I always get friendzoned

friendzoned

If I had to pick one pattern that is typical for men who ask for my help in finding a partner, it would be this one: always getting friendzoned. Happens to women too, but it seems to be a bigger issue for men. And there is a reason for it: men are expected to be the ones asking women out. Most girls will not feel compelled to explicitly show a guy how they feel, if he doesn’t make the first move. If he isn’t, and she is being friendly and nice, he may easily mistake that for attraction or romantic interest.

The second reason is this: men rarely befriend a woman they are not attracted to. Women make friends with men regardless of that. So it’s more often that a woman sees a man as a friend, while he actually wants something more.

If you’ve ever been friendzoned, I am sure you’ll be familiar with this scenario: you like someone and you start having romantic feelings for them. Seems like they feel the same, but you are not sure. They laugh at your jokes and spend time with you regularly, even flirt with you sometimes.

But, after months of hanging out as friends, they don’t seem to be interested in taking things to the next level. You are getting mixed messages, and becoming more and more confused. Over time – things cool off, rather than heat up. Maybe they start avoiding you. They don’t respond to your messages as quickly as they used to.

You still believe there is something there, but you are less and less sure you have a chance. One day, they announce they have a new partner or they confide in you they are falling in love with someone else. Or they simply distance themselves, and you lose touch.

This often happens in such a subtle way that you don’t even notice until it’s too late and you are deeply in love with a person who only sees you as a good friend, or sometimes even just a fun distraction, someone to fill their boredom and save them from loneliness, fill the space until they meet their next love interest.

WHY WE GET FRIENDZONED

One reason is that dating today has very blurred lines with being friends, hanging out, or just having a sexual relationship (friends with benefits). You never know where you are with someone until you actually both confirm you are officially in a relationship. Until then – it’s more or less OK to date multiple people, and relate to all of them without any commitment or consistency.

In a world of non-existing dating rules it’s easy to misinterpret other people’s messages. And it’s easy for them to misinterpret ours too. Remember – if they are sending mixed messages, it’s most likely you are too. When people know what you want from them – they will usually adjust their behaviour accordingly.

Most of us are nice enough to not lead others on if we see they are hopelessly falling for us. However, there are people who enjoy the attention and play with our feelings, but those are the ones you want to stay clear from any way. You don’t want to date or be close to people who are careless about hurting others.

Apart from the lack of dating rules, there are other reasons for getting friendzoned, and those have more to do with you, and how you feel. They are the important ones, the ones you actually have control of.

Even if you get smart enough to see through someone’s behaviour, recognise you are being put in the friend zone, that still leaves you with the bigger issue: why does everyone always just see you as a friend?

A major culprit here is low confidence. When you don’t believe you can be a good partner to someone, or think you are not attractive nor interesting in that way – you can’t imagine how anybody would fall in love with you, so they don’t.

The other big reason is being afraid of rejection. If you never ask someone out, you’ll never be rejected. You are saving yourself from failure and humiliation that comes with it. You are lonely, but safe. It’s a big price to pay, and usually you will still feel the pain of rejection – even if it’s not direct.

Being afraid of closeness is another big one. Romantic love is more intense than friendship. If you don’t get too close, you are protecting yourself from getting hurt. You subconsciously choose to always be the friend because it’s easier to lose a friend than that one special person. If you are not that important to someone, you can’t become insignificant either. But again, this is false safety. You still feel invisible, because you are never being picked as someone’s “the one”.

There are of course more reasons, I’ve just stated the most common ones, the most visible patters that I come across a lot in my coaching practice. If you’d like me to help you with discovering what gets you friendzoned, do get in touch (here or here).

HOW TO AVOID GETTING FRIENDZONED

Friend zone happens more to people who are shy, introvert or simply afraid to communicate their feelings in a direct way. Afraid to make a bold move – which is anything from expressing their feelings verbally to going in for a kiss. It is scary to open yourself up this way, but it’s often the only way that will get you a clear answer. So you can stop deluding yourself. Or start dating for real.

If you resort to guesswork – there is a fair chance you will guess wrong. People send mixed signals because they themselves are not sure if you like them, usually from the same fear of getting rejected, they play hot and cold and hope you will figure it out.

This way you get “noise” on both ends – if you are both interested in each other, you pretend you are not to avoid being “found out” and rejected. If you do this for too long, one of you will lose interest, and it’s game over. If one person is just friendly, they give mixed signals so they keep you around, but don’t give you too much hope.

Dishonesty and miscommunication, however you put it. And that’s never a good thing in any relationship.

You are not doing yourself a favour by not communicating clearly how you feel (read: with actual words, not hints or gestures). The only way to be sure how someone feels about you is to ask them.

You will either get rejected or you will get the response you want. But both are better than being in the limbo of not knowing, because you are just postponing the inevitable. Your friend will not fall in love with you if you stick around longer, if they haven’t done so by now. No amount of being nice and being there for them can magically change their feelings for you. Of course, it is always possible that you are both just friends and then later on you fall in love – but that usually happens simultaneously, and it’s very, very rare. Don’t count on it.

If you get rejected – at least you know where you stand. Rejection will happen any way at some point, but it will hurt more if you are already head over heels in love. This way, you are protecting yourself from greater disappointment and pain further down the line.

You may be afraid of losing a friend. That is always a possibility. And it will happen, again, any way – if you are not honest with each other. Things that are unsaid have a way of blowing up in your face when you least expect it. They will say you lied to them, you will feel betrayed. Not a great base for continuing the friendship.

If you communicate how you feel you may still be able to stay friends. It depends on how comfortable the other person is with your revelation. If they truly like you and want to keep you in their life, they will stick around.

But, it’s also very likely that you won’t be in the mood for friendship any more once you find out they don’t want to date you. It’s hard to be friends with someone you are attracted to. You will be hurt if they don’t give you attention, and even more so if they find a new partner or confide to you their love troubles with other people.

It will be an emotional roller-coaster, and it will wear you out.

So my advice is: always be honest about how you feel. Let them know. Ask them out on a date, and say it’s a date. Tell them you are falling in love. It’s scary, but it will save you a lot of pain. And you won’t waste so much time pursuing people who don’t want you.

Nobody will fall in love with you just because you are a good friend and a nice person. There has to be more – there has to be a spark. If that spark isn’t happening, and it’s been months, it’s time to move on.

The best way to stop getting friendzoned is to start looking inside. Explore your fears and insecurities. They won’t go away by themselves. If you run away from them, the discomfort and pain will just grow. One day, you’ll just give up dating altogether, disillusioned and disappointed.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, and it can always, always be reversed. Your fears are the only thing standing in your way to love. Your bad luck is your opportunity to grow. Use it.

YOUR THOUGHTS?

Tell me what you think, why do you get friendzoned?

What did you do so far about it? Did it help?

Thank you for sharing.

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20 Responses

  1. CJ says:

    I did NOT HAVE SEX FOR MORE THAN 15 YRS – NO DATES EITHER.
    Without money and good looks – life sucks.
    And nobody cares.

  2. clary1sa says:

    Hi Petra

    I am currently in that situation. I have a friend. We hang out a lot. We live far apart but he always makes time to see me. Drive through to visit me and sometime i visit him as well. I fell for him and i told him about this and his response was that he isn’t ready which i understand completely i mean he is single for 7 Months only and i am almost 3 years. he keeps telling me that he doesn’t want to hurt me that he doesn’t want me to be a rebound to him cause i mean too much to him. After hanging out and dealing with the feelings i went over to him this past weekend. It was intense meaning that we couldn’t leave each other alone. Holding each other and kissing and so on. I don’t know why but i always feel so high like i am on cloud 9 with him like i am dreaming and he told me the same thing. He still tells me that he isn’t ready cause he has a lot to deal with. I told him that i think i might be slowly falling in love with him. Yet again he tells me he is afraid, afraid that he is going to hurt me he keeps saying that whats happening now is amazing and there is a connection and i make him feel wanted like never before. Why does he say these things but yet is afraid to take a chance ?.I know he got hurt badly but i just feel it not fair to get placed in the same category then people that hurt him before. Last night i opened up completely and told him exactly what i feel, I don’t know if i am putting to much pressure on him. I don’t want to but he asks me to tell him hat i feel and think. i do but feel guilty afterwards because to me i feel like this is a secret love i have towards him. I have no idea what to do. In person he calls me beautiful, sweetheart, babes and so on but over the phone. its just buddy and friend. I don’t know what he wants. He tells me he wants my friendship for now and maybe something more later in time [only time can tell] but friends don’t kiss and hold each other the way we do things right now. Please advice cause i am on that point where i switched of my phone since last night and haven’t switch it on again cause i don’t know what to do anymore.

    Regards,

    C

    • Petra says:

      Oh, that’s the worst, the “undecided” one claims he really loves you, but isn’t ready. He isn’t ready for YOU. He doesn’t want to hurt you, but his actions are nothing but hurtful. Run away! I mean really. Run. Away. If he’s not ready, he shouldn’t be dragging you into this emotional rollercoaster. He doesn’t know what he wants, but he knows he doesn’t want you. Still, it’s nice to keep you around… until something better comes along. You can play the game, if you feel like it, but the only way to do it without getting hurt is with NO expectations. None. If you’d rather save your heart from further beating, distance yourself, let him be, don’t answer his calls (or booty calls), and leave him to think about it on his own. If he really misses you, he’ll call. But then – set some rules. It’s either a relationship, or nothing. No casual smooching when he feels like it. That’s just bad manners, and manipulation. You don’t play with feelings of people you care about. He may not be aware of that – but, that’s his problem. He is still responsible for his actions, and their consequences. You don’t need a flaky, confused guy, nor one who isn’t ready for you, and doesn’t want the whole of you, right now. Take care.

      • clary1sa says:

        I hear what you are saying. I honestly thought of just letting it pass, cut ties. This is what i told him and then the response i got — “I told you what I wanted to tell you. Even that weekend when I was looking at you the whole time I wanted to but I didn’t and it’s because I knew I won’t hear it back AND THAT is what hurts the most.
        Carrying all these feelings inside for you. I just don’t understand what I did to make you be scared of even taking a chance. [Hyphen on i] I am not the one that destroyed you or made you be cold as ice when it comes to these things. I just don’t see that fairness, just because someone hurt you, you locked yourself away from loving again. To afraid and to scared. It’s not fair towards yourself because your hurting yourself even more and more without realizing it. One day you are going to regret and it is only going to make it worse. I want to show you and I want to help you because I know what it feels like. I want to be there for you anytime any day, support you with whatever comes. Can’t you see that.
        Yes, you might be older and wiser but that’s no excuse good enough. Everyone hurts.
        By hurting and locking yourself away only causes more hurt, understand that. People close up after being burnt but when you remain open, keep your heart open; amazing things can happen.
        Only if you let them. Only if you let someone in and try to make them understand. It’s not good to keep all the things to your self -Trust me I know because still today I am doing it. I don’t think less of you at the moment and whatever is bothering you, I am sure I’ll still think more of you no matter what. You know that you can trust me with anything. Cause I do trust you I want to know you inside and out I want to share everything with you. I don’t want you to hold back at all. I am in love with you A. I do feel a connection with you. One I didn’t feel before with any other guy and I don’t want you to slip through my fingers. Ill kick myself if I do let it. This is going to be the last time I say anything about this again. I want you to know that you are perfect. You are amazing. No matter what anyone else thinks. Like I said you told me not to wait for you but that’s what I am doing right now. I am waiting for you. Because I feel there is something so more beyond great and amazing that could be achieved between us. I don’t know if you feel it too. If I am wrong, tell me, so that I can know that it’s just all in my head please. I didn’t want to fall in love with you because I know how you feel sort off and was afraid this might happen. But it did anyways.

        Thank you for the beautiful and touching message. I am sorry if i have hurt you, not my intention. You are gonna me me cry. I don’t want want you to be mislead and yes it happen, i need to figure things out and don’t want you to be waiting and waiting. Its going to be 8 months now that i am single and i am still vulnerable. i am not making excuses not to be with you if i ever get involved i want it for the right reasons and not conveniences. im guilty of it and allowing it. You’re too fragile at the moment too.can we see what happens buddy can we be best friends id hate to lose you as my friend. i cherish your friendship too much for anything to be damaged what you confided in me stays with me as i am trustworthy. Just know that i accept you for who you are no matter what the circumstances you’re facing. With all the emotions i ask myself a lot of questions. Is it right am i emotionally and mentally ready. I do feel something but need to be sure if its right. we are involved physically which puts stress on the emotions. I don;t want you to think that i just used you to get into bed i didn’t and was not my intention. * i asked a yes or no and he said no because he isn’t ready and don’t want to mislead me.

        —-

        He wants to be friend now how i understand it and wants to see how things go from there with boundaries. which i understand 100% BUT yes i do have feelings more then that and i am just not sure how i will cope with it when i still hang out with him or see him or when we go for dinner and so on. Cause its still going to be there and its gonna place more hope for me. So i don’t know what the best decision would be. Cut ties and forever wonder or be a friend [strictly friends] and that is it. put my emotions and feelings aside and never talk about it again to him even if he does ask. ?

        Regards,

        C

        • Petra says:

          You are trying to fix him, and reassure him he is safe with you. He doesn’t want that, he wants to be left alone to deal with things his way. You need to understand that as long as you have romantic feelings you will get hurt continuously and constantly, if you stay friends. He will treat you as a friend, you will hope and wish for more. He doesn’t want to lose your friendship – but he also needs to understand that it’s either or – either you are friends, or romantic partners. It’s not going to be a happy place for both of you if one wants the first, and the other second. So my advice is to – stop contact until something changes, either he realises he wants to be with you (he won’t see that if he has you close), or you realise you are over him and you can be real friends. If you are not ready to do that, stay in touch, but just be aware there will be tough moments along the way, until your feelings change.

  3. Tan says:

    dear Petra,
    I found myself in your notes. I met her 2 months ago and was gradually falling in love with her. At first she was being nice and friendly, often smiling and chatting a lot with me about her privacy and objectivesand so on, which made me thought she might like me, but I was not so sure about that, therefore the fear of rejection inside kept me away from telling her the truth. I was really scared to lose her, as no one but she made me feel being in love like this before. And when the time passed, people around started to notice and mocking us when we were closed, and she was a bit overeacted with them:like one time, in the crowd, she asked me ” do you like me ?” I really wanted to say yes but if i did so, I thought it might be hard for her to react in front of others so I kept silence and she auto- assumed that was no and asked others to stop mocking us. I was deeply heartbroken at that time but still tried to be comfortable just for her to not recognise or feel guilty. Later on, I still tried to keep in touch with her but our conversations were just all about works, no privacy, no secrets or thinkings revealed, nothing else… And this situation just keeping like that up to now.
    Am I really a coward for hide my feelings and running away ? If i have courage to admit my feelings with her, would everything be different ? If I say it to her now, would that be too late and I could possibly lose her forever ? I really cant answer them myself.
    Of you were me, what would you think and do ? Please give me an advice if possible,
    Thank you for your time.

    • Petra says:

      You can’t know how she feels until you ask, and tell her how you feel. The only certain way to know what people think and feel about things is to ask them directly. Everything else is wild guessing. Be brave, even if she rejects you, at least you’ll know where you stand and you can start moving on and mending your heart. Living in an illusion and fantasy can be great, but it’s not reality – that bubble will burst sooner or later. And the later it bursts, the harder it will be for you to recover. Take care

  4. stephanie says:

    I’m like the queen of being friendzoned😐.I’m about to turn 36yrs and I’ve been in one relationship that ended back n 2005.I was friendzoned and didn’t know it until he got married while he and I was dating.I found out he was getting married by me driving by his outside wedding at the park and I noticed his car there.It seems so hard.I haven’t been on a date since 2005.No bday gifts/valentines/meeting family nothing. Sometimes it really lonely and other times its not as bad.Lately I feel like men only want sex and no real relationship

  5. stephanie says:

    I don’t get it.I always get the you r wife material,u r beautiful,u r fun etc but I never get to the next level.One guy told me that no man is going to wanna be with u and compete with what your parents have and who they are.Me personally I feel its a cop out b/c I never ask any man to match what my parents have or do what they do for me IF I need them too.Men feel like I’m spoiled.I’m a grown woman,I take care of myself,I have my own things. I will never discredit my parents b/c they worked hard all of their lives and deserve everything God has blessed them with and more..that goes for anyone who work hard.But a man shouldn’t be intimidated by any of that.only motivation.

  6. stephanie says:

    I’ve been friends with this guy for 4yrs..I told him how I felt(I cared abt him etc)..he told me that he loved me after a year of being friends.so I’m thinking OK we’re moving things to the next level..which we never really got off the ground because he never had time for except at night or at his place.he never wanted to hangout or go our.he always made promises but never delivered. But yet he said the “I love you”.Turns out he was spending time with another going out with her everything for her.. Now they’re full on dating.Everyone knew it but me.I feel like a total ass because I allowed it for so long.All he gave me were text msg if lies.After I said I was done with the friendship out of respect to his girlfriend, he went on this rampage of saying things like,” you will never find another like me”,you belong to me”,you are my wife”,”I control my women”,”I will never leave you”,”I can take it,rape you, anything I want”…NEED I REALLY SAY MORE!!then in my mind I guess we never got off the ground b/c he’s looking for someone to control and he knew that he couldn’t so it with me.I don’t know.And yes I always get the crazy friends that don’t acknowledge me,I don’t meet their family nor friends,no dates etc.its like I feel they are ashamed of me.I just don’t understand why treat me that way or friend zone me.

  7. Ang says:

    Dear Petra,
    I am friends with a guy for 4 and a half years now. We met in university, and were really close from the very start. Around the end of our second year as friends, he started flirting, sometimes touching me in a sweet way, calling me sweetie, honey, complimenting me a lot over anything. But, i was battling with eating disorders and depression, and, while i was enjoying his company and our moments so much, I wasn’t considering the possibiliy of romance in my life,with anyone, due to my really low self esteem. He continued behaving like this while being with other girls (which is normal, i guess, i couldn’t expect him to wait around for me forever).
    So I overcame my pssychological issues some months ago, after I graduated and returned to my hometown. And i was finally ready to start my life. I started dating a really nice guy, but i realised i didnt feel anything for him. Instead, it suddenly dawned on me that i have feelings for my friend. It was like my heart suddenly woke up, unfroze. I started having all these feelings I never had for 4 years. I was so lost and confused in this emoional flood inside me. Anyway, I told him how I felt and we met in his place, in the city we studied. We made out and then we talked. He admitted he had feelings for me all along and asked why I was only seeing him as a friend. I explained about my issues. He said that, at the start of the evening, he wanted to tell me to be together. Bu he changed his mind. He was about to move from this city to another one, far away, as he had just graduated as well, so he said that he doesn’t beleive that long distance relationships can work. He added that he knows all relationships end up with the two people involved losing touch gradually, and he doesnt want this to happen to us, he doesnt want us to become srangers after two years or so.
    After this, we slept together, as it was too late for me to return to my place. And during the night, we hugged and made out so passionately, so emotionally, it was so amazing. We almost had sex but I stopped him because I was on my period. The following morning we agreed on remaining friends.
    But now Im stuck. I still am drowned in feelings I don’ recognize, because my hear was stone cold all these years. I think of him so much. I think of our night together.
    He called me a week after that to ask how I did on some exams, and he was so awkward when he talked. I have never heard him this way in all the years i know him. He was talking, but his words weren’t making any sense. There were moments neither of us talked but we remained silent on the phone, just breathing. I asked him to go for a walk with me but he said he couldn’t at that moment.
    And yet another week passed. He stopped liking my photos on fb, as he always always did, but he presses like on our friends’ photos. I texted him if everything is ok between us, if we are still friends. He anwered that we should talk about it some time, that the thing is that these stuff alwyays ruin friendships, he always knew that, but we’re still friends. I answered that I want to talk about it too and that, in any case, I don’t want him to disappear, I value him as a person and I don’t want to lose him fro m my life. He repeated that we should discuss it in person and added that there is no chance he’ll disappear.
    So my questions are: 1)Am i in love with him? I miss him as hell, and i do imagine us together often. I feel the need to have him hold me when I have a hard day. 2) Does he think of me and of our night together as I do? Is he as perplexed as I am? 3) Is there anyway I still have a chance with him? And if yes, how can I pursue it?

    So sorry for the long post, but Im not experienced with this shit, I hope you answer!!!

    • Petra says:

      You are young. Feelings are confusing at your age. You miss him, which is normal since he’s been close for a number of years. You want him more now because you can’t have him any more. If it was time for you to be together, it would not be so messy. He might have feelings too, but it’s too late in his view, which means his feelings are not that strong. You had a good friendship, you moved away from each other. That means life will bring new people to both of you. Don’t sweat it, you’ll forget him soon enough. When a new boy enters your life, you won’t miss him much.

  8. David says:

    This is all so painfully true, but I’m way too insecure and scared to do anything about it. My life has been really unfair and it’s made me into someone who has no confidence. But I really appreciate the article.

  9. Silvia says:

    Hi Petra,
    I just stumble across your blog because once again i find myself questioning what is wrong with me.
    Last night my friend and I went out in a bar and while she found a very nice guy who kissed her by the end of the night, his friend started talking to me just to disappear at some point and never come back.
    I consider myself a nice person but beside that i don’t have a great self esteem…some days is utterly inexistent, and I know that this is an issue but how come people that even become friends with you can not see beyond that?!

    I had a classic friend zone story with a guy I deeply fell for – i think that experienced scarred me to this day even if years have gone by. We became friends and then I started liking him, we were texting, flirting, going out…and then one night he told me he got himself a girlfriend. I was crushed. I still am to some extent.

    After years of overthinking things and other misadventures with dating – i don’t dare call love whatever i have experienced so far – i got to the conclusion that not only I’m not confident enough, but I’m not pretty enough because when you are pretty much is forgiven you. I feel like, on good days, i can be sexy and men respond to that – some might be attracted to me physically – but I’m not pretty enough to be asked out on a date apparently. I’m not the girl they want to be see out and about with. So I’m stuck, from one side becoming friends of guys I like because it is the only way for me to be near them, and on the other having casual affairs with someone that I know won’t stick around.

    Maybe as you said, I need to find the confidence in me. And I know I fit the rest of the profile – i fear rejection so much that is influencing my professional life too – but I don’t know how to get out of it. Just knowing that is wrong doesn’t make it right.

    But thank you for your words. It’s always nice to know I’m not alone and it’s a start.

    • Petra says:

      I hear you, and I know it can be very painful to constantly experience rejection the way you do. I can help you to change how you feel, and with that – your experiences will change too. If you’d like to talk about it do contact me, via email or my Contact or Coaching pages.

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