What is the friendzone?
I’ve been in the dreaded friendzone more times than I care to remember. It’s a kind of hell on earth that every chronically single Nice Guy who socializes with women is all too familiar with.
It starts innocently enough. You find a girl attractive and much to your pleasant surprise she seems to like you too. Maybe you hit it off at a party, or sitting next to each other in university, or she’s the new hot girl at your work.
The conversations go easily. Maybe you make her laugh a lot, or she finds it easy to tell you her secrets. What starts as a pleasant connection quickly builds into what appears to be relationship potential. Sure, nothing remotely sexual has happened yet, beyond a bit of flirting and innuendo, but it all seems to be heading the right direction.
But then time continues to pass…
Now it’s been a few weeks and still nothing sexual has happened. You’re spending considerable amounts of time together and talking for hours on the phone. She’s like a girlfriend in all ways but one: there is no romance/sexuality in the relationship.
At this point your frustration is starting to build, along with resentment. You feel that you’ve done everything “right” and been such an awesome guy that you should be a shoe-in for the boyfriend position. You’re clearly better than her loser ex boyfriends.
But nothing is happening. The connection has plateaued into what is clearly now a platonic friendship.
And you’re still hoping. Hey, maybe it’s just one of those slow build up things. Maybe she needs to fully get over her ex first. You’re willing to wait.
And then one day, you get a reality check that destroys the hope. For me, it mostly happened in the form of her showing sexual interest in another guy, or even getting a boyfriend. I would suddenly realise that I was deluded in thinking that we were heading towards romance.
It was usually around that time that I would ghost the girl… forever! It was like a punishment as well as hiding from my shame.
The friendzone looks from the outside like a solid friendship. But it’s actually one of the unhealthiest forms of relationship that can be formed.
The man desperately desires the woman – he may even believe he’s in love with her. But from her point of view she finally has a genuine straight male friend. She can’t believe her luck!
How can two people be so far apart while being so close together? How can each person have such different understandings of what is happening between them?
Why do nice guys end up in the friendzone?
There’s really only one main reason that friendzones develop: the man does not directly display any attraction toward the woman.
Sure, in some rarer cases you get psychopathic or callous women who string a clearly interested man along for a free ride. But this does not happen anywhere near as often as incels would like to believe.
For the most part, the fault for the friendzone lies with the man.
Observed from the outside, you could be forgiven for believing the guy has no real interest in the woman romantically. He never compliments her looks (or only does so in an asexual way like “That’s a great necklace”). He never tries to kiss her. He never calls their hangouts a “date”.
OK fine, the women in these scenarios are a bit naive or deliberately ignorant. Their desire to have a guy friend is so strong that they may overlook the rather obvious fact that if a straight single guy shows lots of platonic interest in you and invests heavily in terms of time, effort and even money, then he more than likely is keen to bone.
But men must understand that many women – especially the type that allow a friendzone to develop – have low self-esteem. They doubt their attractiveness.
So while logically they must at some level understand that the guy is clearly into them but is too cowardly to act on it, their emotional shame about their appearance and worth overshadows this logic and leads them to conclude that the guy is not attracted to them.
How to prevent friendzoning
Asides from the rare example of the narcissistic psychopath deliberately using a man’s attraction against him (a.k.a “using sex as a weapon”), the friendzone is prevented from developing with a simple yet courageous act:
Always show your romantic and sexual interest honestly and directly. Tell the girl you like her in a way that leaves no doubt about your preferences and intentions.
No platonic friendship can develop if the man is very up front about what he wants from the woman in terms of romance and sex.
And if this is supplemented with firm boundaries about friendship – i.e. the man clearly states that a platonic friendship is not what he wants and that he cannot accept that as a consolation prize – then there’s no reason to fear a friendzone ever occurring.
See, the real cause of the friendzone is what I call Green Light Syndrome. The man is waiting for the woman to take the risk and make the first move in terms of romance and sex. In other words, the man’s shame and cowardice around sexual escalation allows the connection to default into friendship – connecting without sexuality or sensuality.
The best way to ensure this never happens to you again is to do what I learned to do: express attraction right at the beginning of your connection, and then again whenever it comes up.
If you find someone attractive, they should become undoubtedly aware of this within the first minute of you meeting each other. If you want more than a friendship, tell them this directly.
The funny thing is, you can actually have a real friendship with a girl you’re attracted to. But first the attraction must be laid out on the table and you must accept her lack of reciprocal interest. If you’re both cool with you wanting to fuck and her not wanting to, you can be friends. The flirtatious nature of the friendship is actually good fun (so long as you always respect the original rejection).
And I’ve had more than a few surprise late night drunken visits from “friends” who knew I was DTF when they felt lonely.
How to get out of a friendzone that’s already established
There may be better men than me out there who know how to repair a friendzone… because I think you’re screwed. And not in the good way.
By the time a girl sees you as a platonic friend, all attraction has probably died. Women don’t seem to hold onto attraction in the same way men do (i.e. we can find someone attractive permanently, at least until we’ve engaged with them sexually).
There’s a window of opportunity, and once you’ve missed it, any late effort to engage them sexually will probably just creep them out or sadden them.
The only possible solution I’m aware of is to come clean with the girl (not ask her out, just admit you’ve always been keen).
From there, one of two things will happen. Either you’ll find out she also had a secret crush on you and she’ll be ecstatic that you’ve finally initiated, and from there a wonderful relationship can quickly develop (rare as fuck). Or more likely, you’ll now need to end your connection with her for at least a few months or years.
The only way to establish a romantic relationship with a girl who’s previously friendzoned you is to move on with your life, connect and date other women, lose all neediness for the original girl, and then maybe she’ll develop a new attraction for you because you’ve become a new man (by which time you’ve hopefully recovered and moved on anyway).
Building confidence, recovering from Nice Guy Syndrome, and moving on with your life is the best way forward.
The deeper work you must do to succeed in dating
The truth is, you were never really into this girl. When Nice Guys get friendzoned it’s usually with a girl that they have a suspiciously intense crush on. This isn’t based on anything special about the girl or their connection.
It’s more about a kind of Avoidant Attachment subconscious framework that the Nice Guy operates on. He’s desperately attracted to unavailable women (i.e. women where nothing intimate will happen) because he’s actually terrified of intimacy and commitment.
Friendzones are the result of the Nice Guy “putting the pussy on a pedestal”, which is a crude term for saying he projects his desires onto any remotely attractive and friendly girl who doesn’t reject him, views her as a flawless angel rather than seeing her humanity, yet also carefully ensures that he doesn’t provoke any romance or sexuality so that he’s safe from rejection and abandonment.
Deep down you believe you’re unlovable and cannot keep a woman happy.
So you maintain pseudo-friendships to con yourself into believing that you’re “trying” to get a girlfriend, and so that you can get validation and approval from a woman without any risk of rejection or complicated emotions arising. What you’re really doing is trying to stay single and emotionally safe.
Friendzoning is merely a symptom of deep psychological issues including sexual shame, low self-worth, confusion around your masculinity, fear of intimacy, discomfort with intense emotions, and massive avoidance of the risk of rejection and abandonment.
You must overcome this trauma to be successful in dating. Nice Guy Syndrome must be faced and dealt with properly right down at the core.
You need to build your own confidence, stop seeking approval from others, start living honestly and with integrity, become comfortable with confrontations and rejections, and then slowly explore relationships with women from a place of non-neediness and focus on connection rather than approval.
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