5 Steps In Escaping The Friend Zone
Have you asked yourself on how you can motivate your “friend” to be “more than friends” with you? To be a boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, or lover? How do you escape the friend zone?
What is the Friend Zone?
For those who don’t know the term, “the friend zone” refers to a situation where one individual in a friendship develops more intense feelings and wants to become “more than friends” with the other person. Most often than not, the other person is unaware of this interest and is contented with the friends-only arrangement. As a result, the one liking the other gets stuck in “the friend zone” can’t transition from “friends” to “more than friends.”
Being stuck in that kind of relationship is a really frustrating situation. There are different reasons on why the person is motivated to transition, it could be sexually-motivated, where they desire a more physical relationship; socially-motivated, wanting to boost up one’s self-esteem through prize; there’s the insecurity-motivated, wanting to fill up a void inside them; finally, investment-motivated, they have invested a lot to the other person that they get the need to level it up—that is why others are too eager to pursue more than a friend zone instead of taking their time.
Why does “The Friend Zone” happen?
Before I tell you the things that will help you get out of the friend zone, we first need to discuss why people get stuck there in the first place. Essentially, relationships are social exchanges. People set up themselves in a give-and-take agreement, usually this is implied, and people want to get some while at the same time giving some.
When a person has been zoned into “The Friend Zone,” they or the other have put themselves into a social exchange that isn’t even. The other person is getting what he/she wants, while the giver is not receiving any. Friend Zone in a nutshell, the friend zone person has sold him/herself short. They gave their friend “everything,” without making sure they also got something in return.
Let’s take a real life example from people I know:
Gerald and Victoria are friends. As “friends,” Gerald pretty much does everything for Victoria. He buys her things, listens to her stories and problems, and helps her out of her trouble. Gerald, however, wants to be Victoria’s boyfriend. Victoria, though, isn’t interested because she’s having all her boyfriend-needs met by Gerald, without having to meet his. She can be free, non-committed, and still have all Gerald’s effort. That is why Gerald is in the friend zone.
This is the most common scenario that I always hear from my friends. And this situation applies on women too.
How to escape the Friend Zone?
In order to escape the friend zone, first you must realize that all relationships are negotiations, social exchanges — and you are attempting to “re-negotiate” the situation between you and the other person. Most likely, you are already giving too much and what you want for them to do is to balance the scales so all would be fair.
Fortunately, all social exchanges involves laws or principles that govern them. Using those principles to your advantage, we can make a strategy that will help you get out of the friend zone.
1.) Use the Least Interest Principle - Your social exchange with the other person is already imbalanced. Take a step back, being “needy” or “clingy” is no way in this world the way to negotiate. Desperate people end up with what others want for them, not what they want. So be less interested, and don’t be afraid to walk away. People who are willing to walk away always has the power to govern the relationship.
2.) Use the Scarcity Principle - Spend some time away from your “friend” and do less for them. If they truly appreciate you, then your absence will make them miss you and want you more. This is the principle of “Scarcity” - where people value something more when it is rare or taken away from them, according to Cialdini. When they have noticed that you are no longer around as much or tending their needs, the person you desire will most likely feel the loss. Making their desire for you increase and willingness to meet your needs back. If it doesn’t, then they are just “not that into you” …and don’t value you. In that case, find another friend.
3.) Create Competition - There is nothing more attractive than something that we can’t easily have and be having fun with someone else. Go out and meet new friends, widen your network. Then, talk about these new friends with the friend you desire. The salt and pepper of the scarcity principle is to utilize the idea of “competition” and “jealousy,” these are the best way to maximize the scarcity principle. People value more of what they think they might lose. If you are busy with what you’re interested in, or with other people, you might just find the friend you desire is a bit more eager for your time and attention. If you don’t see any “jealousy” though, then it’s clear that they don’t want to be any more than friends, set your sights on someone new!
4.) Use the Benjamin Franklin Effect - Ask your friends to do something for you. Contrary to popular belief, people like you more when THEY do favors for you, rather than when you do favors for them. The more they invest on a relationship, the more you will mean to them. Now you realize how you become to value the friend you desire even more is because you do favors for them most of the time, more than they do to you. So, stop doing favors … and start asking for them. Get them to study with you, fix something, help you with your homework or paper, etc. Heck, even asking them to lend you a pen or asking them to get a soda for you has an impact. Utilize it.
5.) Use Operant Conditioning - Be mindful to be grateful and reward your friend when they behave as you desire. After they are good to you, remember to be good to them back. Being attentive and affectionate when they do as you like, encourages them to continue those behaviors more. Also, ignoring them when they behave badly will help in reducing unwanted behavior. Always keep in mind to keep an environment of mutual gratitude flowing too.
Taking It From There
Maximizing in applying the steps above will help balance the value of exchanges between you and your friend. It will highlight how truly valuable, desirable, and important you are to your “friend”. Essentially, it will raise your status and worth in their eyes. You might even be able to pick up the change in their body language when you are around.
It is actually possible to dig out from the depths of being buried in the friend zone and even out the exchange, with the help of little “persuasion” and “influence” of course. Go out there and get what you want out of a relationship for you are not deserving of anything less. Always remember, to be mindful of your own worth, stop the needy behavior, and be willing to walk away. Give the other person the gift of missing you. Make some friends outside of that friendship and make competition too. Finally, let them invest in you and reward them of it. If they truly value you in their life, they’d be more willing to take that relationship into the next level. If they don’t, no love loss, for you already have with yourself new friends, your self-respect, and one foot out the door. :)
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