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The ‘Friend Zone’, it’s a dreadful social phenomenon that most of us have been through in one way or another. It’s usually an all-boys club, but every once in a while women get sucked into the black hole we call the Friend Zone as well. You have a huge crush on this person. They make your heart jump when you see them, but instead you end up as the guy or gal that helps them solve their problems … a shoulder to cry on and the cat sitter when they are out of town. How does this happen? Why do some of us get stuck in this situation and when we do, when is it time to cut our losses and move on?

That my friend, is tricky to answer. For the best dating advice, one has to consider how much you value the object of your affection’s friendship and what got you there in the first place.

The most common reason we get stuck in the Friend Zone is because we are initially unclear about our intentions. We try to backdoor our way into the intended person’s heart by doing their bidding and of course, being their friend with the hopes that it will blossom into something more (because we were too shy to be direct in the first place). After we find ourselves firmly planted in the Friend Zone, we can’t understand why they just want to be friends.

When To Make Your Move

Time is against you, so you need to make your move quickly. Things should be at least somewhat intimate within the first few dates or you are more likely get thrust into the zone and never get out. If you and your crush are newly hanging out and you haven’t had the courage to bring up the dating thing yet, be sure to initiate a bit of intimate physical contact whenever you can. Whether you occasionally touch his or her hand while looking into their eyes or casually place your hand on their knee during conversation, this breaks the touch barrier and to a degree, lets your interest in them be known. Understand that this is extremely important because it can keep him or her curious about you and stave off the Friend Zone for a while. If you are a guy, try placing your hand on the small of her back to lead her through doorways or to her chair. This non-threatening, chivalrous gesture screams courtship and is generally well received by the female psyche.

Remember, the best way to get out of the Friend Zone is to never be in it in the first place. So, don’t get caught up in doing his or her bidding. When you start off by doing little favors for your crush, they get to thinking ‘Wow, what a nice guy! He’s going to make a great friend.’ or ‘Yeah, she’s a cool chick. I think she’ll be a friend that I can count on.’ It’s a decision they end up making based on your actions. So don’t act like their buddy. Act like the person they want to take home, not the person who jumps up and down to carry their bags.

When To Move On

If you are already stuck in the Friend Zone, you might be wondering what you should do. In this case, the answer is quite simple, act now. If you are fully standing in the center of ‘Friend Zone Circle’, (she/he has no idea of your feelings) use a couple of days to psychologically prepare him or her, so that your advance doesn’t seem straight out of the blue. Start presenting yourself a bit differently towards your friend. Don’t be at their beck and call. Also, try to institute some of the physical contact that we talked about above. You can even go out on dates with someone else, but be sure your friend knows you are dating. This can sometimes get rid of the shy single person thoughts they may have about you; and once they see that other people are interested, it just may strike some interest in the back of their mind –or at least, a bit of competitiveness.

Dating others can also lead into a great way to flip the situation around and ask your friend out. If they ask, “So, how’d your date go the other night?” You can respond with something like, “It was fine. We didn’t really connect that well, though ... but you and I have a connection. Why don't we go out sometime?”

If this doesn’t get you out of the zone, it might be time to cut your losses and move on. How you handle this is entirely up to you. You might feel that it will be too hard for you to remain friends. On the other hand, you may value the friendship enough to accept the situation. If this is the case, just be sure to get out there and meet other people so that you don’t remain hung-up on your friend forever.

The longer you stay in the zone, the harder it is to get out. So don’t wait too long with the set-up before you make your move.

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