What it Took for My Wife to Remove Me from the 'Friend Zone'
I met my wife the first day of Freshman year of college and she friend zoned me immediately. It took 4 years of phone calls, adventures, "determine the relationship talks," arguments, begging, and more than a couple tears to convince her to date me.
That said, it worked--so I'm basically an expert on the subject now.
Not really, but I learned a ton about life, relationships, and maturity in the process and so I've developed a 5 step, sure fire way to get out of the friend zone! Patent pending.
Step 1: Talk to Your Friends
Before you do anything crazy like send your love interest a Facebook message telling them they should stop talking to the dude they currently are with and start dating you (yeah, I did that), make sure you talk to your friends about your feelings. Friends can be a fantastic barometer for crazy and if they're good they'll let you know if you are. That said, crazy isn't always a bad thing.
Ask questions like...
- Is this person a good fit for me?
- Why do you think I was friend zoned?
- Should I send them a Facebook message telling them to break up with their boyfriend? (the answer should almost always be 'no' to this one)
Step 2: Plan Your Attack
In my experience, getting "friend zoned" happens because the person you're interested in made an initial read on you that you were a great person to be around, but not a great person to date. Obviously, the goal in breaking through that wall is changing that perception, so plan accordingly. Now I'm not talking about holding boomboxes outside windows or anything (yet), but it's important to have a plan for the "but seriously, you should date me" conversation.
I flew into too many of those conversations fast and wild with no plan for how to clearly communicate my message. Which brings me to the next thing--know what you want.
Step 3: Temper your Expectations and Set Specifics
If the person you're trying to woo is anything like my wife, it could take years to get them to see the relationship the way you do (and the real catch of it is, they may never come around). So it's important that you manage your own expectations. One conversation is not likely to change their paradigm of what you mean to them--so don't expect to hit it out of the park immediately.
Also, I've learned it's not wise to rush in and expect the person you're trying to woo to drop everything and marry you on the spot--trust me, it doesn't work. Instead, focus on specifics. Ask for a date before you ask for marriage. IF (and that's a big IF) you two are going to make it as a couple, you've got to start small and make sure you don't destroy the relationship in the process of trying to advance it.
It wasn't until after we started dating that my now wife told me I had never asked her on a date. For years, I had begged her to see me differently, but I never even took the right first step in taking her out. I was too preoccupied with the big stuff to see the logical first step--don't make my mistake.
Step 4: Swing for the Fences
By this point in the process, you've probably already had a couple conversations and the conflict is really starting to bubble over--good. If you believe, as I did, that the person you are crazy about is jut not seeing the relationship the right way and that romance is there, then you need to bring out the big guns. Fair warning, this is the part of the story where you're getting into the high risk, high reward zone.
In the world of the friend zone, deciding to go big is deciding friendship is no longer sustainable for you. You have to be willing to lose everything for this to work, and that may not be right move so don't rush into it!
If you decide to go big, hold nothing back. Surprise her (or him) with something that not only says, "I'm crazy about you" but that also says, "I get you."
My 'swing for the fences' involved convincing Brittany to work at the summer camp where I did. Summer camp was where people fell in love. But then she ruined it by starting to talk to another guy just before camp started. Once again, going big doesn't mean it will work--just that you're willing to put it all out there.
Step 5: Give Up (This is the most important step)
As I've written about before, good relationships require self respect. You cannot sacrifice everything without the other person also being willing to sacrifice. So if it gets to the point where you're giving everything and they're not, give up. Swallow the bitter pill and walk away.
I tried to walk away several times and it only worked the one time I actually managed not to contact Britt at all. We didn't talk for a year. Then one day, we ran into each other (at that summer camp oddly enough) and things were different. I had learned to respect myself and she could see it in me. Giving up made me realize I had an unhealthy view of relationships and that process taught me how to be a good boyfriend (then fiancee, then husband).
When you give up, don't do it halfway. In this, most extreme and rare circumstance, you must understand that the current friendship is too unhealthy to continue. Let it die, move on and maybe (if you're lucky) something else will grow from the ashes (wow, that was dramatic).