Can You Get Out of the Friend Zone?

Wondering how to get out of the friend zone but don’t know what to do? You’re not alone.

Dear Holly,

I’ve been friends with Rosa for five years. She lived with a woman I went to university with. The three of us hung out, went to uni events and really enjoyed each other’s company. The woman I went to school with moved back to her home state, and we’ve kept in touch, but since then Rosa and I hang out even more.

She’s single and says she doesn’t have time for a boyfriend. Sometimes I feel like we are in a relationship, even though we don’t have sex, and I respect her too much to ever try anything. But I do love her and wish I could say something. I feel tortured and sometimes wonder if it’s good for my mental health to continue being her friend, as it hurts to be around her sometimes.

How do I get out of the friend zone? Is it possible, ever? – Reg

Dear Reg,

The dreaded friend zone is somewhere most of us have found ourselves at some point in our lives. We have these stories to share because most of us never made it out of that zone. And if we did, it wasn’t always in the direction that we had hoped.

So is there no way to get out of the friend zone? Never say never. My best friend is celebrating her ten-year anniversary with a man who was in the friend zone for a few years. It wasn’t so much that he wore her down, but she fell in love with who he genuinely was because of the depth of their friendship.

I’ll give you some hope along with the hard truth, to help you know if and when to make a move, when to stop pining, and when to move on.

What to Do if You Are In the Friend Zone

Check Yourself

What are you really feeling? Is it just lust? Do you spend so much time together that sex seems like something that’s bound to happen?

Hey, if you just want to get laid, have your bestie help you find someone online, because that is a super fun thing to do, and you’ll know if sex was the main draw. But if what you’re feeling is something much deeper, then you have to tread more carefully moving forward.

Read: Dos and Don’ts for Hookups with Friends

Be Real with Yourself

If your friend is hooking up with a different man every other week, it’s probably not because she’s trying to make you jealous. It’s more likely that she’s not interested in a relationship and is just enjoying casual sex.

You have to be honest with yourself, and accept that your friend is not interested in you, in that way, at least right now.

Will she all of a sudden recognize the signs you are signaling (or that you think you are) and come around? Time will tell.

Read: I Hooked Up with My Best Friend – Help!

Enjoy Your Friend

It’s rare for a woman and man to enjoy a purely platonic relationship that isn’t mired by one person wanting to sleep with the other. You can’t help how you feel, but know that if you do have sex one day or explore relationship possibilities, it may ruin the friendship.

I’ve been tempted to try something sexy with guy friends who I’ve known forever because they are good guys, but I never have because the friendships are too valuable.

If you do end up in bed together and it’s a friends with benefits arrangement, something may develop from it, or you may realize the sexual chemistry is all wrong. Can you go back to normal afterwards?—yes, if you communicate in a mature and honest manner.

Read: 5 Tips to Stay Friends without the Benefits

Tell Her If You Are Tortured

Some women will never pick up on the fact that their best guy friend is in love with them until they disappear from their lives. Then all of a sudden everything makes sense, but it’s too late for anything.

If you’re thinking of stepping away from her for good because being in the friend zone causes you too much pain, you may consider coming clean about your feelings to prevent a lifetime of regret and wondering what if.

Read: Turn a Friend into a Girlfriend

Put Your Feelings Aside for the Long Game

Some men can manage to date and enjoy other relationships all the while secretly being in love with a best friend, and vice versa. And maybe this is what will happen.

She’ll date, you’ll date, one of you will sometimes be single, but you’ll still find time to hang out. You’ll live your parallel lives, with you in the friend zone forever… or not. Stranger things have happened than old friends finally realizing why they are still friends after all these years, and giving it a shot.

But live your life to its fullest in the meantime.

Read: 4 Benefits of Being in the Friend Zone

Have you been able to get out of the friend zone? Please leave a comment!

Hookup Help is a Q&A series. If you want advice or a woman’s perspective on hooking up, online dating, relationships, or sex, we want to hear from you. SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION, and who knows, you may appear in the next Hookup Land newsletter.

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