I think it’s fair to say that most of us have had at least one experience with the awkward situation known as the “friend zone.”
I, for one, will be the first to admit this. I’ve been in love with friends and had crushes on friends and had friends who had crushes on me. And when the feelings are unrequited, it becomes precisely the definition of friend-zoning — one person is crushing, and the other is not at all, so they attempt to *kindly* reject them, making it clear that they certainly still want to be friends. “I just don’t see you that way, but I’m flattered,” is a commonly used phrase during these cringeworthy encounters that we all know so well.
But sometimes there are those friends that we feel something very powerful for. We’re sure that they’re our soulmate or our future spouse or at least something close. We’re convinced that if they were willing to give it a shot, we’d be perfect together. So where can we find hope of ever getting out of the friend zone?
If you’re in the friend zone and you’re still dying to get out of it, you might be in luck. Look for these 9 signs to find out if your relationship has potential to become something more.
1. You have a lot in common
I know this doesn’t seem super significant, since a lot of friends tend to have things in common, but it’s certainly a start. Having things in common means that you are more likely to get along very well, and psychological experiments have shown that similarity is a vital factor in attraction (see the article I wrote about the components of attraction below.)
Similarities are fuel for friendships, but they’re fuel for relationships, too. If you have a lot in common, chances are, your friendship with them will remain strong and consistent because you can bond over mutual interests. Perhaps this will even veer into more serious territory.
2. They just got out of a breakup (or they love being single) — but you still have good chemistry
OK, this one seems totally off, but hear me out. People who just got out of a breakup or are having fun being single are not looking for relationships. At first this might make you feel like you’re doomed, but wait! That’s why you’re just friends. You’re not in the friend zone because they genuinely don’t like you or see a future with you. You’re in the friend zone because they don’t want to date right now, or because they’re healing from heartbreak. This is good news for you because it means that when they do heal and they are ready to get out there and date or find a significant other, you probably still have a fighting chance. If your friendship is strong enough, their feelings might develop, and if right time comes along, boom! It all works out.
3. They are always making eye contact with you in groups
Eye contact is a big one. It’s one of those little things in life that still feels very intimate, even though it’s seemingly casual and routine. Don’t underestimate the power of eye contact, though. If they are always looking at you in groups instead of glancing around at everyone else, chances are, they’re at least a little bit into you. Or, even if they aren’t into you yet, your friendship is strong enough that they feel connected to you and want to lock eyes with you across the room rather than the others. Take this as a compliment, and a good sign.
4. You’ve had awkward moments before
Have you ever had an awkward moment before with them? Maybe you tripped across the sidewalk and your faces came close, like the moment before a kiss, and you both stood there not knowing what to do? Or maybe someone in public has referred to you as a couple before and you both stumbled over your words trying to inform them that you’re not? Or maybe they’re cryptic about their latest dating endeavors for no apparent reason? You get the idea. But even though awkward moments are, well, awkward, they could be signaling a larger issue. Maybe the feeling is mutual and they’re struggling with how to broach the topic. Maybe they’re nervous because they can’t quite figure out how you feel. Either way, take this as a good sign. If it’s awkward, there’s probably more to the story.
5. They talk about you to their friends
If they talk about you to their friends, feel honored! Not everyone does this. I, myself, admit that I really don’t talk about friends in conversation that much, and the ones I do talk about often are usually the ones that I’m catching feelings for. Of course, this isn’t foolproof — maybe they just love you a lot and are really friendly. But bragging about you to their friends or consistently bringing you up in conversation might be a hint that they’re feeling a little more than friendship, and they can’t get you out of their head.
6. You can talk about anything together
This is such a strong sign of a fantastic friendship, and a healthy potential relationship. If you can talk about anything together, then you would probably make a good couple. This means that you’ve really earned each other’s trust, and that nothing is off-limits or weird, and you can feel vulnerable with each other without being concerned with them seeing you any differently. This kind of safety and confidence is an intimate way to connect with another person, and it will make them feel closer to you. Eventually, it could bloom into something more.
7. You do romantic things together…as friends
Are you guys often going on long walks through the autumn leaves? Do you guys take late-night bike rides, blasting soft rock music from a speaker? Do you drive around at night, talking about what’s on your heart? Do you dance in the kitchen with them spontaneously? Whatever it is, if you’re doing a “romantic” activity with them, you might end up being more than friends. Maybe by doing these things, they’re trying to hint to you that they wouldn’t mind doing this in a different context (aka a relationship). Or maybe they haven’t thought about it yet, but the more “romantic” things you do together, the more they will gravitate towards the possibility of your relationship growing. That’s always a good sign. So if this is you, don’t give up yet!
8. They confide in you when they need support
Confidence and trust is always a powerful way for people to show love for someone else. If they are confiding in you when they need support — especially if you are their go-to person to talk to — then you have a unique role in their life, and that’s pretty awesome. In relationships, too, significant others are often the ones we turn to first for support (or someone to lean on) when we need it, and if they’re doing this same thing with you, then they are probably seeing you as occupying a similar role in their life (whether they consciously realize that or not). This is not only a fantastic compliment to you, but adds fuel to the hope of your relationship becoming something more in the future.
9. They compliment you often
Compliments are a wonderful way for us to show affection and appreciation for someone else, and it makes them feel good about themselves. If your friend is always giving you compliments — especially those that truly feel like they’re coming from the heart — this could be a sign that they see you as more than a friend, or that they’re headed in that direction. When people like someone or have a crush on them, they often try to inject little hints or attempt to show that person that they really care for them, and compliments are a perfect example. If your friend is complimenting you, then watch out! A bright (romantic) future may be ahead.
So there you go: 9 possible signs that point towards an escape from the friend zone. If any of these resonated with you, I’m jealous — we’d all like to get out of the friend zone someday, and you’re probably a lot closer than most of us. And if you didn’t identify with any of the above, well, still don’t lose hope. Everyone is different, and there is no sure way to know.
Relationships take time, and they are complicated and unpredictable, but sometimes there are little signs, needles in the haystack, that give us faith and signal for happiness and love ahead. My hope is that everyone can find that someday, if they desire it. Have you found yours?
Previously published medium
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Photo credit: by PHUOC LE on Unsplash
what about when you’re good friends, do so much together, have a great time, text every day, but then he goes out on a date with someone else. Just spent Friday night out with him, then Saturday afternoon we went out looking for bedding for his bed. He sends me before and after photos Saturday night, then today he sends a photo of someone else’s apartment with plants in it, asking me what I thought. I believe he was at some other girls’ apartment after spending time with me.
What should I do?