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Getting out of friend zone
February 1, 2014 4:11 PM   Subscribe

There's this one girl friend that I have. We started out as friends and I thought she was cute and I had a slight interest in her. However since we were in different majors and I studied abroad, I haven't seen her in over a year with no contacts. Today, I just met her after not seeing her for a long time and we had lunch. However, I felt attracted to her and I was wondering whether I should give it a go and ask her out. I still think she sees me as a friend judging by the text conversation before we went out for lunch. What do you guys think I should do? Is it worth it?
posted by soul24rage to Human Relations (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Of course you should ask her out. But you'll be doing yourself a huge favor if you unsubscribe from the idea of the "friend zone" first.
posted by srrh at 4:12 PM on February 1 [87 favorites]


Don't think twice about it. It's better to ask and be answered than spend more time guessing about it. You literally have nothing to lose.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 4:13 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


tell her you would like to go out for a date (whatever date means to the two of you) and see where it goes. If she says no, than you keep being her friend. If she says yes and it works out, great. If she says yes and it doesn't work out still keep being her friend. Treat her as a friend, and a human being deserving of her own emotions and feelings and entitled to feel however she wants about you-don't get a chip on your shoulder about being 'friendzoned' or whatever. That is a HUGE mistake in this, or any other, relationship. But why not? (the only reason why not is that YOU can't handle rejection and YOU (NOT HER, YOU) will be a douchebag about it). You miss 100% of the chances you don't take.
posted by bartonlong at 4:15 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]


Is what worth what? What's at risk here?

If you would like to go on a date with a woman, generally speaking the best way to accomplish that is to ask. In this case you would say something like, "Hey, Jane, I had a great time at lunch the other day. Would you like to go out on a date with me Friday night?" Use the word date explicitly. If she balks in any way (tries to invite more friends, says she's busy and doesn't try to reschedule, etc), then you've got your answer. If she says yes, there's a strong possibility that she wants to at least try and see what it's like to go on a date with you.

Re: "friend zone" - this is a loaded term with more history and connotations than are worth recounting here, I think. Here is one of many articles that summarizes why this term is distasteful to a lot of people. I don't really detect that tone in your question, but you should know there's more baggage to that term than merely "my friend doesn't want to date me" and you might not want to continue to use it.
posted by telegraph at 4:16 PM on February 1 [23 favorites]


I still think she sees me as a friend judging by the text conversation before we went out for lunch.

There's always a chance she's saying the exact same things to herself right now.

Here, I made up a poem for you:

Give it a go.
Only way you'll know.
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:23 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]


I just wanted to add, the way to get a girl to see you as more than a friend is to treat her more than a friend - and in the 'typical' beginning phases of courtship this means treating her like something extra special. In whatever way this means to you - pay for her, defer to her choices, ask her about herself etc. You're doing this not to be a 'nice guy' but to try to charm her & win her over. After a little while, ask her out directly.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 4:29 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to embarrass myself by texting a guy I'm crushing on with an indication of exactly how much - that could put him in a difficult spot (so you can't tell how she feels from a text). However, if a guy friend I like (not like-like) asks me on a date, specifying that it is a date, I'll let him know that it'd be great to hang with him, but I'm not going to want to jump his bones.

And then,sometimes (fate, you have a funny sense of humour) being in his company makes me realise how awesome he is, and yeah, jumping bones is a great idea, but uh oh, I already told him no - now what do I do? Disclaimer - I am not all women, and not all women have similar reactions.

In other words, ask her out, make it clear that you'd like to see whether you two match romantically, without being over the top. If she's a nice person, she'll be cool either way. If she's not - well, better not as a friend anyhow.

Good luck.
posted by b33j at 4:30 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Ask her out. Prepare for and expect the worst but hope for the best. Be brave. Be a stud.
posted by OneHermit at 4:37 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


the way to get a girl to see you as more than a friend is to treat her more than a friend - and in the 'typical' beginning phases of courtship this means treating her like something extra special. In whatever way this means to you - pay for her, defer to her choices, ask her about herself etc.

Total respect to St. Peepsburg; I have a very different perspective.

I have had times in my life where I just wanted to be friends with someone and he started to treat me like I was "special" in this way. It has made me pretty uncomfortable because it's hard to address openly. If the person were to just ask you out then you could say no and it would all be resolved. If he's not doing that there is no good way to be like, "hey, it seems like you are into me, so just so you know, I am not into you that way and just want to be friends, so please just treat me normally." Could you imagine? That would come off as really presumptuous and arrogant. In fact I have had someone tell me off before after I said something along those lines, for how he didn't know what I was talking about and how I was assuming things that weren't there. That was rather annoying.

So I'd suggest just being direct.
posted by cairdeas at 4:39 PM on February 1 [39 favorites]


I want to underscore part of what telegraph said:

If you would like to go on a date with a woman, generally speaking the best way to accomplish that is to ask. In this case you would say something like, "Hey, Jane, I had a great time at lunch the other day. Would you like to go out on a date with me Friday night?" Use the word date explicitly. If she balks in any way (tries to invite more friends, says she's busy and doesn't try to reschedule, etc), then you've got your answer. If she says yes, there's a strong possibility that she wants to at least try and see what it's like to go on a date with you.

Use the word "date". Seriously, use it explicitly. Or use some other very clear signal that you want to explore romantic possibilities. DO NOT use the phrase "hang out". As a woman, I have had more guy friends than I can count ask me to "hang out", and I either had no idea that they had romantic intentions, or (as I got more experienced), I got really irritated by the ambiguity, as I felt that often these men were hiding behind the ambiguity. Be explicit here, and let her accept or reject based on that. You should take as "no" anything other than a clear "yes" in terms of her answer re. a date, as women don't always feel able to give an explicit "no". There's no need to do anything over the top, like getting her flowers when you ask her. Just keep it simple, confident, and clear. Something like the wording telegraph said would be perfect.
posted by ClaireBear at 4:54 PM on February 1 [11 favorites]


This feels hard, because you worry about rejection. You shouldn't let that stop you, however, because there is literally nothing wrong with having the feelings that you do for her, or letting her know.

Here's what you should do. You should ask her out on a date, but not in a way that's pushy. Enjoy yourself. See where it goes.

The best that happens is that it turns into something good. The worst that happens is that she isn't interested in anything else, which doesn't change your current situation.

There's also another good thing that can happen, too. Even if she isn't initially interested, she might see your relationship through a potentially new lens that she hadn't thought about, and she might be interested later. Sometimes the asking allows an interest to grow. I wouldn't hang out in the "friend zone" waiting for this to happen like a puppy, but this third option perhaps happens more often than some people might think, and it has more to do with your initial honesty that needs time to flower a bit; it's not always a "now or never" kind of thing for both parties right away.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:59 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Agree with cairdeas. Sometimes a guy I just want to be friends with starts acting like we are on a date when I never agreed to a date and he never asked me. If I were to say "Actually I'm not interested in you," I'd seem like an ass. So I find myself on edge trying to make sure friend-boundaries are not violated. Eventually I stop hanging out because I am uncomfortable.

HOWEVER - when I'm into someone, and he does the date-without-asking thing, I like it.

So I wouldn't necessarily say to *never* take that advice. But be aware if I'm into a guy and he offers to buy me dinner or walk me home, I'll smile and say "That's so nice of you, I'd like that." And then I'd probably make a move of some sort - touch his arm or something. If I'm not into him, I'll say "Thank you, but no thank you." Don't just keep doing datelike things over and over, do one datelike thing and she how she responds. If she responds well, just ask her out on a real date. If she seems uncomfortable or insists on paying her own dinner, drop it. Be friends or move on.

(I've never liked being asked out with the "on a date" phrase. If a man I am not very good friends with asks me to get a drink or go to an event, I assume it's a date. But I am probably the outlier here).
posted by bunderful at 5:02 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Romantic relationships, outside of the movies, almost always start out as friendships even if only at the very beginning. I mean, how would you even know that you liked someone enough to ask them on a date, or that there was any chance of them saying yes, unless you'd already spent some time with them and discovered that you got along well and enjoyed each other's company?

That being the case, and given that humans are not telepathic, it rarely makes sense to hold off on asking someone you're romantically interested in on a date just because you're worried that they only see you as a friend or that it might ruin the friendship that you have. If you use that logic there may never be a time when you feel free to ask someone on a date. You just have to pluck up your courage, take the risk, and then try to accept the rejection gracefully (if you get rejected, which you usually will, get used to it) and go back to being friends. The idea that asking someone on a date prevents you from ever being friends with them again is silly. It's usually awkward, and it can certainly be part of a dynamic of unrequited attraction that leads to the dissolution of the friendship, but that can happen just as easily even if you never make your feelings known.

And anyway, if you don't ask her out then your chances of getting a date with her are essentially zero. I mean, you could wait around to see if she asks you out, but do you really want to take those odds? Despite the fact that most propositions for dates end in rejection, the success rate is still much higher than just quietly waiting for the other person to make the first move.

Ask her out. Be direct, be polite, make your intentions clear. You've gotten some good scripts up above for how to do this. If it doesn't work out then try to be cool about it, and remember that you haven't really lost much by asking.
posted by Scientist at 5:11 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


Thirding the suggestion to use the word date if you ask her out. No I-think-it's-explicit signal, use the damn word. I have misunderstood "let's go grab some dinner and go for a walk on a beach" as something platonic. (Thankfully my social graces have improved since then.)
posted by Zelos at 5:13 PM on February 1 [9 favorites]


I remember another time a guy got mad at me because he decided we were on a date without telling me. This was in high school. The two of us went out for dinner (for which we each paid an equal share) and then that night were leaving with a bunch of friends to go on a weekend trip. I ended up kissing someone else on that trip and the guy I had gone to dinner with was SUPER PISSED, and said something to the effect of "I thought it was understood that you were my date for the whole weekend." I would not have agreed to that at all and had zero romantic interest in him, and would not have had dinner with him at all if I had known he would start to think he owned me for whatever amount of time. It just seems like it could be a recipe for disappointment, resentment, and mutual frustration and annoyance.
posted by cairdeas at 5:14 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Stop friendzoning yourself!

A year ago (or more?) ago you met someone you were attracted to. You didn't make a move, but just assumed you were "just friends" because... whatever.

Now you're back, and you saw her again. You still like her, and she's up for hanging out with you. You still haven't made a move. And you're already back to the assumption that you've "been friendzoned".

How could this girl respond in any way to your attraction to her if she doesn't know how you feel?

Ask her out.

Stop passively assuming there's nothing there and then blaming her by saying you've "been friendzoned". Communicate your feelings to her in some way, and if she doesn't want to go out with you, then worry about rejection. Don't reject yourself in advance!
posted by Sara C. at 6:00 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


You hereby have the internet's permission to ask someone out.
posted by modernnomad at 6:20 PM on February 1 [10 favorites]


Well, you have to weigh whether you'd rather have her as a potential romantic partner versus as a friend. Sometimes a friendship doesn't survive a proposal for a date! Changes the dynamics quite a bit.
posted by zscore at 6:36 PM on February 1


The other thing about being direct is that guys are not the only ones who can feel weird and confused about whether the other person happens to really like them and then crushed when it turns out the other person doesn't. This also happens to girls. If she does actually think of you as a potential boyfriend, she would probably far prefer to think of you as an ACTUAL boyfriend than as a guy she is seeing a lot of who she may or may not be dating. Somebody at some point has to actually make a move for a relationship to happen. Be brave, and if it doesn't work out you'll at least have practice asking for the next time.
posted by Sequence at 8:29 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


Ask her out on a date. Make sure she knows you're asking her out on a date.

But stop with the friendzone nonsense.
posted by Katemonkey at 4:25 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


One more thing on the so-called "friendzone". I would advise you to read this and take it to heart. I'm not getting a super strong whiff of the usual toxic Nice Guy (TM) vibe from your post, but you can't be too careful really with this sort of thing (and others might read this thread in the future who have more need of this sort of help, as well). Beyond Jeff Fecke's lucid explanation of Nice Guy/Friendzone stuff in the linked post, he also has some good advice directly applicable to your situation towards the end.
posted by ClaireBear at 5:49 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


Do it! The biggest most awful lesson in life that I learned the hard way is that regret over NOT asking someone out (and the resulting "what could have been" thoughts) is way, way worse than simply getting rejected and then taking some time to yourself to get over it.

Do it sooner rather than later, and depending on your personality you will get over a possible rejection much faster.

But hey - she might say yes!
posted by christiehawk at 11:26 AM on February 2


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