Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Lists, Theory & Essay

How To Get Out And Stay Out Of The “Friend’s Zone”

The “friend’s zone” — that infamous coitus-less abyss where women take pleasure in turning unsuspecting men into eunuchs — has received quite a bit of play on First there was “damn you, shakira (six signs you’ve fallen into the “friend zone”)”, an entry where I introduced the topic by sharing my own sad little friend’s zone anecdote.

Next was “close-bus syndrome: six signs that a woman has been friend-zoned” , where I explained that women can be placed in the friend’s zone too.

I even placed “keeping friend-zoned guys around” first on a list of the cruelest things that women do, adding a humorous (but not really all that far-fetched) example to prove my point.

not only are most women aware of the hapless friends they have who are patiently hoping for a never occurring opening, they have no problem with taking advantage of him once he’s in place…and giving him just enough of a tease of a potential opening to keep him there.

there are myriad ways that they do this, but my favorite is the wistfully nonchalant “i wish there were more guys were like you. why can’t i find a good man?” they’ll utter to the emasculated cat driving them to ikea so she can replace the bed her maintenance man just helped her break the night before

(And yes, I still maintain that A) Most women are very aware when guys they’re just not that into are very into them and B) It’s some foul sh*t to keep him around by continually and intentionally being just affectionate enough that he thinks that he might get a chance some day. Assholes)

Yet, despite all of this attention, I’ve never actually offered any words of advice for guys who might be stuck there or just wish to avoid the abyss all together. No lists, no tidbits, no rules and regulations. Nothing.

Well, at least not until today.

1. Don’t allow yourself to get into the friend’s zone

I know that putting “don’t allow yourself to get in the friend’s zone” on a list explaining “How To Get Out And Stay Out Of The “Friend’s Zone” seems about as lazy and uninspired as giving someone at a rehab clinic a booklet full of Mr. Yuck stickers, but this is really the first thing that anyone who never wants to go there again needs to know.

Now, do you have control over whether a woman is attracted to you? No. (Well, to be honest, you actually do have control over that. But, for the sake of this explanation, we’ll just go with “no” for now) But, you do have control over whether you let her know that you’re definitely sexually attracted to her, something that guys who end up in the friend’s zone usually fail to do.

They make the mistake of trying to “friend” their way into the panties, not realizing that this is the quickest way to have her look at you as if you left your balls at home hanging on a refrigerator door magnet. They fail to make it immediately known (and by “immediately” I mean “during the first conversation“) that they have absolutely no interest in being her f*cking “friend.”

Will this affect your chances? Maybe. Maybe not. But, at least now you’ve set your standard and let your intentions known; forcing her to at least acknowledge that you’re a sexual being instead of waiting for her to set the panties parameters.

2. Don’t crush

On the list of “terrible, terrible, terrible ideas that we somehow still practice,” developing and cultivating long-term crushes is right up there with “the qwerty keyboard,” “the electoral college,” and “developing friendships with either of the Bryants.” What exactly makes the crush so bad? Well, when a person develops a long-term crush on a person, they usually end up idealizing that person so much that A) they become too enthralled with them to actually approach them and, in the rare case that they actually do approach, B) they’ve created a fantasy standard that the crushee can’t possibly reach.

Men who continually end up in the friend’s zone usually do this, building women up as these ultra-idealized and transubstantiating deities when they eat, sleep, and shit just like every one else. Take the p*ssy off the pedestal, and put where it belongs: on the dining room table.

3. Do something

Join a gym. Volunteer. Go to bartending school. Rob a bank. F*ck Erica Lynne. Whatever you do, make sure that you’re doing something other than following your “friend” around like a lost puppy, waiting for her to be kind enough to grant you an opening.

Why? Well, if she already knows that you’re interested in her, treating her as if she’s persona non grata has a funny way of making women think “Hmm. David doesn’t seem to give two shits about me anymore. I wonder why?” And, this thought has a tendency to lead to, um, other thoughts — a perfect seque to…

4. Remember that the friend’s zone/unrequited feelings thing doesn’t have to be permanent.

Let’s put it this way: While (many) women act as if the friend’s zone determination is permanent and unwavering, there are just as many men who’ve had numerous tasty-ass breakfasts made by women who previously saw them as “just a friend.” Basically, they make it seems like its some Guantanamo Bay type shit when all you really need to “escape” is an old credit card and a paper clip. (And by “an old credit card and a paper clip” I meant “a couch, some Netflix, and a bottle of Pineapple Malibu”)

Anyway, people of, do you have any advice for a guy (or girl) looking to get out and stay out of the friend’s zone? Also, is there anyone here who’s either A) “escaped” the friend’s zone or B) allowed someone to “escape?” If so, how and why did this happen?

—The Champ

If you haven’t purchased the paperback or the $9.99 Kindle version of “Your Degrees Wont Keep You Warm at Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, andFighting Crime” yet, what the hell is stopping you? (No, seriously. Tell us and we’ll send Chuck Norris or Liz to fix it)

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • Tahir Jetter

    there is nothing worse than the fcking friend zone.

  • I’ve never been in the friendzone, what’s it like?

  • (wonders if I should don my riot gear for this post)

  • Advice that would be significantly more helpful: Women, How you can get out of our friend zone. Guys do this too! Or is there no hope for friend zoned women?

  • BlackGirlWhoReads

    “Take the p*ssy off the pedestal, and put where it belong: on the dining room table.”
    -The Champion

    This might be the most quotable part of this post… Maybe it’s because I’m a born again virgin these days, by force and not by choice… Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, sex is good. Escape from the friend zone like Assata from the Clinton Correctional Facility. And the best way to escape the friend zone is detailed in #3: ignore the heck out of her until she notices.

    We chicks hate to be ignored… especially by guys who puppy dogged us for months.

  • I’d just like to take a second to posit that girls who keep guys in the friend zone don’t do so because they’re malicious, but because they enjoyed being treated well. It breaks left thanks to be friendly, and there are less hurt feelings all around.

  • Mz Under-Stood

    I have put men in the friendzon when they ach like sheep. Lol…but on the other hand I have been put on the “homegirl list” not because I was sweatin a dude but because he claimed I thought like a man and was mad cool but had too much going on to focus on a relationship… SMH…

  • DQ

    I’ve never let anyone escape, and I’ve personally never escaped one. That ish has been a black hole in my experience. Once you’re in… you’re in.

    On occasion, what can get you out of it is a combination of time and desperation. But that’s kind of like satisfying your hunger by eating road kill… now matter how full you feel, you know you didn’t eat well.

  • Andi

    I feel like I must be different from most women in this regard. The trend seems to be turning friend-zoned friend into an unwitting man-slave. I have some great guy-friends. I adore them all, but if I began to suspect one of them was attracted to me (and subsequently trying to get at me) – I would be more ghost than Christmas Past.

    Maybe this is odd, but when I’m around a male friend who likes me and I am not AT ALL interested in him, I find it difficult to be my delightful self. One might say that I’m a little bit… mean :( I guess I feel like I’m not allowed to be nice since it might give him the wrong idea. And perhaps I also feel defensive like, “I was perfectly enjoying being friends with you, why did you have to ruin it?!?” Thus, doing hateful friend zone things like dragging him to Ikea don’t really fit with my MO.

    My way is clearly not any better though, I hate being a jerk. Maybe I should take a cue from my sistas and call him over to build my new book shelf….

  • FormerlyImperfect

    My high school best friend is the father of my son.
    All throughout highschool and years following, he was tryin to get in my panties. I never saw him like that. Always thought of him as a brother. Told him everything. EVERYTHING. There are things he knows about me that no one else knows. I would let him take me out. Agree to spend the night and sleep on his couch. He was deep in the friend zone…
    I don’t know what happened honestly. One night he invited me over, we watched ‘Knocked Up’ and I got “knocked up”. No alcohol. I think I drank water. No joke

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