From Friends To Lovers: How To Get Out Of The Friend Zone

man and woman riding bikes in the park


Many have founds themselves trapped in what today is the friend zone. This locked and loaded destination is for any on the lines of friendship material rather than relationship material between two individuals. Though to the other person stuck in the friend zone, they desire anything but that, like a romantic relationship.

So, how can someone get out of the friendzone to go from friends to lovers? It’s not impossible to do so, but it may take some serious work, and by no means does this mean to refuse to listen to social cues or the word “no” when it’s given.

Note- Respect the other person’s boundaries. That is non-negotiable. Taking advantage is never okay.

In terms of getting out of the friendzone, it happens when someone’s intentions have not yet been revealed. They haven’t confessed or stated their interest to pursue a sexual or romantic relationship with the other. And that’s where we come in–with the necessary steps to gain the confidence to reveal your cards and express your interest to your OTP.

What Is The Friend Zone?

The friend zone is where many people wish they would never go or be stuck in. In this matter, the friend zone occurs between two people. One person has strictly platonic feelings for the other person. Unfortunately, the other person has a romantic interest in the other person or sexual interest in the other “friend.”

When the friend with platonic feelings for the other either does not see the romantic or sexual interest originating from the other friend or denies any romantic or sexual implications, this friend is in the “friend zone.”

How To Avoid Being Friend Zoned

There are methods to avoid being placed in the friend zone at the initial start of a relationship.

Express Your Intentions

Don’t wait around and be placed in the friend zone if you want to get anywhere in a relationship. When you have romantic feelings for a person, you need to make them known (obviously only if the person is single and available). Inform your prospective romantic interest that you’re interested in, and then ask them out on a date to get to know each other!

couple having fun in a field

Keep Your Options Open

It can align with not having expressed open availability for only one person (and they don’t have the same for you). Spend time with others, join a dating app and go on a blind date to meet someone else. Don’t close the doors on the prospect of meeting someone else just because you’re interested in one person that may or may not have requited, or unrequited love, feelings for you.

Assert Yourself

Present your intentions to get romantically involved and take the lead. Ask them on a date, court them, show that you care and are interested in them as a romantic partner. You can be the “nice guy” but still be forward and assertive with your intentions without being taken advantage of or not taken seriously because of those “nice guy” attributes that have put so many in the friend zone (where a lot of them don’t belong).

Be a nice and good person, but assert that you’re especially doing nice and courtly things for that person to show that you care about them and are interested in pursuing a relationship with them.

Correct Them

There are often phrases used for someone to place another in the “friend zone.”

“You’re like a brother/sister to me.”

“You’re the sibling I never had.”

“You’re the greatest friend ever.”

“I wish I had more friends like you.”

The list goes on and on. People can get incredibly creative and clear-cut, intentionally or not. When you hear the person you desire to start a relationship with saying one of these phrases about you or to you, you need to correct them. Immediately, or if the situation calls for it, privately.

Without this clear-cut clarification that explains your romantic inclination to pursue them, then this misunderstanding of the relationship will continue. Your crush needs to understand what you think of them, how you desire them, and why you treat them in a manner that entails romantic inclinations instead of platonic relations.

happy couple sitting in a grassy field

Designate One-On-One Time

When the individual you are pursuing does not know your romantic intentions, they will think of you platonically—a friend. And as a friend, they will assume to share invitations with others that are part of the friend group when you desire one-on-one time specifically. It is often unintentional, as most friends in friend groups understand how hurtful it is not to be invited to events or hangouts (they’re just being compassionate, don’t be mad at them!).

Make sure to specify that you desire to have your and their time without anyone else tagging along. You desire the intimacy and the time spent between the two of you, for them to have a chance to ask more intimate questions of you and you of them or have a chance to declare your desire to pursue them romantically. This can exempt you from entering the friend zone. It can also dramatically alter the course of your relationship with them. It could start a romantic relationship with them instead of being stuck in the friend zone and struggling to make your way out of it.

Another tip is striving to have frequent one-on-one time with them. Loads of personable time can build sexual tension and a sexual attraction between you. It allows for questions, bonding, and the growth of the relationship! Try to add a romantic touch to the playing field to “woo” them to show that you intend to spend time with them like a lover and not just a friend.

Ask Them Out On A Date

Like sharing your intentions, asking them out on a date is a sure-fire way to show them your intentions. It’s time to dive deep into that bundle of courage you have and put yourself out there. Rejection is scary, but Wayne Gretsky famously declared, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Try to set yourself up for success by being polite, romantic, showing your intrigue in what they care about, and so on. It can lead them to build an interest in you and want to get to know you more. Asking them out on a date is the perfect time to do that!

Waiting Too Long Can Be A Recipe For Disaster (AKA The Friendzone)

Waiting too long to ask someone out or share your intentions to pursue them romantically can be a recipe for disaster known as the friend zone.

If you wait too long, someone else can swoop in and sweep them off their feet. Then you, respectfully, would have to respect the boundaries of them being in a relationship and either move on or wait for them to break up.

For those who wait too long because they’re waiting for the “right moment,” this can result in being dumped into the friend zone. And there’s nothing wrong with being friends, but if you want to date that friend, that can be a bit rough. Be clear, concise, and assertive in wanting to pursue them—ask them out on a date, request one-on-one time with them, buy them flowers, etc. There are plenty of options to express that you care, but get the message across as effectively as possible. Use your words. And then add some flowers with it for a bonus effect.

couple having fun with empty moving boxes

Be Mysterious

Who doesn’t love a bit of mystery in life? It adds a desirable intrigue that you want to come back for more, to find the answers to those unspoken questions.

For men and women, initially meeting a prospective partner that engages an intriguing, mysterious aura can help spice up interest and engagement in the relationship. You can also stop yourself from falling into the friend zone (or get out of it!).

To be “mysterious” with another, try not to be too open or overshare when initially getting to know someone. Don’t answer questions one-worded or be short with them. Try to exemplify a mysterious aura by answering the question without oversharing (as in telling them about the one time you did this, or your sibling did that when all they asked about was your favorite holiday).

When a person is too open or constantly overshares, this can come across as needy, naive, and sometimes annoying (depending on who you’re talking to, of course!). Work on maintaining a balance of sharing what needs to be shared and what needs not to be shared. By doing this, you’ll be adding a quality of mystery that will draw your desired prospective romantic partner to you like a moth to a flame (hopefully!) and keep you out of the friend zone!

Romantic Gestures

Buy them flowers. Take them out to dinner and pay for the meal. State your romantic intentions with them and show that you intend to treat them as such as you court them!

Signs You Are In The Friend Zone

There are many signs that you may be locked in the friend zone.

It’s Never One-On-One

Whether you’re inviting your interest to dinner, a movie, or any other type of engagement, they always invite friends or others to tag along. There’s never any one-on-one time between the two of you.

It can be intentional or unintentional on their part. For intentional purposes, they can be doing this to eliminate the prospect of intimacy between you. It can be because they’re nervous, don’t wish to play into those romantic or sexual feelings, or they have no desire to allow you out of the friend zone because they’re simply not interested and wish to remain as friends. For unintentional purposes, they may not wish to make you uncomfortable as others may think that the two of you are on a date (and the idea of you negating that by saying, “No, we’re just friends,” can be disheartening) or they assume that it would be a fun time with the whole friendship group (and don’t consider that it can be insulting or discouraging to you, as they do not know your intentions yet!).

Either way, this can signify that you are, in fact, in the friend zone.

couple laughing and sitting on the couch

They Openly Talk About Others They Find Attractive

There’s nothing quite as discouraging as hearing the person you’re interested in talking about others they find attractive openly in front of you or even about their past ex-partners. If this person is unaware of your interest in getting out of the friend zone, they may talk to you as if you’re one of the gals or bros, which results in discussing who they find attractive and why.

And that’s just about the last thing someone wants to hear from the person they’re interested in (when it’s not about you, anyway).

They Change Clothes In Front Of You

No able-minded person will change in front of their crush without caring (which can be shown by blushing, being embarrassed, hiding, etc.). No seductive intentions are presented. They genuinely see you as a friend (for now, at least).

Many females, not all, will unwittingly change or get naked in front of their friends because they’re comfortable around them. Almost like a sign of trust or comfort in the friendship or confidence, depending on the level of friendship. Males are a tad more reserved when it comes to changing in front of the bros, though that highly depends on the friendship group and the man in question. In either case, changing in front of your crush is drastically different than changing in front of friends.

You’re Like A Brother Or Sister To Them

This one hurts bad when you’re crushing hard on them. If you’ve heard this one, you’ve been friend-zoned to unimaginable depths that have never been discovered or recovered from (not that it’s impossible to drag yourself out of there and pull yourself out of the friend zone!).

Many childhood friends will hear this one. When growing up with a person, it’s easier to accumulate that “sibling-like” bond with a person–they’ve seen you at your worst (…puberty) and your best (glow-up season!). There’s no bond quite like that one, making it difficult for some to perceive this “brother” or “sister” from another mother as anything other than a friend or sibling, but it is not impossible! Many childhood friends have ended up dating or married!

couple taking a selfie

You’d Be Great With…

Ow! Double Ow!

You’re in the friend zone territory, like real bad. If they’re trying to set you up with a friend or coworker because they “think you’d look so good with ____!” or “you two would be so great for each other!” you have been dug a hole and buried in the friend zone.

Its time to either dig yourself out or allow them to set you up with a possible new romantic interest!

You’re Such A Great Friend!

Oh, look! There’s a knife sticking out of your chest!

No one wants to hear this, not from their big-time crush or love interest. Admittedly you can be a “great friend” as a lover, but when you’re not in a relationship, and you’re looking to be with this person, this is not what you want to hear.

Usually, a woman (not that guys can’t use this method too) will specifically use this statement to place someone in the friend zone. It is a tool that some may use to expressly state that they greatly appreciate you as a friend and don’t want to lose you as a friend if things turn awry if any time of relationship is pursued.

Steps To Get Out Of The Friend Zone

Check Your Confidence Level

People with low confidence levels are more likely to have trust issues, fluid boundaries, and a dash of anxiety or depression. It can carry unnecessary weight in a relationship and a major “turn off.”

Yes, everyone has their “issues” or “emotional baggage,” but that doesn’t mean your prospective partner needs to carry that weight.

On the other spectrum, there are those with high confidence they don’t admit when they’ve made a mistake or when they’re in the wrong. It can be a major “turn off” too, as it can lead to a one-way conversation and communication style, which no one wants in a relationship…seeing as there are two people in a relationship, not one.

Low and high confidence levels can be incredibly toxic or undesirable for one person or two. Work on yourself by investing in yourself. Be humble and have grace with others. Read self-help books, talk to a therapist, invest your time in proactive hobbies or tasks, and take steps to work on yourself!

couple laughing and having fun

Improve Your Qualities

What do you look for in an ideal partner? Now reverse UNO that questions…what does your romantic interest look for in a partner? Do you retain any of those qualities? No? It’s time to get working, then.

Understand that you shouldn’t have to “reform” yourself to be with someone. At the same time, you shouldn’t be a “taker” in a relationship, as this only proceeds to exhaust the “giver” in the relationship. A relationship is an equal “give and take” of two people, this can fluctuate at times and during different periods of stress and periods of life, but there shouldn’t be a designated “giver” and “taker” in a relationship—that is toxic and unhealthy.

Now, as a partner, what do you bring to the relationship? Are you a good listener? Can you cook? Do you clean up after yourself? There are multitudes of qualities that are “attractive” to others that can be altered depending on culture, religion, familial dynamic, sex, and personal taste. A study showed that spending time with a person (this is referred to as “quality time” as a love language) can raise the “attractiveness” level of a person.

Work on your qualities so that you may not only bring desired qualities to a relationship but to improve your attractiveness to the potential person you wish to date.

Mental Health

If you are currently struggling with mental health issues like depression or anxiety, it may be time to see a professional for guidance.

When struggling with the nagging of anxiety or exhaustion from depression, it can be hard to not only think clearly. Still, it can also be a heavy contribution to a prospective relationship. Remember, this does not mean you are “less than” than someone who has no mental health struggles. It simply means that you can obtain some guidance on how to sift through the nagging and misleading symptoms, thought processes, and other issues that arise from mental health struggles to obtain some healing and properly communicate with your prospective love interest.

Don’t Play Games

You’re not a clown, so stop playing “hard to get.” In this day and age, those acts will end up with you being ghosted or friend-zoned real quick.

Make your intentions clear, but allow your romantic interest to come to you. There’s no need to show off by primming your metaphorical feathers like a peacock. If you’re their friend, they know who and how you are, so there’s no need to go out of your way to impress them.

Don’t Put All Of Your Eggs In One Basket.

This expression is so essential in so many practical aspects of life, including this one.

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, meaning don’t only go for this one person, especially if they haven’t expressly shown interest in you. Allow yourself the opportunity for success and the potential to meet someone else by putting yourself out there–whether it be on dating apps, out and about, at family events, weddings, etc. You deserve happiness. Remember, there’s “plenty of fish in the sea,” so don’t only hyperfocus on one person you’ve been crushing on who has severely friend-zoned you, which can lead to harsh disappointment.

couple laughing and drinking wine

Experience Dopamine-Inducing Things With Them

Dopamine is that chemical that we know and loves that induces motivation, pleasure, excitement, and engagement. Developmental Molecular Biologist Dr. John Medina found that dopamine made people more memorable. Another study showed that couples who laughed together were more likely to have higher-quality relationships!

There’s a variety of activities that can induce dopamine—get your head out of the gutter!–like traveling, hiking, going to a painting class, joining a league for a sport, or having a cook-off recipe night! Get innovative and personalize it to your and your prospective partner’s tastes and hobbies. It can take time to develop and cultivate enough to impact your prospective partner, so play the long game if need be!

Get A Little Physical

Once again—get your head out of the gutter!

When we say “get a little physical,” we mean it (as in the “little” part!). From a hug, kiss on the cheek, or a touch on their back (for ladies, the small of their back is a prime target spot!), adding a good dosage of physical touch will bribe the chemical oxytocin to get working. At the start of meeting up with them and when leaving, make sure to do this. Make it a habit!

Add in strong eye contact (don’t be creepy about it!) to show you’re listening and attentive to what they have to say or express. Then, start to add in some physical touch while chatting with them or spending time with them. It can encourage them to do the same in return and encourage new feelings to arise (or show them that you’re interested in them!).

With each touch, make sure you are socially acute and observe their reaction. Are they leaning into your touch, smiling, and touching you back? Or are they leaning away from your touch and showing discomfort? If you’re receiving the second reaction (as in the social cue or their body language), ease off or slow down the physical touch.


It may seem impossible and implausible, but getting out of the friend zone is possible–never say never!

From expressing your intentions and interest to working on your self-worth, a lot of relationship advice can get you out of the friend zone. Don’t be afraid to work on yourself and the qualities you bring to a relationship, a lot of the time, that can be a big reason why the relationship hasn’t started already. Remember to respect boundaries, theirs and your own, as you take steps to get out of the friend zone! 

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