How to avoid the 'friend-zone'


‘I've been friend-zoned’

Okay, we’ve all been there…you’ve put in a massive effort – texting, hanging out at lunch, meeting up to go to that party together – in the hope they’ll want to take the next step. Then it turns out they don’t like you ‘in that way’.

Cue the soul-crushing combo of disappointment, sadness, embarrassment and a miniature violin. And complaining to all your mates, telling them ‘Damn, I’ve been friend zoned…’. 

Sponge-bob meme saying 'The friendzone'

EXCEPT, the ‘friend-zone’ doesn’t… actually… exist.

Please, let us explain…

The 'friend-zone’ concept kind of only exists if you believe the idea that if you’re nice to someone and give them attention, then you should get sex or some kind of intimacy from them in return. In other words, ‘I is nice to you – now you must do sex to me’. But nobody should ever feel pressured into dating or sex with someone, ever.

So, if you're hung up on this idea of the 'friend-zone' then maybe it's time to take a step toward, um, being a decent human being? Sad, but true. Because believe it or not (actually, just believe it), it is possible to be 'just' friends.

The ‘friend-zone’ also suggests that friendship is a 'second'. But why tho? Sure, sex and/or romance might be good, but aren’t great mates an excellent part of life too (even the ones you don’t have sex with!)?

And yeah you might feel rejected for a while, you might feel like you'll never stop liking them in that way, you may feel like they just need to be convinced – but give it some time, and hold on to the idea that you are a decent human being, and you'll see...

GIF of all the cast of Friends all applauding

YEP, they can befriend you with the sole purpose of being friends.

YEP, they can be curious and not sure if they’re into you and then decide no.

YEP, they can cut it off even if you put in heaps of effort.

YEP, they owe you nothing.

In short: there’s no such thing as the friend-zone – there are just people who don’t want to date you or sleep with you. Tough truths.

Just remember: No one owes you sex, romantic feelings, dates or a relationship. Never. Not once, ever. No ifs, buts, maybes or what-ifs. 

Amber Rose saying

So, avoiding the ‘friend-zone’ (which yeah doesn’t actually exist…) boils down to consent and communication. Top tips:

  • Don’t assume someone is romantically or sexually into you. Ever. Not even if XYZ, nope. You have to ask (and get a positive response) for that to be the case.
  • Don’t assume that if they said yes once, that yes is forever. Consent is ongoing.
  • Don’t assume the other person knows you want to do the kissing/sexing/dating with them – the responsibility is on you to tell them.
  • You cannot control how the other person feels about you. It sucks if you're into someone and they don't feel the same. BUT this isn’t the same thing as them owing you feelings or sex.
  • Do not make them feel guilty for not wanting you. 

If you feel annoyed at wasted energy when someone ‘friend-zones’ you, next time try this: 

Early on, let them know you only want to chat and hang out… if they’re interested in sex or dating you. They’ll know what you’re looking for, and likewise, you’ll know what they’re into. If they’re not keen then you can either shift your expectations and aim for genuine friendship, or choose to end things right then and there.

Plus, if you only see people as hook-ups and feel entitled to sex and/or dating, you might watch your chances at, well, anything – friendship, dating, sex, the lot – vanish because you'll earn a reputation as being a bit of a tool.

So, how to avoid the friend-zone? Just recognise it doesn’t exist, because people are allowed to say ‘no thanks’ when you suggest dating or hanging out.

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