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It's happened to all of us. You're hanging out with someone, you're really feeling connected. Then, you go in for a kiss and meet with the swerve. It can be as subtle as the turn of the head that leaves your lips planted on their cheek or a full-on segue way to the barrier hug. You know the one: hands on shoulders, forearms placed on the chest to create distance, maybe allowing a cheek-to-cheek brush.

You've landed in the friend zone.

What is the friend zone?

The friend zone is a relationship dynamic where one friend develops romantic feelings that aren't reciprocated. It can be a painful place to be, but it isn't always hopeless.

Friend zoning isn't limited to platonic relationships, either. There are many 'friends with benefits' dynamics where one person wants to transition to a romantic relationship and the other is fine with sex without the commitment. However, if your feelings are real, you may be wondering if there's a way to escape the zone and make your dreams come true.

Don't Sell Yourself Short

This is a classic dynamic where one person is getting all of the benefits of a relationship without giving anything back. At best, it's unintentional and the object of affection has no idea of your feelings; that may change if you're honest with them and with yourself. At worst, it is manipulative. If that's the case, separate yourself from this person no matter how painful it is in the short-term.

Realize That It's Probably Not Something You're Doing Wrong 

Chemistry can be a tricky thing. The simple fact is, sometimes we just don't feel it. It has nothing to do with looks or intelligence or wealth. There are simply some people who we can feel great affection for, but not sexual attraction.

Rejection is painful, and it can hit you right in the self-esteem. But, the best thing you can do for yourself is to put things into perspective. The worst thing you can do is to take it personally or become resentful. It's probably nothing you're doing wrong, nor is it something you can fix if the chemistry is one-sided. 

How To Get Out of That Zone and Into Hers (or His) 

It's not impossible, but getting out of the friend zone can be a challenge. The first step is to determine if you're simply not that object of your affection's type, or if there is something specific keeping them from taking the relationship further. In the first instance, you should give up with grace. If you can remain friends without hurting yourself, that's fine. Just don't hang on hoping to change their mind.

The second scenario offers possibilities, but it starts with honesty. Are you in an imaginary relationship with someone who only loves you like a sibling? You'd be surprised how often that happens. Once you're honest with yourself, you need to find out where their head is at. This is the hard part, and it will take courage. Admit how you feel, and try to find out where they stand, how they see you and why.

Steps to Take to Get Out of the Friend Zone

Start by backing off a little. The person you have feelings for may have grown so used to the dynamic they have no reason to change it. Make them feel your absence without playing games. Go out and meet other people, develop your interests. When you give them everything, you have nothing to bargain with, and re-negotiating any terms involves give and take from both parties.

Make yourself less available, and don't be afraid to say "No" once in a while. Making yourself indispensable smacks of needy, and that's not a good look on anyone. If they do something for you, reciprocate in kind, but don't start keeping score.

The suggestions will have several possible consequences. The other person may realize that they care more for you than they thought. You may find someone better for you elsewhere. Or, the two of you may begin on a new path together, and it will be stronger because you started as friends. 

Good relationships are equal in all things, including the balance of power. If you're truly looking for a way to explore chemistry with others without the risk, there are several online avenues. You can look into casual dating websites or just join different groups and meet people who share your interests. Most of the time, love finds you when you're not looking.

How to Overcome One of the Most Difficult Relationship Problems
Digital Mag

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