Diva Q&A: AJ Lee on getting out of the "Friend Zone"
So you realized you’re in love with your best female buddy. ’Bout time! Here’s how AJ Lee suggests you transform that friendship into a relationship.
1: Treat her like a lady
Even though you’ve always kidded with your friend, if you want to start a relationship, start complimenting her more and teasing her less. Touch her more affectionately, and stop high-fiving her. “It’s your responsibility as initiator to show her how you’d like to interact, so you need to start behaving more maturely,” says relationship coach Rosalind Sedacca. “Your actions can’t be too extreme, though: Don’t suddenly kiss her out of the blue. Take small steps to make her feel special and adored. Friends don’t do that in the same way that intimate partners do.”
- AJ says: “To move forward with a girl, there comes a point when a guy has to stop farting and burping in front of her, and instead tell her she looks pretty now and then!”
2: Avoid the group mentality
Slowly ease your way out of your lady love’s circle of friends and enjoy more outings with just the two of you. If you’re too embedded in her life as a friend, she might not want to jeopardize that relationship. Also, you can’t be intimate in a group. “When you’re in groups, everyone falls into certain roles, and it’s hard to just change your dynamic,” says Sedacca. “Being romantic is all about being a twosome. In a group, you can’t make that secret eye contact or try to hold her hand without worrying about whether everyone is watching.”
- AJ says: “This is a great idea, especially if your girl has a lot of guy friends. Guys always act differently in front of other guys, so if it’s just you and her, you can show her a softer side she hasn’t seen before.”
3: Take her out during dating hours
As much fun as your Saturday hiking trips or Tuesday happy hours are, to move from the cozy friend zone, start inviting your lady out on Friday and Saturday nights. “Take her to places where people go socially to date,” Sedacca says. “You want to imply that you’re looking for something along those lines, and this is a subtle way to move in that direction.”
- AJ says: “I may not be the girliest girl, but even I know there’s a huge difference between staying in and playing video games on a Sunday afternoon and taking her to Dave & Busters to play games on a Saturday night."
4: Casually hold her hand
Put your most chivalrous foot forward when you’re both walking through a crowded room and gently take her hand and lead her through it. “If there’s receptivity and she doesn’t let go right away, keep moving forward,” says Rosalind. “You have to make moves that are more date-like, and if she wants a relationship to happen, she’ll hold on to your hand.” From there, try other subtle gestures, such as touching her knee when you sit down, or putting your arm around her waist.
- AJ says: “Holding hands is my style. It’s innocent, not too forward and leaves a bit of intrigue. Take it slow, and if she likes you, she’ll soon be dying for you to take the next step and make out with her!”
5: Invite her out as your "date"
Next time you need a plus-one, be it for a dinner you don’t want to attend solo or — if you’re bold — a wedding, ask her to be your guest and see how she responds to being called your “date.” Sedacca insists: “This is a perfect way to feel out the next level and see how she responds around your friends and family.” Positive things to note are if she’s smiling around you and happy to meet your nearest and dearest. Reconsider your push, however, if she’s acting like a wallflower and pulling away when you move too close.
- AJ says: “This is a much bigger step than holding hands, and a great test to see how she handles social girlfriend-like situations. But only attempt this if she’s been happy with your other advances so far.”
If you feel that you’re getting the green light from your girl, then it means she’s both comfortable and happy with this transition from friendship to relationship. But Sedacca suggests you hold off on the “girlfriend” talk for now: “Don’t have that conversation just yet, but instead, keep taking the next step. Continue asking her out next weekend and holding her hand, and through all these steps, a relationship will happen naturally.”
- AJ says: “Girls aren’t oblivious. If a guy friend makes a move, we know he’s interested in more. So if she isn’t pushing you away, she obviously wants it, too. Just enjoy the ride.”
Next: Quick tips for returning to the "Friend Zone"
How to return to the "Friend Zone"
So your dream relationship didn’t exactly work out. It happens. But breaking up doesn’t mean you have to cut all ties completely. Here are five ways to make the split and still stay friends.
- Break up in person: Never, ever, is it OK to end a relationship via any form of technology — be it text, email or phone. Give her the closure she needs and the ability to hear it all face-to-face.
- Don't argue: No matter what she says, as the “dumper,” it’s your responsibility to keep a level head. When you feel your ire rise, instead of getting defensive, try saying, “I understand how you feel.”
- Avoid all physical contact: Remember: From this point on, you’re just friends — and holding her hand, wiping away her tears and kissing her especially will totally blur the lines.
- Focus on the positives: Emphasize she’s a good person, and breaking up with her doesn’t change that. Make her still feel valuable as a person, and to you, if you want to maintain some sort of relationship.
- Give it some time: Take a few weeks before you hang again to let your emotions settle. Also, meet up in a public setting so as not to confuse the first friendly get-together with a date.
But the most important piece of all, from AJ herself?
NIX MIXED SIGNALS: “The most important thing is to be consistent. if you are gonna go for it, fully commit and make your moves. Mixed signals will ruin everything.” — AJ