Ask A Dude: Get Me Out of The Friend Zone!

Hi,

I’m a 20 year old girl and I have never had a boyfriend. That’s not to say people haven’t shown interest before — it’s just that I am never attracted to the type of person who usually likes me. The guys I like, though, all friend-zone me. I’m a little confused about how to approach guys. I get along really well with them and hang out with them a lot. I figure, the more I hang out with them — including the ones I like — the better they’ll get to know me, and then maybe they’ll be interested. But usually, they just see me as a friend, or even as “one of the guys.” The alternative is to spend less time with them so they don’t think of me that way, but then won’t the guy I like just forget about me or move on? What’s the right balance for being present?

I just met the guy I currently like a couple months ago. He’s housemates with four guy friends of mine. So I started hanging out at their place and met him. One night, he got my number (overheard me telling someone else) and told me I was cute. So I started flirting a little, being present more often, etc. But I’m just a friend, and now I think he has a new hookup buddy. What to do???

Dear_____ (Don’t be shy next time in creating a cool pseudonym, like, Sarah Walker, or Jenny Burton)

It’s a tricky balance to play it cool versus playing it safe. Cool gets you on the hook up highway but safe leaves you stuck in the friend zone. I wonder though, what if it’s not a matter of how much time you spend with him but what you do in that time?

There’s a difference between being flirty and encouraging. There’s something about your interactions with these guys giving them the impression that either you’re not interested in being more than friends, or that they shouldn’t make the attempt. Since we can’t go over the videotape, it’s a little tough to tell which it is but let’s explore some possibilities.

Being “one of the guys” can make you look like, in their eyes, well, one of the guys. A strong woman with similar interests who can fit right into the pack can be an intimidating approach. Also, for guys, it’s a rare woman that can connect to them and accept them on that level. There’s a trust and comfort built up in that sort of friendship that, because of being free from romantic/sexual expectation, guys feel safe in. Safe enough to not want to change it. On the other hand, they might also just be pussying out. Tough to tell.

What you could do is vary the pattern a little bit. When you hang out with him next time, suggest it be dinner or something a tad more formal, like a date would be. The trick is to show him more sides of you so that he doesn’t end up relegating you into one area of his life. And keeping the flirtation going is good but also, maybe, attempting to follow through a bit with it. Guys often miss subtlety. Being a little bolder in your encouragement, to a degree you’re comfortable with, of course, might also be a path to getting the kind of response you want.

You can’t wait around and you can’t keep things going hoping that he’ll suddenly see you differently one day. Waiting gets old. It doesn’t often get results. Letting him know what you want and don’t want, that’ll get you further along. If you want the dynamics changed, then you try changing them.

Yes you can!

The Dude 2012

[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of trying to come up with a not-totally-crazy-girl way to bring it up to your guy friends and get their take on things? Totally over over-analyzing the cryptic messages he leave on your Facebook Wall? We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question over to askthedude [at] collegecandy [dot] com. The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time. So bring. it. on.]

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