seek the help of a licensed therapist, counselor, or life coach. For a good resource, visit the Mental Health America’s list.

A recent study by Harvard reported that 36% of all Americans feel “serious loneliness.” Many of them (almost 33% of that group) revealed that they don’t feel like they have close friends. Before you start trying to figure out how to get out the friend zone, consider the other person you’re involved with. And whether they might be seeking friendship in an earnest way.

My own experience going into the Friend Zone…

Here’s the thing, it stinks… It’s not fun. And when you get “friendzoned,” the only thing that you can think about is how to not end up there the next time. Questions come up like, “How do I learn from these mistakes?” Or “What did I do wrong?”

That’s what sparked creating this complete guide… It’s a terrible feeling of rejection. With a dash of getting a “new friend” that you didn’t really want in the first place… I get it. Let’s figure out why it happened.

Understanding the Friend Zone to begin with…

The friendzone is a place that you wouldn’t want to be in, especially when you have feelings for that certain someone. The term ‘Friendzone’ is recognized as a relational concept in pop culture.

It describes a situation where a person shows interest involving romantic or sexual pursuits toward someone, but it’s not reciprocated.

Here, that person rejects the emotions and feelings of the pursuer, which causes him or her to be “friendzoned.” This term is infamous when it comes to the world of the Internet.

One can easily find countless memes, reels, and other hilarious content on this topic. This term is also quite relevant in the world of online dating such as Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Grindr, Plenty of Fish (POF), etc.

Millennials and Gen Z are responsible for popularizing this term. It isn’t used as much when it comes to boomer adults.

Did You Know?

The term ‘Friendzone’ was originally and heavily popularized by the famous American sitcom Hit TV series called ‘FRIENDS’ in 1994. The characterization of this term is seen in the 7th episode titled “The One with the Blackout.”

In this episode, Ross has become head over heels for Rachel and is having trouble coming out of his lovesick mode. Here, Joey believes that when two people end up meeting, there is a short timeframe in which the potential for a romantic relationship to bloom is possible.

But after that time passes, and there is no such exchange, one becomes “friendzoned.” And the chance of having a romantic relationship becomes impossible.

One can try to pursue the other person, but if the other party isn’t on the same page, then the ‘Friendzone’ tag becomes relevant here.

Friend zone
Friend zone

Why Do People Dislike the Friend Zone?

The answer to this question is pretty simple – No one likes being rejected. As human beings, we have a heart, and it aches whenever we face any type of rejection.

We all want to be enough for someone, and it’s normal to feel hurt when that doesn’t happen. So, the idea of being “friendzoned” is not the easiest pill to swallow.

It is no secret that men get friendzoned more compared to women. So, the term is often associated with men and garners various responses from them.

Some men dislike, and some even hate ending up in the friendzone. But some are good sports about it because they understand that they are not going to be everybody’s cup of tea.

Beauty is subjective, and so is preference. One’s lack of interest in you shouldn’t indicate your worth.

Plus, people can end up getting friend zoned when the other person isn’t in the right state of mind. They might be busy with their career or healing from past experiences.

People get friend zoned every second of the day, and it’s perfectly normal. There’s nothing as painful as the person you like turning you down.

Many folks also dislike being friendzoned when their sexual needs aren’t being met with the person they are attracted to. This goes to show that a person may get friendzoned for an array of reasons depending on the individual.


Did You Know?

Another answer to this question isn’t discussed much but is quite prevalent. We call it the ‘Nice Guy Syndrome.’

So, what is the ‘Nice Guy Syndrome‘? It’s a situation when a guy has done all the good deeds to gain brownie points from the woman she’s attracted to.

He does all the nice things to show his gentlemanly side. However, he has an ulterior motive behind this act, i.e., to warrant sexual intimacy from the woman in return.

They may buy gifts and take them on dates. This creates a massive sense of entitlement in them for sexual advances.

So, when the woman declines him and puts him in the friendzone, the guy gets irritated. His ego and masculinity get hurt, and he displays a frustrating demeanor.

The guy will throw an adult tantrum and be rude to the girl. This is an instance of how friendzone takes place and its outcome.

The bottom line is that most people dislike being friendzoned because their intent is something different. They either want to be in a relationship with you or engage in instant physical gratification.


How Do I Know If I’m In the Friend Zone?

Does the song ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S,’ by Marshmello and Anne Marie, ring a bell? Who hasn’t heard that infamous song by now, right?

Could you imagine someone dedicating that song to you? Ouch! No one wants to be in that position.

If you are reading this article, you might wonder whether you are being friendzoned by the girl or boy you like. Well, fret not because we have all the clues for you to find out.

Here’s what you need to watch out for:

The Level of Comfort

One of the common indicators of your being friend zoned is how comfortable the person you fancy is around you. Don’t get us wrong; couples need to be comfortable with each other.

However, when someone has become too close for comfort in getting to know you, they probably see you as a friend. If someone has a crush on you, they will always show themselves in the best light.

They will care for their appearance and won’t babble out their most embarrassing stories. He or She won’t be comfortable changing their clothes in front of you.

If it’s a girl, she will also be nervous being around you without makeup on. But if your crush does the opposite, it’s a sign that they don’t see you as more than a friend.

If someone likes you back, they will always keep certain parts of their life a mystery. An air of ambiguity will be present.

They Are Open About Who They Like

One dead giveaway someone has friendzoned you is that they tell you about their crushes. Yes, jealousy is the oldest trick in the book when you want someone to like you.

But if someone tells you they like someone, they probably mean it. Because if a person is trying to make you jealous, they will usually talk about the people who like them.

They do it in the hopes of appearing desirable yet available simultaneously. However, if your person is constantly mentioning their crush, then it’s because they see you as a friend to confide in.


You Have Become a Life Support

If you have become the go-to person for your crush to air out their dirty laundry, then it’s another surefire sign. They see you as their friend to lean on during the good and bad times.

When someone likes you, then they will always talk about their good qualities and accolades. They will often leave out the bad times.

It’s very uncommon for someone who’s romantically pursuing another person to unload everything during the dating phase.

Such habits are only shared in relationships where two people are immersed in each other’s lives.

Pay Attention to their Actions

How does your person react to your plans and favors? Are they ever ready or filled with excuses?

When someone has a crush, they will go out of their way to make things happen. They will say yes to things they usually wouldn’t because they are trying to impress them.

But if someone has friendzoned you, then they won’t be as engaging and committed to your plans. They will probably ask for a raincheck or straight-up decline.

It’s all about priorities and how much someone values you. Remember this; Value doesn’t beg.

They Want You to Date Other People

Has your person tried to set you up with someone else? If they did, then we have bad news for you, pal!

They see your potential and are interested in setting you up with a mutual friend. When someone likes you, they will never put themselves in a position to lose you.

They will tell you how perfect you are for somebody else. Hence, they will voluntarily take up the responsibility of hooking you up with someone they know.

Does Your Crush Have a Nickname for You?

Now, this is tricky since people who have feelings for you can also have nicknames for you. Most couples also have nicknames in relationships.

But does your crush call you by certain nicknames such as ‘Kiddo,’ ‘Buddy,’ ‘Champ,’ ‘Bro,’ ‘Sis,’ or ‘Dude.’ If so, then they may see you under that light.

But let’s not count out the possibility since romantic feelings may start to develop with time. However, for the moment, you are in the friendzone and should be patient.

Are You the Counselor?

Did your crush just go through a breakup, and you are there consoling them? If so, then you are in the friendzone.

When people get their hearts broken, they seek friends who can offer the needed comfort and support. So, if this person has approached you, then it’s probably because they see you as that shoulder to lean on.

Is This a Party Pack?

Does your crush often invite over other people when the two of you make plans? Is he/she constantly ruining the chance of some alone time?

If so, then it’s doubtful that they like you. When someone sees you romantically, they will always look for the opportunity to spend time with you alone.

The Pact

When someone sees you as a friend, it’s common for them to make marriage jokes. He or She might joke about marrying you if the two of you are still single by 40.

It’s like the last resort, hoping neither of you has to end up being alone in the distant future. So, be on the lookout for such jokes from them.

Physical Touch

Don’t get us wrong; physical touch does indicate a romantic interest from the person. However, it depends on how it goes down.

If your person asks for a back massage, tickles you, or strokes their hair, it’s probably something friendly.

How To Get Out of the Friend Zone with a Girl

Are you currently on pause because she sees you as a friend? Don’t worry because we have some relationship hacks for you to get past that barrier.

Here are five key strategies for you to get out of the friendzone:

All About that Dopamine Rush

Many chemicals are in action when we interact with people. But the chemical ‘dopamine’ specifically is responsible for giving us pleasure.

Dopamine tends to make people memorable. This chemical helps in creating excitement, motivation, and engagement.

Here are some things that you can tell them:

  • Ugh, I always love spending time with you.
  • Ahh, it feels good to be alone with you.
  • You are such a catch.
  • This is so much fun.
  • I hope you realize how cool and interesting you are.

Billie Said It Best – “You Know I Need You for the Oxytocin”

Oxytocin screams ‘Romance’, and you need to make the most of it. This hormone helps in building trust, love, and bond.

Once you produce this hormone between the two of you, that person will start questioning the connection. They will be struck by “Is there something else?”

You can introduce this hormone through physical contact such as a handshake, side hug, fist bump, cheek kiss, shoulder touch, elbow touch, a warm hug, and a high five.

You can also produce oxytocin by maintaining intense eye contact and inter-conversation touch, such as:

  • Fist Bump
  • Pat on the Shoulder, and
  • Elbow Touch

A Complete Makeover

If you want to get out of the friendzone, then it’s necessary for you to be the catch. This means you have to pull a complete 180.

You need to prioritize yourself and boost your self-confidence and worth. Self-love is always the key, and you should put it on a pedestal.

Ensure that you eat right, go to the gym, and upgrade your wardrobe. Plus, avoid playing hard to get because she won’t chase you.

Spending More Quality Time

Another way to get her to see you as a potential romantic partner is by spending more quality time. For this, you need to have an adrenaline rush with her.

This includes:

  • Taking road trips
  • Skydiving, camping, or bungee jumping
  • Watching scary movies
  • Turning little things like grocery or clothing shopping into an adventure, etc.

Making Them Miss You

We don’t tend to miss someone when we are always around them. So, make sure to act busy occasionally to make them miss you.

They will feel your absence and awaken feelings they didn’t know they were suppressing unintentionally. But don’t act mad, or you will give them the wrong impression.

How to Get Out of the Friend Zone with a Guy

There are a lot of guys who friendzone girls, whether you believe it or not. Are you currently in that position, and it’s killing you on the inside?

You are on the right side of the internet today because we have the right tricks for you:

Be Vocal About Your Feelings

The most effective idea would be to tell him how you feel. You might not like this method, but it will help you to either get on with him or move on.

Most guys are vocal about their feelings, but girls aren’t. So, this might catch him off guard, but you best believe he will be impressed.

And you never know; he might feel the same way but is too scared to tell you. Most people resist saying these things because they prioritize their friendship.

Be Showy with Your Feelings

Another way to tackle this issue is by letting them know through your actions. You can begin with small compliments such as their haircut, t-shirt color, etc.

When you constantly compliment them, they will start to identify your route. They just might reciprocate the same.

Shifting their Focus

If you want them, you must get them to see you romantically. For instance, you can say things like:

  • “If I was his girlfriend, then I would do this,” or
  • “If you were my boyfriend, then I would do this and that for you,” etc.

The key is to refocus their romantic interest toward you. Once you start doing these things, they will gain clarity on the situation.

Start Flirting

Flirting is an icebreaker; as a woman, you will be natural at it. People can differentiate between romance and friendship through flirting.

When you flirt, you also allow them to flirt back. These flirty exchanges will lighten up the conversation and send the required message.

The Thought That Counts

Lastly, you can also choose to surprise them with something special. When you gift them something, it shows that you think of them.

It doesn’t have to be something expensive or materialistic. You can bake them their favorite cookies or cook their favorite meal.

There is a plethora of things that you can come up with, so make sure to explore and be creative. They will be taken back by your kindness.

Tips on How to Avoid the Friend Zone

The friendzone is the last place you want to be, especially when you have bulldozing feelings swept underneath for someone. We highly sympathize with you and your situation if you are in one.

But we have compiled a list of tips for you to adopt to avoid the friendzone successfully:

Breaking Stereotypes

Do you know why most people get friendzoned? It’s because they play the role of the ‘Best Friend’ or ‘Nice Guy.’ When this happens, it becomes challenging for two people to move to the romantic stage because they are stuck in the friend phase.

There is a buildup of pressure that shows symptoms of ruining the relationship. You will never be able to have him or her because you are constantly biting your tongue.

Start working on your confidence and turn all your intentions into actions. The sooner you do that during the initial stages of knowing someone, you won’t end up in their friendzone.

The Need for Space

You should avoid overwhelming them with your presence when you get to know someone. It’s important to give the person adequate space to breathe between the interactions.

You should allow them to miss your presence in your absence. That’s the magic of space and why it’s imperative during the initial stages of talking.

The Jealousy Trick Actually Works

Sometimes people don’t realize what they had until it’s gone. So, you can resort to making someone jealous to get them to pursue you.

You can tell him or her about how (XYZ) wants you and all those other fun stuff. This way, you will have their attention because they will be aware of the competition.

Both men and women put that extra effort into pursuing someone who’s sought after a lot by others. It’s a great strategy to avoid getting friendzoned.

Avoid Being Needy

Do you know the #1 reason for people getting friendzoned in the first place? Yes, it’s all that neediness that they bring while knowing someone.

When you are clingy, people feel suffocated, and you tend to appear as desperate for a relationship. Your clingy nature will annoy them and will instantly friendzone you or be rejected at worse.

When someone appears secure and independent in themselves, the other person finds it intriguing and sexy.

The Golden Rule of Dating

One of the best ways to avoid becoming stuck in the friendzone is to ask them out on a date. By doing this, you are letting her know off the bat about your feelings.

It doesn’t have to be an official or fancy date. You can go for a stroll in the park or meet up for a coffee.

The date should be casual, and the conversation must be chill and interesting. Avoid asking deep and personal questions from the jump because you need to respect boundaries.

Common Questions

Why Do I Always Get Friendzoned?

You could be getting constantly friendzoned for the following reasons:

  • You act as his or her best friend by always listening to everything that they have to share.
  • You have become very needy from the get-go.
  • You are playing the ‘Nice Guy’ card.
  • You have allowed them to be too comfortable around you.
  • You are too available.

Is There a Way Out of the Friendzone?

Yes, you can get out of the friendzone by doing the following things:

  • By telling them how you really feel.
  • If you are shy with your words, then you can show them through your actions.
  • You can bring a different dynamic between the two of you by flirting.
  • Ask your person out on a date and keep the energy consistent.
  • Throw subtle hints about how you want your future partner to be by basing it on their personality.
  • Start teasing them about how you guys would make a great couple.
  • Plan trips and avoid getting cold feet at the last minute.

Does Friendzone Have a Happy Ending?

Whether you believe it or not, friendzone situations turn into long-term committed relationships. It takes time, but with the right attitude and work, friendzone problems disappear.

Sometimes, two people might feel the same about each other. But they are scared of rejection or ruining the friendship, which causes them to suppress these emotions.

Is the Friendzone Toxic?

Friendzone situations only become toxic when the person getting friendzoned isn’t receiving it well. They tend to feel rejected, which hurts their ego, self-esteem, and confidence.

You shouldn’t feel obligated to do something just because someone does you favors or takes you out on a date.

You don’t owe anyone anything. But you should also empathetically inform them about the unrequited love without being rude.

Fact checked:
Board reviewed by Marianne Tomlinson, LCSW (Couples and Family Therapy). Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Learn more.

About the author

Ryan Sanderson (LCSW) Ryan is a game and relationship enthusiast who enjoys all things quizzes, games, fun, love, relationships, and family. He's a licensed social worker and helps families, couples, and children in need. He's spoken about love and relationships on Salon.com, Forbes, and Mirror, to name a few.

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