I feel like I always put myself in the friend zone with guys. I want to know a guy before I start a relationship, but I think I’m too friendly, and they start thinking of me as strictly “one of the guys.” How do I let them know I could be interested in more than just friendship without throwing myself all over them?
As much as you may dread the “friend zone”, I believe that guys end up there more frequently than girls, who are generally more capable of maintaining co-ed friendships (i.e. mature) than us notoriously one-track-minded men. As I outlined in my very first column for Gurl.com, a guy will usually only go out of his way to befriend a girl when she’s dating his buddy, or when both parties have determined through experience that a romance just ain’t in the cards. Otherwise (which is most of the time), he’s likely just getting frisky.
However, when you’re the one doing the friendly pursuing, a guy’s reaction will partly depend on how you approach him. In another previous post, I explained how maintaining a little bit of distance and mystery at the beginning of a relationship can keep a guy interested. When you become too close too quickly with a guy before getting romantic, he can take you for granted and lose interest. It’s true that guys do enjoy “the chase,” so your instinct to not throw yourself at them is certainly a good one.
Of course, a guy’s reaction will also depend on how open he is to dating you. If you can tell he’s already crushing, slowly getting to know him better (along with a little casual flirting) will build a level of positive tension which can only be resolved by a kiss. If a dude ends up thinking of you as just “one of the guys” after some well-paced bonding, he might not have been into you to begin with.
Ultimately, if you feel like you’re being too friendly, you might want to give the relationship some space to preserve some of your womanly mystique. Feel free to make one bold move (such as asking him out on a date), but allow him to make the next! Putting the ball in his court and leaving it there until he picks it up again is an important part of finding balance in any relationship.