Getting Out of the “Friend Zone”

We receive many inquiries from men who have established particularly close relationships with women only to find that they’ve developed romantic feelings for these female friends.

This seems to happen most often to guys who feel at least a little insecure about themselves.  These men subconsciously (or maybe not subconsciously) make themselves appear “safe” to women by shying away from any real flirtation that they fear will make them appear lecherous and jeopardize the relationship, unsatisfying as it may be.

The chances of falling into this awkward limbo is even more likely for us Suddenly Solos who may have developed a network of women “friends” who reached out when we became widowed or following a divorce.

So if you find you have feelings toward a woman friend, what can you do?  Well, it will be difficult since the lady has likely already typecast you in a non-sexual role. But rather than deal with ongoing heartache, try this:

  • Practice your flirting on strangers.  Make small conversation with those you come in contact with daily – “Some weather we’re having, right?” or a similar kind of dialogue-inducing response. Try it on the server at the doughnut shop or a salesclerk.  You will be surprised at how often you will get a response.  This will help you gain confidence.
  • Check your mirror.  You have nice eyes (or teeth, or smile, or ears, etc.).  Trust us, you are not scary!  Always put some effort into your appearance when you go out.
  • Get playful and smile.  Be more upbeat in your conversation with the lady so she doesn’t routinely associate her time with you as an emotionally-draining confessional.  Tell a joke. You don’t have to be a father-confessor figure.
  • Throw a compliment.  “You look nice today.  I like those earrings.”  Be genuine and make eye contact when doing it.  Then move on.
  • Get a little physical.  A gentle hug and a quick kiss on the cheek should be part of your farewell.  Hold the hug after the brief kiss for a second.  Not longer.

All of this may sound a bit foreign to you, but it will become easier with time.  Give your efforts a few weeks to build and then ask her if she would like to go out on a real date – dinner and a movie.  You have to be prepared for an “I don’t like you in that way.”  It can happen.  But the positive about this whole campaign is that you will have developed your social skills so that you are not as insecure and are less likely to be milquetoast in your interactions.  Good luck!

 

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