Getting Out of the Friendship Zone

by Tripper

I read a lot of posts in this forum written in the "I don't want to be in the friends zone" vein. I don't have all the answers but I hope the following info will help some of you.

Ok. I've just started in a relationship with someone whom I knew 12 years ago when she was in a relationship with a friend of mine. I was married at the time and her and my wife were good friends and we all hung out together. We all went our separate ways due to careers etc. and I ended up single a couple of years ago. When I relocated back to Toronto late last year I happened to run into her. We went for coffee and simply caught up with what was happening.

I had always found her attractive and fun to be with and I asked her out. She made it clear that she could only think of me as a friend since our histories were there and that was simply the way it was.

Are you still with me?

Basically I was told, yeah we'll go out on a "date" but as friends.

Now I am not one to be dissuaded when a beautiful, intelligent woman gives me this line, because anything worth wanting is worth fighting for.

Now before I tell you what happened let's look at the situation that most of you guys are in. Right now you and your ladies are "friends". Maybe she thinks of you like a brother. Who knows, who cares... it doesn't matter.

You haven't been told that she won't see you or do things with you... she just doesn't see you in a romantic light (YET!). And you are slowly going to change this.

Here's what you must understand to begin this process.

a) Most women, not all, but most believe that a solid relationship begins on the basis of friendship. If you can like them as they are and will accept them as a friend then you have a solid foundation. It took me awhile to figure this out and is essential to understand.

b) Most women, even the most gorgeous ones, have a problem with body image. They think their eyes are too close or their butts are too big or whatever they *perceive* to be the problem.

c) Women like small gifts, flowers... it doesn't have to be expensive just tasteful and appropriate.

d) Women like to be made to laugh. I don't know how many times I've heard a woman say "I like so in so... he makes me laugh." So and so could be the geekiest guy around but the woman LIKES him.....

e) Women want to be "smitten."

f) Lastly, most classy women like a gentleman. I know we all see babes with guys who are total jerks, slobs, or think they are ultra cool. Well you really don't want to be with these women unless your looking for a quick lay and this isn't your situation.

g) Women are sensitive, intuitive, empathetic creatures. They can smell bullcrap a mile away.

So here's what you should do.

First, whenever you are going to go out, make sure you are well dressed and groomed. Shower, shave or trim you beard. Forget wearing jeans, buy some khakis, golf shirts and some good shoes (most women love shoes) brogues, cordovans, penny loafers whatever is your style. Make sure you have a belt to match the shoes.

Use a scent of some kind. I use "Cool Waters" by Davidoff, the eau de toilette not the cologne. It's $60 a bottle but it will last a long time and it's *subtle*. You don't want to smell like you've stepped out of a bordello. You want to smell clean, fresh like the guy next door who has just stepped off a golf course at the country club.

Make sure your fingernails are clean and trimmed, teeth are brushed and the breath is fresh. In other words be the best you can be... and this doesn't mean spending lotsa bucks... just some ok stuff you can pick up at Walmart and keep it clean and ironed.

Ok, now you are going to go on a "date".

Make sure your car is clean. Women will judge you by how your "wheels" look. It doesn't have to be new... just vacuumed and no garbage floating around.

When you show up bring a small gift. Flowers are always appropriate. Try and avoid roses (red mean love, yellow mean friendship if you can only grab these). Carnations, daisies whatever are best. Just say that you were passing by a flower shop and though they would brighten her day and leave it at that.

Or 2 or 3 pieces of exquisite chocolate (unless she's allergic). Again tell her that you found these and that they were *your* favorite kind and that maybe she would enjoy a sample.

Tell her she looks great and that the outfit she's wearing really compliments her hair or eyes and leave it at that. You are not trying to tell her that you are drooling over her looks (although you may be....) but simply that she looks good. All this stuff is done very low key as just a compliment from a friend.

Be the gentleman. Open her car door, open the door of any building that you are going to walk into. Do it naturally like it's no big deal and that that's the way you were raised, while keeping up a light conversation.

Make her laugh. Tell her a funny story you read in the paper, what happened to you at school or work. Ask her how her day was and *listen* to what she says. This next point is important.

Most men are very solution oriented. Just the way we were raised. Women on the other hand are emotional beings and want sympathetic reactions. Instead of saying "Yeah, your boss is a jerk, you should tell him off" try saying "I understand how difficult it must be etc...".

When going out, pick some fun stuff to do... go to the zoo... see a "chick" flick for a movie (read the reviews and find something good to say about it) even if you hate the damn things.... Catch Bloodquest XXIV with your buddies. Afterwards take her for a coffee, sit her down and you offer to get it.

By now you should know some of her interests and it would be nice to be able to discuss what she's interested in. You may have to do some research.

When you take her home, don't make any moves.... just tell her how much you enjoyed the evening and how much fun she is to be with.... and that you are really glad she's your friend... Offer to cook her a meal.... it doesn't have to be exotic. Just simply find out what she likes to eat and say that you are cooking it and would she like to come over for dinner.

You wash the dishes immediately afterwards as she relaxes with a glass of wine. What you are trying to do here is to reinforce that a) she has a good time with you b) you have a good time with her c) you enjoy and value her friendship c) you are the guy next door who is a gentleman and is responsible.

Now at sometime you will have to make your move. Don't even talk about being a couple. Now like sex, golf and cooking (I'm an ex-chef with 20 years experience) timing is everything. Make your move too soon and you are gonna blow it and you only have one chance at this. So....TAKE YOUR TIME and establish your credentials as her friend.

This may take you another 5 or 6 dates... you will have to be very sensitive to her frame of mind. She should be seeing you in a different light.... thoughtful, kind, a gentleman, can cook basic stuff and keep himself groomed.

I know this is a lot to assimilate but you want to be on absolute solid ground before you try and take this to the next level. And you are going to do this very slowly once again. Don't, and I repeat don't talk about being a couple.

Go for a walk in a very busy place... Crowded boardwalk is good. As you walk through the crowds you start to get separated. Gently suggest she take your hand so as to avoid getting separated. Once you are out in the open again, release her hand. You just held hands with her albeit briefly. You've established contact but in a non-threatening way. Leave it at that.

Next time pick a place where you can stroll comfortably. Walk slowly and let her start to get ahead. Jokingly say "whoa, what's the hurry... here take my arm so I can slow you down" or some such thing and offer her your arm..... If this is done non-threateningly to your friendship, you should now be able to stroll arm and arm for awhile. You break off the contact at some point to keep it low key. Now if that worked you can offer your arm when crossing a street etc. Just don't push it.

If and when you think it's time, when you take her home, give her a brotherly hug, a peck on the cheek and tell her you had a great time. Slowly keep increasing the physical contact and the low key wooing.... flowers etc. friendship gifts.... and always call the next day just to say how much fun you had. No long conversations just a couple of minutes and you're outta there...

Ok, how you go from here is up to how this goes.... Don't rush and don't try to force anything. Be yourself, be a gentleman but let *her* perception of you change slowly until she sees you as a possible person for a love interest.

Two general rules. 1) Always act naturally as friends would. Smile, laugh etc.... but no "ultra cool, I'm a stud" stuff... 2) and this is key... TAKE YOUR TIME AND MOVE SLOWLY!!!! RUSH THIS PROCESS AND YOU ARE GONNA BLOW IT!!! This I can guarantee you. Be sensitive to her frame of mind and on very certain ground before you make a move to the next level. How and when is going to be up to you.... But trust your instincts...

Is it guaranteed to work? Nope, there are no guarantees in life... but it's worth a shot... what the heck, you won't be any worse off than you are now.

....and good luck to all of you in winning their hearts....

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