3 Steps To Avoid The Dreaded Friend Zone

grockwellThe Game49 Comments

The friend zone sucks. It’s a result of too little attraction and too much comfort. Hearing her say, “You‘re really a nice guy,” or, “You‘re like a brother to me,” can be painful when you want more.

So here we are…


1. Disqualify her to build attraction

The first step to avoiding the friend zone is making sure that she is attracted to you. To do this you simply follow the rules of the game: disqualify and build value until you see indicators of interest. If you’re the kind of guy that gets caught in the friend zone all the time, you might not be disqualifying enough.

Disqualification means telling the girl that, for some reason, you’re just not into her. It’s the most counter-intuitive piece of the game and, for the new guys, it feels weird. Don’t let discomfort stop you, though—it’s necessary. Next time you’re out, make sure to come up with some reason that you and she aren’t right for each other.

Here are three used and tested disqualifiers:

  • You’re cool, but you don’t seem to be adventurous enough for me.
  • We can’t hang out any more – I’m an asshole and you’re so nice. It would never work out.
  • You would be perfect for one of my friends.

2. Don’t hesitate. Go for the kiss.

You need to go in for the kiss at some point. A guy who misses his window of opportunity to kiss her and opts to spend more time building comfort will end up in the friend zone.

If you don’t think you can spot a window of opportunity when it appears, then you have to create it by using routines like Style’s Evolution Phase Shift, or by simply saying, “Do you want to kiss me?”

I know it can be scary at first, but trust me—going for it and screwing up is a better option than hesitating and missing it. At least she’ll know that you’re sexually interested in her. You can always try again later. The game isn’t over just because you make one mistake.

3. Only have past relationship talks on your terms.

It may seem that talking about how awful her ex-boyfriends were is a great way to build comfort—it’s not. If you sit around talking about it too long, there’s a chance she’s going to start treating you like your one of her girlfriends or one of her other platonic male friends.

It’s highly likely she has an emotional connection with those past lovers that’s way deeper than the one she currently has with you. When you’re talking about those guys, she’s connecting to those emotions. You want her to be thinking about you, not them.

So if the ex conversation does come up, cut the thread and talk about something else. Here’s my favorite way out of the relationship conversation trap:

“We should skip the ‘whose ex is worse’ conversation. You’re going to win; I’ve only been in awesome relationships.”

Related Stories from The Inner Circle

Where Guys Go Wrong With Girls, Part I
Social Strength: James Bond Style
Three Ways to Start Improving Your Game

49 Comments on “3 Steps To Avoid The Dreaded Friend Zone”

  1. Smalls

    Hilarious that I was just talking about “The Friend Zone” last night in the book I’m writing. Thinking back to all the time I was Zoned, disqualifiers could have been so useful. I cannot wait to use the closing line, “We should skip the ‘whose ex is worse’ conversation. You’re going to win; I’ve only been in awesome relationshits.” That line is simply brilliant!

  2. Aenigma

    When she talks about her past relationships, she’s not thinking about a new one, its in your best interest to disqualify such talk with something else, when I’m face in that situation, I usually say something like, “Maybe you should call him over, I don’t like competing with someone not here.” Sounds harsh I know, I only say it to put things in prospective for me, either she’s wants her ex or she want more, that’s when you come in.

  3. Lion

    I honestly can say Ive never had an gal talk about ex’s but I’m sure glad I read this, cause Ive definitely seen some of my buddies that play way too nice get trapped in the friend zone all the time.

    I could never figure out how they would manage to get on the topic of her ex-bf’s in the middle of a club? lol

    I’ll agree with Smalls and Mike, brilliant!

  4. rabidwombat

    Pick up purgatory, my god the place I lived my entire single life FINALLY has a name!! And it’s brilliant. The more I read about pick-up strategy and the methods, especially those which are completely counterintuitive, the more I remember watching guys who always have women after them doing exactly those things. Crazy.

  5. sweetboots

    Do you have any tips for getting out of the Friend Zone or is it like the Phantom Zone, from which relatively few escape?

    #3 is exactly why I read these posts, George. I’d suggest putting any intense conversation about emotional or friend drama in this category. It may seem nice and intimate to talk about a girl’s roller coaster of relationship with their boss or roommate or whatever. However, those drama-heavy topics are functionally gossip (especially when dished out over a drink at a club with someone she’s just met). People gossip with their friends, guys. Also, wouldn’t you rather she be focussed on you than an argument she’s having with Kimmy, the sorority sister who lives down the hall and never cleans up her dishes even though everyone has asked her, like, a thousand times to do it?

    1. George

      I’ll write something up about getting out of friend zone.

      It’s much easier to prevent getting friend zoned than it is to get out of it once you’re there.

      1. Chased

        Agreed. It was floating around before, but the answer to getting out of the friend zone and getting over oneitis was always: GFTOW… Go Find Ten Other Women.

        I now think there are plenty of ways to build the neccessary tension to spark attraction.

        Great article btw.

      2. Insite

        and how could you get out of the friend zone??… i’ve never concerned about the game since i was like dating with a girl and i did things wrong! it so weird my case… i was like a boyfriend but i realized that she was trying to be like a ego feeder for her, the first night we did hang out… we kissed then she said she couldn’t remember anything because she was drunk LOL… then she told me that she had to meet me first because she was on a relationship of 3 years … we we’re like dating more i read the game more i realized my mistakes … but here’s the point … i started to be like a jerk on her and we started like a competition, she told me i just met a boy … you could be my friend and i don’t wanna hurt you… ( i detected she was just trying to test me) and i said WOW that’s nice i just met a girl to! and next day i pick up a girl and a friend upload the photos with her on FB… she won cuz she start dating 1 week later and told me I HAVE A BOYFRIEND I AM SO HAPPY… i detected that and said that’s nice for you im so happy too.. and she was just like being so be MY BEST FRIEND but fail the girl i picked up came back with her boyfriend and then i feel like DUMBASS around al her friends and friends of my.. telling me i thought she was like dating with u what happended? then i said NO FUCKING WAY never EVER will happen that to me… i saw zan perrion DVDs.. and like 2 months later keeping the way that ” i don’t mind” and didn’t talk to her someday i told her lets talk we got a lot of time without see u… WITH A HUGE SMILE ON MY FACE that’s isn’t for her i told her that i like her i don’t know why… but theres something that i like of you… i’m an adventures man i’m always searching for that thing i don’t know what it is but see my face i’m happy right now just to knowing i’m getting in to it, and i invite you to come with me! but if you don’t .. i understand LOL she was like WTF happened to you i was like so romantic but no fucking AFC on her.. Should i stop talking to her or what should i do …

      3. jtrav

        So I’m new, but do you have any follow up advice for getting out of the friend zone? It’s honestly my biggest problem, especially now that I’m feeling really attracted to an old friend of mine.

  6. Jazz87

    I got a question on the dreaded “Friend Zone”.

    I just met up with a friend who now lives on Cyprus working as a bartender, we don’t know eachother all too well and I feel as though I’m headed for the FZ with her even though she showed great interest last time we went out partying a few months ago.

    So today, since I’ve started doing things according to the Mystery-Method recently, I greeted her as I would regularly and then I started throwing a few negs, DHV’ed her and threw in some false takeaways.
    Now granted I’m not superclose with her but she bit instantly it felt like, started pulling me back in when I was rolling off, showed a ton of IOI’s. Question is, was she showing more just because we’re friends or did I just strike gold? Is there a routine I could do to give more clarity?

    /Rookie from Sweden(yea, the place with all the beatiful blondes)

    1. Smalls

      You could take a leap of faith; make a move and kiss-close. The worst that will happen is she’ll be confused, but she’ll know for sure you’re interested.

      1. Jazz87

        I suppose that’s my first option, just gotta get an opportunity to isolate her. Kind of hard when there is 1800miles of land and sea between us now :) Guess I’ll put it on hold until she gets back later this summer and focus on strengthening my confidence in the game for now. Thanks for the tip!

    2. rrubio89

      If I were you if you get in the situation where you are getting tons of IOIs just go in for the kiss dude. You never know what can come out of it after that. If she pulls away either the timing isn¨t right or she really does just see you as a friend. Good luck with the Swede.

  7. AlexD

    Another genius piece from you George. I now look forward to your posts just as much as Neil’s!

    A piece on getting out of the friend zone would indeed be great.

    And is there a link anywhere to see a copy of Style’s Evolution Phase Shift?

    1. Lakerzfan82

      #3 is a good idea. I’ve been on a few dates where the girl wanted to talk about past relationships and I would try to change the subject. Its not good to talk about that stuff because your just talking about drama and she might think that the last breakup was your fault and not want to keep going out with you because she doesn’t want to risk getting hurt. I haven’t been able to come up with a good line to avoid the subject but I like that one.

  8. JayTheSneak

    That article resonates with me, specifically “2. Don’t hesitate. Go for the Kiss.” It’s hard to work up the courage at times, but far better than to make the move an learn from it (even if it doesn’t work out the way you want) than to not make the move at all.

    Also, it’s really well edited.

  9. Kon

    Perfect one, you can’t imagine how many times I needed a routine like the “We should skip the ‘whose ex is worse’ conversation. You’re going to win; I’ve only been in awesome relationships.” So AWESOME! I always had problems withe the Friend Zone, I was like their therapist were they’d go to talk about all their emotional problems… And I would be like “NOT AGAIN!”.

    Thanks a lot George!!!

  10. Methodos

    That last line is pretty good.

    You can’t really worry about screwing up with one girl when there are literally billions more out there ready for meeting.

    Treating every single woman like they are gold before they show you what they are made of isn’t a smart way of investing emotionally or physically. That doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships either.

    1. smoothlatinkid

      George, I’ve used all three, but my question comes to #1. There are times I’ve disqualified them–early on–and the girl is completely fine with just being friends, not being adventurous. Then when I express an interest in them, it comes off incongruent. thoughts?

      1. rrubio89

        smoothlatinkid, being down here in South America I have had plenty of trial and little error with women down here. What I have noticed though from the start is that you just need to be they kind of guy that shows others that you have fun with life and that you are genuinely a sincere person. Don´t try to analyze it to much. I had a gorgeous Venezuelan girl started chasing after me and it took me literally this whole year to finally understand what exactly I did. You¨ll improve your game with time. Don¨t rush it and try not to analyze everything so much or you¨ll really forget the great moments you´re living in life.

  11. rrubio89

    Best thing I¨ve read on this site that I need to apply to my own personal life. This type of situation happend with a girl down here in South America and now that I¨m leaving I did all three of those things. Anybody have any advice on what I should do next. I mean I¨m headed back to the states so what do you do with a girl you¨re interested or were interested and now she´s wondering why you stopped chasing her. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!

  12. Jubilant19

    The friend zone, something that all man can unite together and have a mutual distaste for it. This article sums up the best way to get out of that trap before it happens. Thank you for reminding me about the dark side of “The friend zone”.

  13. Benjie Pocket

    Yeah I’m one of those guys whom this happens to very often. Actually, all the time. But I’ll apply this! Honestly, I’ve got no use for any more friends who are girls I’m not sleeping with, except maybe as wings.

  14. captalone

    About the #3: What if the girl doesn’t see it as a joke and gets offended or then starts to ask about my past relationships and then I’ll be stuck again with the ex-talk?

  15. Jetsetswede

    Time to break my cherry here at the circle!
    Those disqualifiers were great. Tried them tonight at a target whom was getting too friendly with me. Worked out great. Ended up with some kino instead. Thanks a bunch!

  16. Ender

    It’s been said 100 times but I need to make it 101- that last line was fantastic.

    On another note, the Stargate Universe caption was brilliant as well. I fear many missed on that. I started the article off laughing.

    Remember if she’s bitching and crying about her ex (or boss, or job, or whatever) with you all the time where do you think those emotions are going to go?

    Talking of her ex builds up negative emotions, sorrow, anger, frustration, loneliness. And who is in front of her while she’s doing it? You. Whose face is being attached to these emotions? Yours. And it’s a slippery slope after that, because next time she see’s you her feelings at the time (negative) will rise up again, and she will likely recall the cause of those again, her ex… then guess what the conversation will be about?

    Skip it, you don’t want her in that state of mind. You want them recalling fun, happy, exciting moments with you so that those memories trigger those emotions and those emotions connect with your presence.

    It goes all the way back to the old Ross Jeffries concept of anchoring, which, though old, is still true.

    1. Kash

      this is simply great view, i never thought of it as such and it makes so much sense and its so true too.

  17. radicaltp

    “We should skip the ‘whose ex is worse’ conversation. You’re going to win; I’ve only been in awesome relationships.”

    is as witty as

    “cant help it My mother raised me well” – when being nice is taken for granted by a girl.

    thanks for this one …

  18. alvaroclossa

    I have a question that may help me and many other guys: can you turn a friendship into a relationship? how? I don’t mean a serious relationship, just wanna know if you can succeed at trying to conquist her. greetings from Argentina!

  19. Pingback: Preventing Flakes | Neil Strauss

  20. samari1806

    I’ve gotten out of the friend zone several times. It’s hard to do, but it is possible. You have to get her to change her perspective of you. This is the method I use.

    1: You must go awhile without seeing, talking, or texting her. You must sever all communication with her. This is the hardest and most important step. If she is calling you all the time because you two are friends, then you have to blow her off. Tell her you are busy with a project from work or something like that. “Give her the gift of missing you.” How long you need to do this depends on how far in the friend zone you are in. If you are just picking up the early signs, then a couple of weeks will due. If you are really deep, then it may take a couple of months. (In the meantime, refine your game.)

    2: Begin a quick reconnection and invite her to a group gathering such as a party or a group night out. (Better yet, if you two have mutual friends get them to invite her instead)

    3: When you get to the gathering, do what PUA’s do best. Be the life of the group. Talk to other girls. In the beginning, act like you are too busy to talk to her. Build your value by negging and disqualifying other women. Only talk to her enough to seem like you are not straight up ignoring her.

    4: If played right at this point, she will start to fight a little for your attention. Then, treat it like an approach on a brand new target. In other words, start from scratch. (Obviously do not use the same routines you used to get her the first time.)

    5: Do not bring up the past between you and her. Don’t start talking about stories and events that happened before. You want her to only think about the new you. Remember this is a new target; there are no past events between the two of you.

    Finally, remember all the things you did wrong the first time and avoid those mistakes. Good Luck!

  21. Nico10

    I find this to be perfect! I wish my guy friends could read this, that’s the problem. I have too many male friends which is great but then again there are some I want to date or have tried to date.

    The fact that we started out as friends, told one another about our past and previous relationships, etc. makes it harder for me to date them.

    I end up just going out to dinner and maybe sex with a guy friend than I do going on a real date. Now that I just said that, friend sex is good but yes, it’s time to move on…

    Great article.

  22. Elliot Scott

    Need some help to share their opinion. Ok really good friends with this girl we had a romance in Kenya she lives 2 hours away. We have kissed made out like teenagers. Now im trying to get over which im doing well at havent spoke to her in 4 months and i think she knows why because im getting over her.

    When i talk to her again should i explain why or just carry on as if nothing happened and disqualify.

  23. christopherjs

    Hi Guys, I know this is an old article but was wondering if i could get some advice? I have been friends with this girl for about 4 years and never been into her.New year i kissed her and all of a sudden i started getting feelings for her…problem is i am in the friend zone and when i am around her i seem to loose “my game”because i have so much feelings for her… how do i get out the friend zone and other thing is she knows i have a reputation with the girls… any advice?

  24. omao94

    Hey guys, regarding “disqualifiers”, more specifically this one -> “You’re cool, but you don’t seem to be adventurous enough for me.”

    Does it still works if you turn it around and say something like -> “You’re cool, but you seem way too adventurous for me.” or “You’re cool, but I’m to chill/relaxed and you seem too adventurous/explosive for me.” ???

    I know this girl, but she’s VERY energetic/explosive, so telling her that she doesn’t seem too adventurous is out of place.

  25. Dante1991

    great article. and yes,, i’m having trouble with the hesitation of the kiss….need to pull the trigger buddy,,, all the time. thanks!! and yes it is painful damn it…it keeps in ur head “why i didn’t do it” why i didn’t pull the trigger”….

  26. Tortuga

    I might be on the verge of falling into the friend zone!

    started talking to this girl about 2-3 months ago. All the signs/IOIs are there, we flirt, she’s always touching me, there’s lots of compliance there when I play these little hand games/gambits, she tries to keep the conversations going, she asks these little “investigative” questions about me, there’s great vibe between us. I try to DHV whenever possible, tease whenever possible, text game is hard 4 me…but I think I manage though…I try to keep my distance while in school to show disinterest but I slip up here and there.

    The real problem is that she has a boyfriend…she’ll randomly bring him up in conversation every now and then however when she does I NEVER play into it, I iether change the topic or pretend to get distracted somehow…i’m starting to worry though…Where do I stand?

  27. Ender

    Sounds like she’s running some game on you too.

    You can always try a boyfriend buster method if you really want her to be single and go after you. No matter which you go with the trick is always to seem like your on the boyfriends side and his point of view while unintentionally lower his value. Lines like “He probably doesn’t want to scare you off so he sticks with the same routines he knows its safe, just shows he values you around”. What you said was “you mean something to him” what she hears is “aren’t you sick of the same old stuff? Don’t you want something adventurist?”

    One piece of advise I tell my friends, and I learned this the hard way myself, if you are actually INTERESTED in her, I mean in a long fruitful exclusive relationship way, DO NOT be the one she cheats on her boyfriend with.

    It’s happen to every guy I know. If you are the secret lover she’s backstabbing her faithful partner with it won’t be long until you have a knife in your back too. EVERY time.

  28. Tortuga

    Boyfriend buster…I actually haven’t heard that one yet, I’m relatively new to the game, sounds like some solid stuff though…I LIKE IT!…surely it has to be better than just pretending he doesn’t exist like I’ve been doing…

    SHE gaming ME?…WHAAAAAAAAAT?…I like that too :).

    I completely agree about the whole cheating thing, that’s the only reason why I haven’t asked her out yet!(quick note-though she did ask to go to lunch with me after class last week, which we did…) I honestly see this girl as a keeper so I’m trying to be extra patient…kinda hurts to know that she’s playing the field a little bit even though she’s w/someone…maybe a bad sign huh :(

    Thank you Ender.

    By the way…this feels like the wrong place to be asking advice from, and I apologize for that…can someone please recommend a good forum?

  29. Ender

    Relax, this is the exact place. You’re among friends. I consider this to be a forum, just every thread started by Neil or some Article. At the end of the day we get what we get.

    As with everything, don’t over do it and if you think she didn’t get what you meant or hear you DON’T repeat it. Believe me, she did. Repeating it may give away what you are really trying to say thus losing your whole angle and a lot of value.

    We all play the field. I have a girl right now, and I know I love her like no one else in this world. But flirting is a natural part of how I communicate. I’ve never been unfaithful in any way, its just talk. Think of it this way, attraction is attraction, whether for friendship, courtship, or romance. Its there, it’s needed. Even when being just friends there is certain “game” at work.

    Think of it this way, think of all your good female friend. Are there any that you probably would not sleep with if they were the last person on Earth? Probably not. Why? Because they are all probably attractive to you in one way or another. If the person was so unattractive (not just physically) that you wouldn’t sleep with them ever, then chances are you wouldn’t be friends with them either. But something attracts you.

    Attraction is always there.

  30. Nicholas

    Getting out of the friend zone is a pain. When I first got sucked into the community/industry, I had found an article floating around the Venusian Arts page about escaping the friend zone…I followed it for the most part, if not to escape the friend zone, then to bust out of my one-itis.

    Step 1. Cut off all contact. It doesn’t matter by what means you do so, just let them know that for the next 1-3 months, they aren’t going to hear from you. Good excuses include an increase in work load, needing to assuage your girlfriend’s fears (ok, that one might be a lie…don’t lie this time), whatever.

    Don’t talk to them. No phone calls, emails, texts, IMs, nothing. If you’re friends with them on facebook, you could remove them, if you so choose (I didn’t, because I felt that it might not necessarily be in good taste). Be aware, however, that for every avenue you leave open, that is a way for them to ask you a question for whatever reason – they need help finding a job, etc – and when they do, just courteously tell them you’re fresh out of leads.

    (Step 2 will follow)

  31. Nicholas

    Step 2. Reinvent yourself. Seriously. You’re gonna need to do more than the half-bull, half truth stuff here. The wonderful and simultaneously troublesome part about girls who’ve placed you in the friend zone has to do with the fact that they actually KNOW you. The real you, for the most part. So, when you come back, they’ll already have a pre-conceived notion of what your value is.

    You’re going to need to shatter it, and add several points to it. She thinks you’re a 5 (yikes, sorry), then you need to be an 8. You’re a 6? Be a 9. This means that you’re going to need to overhaul everything in the few months of time you’ve bought yourself…improve your job, possibly upgrade your car (going from a Toyota to something a bit sportier does wonders), and reinvent your style (difficult, if you’ve already found the one you want).

    Step 3. Become HER object of desire. Control the frame, not be controlled by it (which was what lands us in the friend zone). Telling her not to be clingy in a LIGHT-HEARTED tone (if she says she misses you) is a good step towards solidifying your place as the One to be Desired. This is because it moves you a bit closer to flirting. In short, be humorous and flirty the MOMENT you see her again.

    Some light, non-obtrusive kino should be next. Light punches in the arm are good. One that I used to test compliance of a friend (though she blew herself out…but that’s another story) was to put my head in her lap, in vain of falling asleep, but facing away from her…it’s not as threatening to her, and shows interest and a light bit of disinterest too. If she asks you to not do that, you’ve received an IOD and should respond accordingly.

    Another one the thread recommended, if I remember correctly, was to go for a walk, and put your arm around her shoulders/waist, and remove it before even half a minute passed. If you can do this successfully, you might also wish to take her hand for a couple of minutes later in the walk. If she complies, good. Do it again after awhile – if she responds favorably again, you can kiss her…at which point, should you do it on a walk, you should wheel her around gently so that you two are facing each other. You’ll have to lean in…but don’t lean too much.

    If you screw up at the kiss, though, the magic will be ruined. Fair warning. Also, I think the OP said something about making sure there’s PLENTY of space between all the kino steps…something like 3 hours, I think? Might have been only 2…I don’t quite recall. The entire process is cat string theory…so, taking her to a place where you can walk around is good.

    Do NOT hit up the movies. Recipe for disaster right there.

    Hope this helps, friend. If I can find the original link, I’ll put it up here for you! :)

  32. Nicholas

    Wait…one more thing (sorry for the long posts…weird memory lately :)

    You have to downplay it, unless she brings it up. IF she does, it’s the whole “I didn’t really expect this happen” routine.

    You know the drill.

    Good luck, my friend. :)

  33. ColdOne

    very good information. i have a bit of a problem though, i saw the signs of breaking up with my ex but didnt want out, anyhow after some mediating i finally told her i should break up with you because i knew thats what i wanted and what she wanted. cut long story short, sent her an apology letter and i fucked up, told her it would be good to be friends, she insisted but also said that she cares about me and the relationship meant something to her and she wants to be part of my life. so i played it cool and agreed. Stupid mistake i know. Anyhow i told her we would catch up sometime. since that message i have not contacted her and since the break up it’s been almost 1 month now.
    my question is how long do i keep no contact for.
    I was thinking maybe i should organize a meet up with her so she can see the new me. Been traning heaps at the gym getting very good in shape. im going to get a new car and going to get a new job very soon too.
    So should i leave her wondering and keep no contact for now, or wait untill all these great things start to occur in my life beforehand.
    Im dating other girls too, but its bloody hard trying to keep her off my mind. its like it goes away for a bit and then i think about her sometimes.
    Please advice and some help Cheers.

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