“How do you escape the friend zone?” a guy colleague of mine asked during a drinking session one night.
“You should not be such a Mr. Nice Guy,” a girl colleague replied, coolly blowing smoke into the air. She was the kind of girl who knew what she was talking about, I supposed. She had that look – slim, pretty and aware of it, the kind of girl who friend zones guys and makes them want to escape it and ask about it in bars on Friday nights.
Meanwhile, I am her exact opposite.
I had a conversation on the same topic with my close friends a few weeks before.
“I saw my crush today and when he looked at me I panicked that he had seen me looking at him,” one of them had confessed in despair. “I am so terrible around men! How do I get out of the friend zone?”
“I wouldn’t know!” I had laughed in response. “How many times have I fallen in unrequited love with a guy friend? I think the problem with me is that when I’m around boys, I act like a boy, so they see me as a boy. So I don’t get friend-zoned, I get boy-zoned.”
As I sat there in that bar, I decided to ask the boys the same question. “So what does a girl have to do to get out of the friend zone?”
“Nothing,” one of them replied. “If I’m not attracted to a girl, nothing she does will ever make me see her as more than a friend.”
He may be right. But I suddenly remembered that I did manage to escape the friend zone a couple of times before. How did I do it?
Let’s take at one example. There was this guy, we were office friends. I had a crush on him for a long time, but I always made sure to hide it, acting like a boy and listening to him talk about other girls, etc.
Then one day, I can’t remember why, I suddenly joke-flirted with him, and the next thing you know, he was acting weird around me – the same way he acted around the women he used to talk to me about – and then we were out on a movie date and he was telling me that he had a crush on me.
I wish I had a happy ending for that but I don’t, because I couldn’t admit that I liked him too and he ended up going after another girl who was more open about that and who had moves that I could never match. I would so lose in a flirting olympics. I would come in last, the same way I did for that 3k marathon I ran before.
But still. I got out of the friend zone. It is possible.
You know that saying, “Don’t dress for the job you have, but for the job you want”? It kinda works in relationships, too.
Don’t act like the role you have (friend) but the role you want (girlfriend).
I admit this isn’t easy, especially for people who are naturally friendly and unnaturally flirty, like yours truly.
It’s also risky and not guaranteed to work for everyone, because what if the guy isn’t attracted to you at all? You’ll jeopardize your friendship.
As my friend said, the guy has to be attracted to you in order to see you that way. I was just lucky that in my case, my guy friend was attracted to me but didn’t realize it because I had friend zoned myself.
So maybe, for some people, they’re in the friend zone not because of the other party, but because of their own doing.
So, step 1 of getting out of the friend zone? Get yourself out because you were the one who put yourself in there in the first place.
And maybe it’s applicable not just to relationships, but other stuff in life, too.
This post is part of the A to Z Challenge, a blog hop that goes through the alphabet for all the days of April except Sundays. Today’s feature is Z for Zone.