How to Not Get Locked Into the Friend Zone

Avoid the friend zone from the start.
... Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

When you like someone you are just getting to know, do your best to avoid the friend zone so you won't have to worry about getting out of it. You can establish yourself as a potential love interest right from the start, so you won't fall into the "just a friend" category.

1 Skip Friends First

Be conscious about the friend zone right from the beginning or as soon as you realize you have feelings for the person. The “friend zone” refers to being stuck in a place where your attraction to a person is not mutual -- and instead of being a possible boyfriend or girlfriend, you are seen only as a friend. Once you are locked in the friend zone, it can be difficult to get out, says psychologist Jeremy Nicholson in “Avoiding the Friend Zone: Becoming a Girlfriend or Boyfriend."

2 Appear Less Available

Create some competition to let your friend know that you have other friends who also enjoy your company. One study, "Playing Hard-to-Get: Manipulating One's Perceived Availability as a Mate," published in 2012 in the "European Journal of Personality," found that people are more likely to be interested in someone who appears less available. Tell him how busy you are with your friends and how much fun you’re having. He might be more likely to see your value as a potential love interest when he sees that there’s a possibility he could lose you.

3 Establish Yourself as More

To stay out of the friend zone, quickly establish yourself as a potential date. One way to do this is to use touch in a romantic, flirty way. The study "Interpretations, Evaluations, and Consequences of Interpersonal Touch," published in 1993 in "Human Communications Research," found that touch can actually be used to create attraction. However, in "Flirt Fearlessly: The A to Z Guide to Getting Your Flirt On," communications and flirting coach Rachel DeAlto warns against inappropriate touching, even when flirting. Only touch platonic places such as the elbow, arm or shoulder for a few seconds. This will be enough to create the intimacy and bond you desire.

4 Take a Risk

A way to almost guarantee being stuck in the friend zone is to do nothing about your attraction. Don’t be too scared to take a risk and let your friend know what you want. Your fear of being rejected might be what is stopping you from making your feelings known, but if you don’t take the risk, you might miss out on a chance to be more than just a friend. If your friend does reject you, it is better to know now than to waste your time pining over somebody you are not sure will ever feel the same.

Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".