Are you on a one-way road to the “friend zone”?
You’ve probably heard of the “friend zone”, right? It’s the ultimate relationship limbo.
The friend zone is that place you find yourself in when the guy or girl you’ve been interested in has decided that you’re friendship material, instead of relationship material.
Maybe you’ve never been shunted to the friend zone or had to send someone else there, and you might not see the signs. Read on for five warning signs that your crush wants to keep it platonic.
1. No matter how many dates you suggest, this person wants to make it a group thing
If someone is into you, they’ll be receptive to your offer of dinner, dancing, or even taking a walk alone. If they don’t want to turn you down outright (in other words, they still want to spend time with you as a friend), they’ll probably suggest group dates and parties – settings where there’s not much chance of being alone together.
At first, it might still seem like the other party is interested, and just wants the group setting for its lack of pressure. But if that’s all they want to do, you’re in the friend zone.
2. You compliment him/her and all they say is thank you and look away
Complimenting someone on looks, personality, car, or any other ego point will usually draw a positive response if the person is attracted to you. In that case, they might compliment you back, engaging social cues. But if they are not interested in you romantically or sexually, you can expect a stilted “thanks” and an averted gaze.
3. Your crush is bringing up other people in a romantic context
This is never easy to endure, especially if the person your crush is talking up is a friend (also known as a “frenemy”). People don’t talk to potential partners about other people they’re interested in dating—they’re not even thinking about others, they’re focused on their love interest. If your crush keeps talking about this guy or girl they know, you might be in the friend zone and expected to offer advice. Give them bad advice at the risk of a karmic boomerang.
4. They give you no encouragement whatsoever
If you reach for their hand and they drawback, if they pull away from an innocent hug together, or you can’t get any good physical contact started, the relationship is not going anywhere. This is not to say you have to have sex from the first date on, just that if a romantic relationship is going to develop, there are some physical cues that have to happen. Sustained eye contact, reciprocal flirting, a certain vibe between you are all signs the relationship is progressing out of the friend zone.
5. Your crush starts dating someone else
Apart from hearing straight from your crush that they just want to be friends (which, let’s be honest, is painful but fast), hearing from other folks that your crush is dating someone else makes their feelings for you pretty clear. Seeing him or her out with someone they’re dating might feel like a kick in the teeth, but after that initial blow, it will get easier. It’s always better to know where you stand with someone than to waste time thinking their feelings match yours when they don’t.
And if you realise you’ve been friend-zoned with someone you’re crushing on, you have a decision to make. Instead of waiting or forcing things to change, the high road is to be a good friend. To do that, you will need to deal with your own feelings of rejection, sadness, and loss without involving the other person. If you can’t do that, cut off the friendship and part peaceably.
Seek professional help if needed
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to seek help from a good therapist if you are struggling to cope with the reality of being friend-zoned. If you’ve invested a lot in the relationship, it’s normal to be dealing with feelings of rejection, grief, and loss. If those feelings start to become overwhelming, a therapist can help you better manage your emotions so you can move on and potentially meet someone who definitely doesn’t want you in the friend zone.
Do you need relationship help?
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.