“The ‘friend zone’ is like the penalty box of dating, only you can never get out. Once a girl decides you’re her ‘friend,’ it’s game over. You’ve become a complete non-sexual entity in her eyes, like her brother, or a lamp.” - Ryan Reynolds in Just Friends
Ah, the infamous friend zone. Only a few women have ever been banished there but every man has been locked down in the friend zone by AT LEAST one woman, if not all of them. For some girls, friend zoning guys is like reapplying lipstick: part of her routine and easily done without thinking twice about it. On the other hand, there are girls that mean well but end up dragging a pour guy along for far too long because she can’t figure out how to properly friend zone him. If you’re in the latter group, this is for you.
Step 1: Subtly dissuade his idea of being more than friends
- Do not hang out one-on-one, only in group settings. If you think it might be one-on-one, ask if one of your girl friends can tag along. Most likely he won’t say no, but if he does then abort mission.
- Act like his wing woman. Spot a girl that’s probably his type based on his interest in you and encourage him to go up to her, or give him advice on getting women. Be sure you make it obvious that this advice should be used on other girls, not you.
- Do not dress up too much when you hang out. He already likes you so we don’t need to be drawing even more attention to you. Even if you’re someone who tends to have full blown hair and makeup everyday, consider dialing it back a bit when you’re with him.
- Do not flirt or be touchy-feely in person, over text or via social media. Unfortunately, your sweet and cute personality can be perceived as flirting. Don’t change who you are, but have caution when if you know that you tend to be a touchy person or overly sweet.
- Mention dates or hanging out with other guys. Obviously you don’t want to rub it in the poor guys face, but don’t be afraid to mention that you have dinner plans when he asks what you’re doing.
- Do not - under any circumstance - let him do you a favor. Favors are for good friends and boyfriends only. Don’t be playing damsel in distress if you don’t want him to be your knight in shining armor.
Now, step 2 depends on if you actually want to be friends with this guy or if you just have to tolerate him because he’s in your extended friend group and will inevitably be around each other.
Step 2A: Establish your friendship
If you actually want to be friends with him, you need to let him know. Explain that you value your friendship. Try not to blind-side him with this conversation by sending him a 5-chapter text message after he asked if you want to hang out. Tell him you want to talk about your friendship and if he responds well, you’ve got the green light to be honest and up front. It might be a little uncomfortable for both people, but if you genuinely want a friendship then it’ll be worth it.
Step 2B: End on decent terms
If this guy is going to be in your friend group even though you never anticipate being the one to invite him, you’ll need to leave things on good terms. Be clear that you’re not interested in anything romantic and don’t leave anything up for misinterpretation. Let me repeat that for the girls in the back: make things as black and white as possible. You know the meme that says, “so you’re saying there’s a chance”? Make sure he never has that thought.
Don’t ghost him unless it’s absolutely necessary. Grow a pair and be straight up with him. If you’re at the point that you want to ghost him because he is being a total POS, there’s no chance of a friendship anyway so cut him loose hard and fast. You’re an adult, and sometimes that means doing things that make you feel uncomfortable, but you’ve got to do it. If he’s one of those guys that just won’t quit, no matter how bluntly you’ve tried to end things, just block him. Sometimes there’s no nice way to get things done.