Misery in the Friend Zone

July 12, 2012


“Watching You Watch Him”

Anyone who’s been friendzoned by someone they have feelings for knows the agony – the hope that won’t die even when you know it’s a lost cause. The pain of knowing someone else – probably someone undeserving – succeeds where you fail. The jealousy. The difficulty of walking away even when you know you have no other choice, because your heart hurts and nothing is ever going to change.
Psychologist Jeremy Nicholson blogs about the dilemma at Psychology Today:

When someone gets stuck in the friend zone, they have entered into an exchange friendship that isn’t even. The other person is getting everything he/she wants…but the person stuck in the friend zone isn’t. In a nutshell, the friend zone person sold himself or herself short. They gave their “friend” everything, without making sure they got everything they wanted in return.

Nicholson advises hanging in there and giving it a shot using some techniques to increase your perceived value:

1. Be less interested. 

How do you do that? By making it clear you’re willing to end the friendship if you don’t get what you want.

2. Be scarce.

Give the object of your affection an opportunity to experience (and hopefully mourn) your absence.

3. Pursue other people.

It’s not uncommon for someone to realize they have feelings for the first time when they experience pangs of jealousy.

4. Stop giving and start taking.

People like you more when they help you out. Get them to do stuff for you, and you’ll feel less taken for granted.

5. Reinforce only what you like.

Ignore them when you don’t like the way you’re being treated.


I have a few other ideas:

Make your interest known.  

If you’re interested from the start, don’t settle for being a platonic pal. That road leads nowhere.

If the attraction is not returned, bounce. Even if you can’t avoid seeing the person, you can psychologically separate by discouraging all intimacy.

Look good.


Men are extremely visual – it’s their GPS for female fertility. 

Get into shape.

Use makeup only to enhance your natural appearance. Less is more. You’re not fooling anyone with heavy makeup, at least not for long.

Dress in a feminine way. Use the HUS 1-in-3 Rule: You can emphasize boobs, butt or legs, but only one at a time. If you wear a short, tight skirt, the blouse should be loose and modest. If you show a bit of cleavage, leave room for mystery below the waist. If your butt looks great in jeans, focus on that. Women look slutty when they show off everything they’ve got at once. Following the 1-in-3 Rule will cause guys to take you more seriously, and for those of us who aren’t perfect, focusing on our best feature all the time is the way to go.


Guys can compensate with other qualities, but there is no question that you only help yourself when you are fit and dress well. Dressing well doesn’t mean avoiding casual clothes – a guy can look awesome in shorts and a t-shirt. You should wear clothes that flatter your body, and they should look neat.

Don’t wear cologne or use heavily scented products. We need to sniff you out to know if we are attracted to you, and if you mask your natural scent, you’re taking a prime source of information away from us. This only hurts you – we miss your good natural smell, and your cologne will only mask an incompatible scent temporarily before our gut tells us we’re genetic misfits. 

Be awesome by being interesting.

Fill your life with people and pursuits that you enjoy. 

Cultivate passions. 

Get good at things, and show off by sharing your interests. 

Be realistic.

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by pining for someone with higher SMV than your own. If you laughingly tell  your friends you doubt you have a shot with such a great catch, stop laughing and accept it as truth. 

The best approach is to prevent yourself from getting into the zone at all, but if you find yourself there, the above strategies may be helpful. I’d put a firm timeline on it, though. Maybe a month tops. If that doesn’t shake things up, drive on.