Unsolicited dating advice – Escape from the friend zone

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“I’m in the friend zone.” These are five of the most loathed words to pass by the lips of singles in Utah Valley. If you are new to the term, “friend zone” refers to the point in a relationship where the woman no longer sees the man as a potential suitor, but only views him as a friend (or vice versa).  For many men and women alike, the friend zone is a curse which is nearly impossible to reverse.

The goal of this advice is to minimize your chances of building a permanent residence in the friend zone. The principles listed herein are directed more towards men, although they hold true in modified form for women as well.

Remember all those times you sat in the hall of flags, in the back row at church or at a table in a restaurant with your buddies? You play “catch the eye of the most gorgeous girl in the room,” and then it begins. “Why does that chick always date dirt-bags?” Fellas, it’s nothing new. The ladies love confidence. Yeah, I hate it when people feed me that line too, but it doesn’t make it any less true. The problem is that most guys don’t understand what confidence is. Confidence is not arrogance. It’s not being a complete jerk either. Confidence is going for what you want without appearing desperate. If you want the girl to be more than friends, treat her as more than a friend.

More often than not, we open the door to the friend zone and walk through unassisted. Here are a few relationship gateways that lead straight to that dreaded destination.

• Talking about other girls. Just don’t do it. We all know it’s good to have a pair and a spare, just in case things don’t work out with your first option … or your second. Everybody who is playing the field likes to keep their options open. But, for heaven’s sake, don’t let them know about each other! Nothing turns a girl off faster from considering a long term relationship than thinking you’re a player.

• Asking her about other dudes. If you are helping her work out issues she has with other boys, she will instantly and instinctively put you in the zone. Think about it this way: boyfriends don’t try to help their girlfriends resolve issues with other dudes. There shouldn’t be a need. If you want to be that boyfriend and she starts asking you for advice, it’s time to do something drastic! Reestablish yourself as being more than a friend, and please, for all that is good and holy, don’t give her advice!

• Don’t be desperate. Girls like to be wanted and loved, but they don’t like to be obsessed over. Most people looking for a relationship are looking for their equal, not the president of their own personal fan club. Don’t agree with everything she says for the sake of being agreeable. Don’t check up on her via text, Facebook and phone call every waking hour. Let her be independent. Make her miss your guts by pulling back every so often.

• Stop being so timid. Good grief, man! Touch her! Practice PJC (Prolonged Joint Contact). Physical affection is one of the best ways to demonstrate your romantic interest as a potential suitor. Put your hand around her when you stand next to each other. Give her an extra long hug. Play with her hair. If you’re not at the hand-holding stage yet, joke about it. Grab her hand, wink at her and then let go. Flirt! If you don’t make a move on her, she’s going to fall for someone who will.

Hopefully some of these tips will prove useful for some of the forlorn and lonely souls roaming our campus. Beyond anything, don’t get discouraged. There is no secret recipe to love. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, but if you stop looking, the person who will appreciate you for exactly who you are and love your guts to the moon and back might just pass you by.