How to Stop Being Single and Get Ready to Mingle: Escaping the friend zone

At the end of the day, if nothing works and the friend zone stays strong, it may be time to call it quits and move on. There are plenty of other people in the world that can make you happy, and at least you still have your friend. (Martin Strachoň / Wikimedia Commons)

The friend zone is plight almost everyone encounters at least once in their life. But why does it happen and how can we escape it?

Dr. Jeremy Nicholson from “Psychology Today” explains every relationship is an exchange of sorts, and friend zones stem from an imbalanced exchange. In this type of relationship, one person is meeting the needs of the other, whether in attention or sexually, without having their own needs met by them. Nicholson recommends a few courses of action to renegotiate this exchange so both parties’ needs are met. He states that according to Waller and Hill’s “Least Interested Principle,” the person with the least investment in a relationship has the most control over it. By taking a step back, power is taken from the friendzoner, returned to the friendzonee and balance can be restored.

This can also be accomplished by spending time away from the friend in question and talking to different people of the desired sex to make said friend jealous. But ultimately, it might just be easier to ask favors from the friend instead. This way both parties have their needs met, with the added bonus of reaping the benefits of Jecker and Landry’s Ben Franklin Effect. This effect is the idea that people will like you more when they’re doing favors for you. It sounds odd, but it is how friend zones are often created in the first place, and if it got you in one, it can get you out.

Marc Summers’ Major League Dating website advises friend zone victims on how to deal with and escape their situation. He says the No. 1 thing to do when you’re in the friend zone is to accept it. He asks for victims to take their wannabe partner off the pedestal they placed them on and stop letting themselves be used. He says no one should have to fulfill the role of boyfriend or girlfriend unless they are the boyfriend or girlfriend. This role entails giving someone constant attention, affection, company and assistance. If those are being asked of you, then the biggest step you can take to help yourself is saying “no.” Summers ask for people to take charge of their own lives. If it looks like the friend zone will never end, either move on or use the methods outlined by Nicholson to renegotiate the relationship.

“Wingman” broke the friend zone down into two scenarios. The first is the person you’re interested in is simply not into you. This is usually just a matter of you not being their type. This situation isn’t hopeless, but it is a hard one to work your way out of. The second scenario is that you’ve been doing something wrong. This is the scenario you can take Summers’ and Nicholson’s steps to escape. It is by far the easiest of the two scenarios, but either could potentially turn out okay.

At the end of the day, if nothing works and the friend zone stays strong, it may be time to call it quits and move on. There are plenty of other people in the world that can make you happy, and at least you still have your friend.

If you have any questions or need any dating advice, feel free to contact me at rebecca.l.maher@uconn.edu. I’m positive other people are facing the same romantic problems as you, and would love to hear an answer.


Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rebecca.l.maher@uconn.edu.