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4 Subtle Ways to Get Yourself Out of the Friend Zone

by Uneeb Khan

If you are a frustrated romantic, the friend zone may be one of the hurdles you have encountered. A friend zone happens when you are ready to take the following steps in a relationship, but you’re getting subtle signs from your romantic interest that tell you they want to stay friends.

Respecting boundaries is essential, but it’s also possible that you aren’t sending the correct signals. For example, you might only assume you’re in the friend zone but haven’t expressed romantic interest in them. Good news to friend zone residents: you can transform a generic smile emoji into a smiling face with heart eyes emoji. The friend zone isn’t a dead end! Using these four subtle tips, you can get yourself out of the friend zone.

  1. Know What You Want

Here’s an unpopular opinion: the friend zone isn’t necessarily wrong. It’s a helpful way to get to know the other person better, learn their likes and dislikes, and see your compatibility with each other. 

More importantly, being in the friend zone allows you to figure out whether you want to act on your feelings. For others, it’s normal to develop platonic love, casual admiration, and fleeting crushes on your friends. But it would help if you differentiated between those feelings and those of deeper emotions like attraction and romantic interest.

Before you try getting out of the friend zone, it’s necessary to self-reflect. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you like about this person?
  • Why do you want a romantic relationship with them?
  • How does your current platonic relationship differ from the romantic one you envision?
  • How do you see your relationship going forward?
  • Are you and your romantic interest in a place in your life for a serious relationship?

Once you have a definite answer to these questions, it might be time to try the other tips on the list.

  1. Glow up!

If you think you’re stuck in the friend zone because your friend doesn’t see you as a romantic partner, it may be time to work on self-improvement. It’s a win-win action – you either end up in a relationship with your friend or develop the confidence you need to pursue other people without hesitation. Either way, you’ll be a great partner and a better individual.

When you think about self-improvement, don’t just think about what your romantic interest might be like in a partner. Think about being the partner you want to be with, one that’ll spark another’s eyes and make them use the smiling face with heart eyes emoji.

Of course, working on yourself looks different for everybody. Develop your hobbies and talents, enjoy your own company, and get out of your comfort zone! Whatever it is, if it makes you feel more confident and boosts your self-worth, it might be worth a try.

  1. Develop a connection

The way to one’s heart is through their stomach – or, more accurately, through their brain chemicals. When it comes to a scientific approach to love, the brain chemicals at work are dopamine and oxytocin.

Dopamine

Dopamine is one of the brain’s so-called happy chemicals, and it is released when we feel attracted to someone. But developing dopamine can be as simple as doing feel-good activities with another person – baking cookies, exploring new places, having funny conversations, and other similar activities.

However, dopamine comes with a risk because uncertainty is one of its primary drivers. Dopamine can be triggered by the thrill of not knowing, the chase, and the push and pull in a relationship. After all, love is a gamble; ironically, dopamine is the same chemical your brain releases when you gamble.

The gist about dopamine is that it’s a double-edged sword and one that you should use wisely. Use the feel-good brain hormones to develop a connection with your friend, but don’t fall into the trap of uncertainty.

Oxytocin

Also known as the love hormone, oxytocin is produced through touch, music, exercise, and sex. Save for the last one, all these options fit into the subtle ways you can get out of the friend zone, especially touch.

The brain produces oxytocin with any physical touch – high-fives, handshakes, fistbumps, hugs, kisses, and the likes. You might try injecting subtle physical hints here and there if they’re comfortable with being touched.

If that’s not your cup of tea, don’t fret. Oxytocin is also produced through eye contact. When you’re deep in conversation, maximize your eye contact with your friend. You can also show them that you’re interested in what they’re talking about and develop a connection with them through these gestures.

  1. Ask!

You wouldn’t be reading this article if you had considered just asking your friend up front. But being direct about your feelings is the tried-and-tested way to get out of the friend zone. This way, there’ll be no detective work in looking for signs that may or may not be there, freeing you from a game of “she loves me, she loves me not.”

There are ways you can be direct without appearing demanding, intimidating, or manipulating (if that’s what you’re worried about). The general rule of thumb: create a healthy environment that allows your friend to feel safe enough.

It’s also important to be patient. You might be harboring your feelings for a long time, but when you admit it to your friend, your confession may be new information to them. Allow them space and time to process how they feel, and avoid being pushy with them.

Yes, asking is not subtle. But admitting your romantic feelings to a friend is only the first step to the possibility of building a relationship. Communication issues are common in relationships – romantic or otherwise – and being direct with your feelings gives you a head start in resolving them.

Conclusion

Getting out of the friend zone is not for the light-hearted. It needs work, patience, and a lot of time. But if you’re honest about how you feel, work on yourself, invest in your relationship, and respect their boundaries, the friend zone is only a train stop in a long, fruitful romantic relationship.

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