Not unlike twilight zone travelers, unenthusiastic residents of the infamous and often dreaded friend zone can usually expect their fair share of twists and turns. The good news is that close friends do tend to make excellent dating candidates. Some of the strongest relationships are built upon solid foundations of friendship. The bad news is that itís not always possible to transition from confidant to romantic partner and even when it is, rarely is it ever a smooth process.
Falling for a friend is nothing out of the ordinary. It happens all of the time, often in the most unexpected of ways. There are an infinite number of potential triggers that could set off fireworks between two people if pulled in a particular way at just the right moment. It could be anything Ė a certain look, a word, a smile, an innocent graze of the hand. Then the landscape of friendship is suddenly transformed. You may begin to realize that you donít want to be a permanent resident of the friend zone but that you would prefer to move out and set up camp in the romance district instead. This new perspective often becomes a proverbial fork in the road but before attempting to jump the border between friends and lovers, be sure to weigh the pros and cons.
Pursuing romantic intentions with a friend can sometimes be risky business. Many fear that the friendship could be jeopardized if things become awkward or too intense. It is important to keep in mind, however, that great happiness is usually a product of great risk and that if a friendship can be ruined by love, then it was probably never a true friendship at all. Deception, hypocrisy and negligence - these are the things that destroy camaraderie. Love, on the other hand, only serves to strengthen it.
A quick web search of the term ďfriend zoneĒ will undoubtedly return millions of hits that point to dating experts trying to sell you their secrets for escaping the friend zone. A good chunk of that material will probably attempt to convince you that the only way out of the friend zone is through a series of deliberate and sometimes shady maneuvers that will allegedly encourage your friendís affections. Dating may be a game but that doesnít mean that you have to play with your friendís emotions in order to win it.
There are many theories about what it takes to successfully leave the friend zone. In my personal opinion, escaping the friend zone unscathed requires nothing more and nothing less than the following three elements:
- Chemistry/Mutual Attraction - This is one element of romantic relationships that cannot be negotiated. Chemistry and mutual attraction is something that you either have or you donít so unless you are a glutton for punishment, it is probably a good idea to be realistic about whether or not it exists between you and your friend. Try to learn how to distinguish between wishful thinking and your intuition so that you can get a good sense of whether or not your ego might be in for a bruising.
- Timing - Most things in life are all about timing but unfortunately, it isnít always easy to get it right. If your friend is romantically involved with someone else, it is probably best to be patient and let that relationship run its course before making your move. If, on the other hand, your friend is emotionally available and the timing feels right, then donít let the sparks between the two of you fizzle by waiting too long to fan the flame.
- Honesty - When the time is right, tell your friend exactly how you feel including any concerns or reservations that you might have about the friendship or the potential for romance. Always be honest about what you want and what you are willing to offer in return. You might feel extremely vulnerable at first but you never know what exciting new chapter of your life this leap of faith might open up.