Is The “Friend Zone” Forever? Five Tips To Find Out

Updated April 1, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

If you aren’t familiar, the friend zone refers to a relationship where one person is romantically attracted to the other, but the other isn’t interested in being more than friends. While it’s important to respect someone’s boundaries and honor their wishes to stay platonic, there are some situations where it may seem as if they’re questioning the decision to remain friends in pursuit of a romantic relationship. 

For example, they may seem more flirtatious than before or drop full-fledged hints that they want to be with you. Also, if your mutual friends remark that they’ve noticed this change in the pattern of behavior, it can be a big clue that they have feelings for you beyond friendship. 

In this post, we’ll explore ways to find out whether you’re relegated to the friend zone forever-- or if there’s a chance they’re open to more. But first, it might be helpful to learn the signs:

How do you know if you’re friend-zoned?

Knowing how someone else thinks of you is not always easy, especially if you have never told them how you feel about them. However, there are a few clues you might recognize.

  • They often talk to you about how attracted they are to someone else.
  • You hang out together, but it never feels like a date.
  • They describe you or their feelings about you like they talk about other friends or pets.
  • They talk a lot about what a great friend you are.
  • They never tell you they are interested in you romantically or do anything romantic for you.
  • They always seem to be comfortable telling you anything and everything.
  • Your mutual friends tell you that you are in the friend zone.
  • They politely say no whenever you make advances.
  • If they need help with a tedious errand, that is when they will call on you to help.

While any of these clues might indicate that you are in the friend zone, that is not always the case. There is aways room for misinterpretation from any angle, so stay respectful of their boundaries and be a good friend until you know how they feel for sure.

The friend zone can be a confusing place

How to tell if you’re in the friend zone for good, or not

1. Be straightforward (but check your feelings first)

Trust is an essential feature in any relationship, and the best way to build a solid foundation of trust is to cultivate communication from the beginning. But before you let them know how you feel, take a little time to explore your reasons for wanting more than a friendship. 

Do you really want their long-term commitment, or could it be a fleeting infatuation? Are you in a vulnerable time in your life and looking for romantic attention to boost your self-esteem? Are you newly split up from a relationship and are simply lonely? All these questions will help you decide whether you should be straightforward or refrain for the sake of a friendship you may treasure for a long time to come. 

If your intentions are legit and you think they’d be open to a conversation about it, being forthcoming and honest about your feelings may be the best approach to finding out where you stand. Some people in the friend zone make the mistake of being dishonest about what they want, leading the other person to believe that no romantic feelings are involved. 

Transparency may yield a different reaction than you want, but it will definitely show you where you stand. If this person isn't romantically interested in you or is interested in someone else, candor can save you a lot of time and energy. 

2. Show them what you have to offer

Winning someone over romantically sometimes means you must draw attention to the things that make you good dating material.  If you’re friends, they’ve probably already noticed your strengths, but it never hurts to demonstrate them (subtly) in ways that show you’d make a good potential mate. Whether it’s your unique sense of humor, your considerable problem-solving acumen, or just the fact that children and dogs seem to love you—show off the traits you have that make you a good partner. 

If your crush seems to respond with increasing interest to the things that make you great, they may be considering a relationship beyond friendship. Watch for signals like increased compliments and suggestions for sharing more time alone.

3. Support them

Showing that you support this person is an excellent way to win their favor potentially, but it’s also beneficial for your health and well-being. You can do this by offering a boost when they’re facing challenges, being there if they need advice, and encouraging them to pursue the things they’re passionate about. Regardless of how you choose to support them, take care that you aren’t doing it simply to get them to like you as more than a friend. 

In cases like these, the ends don’t justify the means if the means don’t come from a place of genuine goodwill. Likewise, be mindful of how the person responds to your support. Relationships of any kind should be a two-way street. If you’re a good friend, but they mistreat you or only want to hang out when they need something, it might be best to forego any relationship with them. 


4. Give them space

Humans are notorious for becoming so preoccupied with someone they like romantically that it’s almost exclusively all they think about. Even if that love goes unrequited, we’ll sometimes keep trying, hoping they’ll feel differently one day.  Acting desperate or overbearing may reveal if your crush wants to be more than friends-- but it’s unlikely to be the answer you want. There can be a fine line between ample and too much attention, so look for cues in their behavior. 

It may be time to back off if they seem avoidant, annoyed, or otherwise uncomfortable.  For example, don’t neglect your other interests and responsibilities to stay involved in every aspect of their life. Even if you share a close friend circle, try to maintain an independent social life and experiences and give them the space to do the same.

The friend zone can be a confusing place

5. Move on

Whether you get the answer you’re looking for or not, it’s important not to lose yourself in the pursuit of finding it. You may have a rush of overwhelming emotions if you've been rejected. This is normal, and you’re certainly not alone, but it’s imperative to keep moving forward. 

Sometimes, moving forward means accepting the terms of friendship without anything more. Other times, it may mean cutting ties and walking away entirely. Regardless, this is another example of a situation where you may need to consider it seriously before making a choice. If you act reactively out of emotional distress and end the friendship, you may regret it later when you realize your negative feelings were short-lived. If you stay friends just to remain in their lives, you may be setting yourself up for further heartbreak.  So, try to do some soul-searching at this phase before you move forward. When you’ve decided where your boundaries lie and what you’re prepared to cope with emotionally, make that choice clear and work towards moving on. 

Gain support for dating in online therapy

The courtship process of winning someone’s affection can be exciting and possibly intimidating. Many people consider this stage to be a lot of fun if they end up with the person they’re trying to woo. But if you’ve been relegated to the so-called “friend zone,” how the other person feels about you can be more challenging to read, adding an element of frustration to the mixed bag of emotions. 

If you have a crush on your friend and feel like you’re on an emotional roller-coaster, getting support is important. But this may not be so easy when the situation involves having a crush on someone within a close friend group. In cases where discretion is a priority, speaking with a professional experienced in dating and intimacy may be helpful.

The rise in popularity of online therapy makes it easier than ever to access quality therapy for issues of dating, mental health and well-being, relationship challenges, and more. Platforms like Regain connect counselors with people looking for help with various challenges.

You can speak with a professional on your schedule anywhere with a reliable internet connection. Online counseling is often more affordable than traditional therapy without insurance and is highly accessible with online messaging, video chat options, and sessions via phone and text. A growing amount of research indicates that online therapy is also as effective as traditional therapy for treating mental health issues like generalized anxiety, depression, social anxiety, and more.


If you’re struggling with rejection in a relationship, online therapy with Regain can help you find closure, move on, and cultivate more confidence. 

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