How to get out of the friend zone

Get him to see you as more than a friend by making these super-easy behavioral changes. He’ll be calling you his boo in no time.

Woman going in for kiss

Photo credit: Inti St. Clair, Inc./Getty Images

Chances are, the reasons you’re in the friend zone have very little to do with whether you look like Kate Upton. It’s the little things that kill your chances of dating your hot guy friend, experts say.

“It’s natural to scrutinize an unrequited crush on your best guy friend, searching for an obvious clue as to why he just can’t seem to see you as anything other than a friend,” says Marni Battista, founder of Dating With Dignity. “Often, the reason is actually the cumulative result of subconscious behaviors you’re engaging in toward him.”

If you find yourself doing any of the following things, stop now! You’ll be out of the friend zone in no time.


Using self-deprecating language

Uttering phrases like “I’m such an idiot” or “Oh, my God, I feel so fat today,” are some of the worst things you can say around your guy crush, says love coach Lindsay Chrisler. If you don’t believe that you have value (and you absolutely do!), he won’t either.


Apologizing for existing

Saying “I’m sorry” for things that you don’t need to be sorry for is another prime example of what you should never say, Chrisler says: “All of these things send the subtle message that you don’t value yourself fully. Most people don’t want to hook up with someone they know is insecure. Too much work!”


Hiding it when he hurts your feelings

Don’t stuff down your emotions to keep the peace. For example, if he cancels plans and you say, “No worries!” when inside you feel disappointed and sad, that’s devaluing your worth, Chrisler says. Woman up and make yourself clear. And if he doesn’t like it when you speak up, then that’s not a relationship you want to be in.


Making sarcastic remarks about pretty much everything

If you’re never serious because you’re overly concerned about seeming cool around him, you might be doing the exact opposite. “Women have a false idea that it makes them look carefree and low maintenance,” says dating coach April Beyer. “This only backfires and keeps women in the friend zone.” Try to cool it on the jokes and be sincere every now and then. Showing a little vulnerability goes a long way toward him seeing you as a woman rather than his drinking buddy.


Trying too hard to seem aloof

Pretending like your social life is crazy and you don’t have time for him translates as rude. “Flaking on him for other plans, talking about other guys with him or purposely waiting an inordinate amount of time to respond to his texts may seem like they’d pique his interest, but those actions have the opposite effect in a friendship context,” Battista says. “Pay close attention to how you behave toward him and how those actions might be perceived if he, too, happened to be harboring secret feelings toward you.”

How to heat things up

Now that you’re out of the friend zone, you can move on to step two, which is cranking up the heat on your friendship — without just jumping his bones some random night or letting vodka do the talking for you. We’ve got three elegant ways to tell him you want something more:

Take a deep breath and be direct

“The best way to heat up a friendship is to tell him your desire without any expectations or pressure on his response,” Chrisler says. “You can say: ‘I have something to tell you, and it might make you uncomfortable. You don’t have to respond in any particular way, I just want you to know how I feel. May I tell you?’ And then when he says yes, you can say, ‘I really want to kiss you” or “I’ve had a crush on you for a while now.’ The trick? Try not to dismiss it or giggle a lot or wait until you’re hammered.”

Plan an outing that’s just a little bit romantic

“The key is to ease into it gracefully,” Battista says. “Try to suggest activities for you to do one on one that will put you in a date-like environment. Going to dinner, a movie, a concert or some combination of the three with just the two of you will carry with it subtle nuances that may allow him to see you in a new, romantic light.”

Make slow, subtle moves

“If you generally avoid physical contact with him for fear of your feelings being found out, find small ways to cure your paralysis,” Battista says. “Touch his arm as you laugh at one of his jokes or rest a hand on his shoulder before parting. These gradual moves will not only encourage him to see you as more than a friend, but they will give you a sense of whether or not a romantic relationship with him feels natural.”

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