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How to Get Out of the Dreaded Friend Zone!

Admit it. You’ve got a crush. In fact, you’re crushing hard. And while having a crush on someone can be fun (the thrill of the unknown, the butterflies in your stomach when he calls, emails, smiles at you), it can also be stressful. Not knowing if the object of your crush returns your affections. Feeling like your heart is on hold. Getting stuck in the dreaded Friend Zone. Sound familiar?

Before you let yourself fall any harder for your crush, you need to assess the situation and pick a course of action. Do you want to keep your feelings a secret, forever harboring unrequited love/lust in hopes that he’ll one day look at you, profess his undying devotion, and offer you a happily ever after proposition? (Keep dreaming!) Or do you want to extricate yourself from the Friend Zone, forever altering your current limbo status in hopes of at least finding out where you stand? As scary as that second scenario sounds, it’s the one to choose. After all, you deserve to know if your feelings are reciprocated. And if not, you deserve to let go and move on, to eventually find someone more deserving of your love and loyalty.

At the very least, you deserve to get out of the dreaded Friend Zone.

Signs He May Be Into You
Before taking the plunge, that is, confessing to your crush, you should probably assess your current relationship status for signs that he might be into you. Ask yourself the following:

Do you regularly spend a lot of time together? (If so, that’s promising!)
Have you met his circle of friends? (If not, why not?)
Does he make a point to make plans with you? (Or is he more of a last-minute/spontaneous kind of guy? If so, uh-oh!)
What does his relationship past tell you about his ability or lack thereof to commit? (You do the math.)
Do you discuss your current love lives? (If he’s telling you about all the other girls he’s dating, beware — possible player alert!)

By answering the above questions, you may just get an indication of how your crush really feels about you. If it’s clear he’s just not that into you (the other girls, his inability to make plans, the fact that you actually know very little about him), it might be wise to permanently park your passion and instead keep things platonic. At the very least, it would be a good idea to stop making more out of your friendship than there actually is. But if all signs point to maybe (his daily phone calls/emails/text messages asking to hang out, his circle of friends who all think you’re pretty cool, etc.), you owe it to yourself to find out if he’s into you.

Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
Before you confess to your crush, you need to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself. Just as it’s possible that he might be harboring romantic feelings for you, it’s equally possible that he might not share your warm and fuzzy affections. You need to be able to handle that news with dignity — at least until you’re in the privacy of your own home, where you’re free to agonize over his rejection as you see fit.

Next, you need to figure out the best way to confess to your crush. If you’re not ready for a face-to-face conversation, try another real-time approach like calling him on the phone. Texting, emailing, IMing, or posting a message on his fave social networking site are all available options but not recommended. After all, his response could take hours, days, or weeks, depending on how he feels. Do you really want to endure that kind of open-ended uncertainty? (The answer is no.)

Once you’ve decided where and how you’ll confess your crush, you need to figure out what you’re going to say. Possible openers include…

“I have a confession. I’ve kind of been crushing on you for awhile. Is that crazy?

“Remember the other night when we hung out? I kinda wanted to kiss you goodnight…”
“OK, here’s the deal. I have this crush on you. Any chance you’re crushing on me?”

Regardless of what or how you say it, you should make your confession as concise as possible, giving your crush plenty of time to adjust to the news and react. If he needs time alone to let the news sink in, give him his space. Don’t pester him to respond before he’s ready. And definitely don’t call, email, or text your crush afterward to check up on him. You’ve done your part. Now it’s up to him to make the next move. In the interim, pat yourself on the back for being brave enough to confess your crush!

If your crush returns your affections, congratulations! The two of you are now free to decide how you would like to move forward. If for some reason he doesn’t share your romantic feelings, that’s perfectly okay, too. By addressing the unknown, you’ve freed yourself from limbo and are now ready, willing, and able to get on with your life, including eventually meeting someone amazing who will love and adore you for the fabulous woman that you are. (Trust me, he’s out there!)

What Comes Next
Chances are good that by confessing your feelings to your crush, your relationship will in some way change. Whether it makes you closer as platonic friends or lovers who fall head over heels for one another, or sends you off in separate directions, is unknown. What’s most important is to face whatever truth presents itself, and to do what’s best for you as a result. When faced with rejection, sometimes the best remedy — at least initially — is to distance yourself from your crush until your heart heals. In the meantime, surround yourself with true-blue friends who can love and support you unconditionally. Crush or no crush, remember this: If you were strong enough to confess your feelings, then you’re definitely resilient enough to handle any other challenges and obstacles that come your way.

Good luck and happy dating!