You just clicked on an article that has the word “friend zone” in the title. I am going to take a wild guess and assume that you know what being “friend zoned” is.
Although, there is always that chance that you could have seen the title and gone,
“What the heck is a friend zone? I’m going to check this out.”
In which case, I can only wonder what rock you’ve been living under.
Let me enlighten you.
I’ve heard a lot more uttering of the term “Friend Zone” these days.
The friend zone is this imaginary little place that we’ve created over the last couple of years to make ourselves feel better about not being chosen to be someone’s significant other. Generally speaking, the person proclaiming that they have been “friend zoned” is dealing with the not so rare affliction of being butt-hurt.
For most women, the goal of dating is to find someone you’re compatible with and that you want to spend the foreseeable future with.
If we were required to say yes to every single person that wanted to date us, I would literally have a harem of men. Seriously, I would have about 373 boyfriends right now… all at the same time. That’s just too many. I can hardly handle having one, let alone hundreds.
So when a guy, whines that I put him in the friend zone, I’m a lot less likely to give two hoots.
However, for the sake of our topic today, we will be addressing the situation of couples who have been together for at least a little while, if not a long while, in which you, the guy, are still feeling it.
Whereas the girl in question has ended the relationship with the manhood shriveling phrase,
“Let’s just be friends.”
In this situation, it’s not a matter of being chosen.
Hell, you were already chosen and now that, that relationship has come to an end she has suggested that you stay friends.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel like they’re kind of putting their friendship out there as a sort of consolation prize.
Okay so maybe it’s not THAT bad, but you get the idea.
That feeling when she threw that line out there.
“I think we should split up, but I hope we can still be friends.”
You know what feeling I mean.
It probably felt like you cannon balled straight into an icy pool in the dead of winter while simultaneously getting sucker punched in the jaw with no warning.
And let’s face it, it generally sucks.
The Two Different Routes You Took To Get To This Point
Here are the two different routes you could have taken to get to this point:
- You started out as friends and decided to take a risk and see if it could be something more
- You started off dating without having been friends before.
Either way you find yourself in the same predicament and are now asking yourself,
‘How did I wind up here?”
Now, in some situations staying friends might actually make sense. One of these circumstances would be if you share a friend-base, meaning that you are going to be around each other still. This offering of friendship is more like a peace treaty, an agreement to be civil.
In my opinion, that isn’t unreasonable. You don’t want to become the jerk every time she’s around. Eventually your friends wouldn’t even want to be around you. You don’t want to have to avoid her constantly either and feel like you have to leave every time she shows up to a friend gathering.
In my opinion, accepting these terms after a break up is acceptable. It will simply make both of your lives easier.
Things will be awkward regardless, but by deciding to stay friends, you are creating a tiny boundary of civility. Should you accept these terms and decide that staying friends and no more is fine with you, then eventually the two of you may even find some comfort-ability in the friendship.
I doubt that the two of you will be those types of friends that call each other just to chat, get together for brunch, or hold hands and skip.
If you are still harboring feelings for her, you’ll have to accept that there will always be an underlying pain there until those fade. But knowing that up front will make it easier to deal with it.
You see, this isn’t a true friend-zone situation.
It’s more comparable to a baseball player’s team not renewing his contract or sending him to the minor leagues.
Say the two of you had been friends before you dated.
I can understand her asking you to go back to being her friend.
It was a risk you took, losing the friendship in lieu of seeing where a relationship with her would go. Now, here you are, it hasn’t panned out and your friendship is hanging in the balance.
It doesn’t matter if you were dating for three months.
It doesn’t matter if you were dating three years.
Something happened that made her go,
“Man, I would much rather have my friend back than be with this person romantically any longer.”
What that something was, I have no idea.
But I can help you figure it out.
What Went Wrong In Your Relationship With Her
So, let’s look back at your relationship. A large majority of you would tell me that you were completely blindsided. You did not expect to be dumped at all!
I’ll tell you this right now, most dumpees don’t.
However, if you will rewind and take a closer look at your relationship you can see subtle clues that were happening right under your nose that you were missing.
Let me tell you what we are looking for.
At some point in the relationship, she started to pull away.
Women can be many things, but straightforward isn’t usually one of them.
We expect you to read our minds and pick up on our subtle clues.
While you’re looking back for that turning point in your relationship, here are some things to look for:
She stopped telling you when exciting things happened. You were likely to find out through a friend or third party.
If you two normally went to bed at the same time, and suddenly they are out of sync for no apparent reason.
She started watching that show you binge watched together alone.
Your plans became tentative rather than set in stone.
She started staying places longer instead of coming straight home like normal.
She stopped asking your opinion on things.
Little things like this are tell-tale signs, but while we’re on the inside of the relationship, it’s impossible for us to see them.
Let me explain further.
We have this little sushi place here that is… something else.
When they built it, they basically created an environment that made you feel like you were in a small town anymore.
When you walk in, you are transported to another place and it created a kind of escape of sorts.
Now, from a marketing point of view, this is momentous! This restaurant’s patrons are receiving a tiny vacation for the price of dinner.
With that kind of reward system, their patrons are going to keep going back! It’s guaranteed success.
I got a little off track.
What I was trying to get across is that this building, from the outside, looks like a bunch of cubes and rectangles and decks just shoved together and painted bold red, black, and silver. There’s a lot going on inside, 8 areas all with stuff going on.
They even have a big sign out from highlighting what is going on that evening.
Standing outside and watching people going in, and listening, you can tell what kinds of parties are going on, what kind of live music is playing. You can even smell whether they are grilling or not.
However, all you can see is the room you’re in. You can be standing in the main bar and never know that there are seven parties going on upstairs, in the lounges, or on the patios.
Stick with me while I bring this home.
Standing inside the bar, you can’t see that this building is this insane collection of geometric shapes all smashed together.
It’s easy to forget.
I’ll be honest, when I walk out and look back I am always standing there in awe for a second, going,
“Is that the building I was just in?”
Now, being in a relationship is like being in that bar. Everything looks great, you’re having fun, and everything seems perfectly fine.
In your current situation, it’s almost like your ex came in like a bouncer and booted you out, yelling as she kicked,
“Let’s stay friends though!!”
While you were inside, the building around you could be crumbling. You were blissfully unaware.
Now that you’re looking back at the building, you aren’t seeing a super cool restaurant, you’re seeing a building that is falling apart.
From the inside, your relationship seemed fine. But you were missing the full picture of it starting to fall apart or shift.
I know that was a long way to go about explaining it, but when things start to shift, they can disguise themselves as something else. Or, moreover, we misread what’s happening. It’s what my mom calls seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.
(Something about an old song and being in love, but I digress.)
In my last relationship, I went through something similar, where he started getting a little distant and I mistook that for us just getting more comfortable with each other. Little did I know, he had developed a crush on someone else.
Now, because I wasn’t on the outside of the relationship, I couldn’t see what was happening till it was too late.
Now his friends, who were around us all the time, could tell that things were fading on his end. But me, I was clueless.
I can look back now and see all of the different ways he was pulling back. You can do the same with your relationship and pinpoint the moment when that began.
I urge you not to blame yourself for not seeing it sooner, because no one does.
I hear from hundreds of people a week that say,
“I didn’t see this coming!”
There are thousands of songs written about not seeing it coming.
It’s no fault to you.
A Different Perspective
Now I know that Chris has written an article on this subject before. So, I get that I’m treading on territory that’s already been explored.
However, I’m coming at it from a different angle.
That’s right! There is one insight I have on this that Chris doesn’t have.
I’m a chick.
No! Not THAT kind of chick!
No way, right?!
As a woman who has both been friend zoned and put men in the friend zone, I can with all certainty give you insight as to the reasons why she may have chosen to friend zone you in the first place.
Now the way I see it, you can either give up, or keep pressing forward. It’s up to you.
I give you one of my favorite quotes by Norah Roberts,
“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
If you don’t step forward, you’ll always be standing in the same place.”
Let’s Jump Right in
Why in the world would she friend zone you when mere days, weeks, months ago she was holding your hand and calling you her boyfriend?
Well, first of all, you guys already dated! So you know that, at some point, she found something about you redeeming enough to say,
“Yeah, he’s alright enough to call mine.”
So there’s that.
The thing is, somewhere along the way, she looked at you and went,
“I can’t do this anymore.”
Somewhere in between those two points, she stopped seeing you as a viable romantic partner. The rose colored glasses that we see our mates through shattered and fell away.
There are a few things that cause this.
- You actually started exhibiting behavior or traits that she didn’t find redeemable or attractive.
- She found herself attracted to someone else and she began comparing you to them.
- She compared your relationship to one of her friend’s or to a fictional one and realized she had higher expectations. (I find this one is more common that you would think.)
- She just realized that the relationship wasn’t going where she wanted it to and is most likely only offering you her friendship to keep you from flipping out about her not wanting to be romantically tangled with you anymore. (This one will take a little more work that the others.)
Whatever reason it was, she stopped finding every little thing about you to be irresistible and opted to reassign you the title of “Friend.”
Now, that first one there is most common. So that it where I’m going to focus the rest of this discussion.
The reasoning behind that is, simply put, at the beginning of the relationship you don’t exactly put your cards out on the table. You lay your face cards out so she can see them and hug those pesky lower cards and jokers close to the chest.
You want her to see the side of you that is your best, so you hide your worst.
You guard her from these things.
You don’t want her to know that you don’t always put your laundry in the hamper or that you still have underwear from high school populating your drawers. (You know the ones your mom wrote your name is so all those underwear thieves didn’t run off with them.)
Over time, depending on the longevity of the relationship, she probably started to see these things that you were holding back at the beginning.
A woman in love will overlook even the worst of habits.
I was actually talking to a friend of mine who has a crush on another friend of ours and she has essentially friend zoned him. The deal with them is that she just doesn’t see him romantically. If they were to date, it would most likely end in her dumping him, citing “let’s just be friends.” Why? Because they are friends now and it would simply be her way of trying to return to what she considers to be normal.
Now, in your case she DID see you romantically.
So I challenge you to find that Apex, where everything culminated before taking that turn downhill. Find the moment when she started to see the parts of you that maybe weren’t that great and she started to pull away.
Like I was telling my friend, and I’ll go ahead and tell you so you’ll know for any future relationships, you have to hold those not-so-flattering traits back until she becomes attached. You want her to basically be engrossed in the relationship.
There are some habits that are like turning of a massive switch determining whether we, as women, are attracted to a guy at all.
Let me tell you a story.
In College, I dated this guy.
Let’s call him, Ted.
I was only kind of into Ted. We had been dating a little over four months at the time. He didn’t have a lot of common sense. He was book smart and was studying microbiology. He wasn’t incredibly good looking. He didn’t really have many redeemable qualities. So when he pulled what he pulled that day…
You know what. Let me just tell you the story.
We headed out to grab a quick and early lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings with our friend Patrick. It was midsummer so I overlooked the fact that he was already pretty buzzed when I got there at around noon., although Patrick seemed a little annoyed about it.
That day Ted was an absolute ass to our server.
He ordered the “wings and strips baskets.”
So when she brought him the Wings and Strips Combo Basket, he let her have it. He wanted two separate Baskets! He absolutely couldn’t understand how she mistook “wing and strips baskets” for “A wing and Strip Basket.”
So, he called her an idiot and made her cry.
I put a stop to that right then and there and told him to cut it out.
To make matters worse, he was embarrassed that Pat and I got onto him so he went and sat in his car while we finished our meals.
Don’t worry we took his keys.
This meant that, not only did I have to babysit a drunk butthead, I had to pay for his 5 beers, both of our lunches and then gave our server a hefty tip for him making her cry.
Came out to about $80… FOR LUNCH!
The cost was higher for him though. He lost the entire relationship.
Now, I have a weird way of viewing the world. I am close friends with most of my exes. Often times, people go,
“I just don’t know how you do that.”
I always tell them,
“Look, I can be friends with a jerk. I just won’t to date one.”
So, being friends with your ex isn’t entirely undoable. It’s just uncomfortable at first.
Maybe I’m just a little weird. I don’t know.
But it is DOABLE.
If she saw redeemable qualities in you before she dated you, those qualities didn’t just disappear.
So there has to be some reason that overshadowed those redeemable qualities, and the only person who can figure out what that was is you.
Once you find out what that is you have to figure out if it is something about yourself that you are willing to change.
I have plenty of people that tell me,
“Oh I would do ANYTHING to get her back!”
However, when I suggest changing something about themselves, it becomes,
“That’s too tough. Anything else…”
To them, and to you, I suggest, you check out “The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business.“, by Charles Duhigg. It’s a great read and helped me kick a lot of my own bad habits.
You see, my ex, Ted was a complete jerk to a server, our friend, and even me.
The way he acted spoke to his character.
It did not speak well.
I couldn’t spend one more minute with someone who treated people he supposedly cared about that way.
Will you ever get another chance?
Well you see, last year I ran into Ted.
Now, remember, I was never head-over-heels for Ted to begin with, and it had been several years.
However, we ran into each other out and about. He looked exactly the same. We stood there and caught up for a moment. He had gone on to start law school. He wasn’t sponging off his parents anymore. He was taking better care of himself. Suddenly I forgot why I dumped him. He seemed so nice.
So nice that when he asked if he could take me to dinner, I said yes.
So we went out, to kind of catch up and, low and behold, he was the same exact jerk I had dumped before.
He texted me a few days later to see if I wanted to go out again, and I responded,
To which he asked,
That was when Ted and I went our separate ways. If he had just taken a little time and put forth a little effort to not be what my niece calls a “Jerkwad,” (I have a slightly more select range of descriptor terms for what he was.)
I may have given him a second chance. Not because he was good looking, or because he was super successful, but because we had fun together.
I need you to understand. When I say take 21 days to better yourself, I’m not saying try to make a transformation into some demi-god statuesque-type guy.
You’ll hurt yourself. And I don’t want to be responsible.
Do Not Accept Your Newly Assigned Role
Let’s change gears for a second.
I want to address her offer of friendship.
If you want her back and you accept her proposal of being “Just Friends,” you are accepting and agreeing terms and conditions that you do not accept and you do not agree to.
You have to find a way, gracefully, to decline the invitation.
You have to be careful with this one. I know a guy who went through this twice and BOTH of his ex girlfriends accused him of never actually caring at all.
While making her slightly insecure could actually work in your favor, you don’t want her to be completely ticked off at you.
Try taking the brunt of the blame.
“I appreciate the offer to be friends, but I don’t think I’m emotionally ready to handle that right now.”
If you have already accepted her terms of friendship, you call or text her and say,
“I appreciate the offer to be friends, but I don’t think I’m emotionally ready to handle that right now.”
Simple as that.
This puts the blame on you and opens you up to come back into her life after you’ve followed the rest of our instructions. Not to mention, handling a crappy situation with grace makes you look good.
Employ the No Contact Rule
Now, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that, since the breakup, you are still talking to her or trying to talk to her.
Unless you found us early on and you’ve already started No Contact.
If you don’t know what No Contact is, read about it here…
This article is jam-packed full of good information to get you well on your way to getting your ex back.
A lot of people have trouble understanding no contact.
No Contact is basically just that… No Contact.
Here’s how Chris explains it.
No calls and no texts.
For TWENTY-ONE days.
Yes, I said 21. No more than that or she’ll drift away, never to return.
Now if you share a kid, or you work together, or heaven forbid live together, that’s a little different. Go to the No Contact Article link above to get a little insight on how to deal with those situations.
During the first day or so, you are going to take a piece of paper and a pen and write down every single thing about you that she didn’t like. Even little things she kind of sort of hinted that she didn’t like. And then you’re going to add the ones you know she shouldn’t like just for good measure.
And you are going to pick out the ones that you are willing to alter that also make you a better version of you.
For instance, she hated that you bite your nails.
While that probably isn’t the deciding factor as to why she couldn’t spend another moment being your girlfriend. Combining it with a whole lot of other little things may have.
So take all of those things on your list, choose all of the ones that need to be changed and DO IT!
You are going to spend the next 21 days becoming that better version of yourself. Not just because she dumped you, but because you deserve to be the best version of you that you can be.
I feel like I should have pom-poms right now.
If you are completely against making any changes, then you’re probably better off moving on. Lucky for you, we cover that here too.
The 21 Days Are Up
It’s time to bite the bullet and reconnect with your ex.
Okay. So, now that you’re an expert on reconnecting with your ex. I am going to encourage you not to fall back into your old ways.
If you’re a fan of “How I Met Your Mother,” you know about Revertigo. If you haven’t watched the show, watch the video below.
So now that you are aware of the dangers of Revertigo. Just be on your toes and be prepared for anything. Don’t leave all that work you put in behind.