In the year 2013, I held the UK national record for being in the “friend zone” the maximum number of times in the month of May.
It felt like that anyway! 😀
I used to live in England at the time, and May is a particularly upbeat month in that part of the world. It is during May that we are well past the dull and grey of the winter and into what the British mistakenly call ‘summer’. It is sometimes sunny, a ‘hot’ 22 degrees, there is a BBQ on every weekend and the ladies are usually out in their best summer wear. All of which makes for a good time to find a mate. Incidentally, May is named after Maia, the Goddess of Fertility.
You’d think I would have learned something in the 6 years since then, and would know how to stay out of the dreaded friend zone. I have, but it still happens occasionally 😐
I have always wondered whether other guys get “friend zoned” as frequently as I do. The irony was that all my guy friends thought that I was a really cool guy. I was confident, successful in my various endeavors, had a lot going for me and yet, I just wasn’t able to get dates with the ease that I found success in other areas of life. I constantly found myself falling into the friend zone and I had no idea why.
Until a couple of years ago, I just assumed that that was how the way the world worked —if I met a woman and it wasn’t sexual from the start, no worry, at least it was a start. And may be, just may be, at some point in the future, she would want to be ‘more than just friends’…how naive was I?!
And then I read a book which changed my life. It changed my life because it made me realise why I wasn’t being able to convert encounters into dates as often as I would have liked.
I was trying to be too ‘nice’. And in the process I wasn’t communicating my intentions in a manner that would make a woman want to be with me.
Now when I say I was trying to be too nice, I mean that I was going overboard in trying to portray my good side. I have always been courteous and polite, as that is how I have been brought up. But when I met a woman I liked, I became overly eager to be kind, or agreeable, or helpful.
The truth is, when it comes to asking women out, being agreeable and polite gets you only that far. I don’t mean you need to go to the other extreme — being a di*k isn’t going to get you very far either. It turns out that in addition to being nice, there is something else that needs to happen under the surface…
The “Aha” Moment
The problem was that I was so conscious of being nice to the women I met that I was coming across as a bit gutless and lacking in confidence. Almost like I had cold feet. In an effort to get the approval of women, I was letting them dictate terms, often from the time that I first initiated conversations with them.
And as it turns out, if you don’t take the lead, she won’t take the bait!
“Would you, umm, like to meet at some point next week? Umm, may be get a drink or coffee or something?”
That was my standard line whenever I met a girl I liked. I was so scared of the possibility of rejection that I didn’t at all want her to feel that I was stepping on her toes. I used to think that a ‘no’ would really crush me, so I tried my best to reduce the possibility of a woman saying ‘no’. But it would always come across as me being really unsure of myself. Almost like I didn’t deserve to be going out with a woman.
So after this epiphany, I changed my approach. It took a bit of practice and getting used to, since I had never been so direct with women before, but instead of asking a question, I made a statement of intent.***
“I’ve really enjoyed talking to you. Let’s meet next Tuesday at 7 pm at this bar / coffee shop I recently discovered…”
BOOM. No umm, no hesitation. Just a confident, quick, statement of intent.
A subtle change in tone and intention made a noticeable change in the way women started responding to me. I was getting to a ‘yes’ really quickly. The flip side was that I was getting to ‘no’ also really quickly. But that was equally welcome since I wasn’t wasting time in trying to assess whether a woman liked me, or if I should make a move.
The other reason I was falling into the friend zone pit was that I just wasn’t really displaying my intention of being sexual with women. At the end of the day, why did I want to meet women? The answer was obvious — I wanted to date them, build a relationship with them and / or to have sex with them! Duh! But because being ‘nice’ and polite was so ingrained in me, I would struggle to convey my sexuality to them. In some cases, I never let my sexuality come to the surface at all. And so I was inducted in to “The Friend Zone Hall of Fame”. If you can’t let a woman know that you are VERY COMFORTABLE with and ENJOY your sexuality, you automatically become her new best friend!
You see, at the end of the day, I was, and still am a likeable guy. I’m well read, humorous when I want to be, witty and know how to have fun. Why wouldn’t you want me as a good friend?!
So the other thing I started doing was to get over my hesitation in displaying my intentions. My sexual intentions to be specific. To be honest, this took a lot more work than one would think. Somewhere deep down, I believed that being sexual was bad, or that it made me a bad guy, or that I would be taken to be a creep. But that’s weird right? I have a limb between my legs , and so I shouldn’t feel bad about using it.
All I am doing is carrying out Nature’s bidding, it is what comes naturally to me.
The last thing you want is muscle atrophy down there. I never feel bad about using my hands and legs, so why should I feel bad about using my fifth limb? So I had to first banish this thought from my head. I had to rationalise why wanting to have sex was normal (and required!), and not be afraid of being upfront about it.
I had to get out of my own way, and not let my beliefs and assumptions get in the way 😉
There are so many ways to ‘turn a woman on’, and so it resulted in a lot of trial and error, a lot of rejection and a lot of embarrassment, but over the years I have learned that conveying my sexual feelings and desires upfront do two very important things:
- There is no way a woman can friend zone you. It is either ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ from the word go. Getting to this point of polarity is crucial if you want to date successfully.
- My responses from the women that are interested in dating me are much more positive than they used to be. Both sides are clear as to where this is headed
Isn’t it funny how not being forthright with your intentions can make you appear less desirable in the eyes of a woman? Nothing else really changed — I was the same guy, but the guy was being assertive and communicating with intent, and no longer falling into the friend zone.
***proof of this came when I met up with an ex potential lover turned friend (of course, what were you expecting?!) in 2017. I had gone out with her a couple of times when in I was a Londoner (circa 2013), and it didn’t really go anywhere, mainly because I failed to express myself in a manner that would want to make her see me as ‘boyfriend’ material. Since we had common friends, we continued to bump into each other at parties and dinners, and eventually became friends. When I went to London in 2017 for a holiday, we went out for coffee and we laughed over how we were such bad daters back when we first met. I added something to the effect that ‘yea, may be things would have been different had I been more of a man back then.’ To which her response was, ‘yea dude, you never once tried to hold my hand or initiate anything which would make me think that you wanted to take things further. I just assumed you didn’t find me attractive or whatever.’
Ouch! As they say, what’s past is prologue!
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Floh)